Thursday February 05, 2009

Dear Bonnie McGuire:


My wife, Jane, and I -- a few years after our marriage in 1965, before we had children -- were visiting my cousin in Reno when we happened to see an interesting TV report about The Republic of North California. We decided it would be fun to drop in there -- since we'd never been to Nevada City or Grass Valley -- on the way back to our home in the Bay Area. As it turned out we took Highway 174 over from Colfax, so we had the pleasure of driving over that beautiful road in springtime. We began to fall in love with the area even before we got to Nevada City!

As it turned out, although we dropped in on them unannounced, Val and LillyBelle greeted us very graciously and generously spent about three hours with us. I rode around with Val in his old truck while he continued to do his chores, while my wife Jane visited with LillyBelle. We felt like we had visited Paradise for a few hours! We remember the natural spring coming out of the ground, and the tremendous abundance of the garden, and the bathtub sitting outside in the sun. After seeing it for ourselves, we understood why they felt completely sufficient in their life there. When we left, they gave us a copy of their Declaration, which we finally lost in one of our moves only a few years ago.

The unexpected consequence of our spontaneous trip to Nevada City was that we fell completely in love with this area. So, a few years later, about the time of the birth of our second child (in 1973) we bought two and a half acres of raw land on Rattlesnake Road in Grass Valley. Fifteen years after that we were finally able to build a house there, which we rented out for almost twenty years until we could retire from our work at Stanford University (40 years at the university for Jane, 30 years for me). We finally moved here after we retired about a year and a half ago. This is the fulfillment of a dream we have been dreaming for thirty-five years, a dream inadvertently set in motion by Val and LillyBelle because of the unique life of integrity they were living!

Isn't it amazing how ripples of goodness flow our from each of our lives, often without our awareness! I suppose that some lives -- when lived with the kind of passion Val and LillyBelle had in their hearts -- send out more ripples than others!

Thank you for the generous sharing of your life and your family on your website. Your stories are great treasures.


Don & Jane Pelton