Wednesday, March 16, 2011

March Madness

This month's happenings

Hello friends, here is March's monthly WORD, and while reflecting on this month's activities, it has been very busy with even more events ahead. On Saturday March 5, Paul and I attended the Congress of History's annual conference in Balboa Park.

We shared a table with Jane Schmauss, executive director of the California Surf Museum. The conversation, needless to say, included local surfing icons,some of whom are included in my book, “Encinitas” an Images of America book that was published to celebrate the city's 20th anniversary.

On the front cover is Paul Ecke Sr. in a sepia version of what was a crimson sea of field grown poinsettias. Today Paul Ecke III carries on the family business with his chapter of the story, poinsettia cuttings grown offshore in Guatemala, for a global market.

I attended several lectures at the Congress of History event that celebrated some of San Diego County's “unsung heroes” the women who made their historical mark in the county. Molly McClain, associate professor at USD, gave a wonderful informative and entertaining lecture on Ellen Browning Scripps, who gave so selflessly to our region during the 19th and early 20th century. The other lectures I attended were on Harriet Wimmer, a landscape architect who worked with Rice on some of her residential projects, and Dr. Amorita Treganza, a pediatric optometrist, whose father, Alberto O. Treganza, (1876-1944) was a noted architect who “filled in” for Lilian Rice when she had to travel during her role as a member of Rancho Santa Fe's three-member art jury. More research is needed to discover why or how this came about. If anyone knows please pass it along.

On March 3, I gave a lunchtime presentation to the Del Mar Rotarians. Held in the community hall at St. Peters Episcopalian Church in Del Mar, it brought to my mind that Lilian Rice was one of the architects who submitted a proposal for the building of the church in 1938. The conceptual drawings and floor plans that she submitted are held in the archives at Virginia Tech University. Unfortunately, Rice passed away in December 1938, before enough money was raised to construct the church, so her meticulous plans were not realized. The project went instead to a Los Angeles architect, Carlton Winslow.

On March 24, I have the honor of giving a personal guided tour of Rice homes in Rancho Santa Fe, to Inge Horton, author of “Early Women Architects of the San Francisco Bay Area”[McFarland Press]. Inge was a city planner, before she retired to focus on her passion the research and documentation of lady architects in Northern California. Her book took 20 years to be realized. As Lilian Rice graduated from UC Berkeley, she is included in Inge's book.

On March 28, I will present, “Lilian J. Rice: Sincerely Yours” (a DVD documentary that Paul and I, through Welch Productions, created) to our friends at La Vida Del Mar, in Del Mar. We are excited to help spread the word about my passion, Lilian Rice. And btw, April is just as busy!

Looking at the calendar, it is hard to believe that yesterday, the Ides of March, is my anniversary date of when I set out to immigrate permanently to California from my native England when I left my lovely hometown of Timperley in Cheshire. When the Pan Am jumbo 747 jet was deemed unsafe to fly out of Heathrow, after several embarkings and disembarkings, I was laid up overnight in a hotel room in London. The next day, March 16th, I set out on my flight to Los Angeles and then on to San Diego's Lindgergh Field. I still vividly recall the beautiful sunset as the plane followed the coastline south to San Diego. So today marks my 27 years of living permanently in the USA.

March 21, is my 53rd birthday. I will celebrate with my loving family, Jenna, James, Juliana and John Paul, and my husband of almost 24 years, Paul.

Life in the US has been a wonderful journey and now Lilian Rice has become part of my adventure. I feel honored to be her official biographer and look forward to unraveling more of the many mysteries that are hidden in her life's story. I feel like I am just scratching the surface, so if any of you have even the smallest facet of information about Rice or her family, please pass it on!

In the news:

Sophy Chaffee wrote eloquently about a Rancho Santa Fe Lilian Rice cottage-- The Fleming residence-- in the San Diego Union Tribune.

Rancho Santa Fe resident, Phyllis Paul, receives top award from History of Congress.

Check out the online story of Phyllis Paul who received a top accolade for her contributions to the documentation of history of Rancho Santa Fe. Phyllis is a dear friend and has been a stalwart supporter of my work on Lilian Rice. It was Phyllis who gave me a lovely guided tour, in her shiny red Mercedes, of Rice homes in the Ranch. I will be forever in her debt. She is most deserving of the honor.

Thank you friends for reading my monthly diary on Lilian J. Rice. Please check in with us next month to learn more. And if you have any interesting stories to tell about related topics, please share!