Article from the 7/7/2017 Catalina Islander

"Interesting how your town was named after one of your marine creatures!"  (abalone=Avalone=Avalon).
"Do you ever get to the United States?"
"I am having trouble finding it!  What is the color of the 'Green Pier'?"
Seeing Palos Verdes Peninsula in the distance and mistaking it as an island, "Is Catalina Island part of the Hawaiian Island Chain?"
"Where is the bridge that I have heard about that connects Catalina with the Mainland?"
1.  Always keep your dogs leashed for the safety of your dogs and others. THAT IS THE LAW!
2.  Pick up the poop of your dogs and if you forget a bag, which we all sometimes do, there are locations to pick them up around town or simply ask one of us walking ours to have one.
3.  DON'T place raw poop in trashcans and neither place bagged poop in someone else's trash cans.  You can WAIT until you get home.
4.  When driving, please SLOW DOWN around those of us walking our dogs.  Give the same concern as you would to children as "these are our children"!
One of my oldest friends, in duration, since 1961, Mitch Hammond came from Elgin, Illinois to visit me and the Island for this special holiday.  He has been here many times, and tries to come at least once-twice a year.  Hasn't been here for July 4 since the 1960's!  He is painfully aware of all of the divisions we face daily in our town, but how we ALL COME TOGETHER during our most patriotic event!  I was working as a volunteer for the "Sheriff's Department" and directing traffic and lining up the floats for the start of the parade at the Casino.  Not only did Mitch immediately volunteer and helped me with my tough task, but David (who I don't even know), Lisa, Rhonda, and a number of others jumped in, including Dan, Eric, Christian and others assigned to this task!  SO PROUD TO LIVE ON CATALINA!
So happy to see our own, Bishop Ryan, in town lately!
As I was working last week, as I do almost every day, in the Museum's Chihuly "Seaform" Exhibit (come in and say "hello"), a woman came up and asked me when the sketches were done.  I tried to say 1982 but it kept coming out "1882"!  After 3 times of being a century off on my information, I apologized to her as I couldn't figure out WHY I kept making that error!  She looked very surprised, "You are probably picking up on the fact that I work for a company called '1882'!!!"  WOOOOW!
A man came up to me and asked me "Is Chuck Liddell associated with the Museum?" pointing to the "Friends Of Catalina Island Museum" recognitions.  "Yes, I am!" I proudly said.  "No, I mean the UFC wrestler, Chuck Liddell!"  "I am NOT him!"  "I KNOW YOU AREN'T HIM!"  "But I AM Chuck Liddell!"  After doing our little "Abbott and Costello" routine, things got settled, but WHY, of all people, would he ask ME about Chuck Liddell!?!  SCARY!
Every now and then someone will come up to me, introduce themselves, and share with me how much they LOVE my column.  Of course, I am ALWAYS happy to hear such praise and generally ask them what column in particular they liked.  Almost ALWAYS, when I let my pride take over, they answer with a column written by Jim Watson!  THAT'S WHAT I DESERVE and I also LOVE Jim's columns!  I wonder if he ever gets praise directed at me?  Have to ask him next time I see him!
Soon after my 24 year old younger brother, Bill, died in 1974, my father had a massive heart attack and stroke.  I left teaching school at Indiana University and came back to Catalina to take care of him.  It ended up being 7 years of "caregiving".
With A LOT of time on our hands, Dad decided that NOW would be the best time for him to share his stories of Catalina!  He gave me a list of 45, which I still have, and our "plan" was to try to get them on a tape recorder (no cell phones then) for posterity.  UNFORTUNATELY, Dad's health was such that his days would be equally divided between "good days" and "bad days".  On the good days, I didn't want him to stay in the house, so I would take him out in our golf cart and let him enjoy our beautiful weather and even get a few steps in, when possible.  On his bad days, he was too tired and miserable to talk, so I just let him sleep.  How many of the 45 topics did I get recorded in 7 years!?!  YOU GUESSED IT!  NONE!!!!  But, fortunately, I do remember our casual conversations about some of them and so I am trying to recall as many as I can, before I end up like Dad!  Many of mine, Dad's, and even my Grandfather's stories can be found, thanks to Rocky Wall,
My father was Philip Knight Wrigley's "Chief Engineer" from 1945-60, which is why I was born on Catalina in 1947.  He was in charge of the entire Island, including all of the buildings, roads, and workers. We had a 1946 "Woody" and spent most of our time traversing the Island and checking it out for Mr. Wrigley and his Vice-President, Malcolm Renton. 
In the late 40's, Dad heard reports of a "rogue" bull bison (one that was basically on his own, away from the herd) that was, for some strange reason, obviously upset and taking it out on cars that tried to pass by him as he stood watch on his own "turn out" around the bend from "Mt. Blackjack" and "The China Wall" (we also have a "Burma Road", but Jim Watson already handled that discussion).  Cars were pretty much unrestricted from traversing the island whenever they wanted as the card gate at "Hog's Back" wasn't put into place until 1960 by Dad.  He (the bison, NOT Dad) would sit in wait for unsuspecting cars to invade his territory and he would "ram"/"bison" them toward the cliffs, over 1000 ft. below!  The few cars in those days were small and pretty old so it wasn't a major move on the bull's part.  Luckily, the unsuspecting and shocked occupants of said vehicles were able to get out before they were sent over the side!
Dad was summoned to investigate these stories and he found them, and the bull, to be true.  Although no one was ever hurt, nor as far as I remember, none of the cars ever ended up down the canyon, still SOMETHING had to be done!  All he ever told me was that he sadly had to decide in favor of having the pissed off mammal "destroyed".  I assume that one of our "cowboys", that still helped manage the cattle and other animals that roamed around the Island in the days before the "Conservancy", did the necessary procedure.
Dad never knew exactly where the animal's stuffed head ended up.  He narrowed it down to either the "Santa Catalina Island Co." (now "Catalina island Co.")  offices, 150 Metropole, the Museum, which was then located at the Casino, or at the "Airport-In-The-Sky", which would be the one that still proudly sits over the fireplace.  Anyone, in addition to me, notice the big bump/knot on his forehead!?!  Of course they all have one to some degree, but I always feel guilty whenever I go up there as "somehow" I get the feeling that he KNOWS that my relative got him up there!  At least Catalina now had one less belligerent bull in its DNA gene pool and, except for a few scattered occasions, most of our treasured animals are well behave!