When I first arrived in Santa Clarita, I stopped at a Starbucks to update my FB pages and to recharge my cell phone for the next day’s march. I needed to find a laundromat, so I walked up to four teenagers outside the Starbucks and told them I had just driven in from Santa Barbara, and would only be there for a day. I asked them if they knew of a laundromat nearby. They looked it up on their iPhones. My Android was still not bringing up web pages, which is probably the result of settings being changed as I walk with it in my pocket. That, or gremlins.
One of the kids asked me why I had just driven in from Santa Barbara, so I told them about the march. Forty minutes later, after they asked me a lot of questions and listened to me go on about how ObamaCare will impact them, and how their rights are disappearing, etc., they took my cards and wished me well. One wanted a photo with me. They were very bright kids and expressed complete support for my effort.
The laundromat they told me about was another twenty minutes away, but I was too tired. So I drove to the 24 Hour Fitness center, showered, and went to sleep in their parking lot.
The next morning, I drove to Valencia Heritage Park, left my car there, and started my march. It was raining, so, I wore a long yellow raincoat that had been loaned to me by Rick C. of Temecula.
I walked over to McBean, then headed south toward CalArts. I figured I would stop there and look at student work. As a 3D animator, I was curious about the school’s character animation program.
Along the way, many cars honked, and people waved and smiled. As the hours passed, the rain stopped and the sun came out. I finally reached CalArts, but was stopped at the parking lot gate by the security guard. Apparently, a man with a long flag pole and large flag and tee-shirt read,”my Rights Are Inalienable” was cause for alarm. Or, at least, for a full body cavity search.
I overheard one of the people driving up to the gate mention a student portfolio event, so I told the security guard that I was a visiting professor from San Diego, and that I had scheduled a visit with a woman in Job Placement. He waved me on. As I was walking toward the main entrance, a tall bearded man with glasses, longish hair, courderoy coat, and an imperious attitude walked toward me from the faculty parking lot.
He looked at my flag and shirt, then stared ahead. I smiled and gave him a cheer, “Hello. How are you?”
He practically snapped his neck TSKing and then spat a disgusted, “Whatever!” He walked on, toward the Herb Alpert Music building. I stopped, stunned.
“Really!?” I said. “Douchebag!”
When I walked into the reception area, things were less antagonistic. I asked the receptionist if I could stand my flag up in a corner while I looked around. She was worried that someone would knock it down. She offered the floor behind her, but I told her that the flag could not touch the floor. So, she told me to lie it across the upper part of her reception desk; which I did.
I wandered the halls of CalArts, looking for food. I found a lounge, but discovered I had left my wallet back at the park, in my car.
So, I went to Student Services to ask about the 3D animation program.
At the Students Services Office, I got directions from one of the counselors. Near us, I saw bowls of candy on the coffee table, and one bowl of colorful condems. I took a photo of the condoms because it was just so weird to see.
I got the information I wanted from an Animation Instructor, then I went back upstairs to leave. However, there was a lot of activity on the other side of the lobby. The receptionist told me that the Theater students were having their end of year portfolio presentations. She told me I could look, so I did.
For the next half an hour, I spoke with students at all levels about their work, their goals, and their education at the school. One of the students served in the Army, and was using her GI bill to defray the expense of attending ($40k per year!). When she asked me about myself, I told her about my background as an animator and instructor, and that I was marching through Santa Clarita that day.
She hugged me because I told her that our servicemen fight and die to protect our rights, and so, I thought it important to fight for theirs. As soldiers, they are not allowed to publicly express political opinions. As she told me, they give up their rights while in service.
Once I was done looking around, I retrieved my flag, and walked on.
I went to a small park further on, which was the original start of my march. I walked on, then back to McBean. I then headed east for 2.5 miles before turning back. My right foot toe is infected and has been hurting me for a week. So, I couldn’t do more than 15 miles yesterday. I decided to walk back the way I came, in order to reach my car.
The final encounter of my first day at Santa Clarita was Rolando Alvarez, from Ecuador. He was squatting down on the sidewalk, waiting for a bus. As I walked by, he stood up and called out to me. He was smiling broadly. He told me that he was so proud to see the flag. He had left Ecuador when he was 14 after his parents had received papers to immigrate to America. “New earth, new life,” he told me. He seemed very anxious to tell me how much he valued being an American. He has children, and he loves our Constitution. He sees the dangers of Socialism creeping into our system.
Rolando apologized for other Hispanics who are hurting America by illegally immigrating here, and not wanting to be “Americans.” I was moved by his passion and sincerity. He exemplifies the very best of us all: committed to being productive, responsible, and loyal to our country.
After that, another man came up to thank me for carrying the flag. I gave him my card and he went off with his wife.
I returned to the park at 6 pm. I loaded my things, and drove to look for a laundromat. All of my clothes were dirty. For some reason, my cell phone was not allowing me to use the Internet to search for a place to wash my clothes. I then went looking for food. After ten minutes, I found a small food shop, next to a game store. I ate, then went into the game store to relax. I asked one of the customers if he knew of a nearby laundromat. Luckily, there was one just around the corner.
When I drove there to wash my clothes, I found it to be a disaster. Most of the machines were out of order, there was no laundry detergent in the vending machines, and it was late. SI was in a sketchy neighborhood, and didn’t want to encounter any of the locals who had spraypainted the sides of the building and insides, as well. I decided to look for another place in the morning.
I went to the gym, showered, took my medicine, and went to sleep. It was a good rest.
This morning, after I washed my clothes at the swankiest laundromat I’ver ever been in, I walked over to the nearby Starbucks to video a message to you all. After I finished, I was offered a donut by Jesse and Paul. Jesse told me that she had moved to Santa Clarita a month ago from Ohio in order to be with her sick boyfriend. Paul has kidney problems because of Diabetes.
Jesse told me about her life of poverty (her father lost a leg, lost his business, and then died from a terminal disease, and her mother was a flighty hippie-motorcycle chick). Growing up in trailer parks and “the hood,” Jesse told me she believed in herself and in God. I asked them if I could pray for them, and we held hands as I did.
I told them about my Liberty March, and Jesse, in her early Twenties, said things are messed up. She recognizes that out rights are being taken away. She also called the Democrat Party and President Obama, “Socialists.”
After a long conversation, I got up to leave and to upload my video message. I went into my car to listen to it to make sure the audio was working. Then, I went into the Stabucks and started blogging.
Right now, I am trying to figure out how to raise more money for this trip. Ialso need to finish walking five miles through Santa Clarita before I leave tonight for Palmdale.
Tomorrow, I march from Palmdale to Lancaster. Mike D. , a Sons of Liberty vice-president, will pick me up from my march, drive me to my car, and then I will follow him to his home further north. I will be able to use it as a base of operations for the next three marches.
That will make it easier for me to keep up with blogging and communicating with you.