Teaching brought Gay Smith (left in photo above) to California, as after college graduation there was a glut of teachers on the east coast. She’d read about a fellow student who came to Corona, CA to interview, she followed suite and got the job on the spot. Having been in teaching for over 40 years, Gay talks about the changes she's witnessed in the students over the years.
Gay's first experience with the desert was during the December holidays in the early 60's with a group of friends she’d met through teaching. The place they visited was her soon to be husband’s cabin on Copper Mountain Mesa. Though there was no electricity or water in the early days, Gay and her husband, John, continued to come back to the his cabin on weekends, all vacations, including the summer months. At some point, they decided it would be wise to at least run electricity to the cabin - which they did themselves, impressing the County code Inspector.
When the kids came along, they added a room to the cabin and became permanent residents of North Joshua Tree in 1974.
Gay talks about a developer who had a big vision for Pioneertown, found Gay and her husband John purchasing several acres in the area. The developer went broke and plans for the 'Golden Empire' fell through, but John and Gay remained.
Thank Gay when you see her for being involved in making Mane Street in-accessible to cars and holding off the County from adding paved roads and sidewalks!
In this episode, Gay takes us back in time to 1965 and one traffic light at Old Woman Springs Road and talks about tricks they used to find their home at night.
Gay also talks about the history of Pappy & Harriet’s and tells of it's origins, including the biker gang fights, before it became the infamous music-lovers haven it is today.
Gay owns the Pioneertown Wild West Theatre, which is a 501(c)3. You might be inclined to check out a show there or donate to the cause after hearing this interview.
Check out Gay's vacation rental: Desert Willow Ranch