Two Hill Boys in a Harvest Nightmare

On an October night many years ago, two boys from the hills got tired of being pent up with the harvest of the not so legal sort. They pooled their money and came up with enough for a burger and a movie. The oldest boy had a battered motorcycle but he wasn’t old enough for a license so while they drove the county roads, they hitchhiked the final twenty miles into town.

For boys used to the silence of the country, they were in a big city even though the population sign only read 2000. They ate a burger and looked at the 5 or 6 girls giggling nearby and lined up with the twenty or so other bored souls to watch the movie. They hadn’t any electricity where they lived so the moving pictures were excitement enough to having them laughing and horsing around—until they exited the theater into a Humboldt County downpour. They tried hitchhiking but were soaked in minutes and the town was dead—not a car moved in or out of the darkness.

Being country boys they decided to seek shelter and moved quickly up through the town. They found an old abandoned motel with cardboard tacked over a second story window. With wiry strength they climbed a tree, swung over to the building, and slipped inside. Used to the dark, the streetlight outside provided better light than they usually had in the woods at home and they spotted an old mattress with filthy blanket in a corner. Within minutes, they had curled up like the wild things they were and slipped into sleep.

Unlike wild things, but like most teenage boys they slept like the dead. They awoke to the crack of, “Put your hands where we can see ‘em, boys.” Peering blearily out of the long tangle of their hair, the boys stared into the black holes of two guns held by two sheriffs.

Within minutes the boys found themselves marched down to the local station and interrogated for breaking and entering. “We didn’t break nothing. We just took some cardboard off the window so we could get some place out of the rain.”

Eventually, the officers took pity on the boys and told them that they could go home but (and this was a big scary but for boys in the middle of harvest season) but the sheriffs were going to bring them back to their house (that same house full of leafy greenness.) The boys tried to talk themselves out of this but they weren’t to used to trouble and ended up sitting wide eyed in the back as the white sheriff’s car headed out the winding curves towards their home.

The oldest boy with some vague notion of doing something persuaded the officers to let him ride his motorcycle home. As discreetly as possible, he began speeding ahead—hoping somehow to get a warning out. But the battered old motorcycle choose this moment to misbehave. The throttle stuck. He couldn’t control it and went down hard–his head slamming into the pavement.

Within minutes the officers were lifting him up. Groaning and disoriented, he directed the officers to a friend and neighbor’s just down the road. A house also full of green leafy substance, he remembered as they headed towards it. The gate was locked. So he and his brother hurried ahead. The neighbors gladly met the officers as far from the front door and the oozing aroma as possible. They assured the sheriffs (who were probably worried about being sued for letting an underage boy ride a motorcycle) that they would gladly return the boys to their parents.

The boys didn’t go into town any more that year. Didn’t seem like a friendly place.

 

PHOTO: From a really cool collection of Redwood Hwy photos

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

27 comments

  • The building is the Redwood Inn, at the left end of the photo was the Redwood Inn Coffee Shop. The building was at the north side of what is now Ray’s Sentry Market, next to Madrone Reality.

    Your story ties in with my blogs theme of historic Garberville places, that I intend to tell stories about.
    This story is a good one, you know a lot of Garberville history.

  • The building is the Redwood Inn, at the left end of the photo was the Redwood Inn Coffee Shop. The building was at the north side of what is now Ray’s Sentry Market, next to Madrone Reality.

    Your story ties in with my blogs theme of historic Garberville places, that I intend to tell stories about.
    This story is a good one, you know a lot of Garberville history.

  • Interesting story
    It reminds me of the book What Ever Happened to the Hippies?

  • Interesting story
    It reminds me of the book What Ever Happened to the Hippies?

  • I like the realism. And humor–details like the boy’s take on breaking and entering are chocolate chips in the cookie.

  • I like the realism. And humor–details like the boy’s take on breaking and entering are chocolate chips in the cookie.

  • Would I happen to know these two boys? 🙂

  • Would I happen to know these two boys? 🙂

  • Ernie, I knew you would know the place right off. I was thinking of you when I wrote it.

    Carol, that was a good book. Made me laugh a time or two.

    Headwrapper, Thank you, sir! I appreciate the compliment.

    Aunt Jackie, it’s just a story I heard told.

    Jen, Thank you, too.

  • Ernie, I knew you would know the place right off. I was thinking of you when I wrote it.

    Carol, that was a good book. Made me laugh a time or two.

    Headwrapper, Thank you, sir! I appreciate the compliment.

    Aunt Jackie, it’s just a story I heard told.

    Jen, Thank you, too.

  • Humboldt County has such a rich history.

  • Humboldt County has such a rich history.

  • At the end, the cabins behind the Redwood Inn were populated by a major low-life scene. I think the town was glad to see it go.

  • At the end, the cabins behind the Redwood Inn were populated by a major low-life scene. I think the town was glad to see it go.

  • I know, Ben, but it was such a neat old building. I remember being sad that there wasn’t a way to fix it up. I thought it gave Garberville a bit of character.

  • I know, Ben, but it was such a neat old building. I remember being sad that there wasn’t a way to fix it up. I thought it gave Garberville a bit of character.

  • the old redwood inn…..i remember it well, and spent a few nights there myself, but not when it was open. i remember on a halloween night watching the blue room hotel (where the parking lot is now) burn down, best damn halloween i ever had. just some of the things ya never forget.

  • the old redwood inn…..i remember it well, and spent a few nights there myself, but not when it was open. i remember on a halloween night watching the blue room hotel (where the parking lot is now) burn down, best damn halloween i ever had. just some of the things ya never forget.

  • Supposedly I was there when it burned but I don’t remember. When was it?

  • Supposedly I was there when it burned but I don’t remember. When was it?

  • I loved this building. When we were young we stole -Ahhh Liberated- paint from my parents garage and a variety supplies from other parents’ homes to clean and repaint a room in the Inn. We dug through the contents of the attic and found a box of mail from the 1940s & spent days pouring over the (sometimes very personal) letters. It was an amazing adventure & a fantastic glimpse back it time.

  • I loved this building. When we were young we stole -Ahhh Liberated- paint from my parents garage and a variety supplies from other parents’ homes to clean and repaint a room in the Inn. We dug through the contents of the attic and found a box of mail from the 1940s & spent days pouring over the (sometimes very personal) letters. It was an amazing adventure & a fantastic glimpse back it time.

  • My parents were with the Back-to-the-Lander” quasi hippie group that started the Living Waters Ranch in Whitethorn, which later devolved into Crazy Fence. My father preferred spending time drinking with his cronies in the clearing outside of Kit’ s General store to any actual working of the land. Growing up, we kids were completely unaware of the real crop being grown. Some characters I remember were: Dead Fred, Little Black Bobby, Alan Lugnut, Spring Fawn and her brother Aragorn, Sweathog Kathy , Nyla, the Johannsen’s and Mike Bendall. My father Ron was dubbed “T h e Mayor of Whitethorn and/or River Shannon for his love of spinning fantastical yarns starring himself. My mother was Rose, and I ha v e a vague memory of her painting the sign for the old Baptist church in Redway. During my childhood, we lived in Whitethorn, on Gibson Creek rd. In Redway, lived for quite awhile in various rooms at the Redwood Inn, in a converted garage, and caretook fo r Sid and Barbara Green and helped on their beef cattle ranch. During that time we lived in the huge ranch house, which I think was later turned into a nun’ s retreat. My brother David and I didn’t know we were poor, and for the most part had an interesting somewhat happy childhood. I am curious to know if anyone living in the area during the 70’s remember’ s any of us or the people around us. I am especially curious about the aforementioned “Nyla”, or Nila. I don’t know her last name.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *