At the age of six, Rosa Ficara had her first experience with desert - her family had just moved to the desert from Waterbury, CT. Rosa doesn’t recall much about the move other than the fact that the desert was much warmer than those Connecticut winters.
As the first-born of Italian immigrants, Rosa spoke Italian (two dialects) before she spoke English. At that time, this area of the desert wasn’t extremely diverse and in school, Rosa found herself befriending schoolmates in a similar situation – one was Japanese-American and the other was Korean-American.
At 17, Rosa was ready to leave the desert and explore, heading down to University of California Riverside to study language. In addition to two dialects of Ital...
Born and raised in San Diego, Shaney Jo Darden's first experience with the desert was traveling to visit her grandparents who lived in Palm Desert. About ten years ago, Shaney Jo started coming to the hi-desert to visit a friend, who owned Rimrock Ranch in Pioneertown. Rimrock became a place for Shaney Jo to bring her staff for annual employee retreats: learning about new programs, receiving training and enjoying some off-site downtime hiking, taking in a sound bath at the Integratron or having a social night out together at Pappy & Harriet’s.
After a number of trips to the hi-desert, spending more and more time here and meeting the community, Shaney Jo began to realize this was a special place for her. Having spent nearly 10 yea...
Forty years ago, stifled by life in a small Michigan town, Jacqueline Guevara's vibrant, fun-loving mother loaded her 1972 Cadillac Coupe de Ville and hit the road with her teen-aged daughter for a new start in Palm Springs. Driving into this desert oasis was Jacque's first experience with desert.
In this episode, Jacque describes working in the Palm Springs hospitality industry in the 1980's and the life skills she acquired in those jobs. A change in ownership lead to a subsequent lay-off from her job at the Palm Springs Country Club leaving Jacque jobless for the summer. With her sons out of town visiting their dad, Jacque wasn't sure what to do with the time on her hands when a friend teaching ceramics at Desert Arc invited Ja...
Cathy Snodgrass was born and raised in Freeport, Texas, a small town down the coast of Galveston, Texas. Her first experience with desert was watching western movies.
In 1976, driving through what was then Joshua Tree National Monument, Cathy rounded a mountain and found herself looking down on the 'quaint' town where she and her then Marine husband would be stationed. Cathy knew immediately this was home and made it a condition of her second marriage that they never leave 29 Palms – that was 40 years ago. Cathy will tell you, “I’m very heart bound to the area”.
In this episode, Cathy describes a time she went back to Texas to visit, she says she couldn't wait to get back to the desert, feeling "smothered by all the green."
Artist and founder of Earth House Studios, Sharon Davis creates colorful art and installations at her home in Morongo Valley.
Sharon and I bonded as two Jersey girls, so you might get hungry listening to the beginning ofthis episode.
Sharon left NJ for the first time in in 1974 and came to California, landing in Huntington Beach, moving on to Moreno Valley, then Palm Springs. After that she's moved between the east coast and Texas, Virginia and Maryland, with a few stops back to California in between.
Her first desert experience was in Palm Springs, which Sharon found to be way too hot. When she did decide to come back west, having some pretty specifics requirements for her property, she thought she'd land in Pioneertown, but fou...
Like the roots of the honey mesquite and creosote, Robin Kobaly's desert roots go deep. Her immediate family moved to Morongo Valley when she was 2 years old. At six, Robin had an extraordinary experience with desert wildflowers - an experience she was hesitant to share, being part of a scientific community, fearing her work would not be taken seriously.
In her studies of plants, Robin also came to appreciate the ways in which Native Americans used plants dyes for basket-weaving, textiles and ceremonial paints and tells a story about the dye found in prickly pear cactus.
Studying plants with her mother in the Morongo Valley, they would collect and sometimes serve them for dinner. "My brothers were always petrified about what the...
Carol 'Dusty' Seddon's first desert experience was in and around the Mojave near Apple Valley in the mid-90’s accompanying a group of friends from an Orange County college, who were coming out to perform archeological digs. Dusty immediately fell in love with the feel of the desert – the dry air, the quiet and so much different than what she’d know in the suburbs. On these digs they mostly found tools, stones used in cooking, and maybe bits of pottery.
In October of 2005, returning from a Mitchell Caverns trip, Dusty was looking for a more adventurous route back home to Orange County. She pulled out a map and found a route that would bring her through Amboy, to a place she’d heard of called, Joshua Tree.
Trained as a painter, Mary Addison Hackett also practices in photography, video and other time-based projects.
Mary Addison's first experience with desert was on family vacation – three of them – from her hometown of Nashville to the Grand Canyon, Tucson, Mexico and other natural desert wonders along the way. Even then, Mary Addison had a camera and to document her trips.
Though impressed with the natural and cultural aspects of these desert trips, Mary Addison doesn’t recall having any aspirations of moving to the desert.
Mary Addison’s next desert encounter came in the late 90’s while working for a post-production house out of Chicago. A project with a director in Santa Monica, brought Mary Addison west...
Born in New Jersey and raised in New York's Hudson Valley, Cynthia Marie loves to drive cross-country - she's done it six times. On one of those trips, she found herself nearly out of gas and calling Roy's in Amboy, CA, asking them to keep the pumps open for just a bit longer so she could gas up and make it to Joshua Tree for the night. As is the desert way, the obliged.
Still working in graphic design, Cynthia went to art school to study Printmaking. The school required their sophomores to take one class that felt out of their comfort zone - Cynthia chose metal fab(rication) sculpture and fell in love. Cynthia has worked in both the artistic and production sides of welding. Starting making furniture and then moved over to the...