Remembering The Chico Dream
Chico, California. Man how I miss that place. But what's with this old picture? Who are these people?
Chico Statements, an alumni magazine I get from Chico State, recently published this photo on the back cover. Wow, I didn’t even remember it.
Rick Rees (the young man on the right with the big smile, just up from the motorcycle) was my supervisor. Carl Ory (the young man with super curly hair, third row back, dead center) was a volunteer who went on to become a city council member. He's also been to Washington, D.C., according to a posting on this Blog, pursuing a career in the development of rural affordable housing.
When I was a student at Cal State, Chico, I volunteered at CAVE, Do-It Leisure and other organizations.
In truth, I hadn’t been at CAVE that long when this picture was taken, but I well remember Chico’s extraordinary voluntarism, the community's pride, spirit, people, campus and even the community weekly, the Chico News & Review.
And I remember the city park (third largest in the nation, I believe), and its wonderful swimming holes. Oh yes, and the endless love for community, where people cared for one another, the environment, the trees and everything neat and wonderful.
Yup, the place is with me to this day.
Back then during my semester at CAVE (the year this picture was taken), I was transporting developmentally disabled adults, seniors and others, in the CAVE van. I remember I forget to lock the van one Friday night, and my supervisor, Rees, talked to me about it. I told him, and the young man with arms wrapped around his neck, that I didn’t make those kind of mistakes. But, of course, I probably
had (although I still can't believe it to this day!).
On the day this photo was taken I had been in my office and came out to watch. As I remember, the smiling woman, the Asian volunteer on the other side of the CAVE sign, would not let me hide in the doorway and out I came. I like to think she is smiling, in part, because of her good deed that day. You see, I couldn't believe my good fortune, or that I was even a part of the program. Those volunteers were teachers and administrators (I had been a high school dropout); not only that, CAVE was the best of the best. It was an exciting and happening place, and I was in awe of being there.
I remember it well. But much of what I am posting here, I remembered only after looking at the photo, endlessly, while walking around a food store in Iowa.
I seriously doubt anyone will remember me back then. In truth, I could hardly remember myself. It took me a long time to realize that I was actually in this photo. But I will never forget these people. They were a part of a dream for a better world, and I will never forget the work we did, or continue to do.
For the record, I am the one with the Levi sports jacket and long hair standing at the top of the stairs in the back. Simply put, it was a fun-filled, hard-working good time. Say “hello” to all the fine folks in Chico, should you ever visit, and learn more about its University, and the Bidwells, who helped create the child's oasis named Chico, at Chico Statements, or at the CN&R Visitor's Guide. Tell ‘em Cliff sent you (or as everyone knew me then, Clyde ).