August should be a month of adventure, entertainment and fun. For the last two, readers can't do much better than the Mendocino Theater Company's production of The Graduate. If you're thinking, I've seen the Mike Nichols movie, how can this be any different? Well, it is. Different tone: more comedic. Different scenes: more with Mrs. Robinson and her daughter. And you still get the iconic Simon & Garfunkel songs plus a lot more from the sixties. The 1960s reminds me of the tunes that dominated the play list of the old KMFB radio station. If you've never seen former KMFB and current KUNK radio host Lindy Peters act, this is your chance. He is great as Mr. Robinson. Ricci Dedola may not be Anne Bancroft, but she captures every pitiful and wicked nuance of Mrs. Robinson. No one who saw the film version could forget Dustin Hoffman in the title role, but newcomer Tristan Sample goes a long ways toward laying his own claim to the part. Director Felicia Freitas creatively brings this story to broad life and repeated laughs on a small stage. I'm getting nothing for this plug other than the same good time that will be had by all who are not easily shocked. There may not be blood, but there will be sex and nudity!
August is a month to commence adventures. Columbus set sail from Spain during the first week of the month. Nearly four centuries later John Wesley Powell began the white water adventure of any lifetime, rafting down the Colorado River with a few equally reckless boatmen. As one of the first white men to enter the Grand Canyon by river, Wesley wrote in August, 1870, "We are now ready to start on our way down the Great Unknown... We have an unknown distance yet to run; an unknown river to explore. What falls there are, we know not; what rocks beset the channel, we know not; what walls rise over the river, we know not."
It didn't take long for Powell to find out. "The walls, now, are more than a mile in height. A thousand feet of this is up through granite crags, then steep slopes and perpendicular cliffs rise, one above another, to the summit." If you haven't yet gone, and you get the remotest chance, everyone should see the Grand Canyon once. You don't have to repeat Mr. Powell's wild ride, you don't have to walk all the way to the bottom. Even overrun by tourists, a good long look from the rim is well worth the trip.
When I was a child August meant a whole month more of play before school started once again. Does anyone remember Admission Day? California schools often started after September 9th (Admission Day). Now, we have kids headed back to primary grades at the beginning of August.
My baby boomer experience was not the norm a little over a century ago. This ranch played host to the McKay School District until 1912. The McKay School District consisted of one schoolhouse for kids from six to fourteen. There was no kindergarten in those days. There was no kindergarten in all of the Mendocino School District until the 1960s. The McKay School along the Albion River gathered in students who walked from several miles up the river, from Albion Ridge and the Littleriver prairie. Inclement weather was the enemy of regular attendance, so at McKay, as in many rural districts, school vacation consisted of the mid winter months, usually much of January and February. Students were expected to be in their seats every weekday throughout summer and autumn, the only summer vacation days centered briefly around the celebration of the Fourth of July.