Article from the 8/25/2017 Catalina Islander

"Is your ocean very wet?"
"Are those real shops in town or just facades?"
"Are you part of California?"
"Do you have any eggs on the Island?"
"Does the road above the big white building (Casino) lead anywhere?"
"ONLY CATALINA HAPPENINGS":  Please check out my new column and help me fill in the blanks.
Male Roommate Needed:  I am looking for a roommate to share my home with one other person.  Contact me, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.m
No, NOT Santa Claus! You probably noticed my white/gray hair and beard are getting longer.  You will know WHY soon.
Let's all try "a little harder"!  In my column submission, "Be The Change You Want To See In Avalon", August 4, 2017 (this and all of my past submissions,, I suggested some possible ways that we can make Avalon friendlier/more enjoyable.  A new friend of mine said that she has been trying to find ways for the last couple of weeks.  She now sets out to pick up just one piece of trash a day, but finds that she can't stop once she gets going!  IMAGINE IF EVERYONE OF US JUST PICKED UP ON PIECE OF TRASH A DAY!  WOW, WHAT AN IMPACT!
"Mr. Ning's" leaving September 30!  Send me cards/letters, etc. any signs of love for these wonderful people, to Chuck Liddell, P. O. Box 1533, Avalon, CA 90704, so I can make sure they receive them before they leave us!
Dr.("Dive Dry") Bill Bushing.  Please continue to show your support for him with your prayers and thoughts!
REAL Catalina Trip!  I was off the "rock" from August 12-20.  First, I went to Torrance to visit a VERY SPECIAL friend of mine, Roberta Stotesbury.  Fishermen on Catalina and the mainland CERTAINLY know the name of Roberta and her late husband, Ross, and her three sons, Gregory, Michael, and Dean.  At any given fishing tournament, they will definitely clean up!  IF there is a prize winning fish out there, THEY WILL FIND IT!
Roberta and I then drove to Piedmont (outside of Oakland) where I left Roberta at the home of Carolyn Bostrom Renton and drove on to Sacramento to visit my mother.  I am so often told how smart I was to be born on Catalina Island, as if I had a choice.  I tell these supporters, "I have to give credit to my Mother.  She decided to be on Catalina Island and in those days you were born where your Mother was!  THANKS MOM, FOR YOUR GREAT CHOICE!"  She is now in a nursing home and can only communicate with her thumbs (up-Yes, down-No, two up, two down for emphasis!).  She is 92 and I spent a while with her for two days.  UNFORTUNATELY, the second day was August 14, my brother, Bill's, birthday.  He WOULD have been 68, if he hadn't committed suicide on January 21, 1974, at age 24.  For the last 44 years, Mom and I have always avoided being together on his birthday and the day of his suicide, but this time it simply couldn't be avoided.  We were doing pretty well, until I found out it was the birthday of Mom's roommate, Murielle.  A LOT OF YELLING, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" finally got to me and so I had to leave!  If any of you, or know of anyone, are contemplating suicide, realize the LONG TERM EFFECTS that this has on those of us, family and friends, left behind, HOLDING YOUR BAG!  It has been 44 years and I am still having problems dealing with Bill's selfish decision!  THINK LONG AND HARD BEFORE YOU MAKE THIS DECISION TO KILL YOURSELF AND REACH OUT TO ANYONE, ANY CHANNELS FOR HELP!  They are out there!
I went back to spend more time with Roberta and Carolyn.  We had an early birthday celebration for her.  She turned 96 on August 21.  If you want to send her a belated Birthday Card, please send them to me:  Chuck Liddell, P. O. Box 1533, Avalon, CA 90704 and I will make sure she receives them.  To say she is doing "pretty well" is an UNDERSTATEMENT.  Except for a few expected problems, she is doing GREAT!  It is going to take a Mack Truck, and a BIG ONE at that, to ever take her out.  She is like another mother and I love her dearly! 
From there I went back to Torrance where I was picked up by Bob Haffey and our own Sandy Putnam and driven to his beautiful home in Rolling Hills Estates for the 13th Annual "Catalina Pottery Collectors" meeting.  It is held at a different location each time.  Approximately 30 came from ALL OVER California for this remarkable event and besides great food and wonderful conversation, each member was asked to bring a "treasure" to share and BOY THEY DID!  Many surprises.  I didn't have anything to share, except some historical tid bits and I was humbled by how well my meager submissions were received! 
Now, a comment about Sandy Putnam which I guarantee with get me in the "dog house" with her, but knowing her for as long as I have, I feel a need  to say it.  I have been dubbed "Catalina's Personal Google", but Sandy is referred to as "Catalina's Encyclopedia"!  You know what  President George Washington said, "You can't believe everything you read on 'Google'!" so that moves Sandy up a notch from me!  Whenever she finds a mistake that I make, and I have been known to make a few, she very discretely corrects me and asks me not to share who helped me.  Unlike most people, and sadly, sometimes me, Sandy is MORE concerned about getting the facts right and setting the record straight, than taking any bows of recognition.  I definitely call my "hero" for this and ALL she has done, publically and behind the screens for Catalina Island.  O. K., Sandy, I am waiting for her phone call and I am sorry, BUT I HAD TO DO THIS!
Living on an island definitely has it's drawbacks and Catalina is NO EXCEPTION!  The ONLY way to get to or from the island is by boats, helicopters, or private planes.  If we are having an especially rough ocean caused by a "North Easterly", we can experience some major problems.  One such storm occurred around 2000 when I had to get back from the Mainland to the Island as it was "Valentine's Day" and I had three jobs lined up!  I took a boat from Long Beach and it took over a half an hour, just to get past the breakwater, which normally only takes a few minutes.  It then turned around and came back to port!  I then go on the next boat which got half way across the channel, turned around and came back!!  I went to check out the helicopters and waited there long enough to find out that it was too windy for them to fly.  In the meantime, the third boat had left and got all the way to Avalon, simply to find out that it couldn't line up with the dock, as it was so terribly rough even in our harbor, so they turned around the went ALL THE WAY BACK TO LONG BEACH!!! I know that it is ILLEGAL AND TERRIBLY DANGEROUS.  I WOULD HAVE TO STRONGLY DISAGREE WITH ANYONE WHO WOULD ATTEMPT THIS, but I think I would have taken my chances and simply jumped overboard! 
There was going to be a special dance at the Casino Ballroom, but only half of the band had made it across, as they had come over the day before, and the rest of group was with me on the mainland, along with those who had hotel reservations and plans for the dance!  Those who were stuck on the Island were able to go to the dance, but only with a partial band.
Definitely the roughest boat trip I ever took across the channel and probably the roughest trip ever taken occurred aboard one of the "Catalina Cruise" boats around 1985.  Keep in mind that these boats were NOT as fast, stabilized, or reliable as the "Catalina Express" boats of today. This other boat company's boats usually, even on good days, took over 2 hours in the crossing.  We used to call them the "Cattle Boats" and were SO HAPPY when the "Express" boats started their service! 
On this particular trip, before the boat was untied in preparation to leave Long Beach, the Captain came over the intercom and warned us that this was going to be a VERY ROUGH voyage and that the only ones who should even "consider" taking the trip should be Islanders or anyone who HAD TO get to the other side!  After only a few passengers had disembarked, as most of us were locals, we started our "slow" assent toward home.  We were still in the protection of the breakwater when people started getting violently seasick!  Unfortunately, unprepared passengers started taking their "seasick" pills, which are supposed to be taken at least 30 minutes before the boat leaves and certainly BEFORE YOU GET SICK!  For those luckily enough for their pills to kick in, they were able to fall asleep in the chairs and on the benches.
Hours later, when we had finally gotten to the middle of the channel, something horrific occurred!  Instead of going into the on coming giant wave, the boat had gotten caught up in the trough and was going over the wave SIDEWAYS!  Suddenly,  the boat started dramatically listing to it's side and EVERYONE and EVERYTHING that wasn't secured started rolling over to the side which was NOW almost the bottom of the boat!  Unfortunately, a good friend and Islander, Roger Hill, was asleep on a bench in front of me and before I could reach him, he feel on the floor FACE DOWN!  Roger, do you remember this!?!  The boat free fell about 10 feet when it then crashed on the ocean, side down!  It sounded like a bomb explosion!
Needless to say, there was the expected panic on the boat and the engines were immediately shut down.  As soon as the boat had uprighted itself, which only took a short time, the Captain called all of the crew to the pilot house.  A few moments later he announced to the passengers that as we were at the half way mark, we could either go back to Long Beach or keep heading for Avalon.  He realized that most of us were Islanders and so decided to head for the Island, but made it abundantly clear that NO WAY was he going to go back to Long Beach tonight, so anyone who gets off in Avalon will have to stay over one day or longer.
With little damage, we started our PAINFULLY LONG trip to shore.  At that speed WE FELT EVERY WAVE AND SWELL!  The slower a ship goes, the more it is at the mercy of a treacherous ocean!  The crew was running all round, hoping to get the plastic bags out in time, but most couldn't wait and barfing was EVERYWHERE!  I am one of those over susseptable ones who "looses it" simply by hearing, smelling, and certainly seeing it.  The stench was so bad, that even those medicated couldn't sleep through this.  I couldn't stand just sitting there, so I joined the crew and aided them in servicing the other passengers.  Keeping on the move and not thinking about my own problems WORKED!  I actually found myself getting lost in others' problems which took my mind off mine.  I don't know if "It is better to give than receive" fits here, but  it was obvious that serving rather than complaining definitely had a benefit.  Keeping our thoughts on this in our daily lives might prove beneficial!  WE FINALLY MADE IT AND PRACTICALLY KISSED THE GROUND WHEN WE GOT OFF!  Thinking back, I THINK I DID get a mouthful of terra firma!
Lesson that every Islander knows, or should.  IF YOU REALLY HAVE TO get to the Mainland or Catalina for something you can't miss, then plan on making the trip at least one day in advance!  TRUST ME!