High Desert Memories - A Hometown Journal Commemorating Ridgecrest California
Welcome to my offering to my friends, family and all who have lived in or are interested in the Indian Wells Valley. My name is Pat Jones and I am a former resident of Ridgecrest. I am still friends with and in touch with many many people from or in the area. I hope that the efforts I have made to consolidate some history of our home town meet with your approval.
I was sitting around one day and I wanted to put a picture of myself up so you would at least know who you are visiting here at the good ol' HDM website. Then I started having delusions of grandeur and finally decided I would put the pictures up as a kind of metamorphosis. From a pretty cute baby to a very expanded and weather worn me at age 65. That final picture is with my roommate and ex-wife Loretta. She is the mother of all my children and some I kidnapped at an an early age and adopted that were hers at our marriage. She has single handedly brought me thru some very difficult times with my illness. I am alive today because of her very deft and talented use of naturopathics which have kept me from going to the hospital on at least two occasions since I have been here.
The purpose of this page is to bring to you what is in store for additions and improvements to this website before they occur. I will also air some of your concerns and issues as I receive them via email and guest book entries. I will not post any private information or email addresses. Nor will I disclose them privately so please don't ask. Due to the nature of this website I feel there is a need for a sounding board where its users may submit their ideas and wishes.
I should have some pictures to start a new section on Ridgecrest. Anthony Pate has volunteered to go around RC and shoot some pictures that will bring us all up to date on the changes that have happened since the last time I had a full shoot in 2002. Just received 4 more annuals from the 79's so will be working on scanning those and adding the appropriate sections to the Burroughs High School section.
I just modified the RC now section on the last couple of pages. Also on the China Lake pages I added a couple of more. A page on the Sidewinder missile, the Armament and Technology Museum, A page with some pictures of the winter and the China Lake with some water in it, and finally a gentleman did a first by Completing 60 years of service. I figured as how that rated a page all by itself.
I still haven't done anything about the Trips into the Desert section I wanted to make. I get so confused by all the pictures that I guess I am going to have to invite Anthony Pate up here to help me get it put together.
If you have any pictures of Ridgecrest or some of the things like parades, carnivals, and other celebrations please send them to me for inclusion on the web site. They will greatly increase the interest and the memories for others to see.
Why this web page is here and how it was started
I feel we should leave history in a readable, enjoyable, and visual way that is interesting and attention grabbing. Not the same old same old way of the history books but with as much impact and visual assistance as is possible to impart.
I don't want a place in history, I want OUR collective history to have a place in our kids and their kids and their kids lives. That's the real legacy we can leave together.
Maybe we couldn't save the buildings or the housing or the way it was. But we can illustrate it by working getting those old pictures out and sending them in and having them included in a way which when organized becomes a living historic monument to our hometown. By writing stories of our experiences and adventures on the desert and having them displayed with pictures to make them more real and interesting. By making some key pictures active so that when you click on it, it takes you to another place or page which illuminates the story behind the picture. That way when you go in it is an excursion into the real history and the real people stories behind each and every picture illustrating the way it was and the way it is now. The real advantage to this type of site is that you can spend hours looking at it and reading in depth about each and every facet or you can pass that by and see the big picture without the depth. If we can ever come up with the all the stories and pictures that I think and know are out there we could have a chronicle that surpasses all our imaginations.
Anyway thats just an old mans dream. I plan on making it a reality if I can. further, I plan on getting the assistance of as many people as there are who are interested in such an undertaking. Some day when I finally feel like retiring it will give me something to do which interests me and will keep my mind active thru the "Golden Years" which suddenly seem so near.
This site got its start in early 1999 due to a series of posts between Dee Brannan and I on what could be done to save some of the history that was being expressed on the forum at Classmates. Several of the respondents to Classmates at that time felt it was a good idea and Dee set up a poll to decide what we should name it. From the results of that poll we came up with "High Desert Memories." Subsequently, we decided due to the source of most of the text at that time we would add the descriptive "A hometown journal". After a few months someone suggested that we ought to make sure that Ridgecrest was mentioned in that title so we added " Commemorating Ridgecrest, CA". At first the website was mostly text that we cut and copied from Classmates when we were having discussions about the history of Ridgecrest and celebrating the exchange of our memories and nostalgia. After a while pictures started flooding in and the more research I did about the Mojave Desert the more I was able to extract from the internet in the way of places and pictures.
Over the past two years a veritable flood of pictures have been sent to me by people who visit the site and want to share what they have and can glean. As you can see it has become fairly voluminous and requires a good bit of time to see everything. Many people who are now good friends of mine have volunteered to write several articles an submit an endless chain of pictures as they find them. I do think that after a few more years it will become one of the official sources of history for the area. Not because of its absolute accuracy but because of the unique way in which the data is gathered and presented.
As far as I am concerned there is no end to this website. If I can find someone to continue it after I no longer can, I certainly will be looking for that. This history will not quit unfolding. Once it is started why not continue it for as long as there is a town called Ridgecrest??
Changes that are afoot!!