[To read more history, see Origins of the Ranch: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII, Part VIII, Part IX, Part X, Part XI, Part XII, Part XIII, Part XIV, Part XV, Part XVI, Part XVII, Part XVIII, Part XIX, Part XX, Part XXI, Part XXII, Part XXIII, Part XXIV, Part XXV, and Part XXVI]
Times were very different at Rancho La Puerta in 1958. First of all, we had more guests (when full) then we do now. And we often were full…full of very interesting, enthusiastic guests from points near and far.
Usually growth is connected with bigger/more, but in The Ranch’s case as we improved facilities and accommodations, we actually pared down the guest count until today a “full” week stands at about 130. And we are full—often! And our guests are just as interesting.
Recently, when going through the archives, we discovered a stack of yellowing, mimeographed newsletters from 1958. Bob Yaller was the Editor, with a staff of two reporters, Barbara Wilison and Cecil Ralenger, and one “Tech. Ass’t” named Roz Barrett. (If you know any of these folks, please let us know!)
The newsletters were nothing more than typewritten pamphlets, 7 by 8 1/2 inches, but they were packed with color—colorful, descriptive, friendly writing. Each profiled a few guests. We’ll share a few stories verbatim from the month of April, 1958, starting with a snippet about one of the oldest guests ever to visit Rancho La Puerta (not counting co-founder Deborah Szekely today, who lectures at the Ranch almost every week: she is about to turn 93 this month!).
—“Visiting the Ranch for the first time this week is Mrs. Anna Tiemann, who celebrated her 91st birthday on April Fool’s Day. Born in Germany, she came to Iowa with her parents and nine brothers and sisters in 1881, when she was fourteen years of age. Her father was a farmer, and each of the children was given his own little plot of land to “farm.” Then Anna married a farmer, and they farmed in Kansas for thirty years before moving to California. And evidently she hasn’t had her fill of farming, because even now her favorite pastime is getting out and hoeing weeds. “Mrs. Tiemann raised six children, three boys and three girls, and still does all the cooking for her daughter, with who she lives in Orange, California. She says she’s very anxious to try out some new ideas in cooking which she has learned while at Rancho La Puerta…”
—“Danny” Daniels is the fastest moving gal at La Puerta. Now you see her, now you don’t—a lifetime of activity gives her the undisputed title of “Girl on the Go.”
—“Now that Spring is here in full bloom at La Puerta, Rose of Peru with be with us soon. Her slim form swaying in the sirocco breeze of La Puerta perfumes the air, and the singing chorus of the birds fills our air with enchantment. For those new arrivals at our enchanted valley, Rose of Peru is the name of the wondrous grapes that fill our vines during the grape season.”
—“He doesn’t have a long beard and ride around on a pack mule, but Elinar Larum is a prospector by trade. He has long been prospecting for gold, copper, and such like, but for the past ten years has concentrated on uranium. While in the employ of the Canadian government during the war, Mr. Larum made some finds which are now producing mines. In fact, he is the one who discovered the Eldorado Mine in Saskatchewan, which is now producing uranium for the government of Canada at a net profit of $3 million per year.
“Born in Norway, Mr. Larum reports that he has been a citizen of four countries—Norway, of course; Madagascar in South Africa; the United States; and now Canada, where he lives in Vancouver, B.C.
“Mr. Larum is still doing some prospecting on his own in northern Sakatchewan. He and his partner go in by plane and hop from lake to lake, or use canoes on the rivers. The rest is done mostly on foot—they can’t take horses in because there is no grass. Most of his explorations have been in the Northwest Territories and Sakatchewan, right on up to the Arctic Circle. And Mr. Larum claims that he can be very comfortable in his tent even in 70-below-zero weather!”