Thursday, July 10, 2008

Around Town: Sweet Caroline

Published Thursday, July 10, 2008 4:12 AM PDT
Around Town:
A. Source fave: ‘Sweet Caroline’

By Anita Susan Brenner

It was a warm midnight in La Cañada. The moon was a sliver. The stars were out. The air smelled like night-blooming jasmine.

I was not alone. Miss Audrey Hepburn trotted alongside, step-by-step. Miss Hepburn is a black Lab-Chow, courtesy of the Pasadena Humane Society. She has adjusted to life in the Foothills. She has a Naval Academy collar, a Stanford water bowl and engraved stationery from Angel’s Nest.

For the next few hours, Miss Hepburn and I roamed the Foothills. Searching, searching. It had been many weeks since I had last seen her. The Anonymous Source had gone missing.

The Anonymous Source, an attractive lady in her 40s, with a penchant for old motorcycles and stories about Roy Lanterman, is a virtual repository of vintage news clippings, yellowed with age, on every conceivable subject.

Want to learn how Dr. Lanterman lost his medical license? Ask the Anonymous Source.

Want to know who got sued by Will Gould in the 1890s? Ask the Anonymous Source.

Need the address of Rattlesnake James’s La Cañada house, where he killed his fifth wife in 1935? Ask the Anonymous Source.

I was lost without her. Driven to skulking desiccated flood channels and abandoned Pony Express trails. Down by Foothill, we hiked the old Pony Express route. Further north, we traipsed the canyons where the great bandit, Tiburcio Vasquez hid.

Some say there’s treasure hidden in the Foothills. As local historian, John W. Robinson notes:

“Just where was this mountain hideout favored by Vasquez and Rosaria? The San Gabriels are dotted with isolated little flats and canyons that, in the 1870s, were unknown to the outside world. Will Thrall, late historian of the range, believed the bandit holed up in the Chilao-Horse Flats region, deep in the heart of the mountains. Thrall tells why: ‘East Chilao, now the site of Newcomb’s Ranch Inn, but then deep in the wilderness and little known, made an ideal hideout; the long, narrow valley of West Chilao and Horse Flat with its secret trail were both excellent pasture for stolen horses; and the great boulders of Mount Hillyer above Horse Flat furnished an impregnable fortress if hard-pressed by the law.’”

I sighed. At least we still had Tiburcio’s missing treasure.

We continued to walk, the dog and I. Suddenly, I heard a familiar sound. Strains of music in the distance. It was her favorite tune, “Sweet Caroline,” in the original mono glockenspiel version, as released by Neil Diamond in September 1969.

Gentle readers! Perhaps you wonder why “Sweet Caroline?” The answer is easy to flush out: “Sweet Caroline” has never been unseated. It remains the favorite tune of the Anonymous Source.

She was out there. Somewhere.

ANITA SUSAN BRENNER is a local history buff. She invites you to click on to read John W. Robinson’s seminal article, “Tiburcio Vasquez in Southern California: The Bandit’s Last Hurrah.”


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