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Wow!!! I did not know of this accident until right now...

And your description of life there in the 50's - double wow - so exactly like it was. My dad was the chief aeronautical engineer for Rocketdyne in Canoga Park, and he spent a lot of time at Santa Susanna. I lived in Northeast Canoga Park when I was six, up against the mountains, and when there were still orange groves and asparagus fields. Then we moved over to West Canoga Park, right next to Pierce College. Hot weather, baseball (and all sports) all day every day, playing in the water, exploring the hills behind Pierce when they were putting all the houses (Pierce was just bungalows then). I also remember the constant small earthquakes, the regular sound of the rocket engine tests, and the ash that fell from the sky from the brush fires every fall. Remember all that? Stirring up some ghosts for me!!

My dad had been transferred twice to Neosho, Missouri by Rocketdyne, and that is where we were in summer of 1959 - so we weren't around for the actual meltdown. But one does wonder, just how many people's health were effected by that accident? Maybe there needs to be a third movie of Chinatown, this time including the secret meltdown.

Great diary - thank you - and very sorry to here about your mom. Makes me wonder - my father died of a sudden heart attach at age 46 in 1964- he worked a lot up at Santa Susanna testing the rocket engines...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Tue Jul 21st, 2009 at 04:26:58 AM EST
Zounds...we were separately all over the same places together.

Those small earthquakes...weren't those great? - like gusts of wind eventually. One got a badge of honor for playing right through them.

Our portion of San Fernando Valley history was/is, of course, a grand beneficiary, a microcosm manifestation of the American Occupation, writ large; enormous private gain hidden amongst some public's gain (always alleged more than actual.)

Having taken over the rapacious responsibilities of the 19th-century Spaniards, none were better than the turn-of-the-20th-century Angeleno Anglos. And none were better suited to the hero-rapist role than William Mulholland, who brought water to the desert of the San Fernando Valley. He carries all the sins of urban sprawl, and we got the joys, the memories...and whatever woes we choose to carry.  

I sit now in another naturally arid land, near the similar tragic scenes of Jeanne de Florette and Manon des Sources, and the similar childhood joys of La Gloire de Mon Père (My Father's Glory) and Le Château de Ma Mère (My Mother's Castle). I resist the temptation of tying in the tragic story happening now in the towns and countries Jerusalem-adjacent, and go back to work.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Sun Jul 26th, 2009 at 08:16:38 AM EST
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Those small earthquakes...weren't those great?

After the Northridge quake of '94 I got so that, were I seated during an aftershock, I could call out the amplitude to a tenth of a point.  I joked about having a calibrated ass.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Aug 4th, 2009 at 08:38:35 AM EST
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I remember the same feeling the day after that one. While picking up all the spilled items in the kitchen, a 5.9 aftershock comes by and we ignored it except to call out our guesses.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Tue Aug 4th, 2009 at 08:22:54 PM EST
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Manon do i love those films.

and i also had a calibrated quake sense.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Tue Aug 4th, 2009 at 11:30:30 AM EST
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Manon, indeed.

Mother's Castle and Father's Glory had been difficult to get, but now they are available in DVD with english subtitles...which I verily need.

Knowing a little of your California history, I imagine that you were around for quakes in southern and northern CA. Does it seem like the every ~10 year, once in the north/once in the south cycle is freakishly delayed?

No jokes about how good a giant repair project would be for the economy, but I bet the people of California would at least accept doctors from Cuba in a disaster.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Wed Aug 5th, 2009 at 03:29:59 PM EST
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small earthquakes - never stopped playing!!

And Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources - tow great movies! Just found them on DVD, after a long search...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Fri Aug 7th, 2009 at 06:18:35 AM EST
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