[Note: This interview is one of 100 conducted in Nevada County, California by Gary Quehl and his colleagues. One half of the interviews were conducted with “emerging sage leaders” (Katy Eckert being one of these emerging sage leaders). The other 50 interviews were conducted with “senior sage leaders” in Nevada County. All of those who were interviewed are actively involved in the ongoing development of their community.]
You have been identified by friends and colleagues as one of our community’s 50 top emerging sage leaders. A sage leader is a person who brings unusual experience, sound judgment, and wisdom in working to advance the civic well-being of our community. We thank you for participating in our interview process.
1. To begin, how many years have you lived in Nevada County? Where in the county do you reside?
I have been a resident of Nevada County for 35 years and currently reside in Grass Valley off HWY 174.
2. May I ask how old you are?
I am 40 years old.
3. If you would, please share a bit about your personal history: where you grew-up; where you went to school and college; what organizations you have worked for and the positions you have held.
I was born in Long Beach, CA and then my family moved to Nevada County when I was six years old. My Dad had purchased 40 acres on the Yuba River and had built a cabin for camping. He became disabled and due to health and financial reasons, decided to sell our house in Long Beach and move to our cabin here in Nevada County. My Dad was a product of growing up during the Great Depression, and he had a very strong desire to be self-sufficient. I refer to it as “Robinson Crusoe” syndrome. So… I grew up on the river, learning to garden and care for farm animals. Our cabin was somewhat isolated and due to this and my Dad’s dislike of the public school system, my siblings and I were home schooled. Rarely did we children go to “town.” Instead, my Dad and Mom would leave us with my Uncle (who also lived with us), and they would go shopping and deal with any other matters. Our big family excursion was going to Church every Sunday to the St. Johns parish in North San Juan.
Our cabin did not have electricity or phone. We installed a pipeline from a natural spring to create running water. And, you could not actually drive the whole way to the cabin… instead you had about a .25 mile hike from where we parked, down into the canyon to get to our home. I learned to cook on a wood stove that was also our source of heat. I remember my Dad building the cabin and “helping” with tasks that a child could handle. Our lives revolved around simple things…chores, school work, the ebb and flow of the river, reading, playing card games, sailing bark “boats” around puddles, climbing rocks, hiking and panning for gold with my Dad.
We established a strong connection with the other members of the St. John’s church, especially one family who is now into its 5th generation of living in Nevada County. We would visit this family at their family ranch after Church on Sundays and our families grew even closer. My Dad especially enjoyed visiting with the elderly “uncles” and listening to their stories about the history of Nevada County. When I was about 12, the uncles passed away, leaving the only full time resident of the family alone for the first time in her whole life. She was in her 60’s by then, and she asked my Dad if he would consider allowing my older sister and me to live with her part-time and also attend the public high school. Mom & Dad agreed, and I moved to the ranch. That family became, and still is, a surrogate family to me.Download Article 1K Club