The scorching summer sun beats the earth in a way that it hasn’t done in ages. And even as the young sunflower I planted from seed stretches it’s neck high, it’s crown of petals is already wilting.
Note that it’s not the exceptionally high temperatures at work here but what seems instead, to be the absence of a layer of sky that once sheltered our heads.
As I was sitting on the patio having tea at the Malibu Kitchen and Gourmet Market and fighting with my writing project, I look up and see Dick Van Dyke look over at me on his way to get a cup of something to drink. Although shocked, it was as though I recognized a friend, especially after seeing the placard he had built for his wife at the Serra Retreat Center yesterday. So I looked up from my pile of papers and said hello as he rushed off.
In the 1920s, Malibu Pottery along with other local pottery makers like Catalina Clay, Taylor Tilery, Brayton Laguna Pottery, etc. put California on the map of innovative tile makers. But it was Frederick Ringe who began it all when in 1892, he bought a ranch that stretched from Santa Monica to Oxnard and established Port Los Angeles Railroad to keep the Santa Fe Railroad from taking his property. His daughter Rhoda Agatha married Merritt Huntley Adamson and overtime build a home in Serra Retreat using tile craftsmen and from their work together began the Malibu Tile Works. That was 1926 and today the Adamson House has been preserved and opened for public view at the Malibu Lagoon State Beach.
Directly across the street and up the hill is the Serra Retreat now owned by the Franciscans Friars. The property was originally part of Frederick Ringe’s initial acquisition and after his death his wife May spent part of the fortune on litigation costs to keep the privacy her husband wanted, but her efforts were unsuccessful when in 1923 the Pacific Coast Highway was begun.
Undeterred, May began building the mansion using tile from the Malibu Pottery. The house was considered an unrivaled jewel that was never inhabited as the tile company caught fire and a year later, when her funds ran out, the Marblehead Land Company offered the bankrupt property for sale.
The tiled jewel sitting on 26 acres was placed under the patronage of Junipero Serra and the Franciscan Friars of the Province of Santa Barbara opened a Catholic retreat center. This center ran until the 1970 fire destroyed the original mansion. After decades of rebuilding, the grounds are now open daily.
In today’s session with Dr. Steve, Mama had a miraculous release from the back pain she’s carried all her life. It was nothing less than a miracle that, in the moment, was so exhilarating, even now, we continue to be stunned.
Peggy Bacon in mid-air backflip, Bondi Beach, Sydney, 6/2/1937 by Ted Hood, State Library of New South Wales
Every other week or so the new local Apostolic church sends its missionaries door to door, competing with Jehovah Witnesses for our attention. We look through the peephole at stalworth believers, seeing them spy other homes with cars in their driveways once we don’t answer. Little do they understand that we have a faith and travel in the second car to worship outside our neighborhood. When we’ve tried to tell them this, they don’t seem to hear and so send others to our porch while we, having given up verbal kindness, aspire instead to hold our faith in quietness.