1968- Elvis Ends a Difficult Year on an Upbeat

While America endured a rough year five decades ago, a television special featuring the King of Rock-and-Roll helped change the conversation.

 The soundtrack album for the 1968 Elvis Presley television special.

The soundtrack album for the 1968 Elvis Presley television special.

I’ve written a lot about 1968 in this space and in the pages of the Merced Sun Star.

If you lived through it, you recall the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy in the spring, the violence during the Democratic National Convention that summer, and the election of Richard Nixon in the fall.

The year came to a close with the inspiring Apollo eight mission around the moon at Christmas. 1968 ended on a positive note. Make that a positive musical note.

In music, it was the year of the Beatles Sergeant Pepper album. Johnny Cash took his recording equipment inside a prison and came out with the live recording known as Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison.

In December, NBC ran Singer Presents Elvis, an hour-long special featuring nothing but the music of Elvis Presley. No guest stars, no narration, just sixty minutes of Elvis. I was an eleven-year old boy watching the show in our living room that night.

It changed me.

Shortly after the telecast, RCA released the soundtrack to the special. I played it so often the vinyl disc had streaks of gray from the record player needle wearing down the grooves.

The special had some dance numbers that did not impress me at the time, and even today have a look of dated variety-show razzmatazz. But on the record player, I did not see the dancing. It’s all about the music. In the broadcast, there was an extensive section with Elvis and a few musicians surrounded by about two-hundred fans.

The segment included Elvis talking about some of his experiences from the early years and the frequent playing the old hits. While Singer used the broadcast to sell sewing machines, the special was used by RCA to release two singles. One was Memories, written by Scott Davis who would later become a performer changing his name to Mac Davis.

If I can Dream

The other single was If I Can Dream. It was the song that closed the show. Written by W. Earl Brown, the song essentially asks if we can put aside the tribulations of any time and dream of a “better land, where all my brothers walk hand in hand”.

In 1968, the symbolic message was simple: can we get past the bad from that year (the assassinations, the violence, the Vietnam War), and work toward a promising tomorrow?

It was a positive message coming at the end of a difficult year. In later years, the program was called the Comeback Special because it led to Elvis resuming a performing career.

He’d have a few good recordings during what would become his final years of life before all his troubles with success, prescription drugs, and a hard-living lifestyle caught up with him. He died in 1977.

Putting that all aside, I encourage you to listen to If I Can Dream on YouTube. In recent years, the Presley estate endorsed an updated version of several Elvis songs, including this one, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

The result is satisfying. But I’m still partial to the original recording. That recording was intended to close the 1968 special, and for me it closed 1968 on an upbeat.

The song is a call for positivity in a year full of negativity. It challenges the listener to imagine something better.

In a time of divided politics, random acts of violence, and plenty of uncertainty, the song inspires.

Steve Newvine lives in Merced.

His new book Stand-By Camera One will soon be published on Lulu.com

Stub at 85

My dad celebrates a milestone surrounded by family

Ed Newvine turns 85 in November.

He’s my dad.

He’s been a loyal son, fair-minded brother, loving husband, proud father, devoted grandfather, and revered great-grandfather.

 My Dad, Ed “Stub “ Newvine

My Dad, Ed “Stub “ Newvine

He was born in 1933 at home in northern New York State. He was the third of what would become four children of Art and Vera Newvine.

He lived on the family farm (which is still in the family, operated by my aunt Betty’s family), went to Port Leyden Central School, and built a life together with my mom Beatrice.

He’s remained in his native Lewis County New York all his life.

 While short and stubby Ed grew up tall and slender, the nickname Stub has stayed with him all his life. Photo: Newvine Personal Collection.

While short and stubby Ed grew up tall and slender, the nickname Stub has stayed with him all his life. Photo: Newvine Personal Collection.

As a little boy before entering kindergarten, he had a round face and a little extra fat around his waist. Someone referred to him as “short and stubby”.

The name Stubby stuck.

He quit high school in his junior year because he was needed to help on the family farm.

He married Beatrice when he was twenty. Dad did not want to stay on the family farm any longer than he needed to. He left the farm the day he got married.

Over the years, he did factory work, road construction, and eventually became a union carpenter.
Bea and Stub raised three children: Terry, Steve, and Becky.

 My brother Terry, dad, sister Becky, and me. Photo; Newvine Personal Collection

My brother Terry, dad, sister Becky, and me. Photo; Newvine Personal Collection

Along with my grandfather Art and my uncle Jim, Dad worked on construction projects primarily in the Utica and Rome area of upstate New York.

Occasionally, work would take him as far away as Oswego (seventy miles) to the west and Albany (one-hundred, twenty miles) to the south of our hometown.

One summer in the early 1970s, the three Newvine carpenters worked on the Empire State Plaza project at the state capitol in Albany.

The trio rented a mobile home near the job site and would spend work nights there and come back to Port Leyden on weekends.

Empire State Plaza was the largest state office building complex at the time of its controversial construction.

Then Governor Nelson Rockefeller wanted to leave a legacy.

The two-billion dollar project, kept a lot of union workers busy.

 My Mom and Dad from a 1980 photo. Mom passed away in 2000..Photo: Newvine Personal Collection

My Mom and Dad from a 1980 photo. Mom passed away in 2000..Photo: Newvine Personal Collection

I’ve written about my dad over the years in my books and in the Our Community Story column.

What follows are some random memories: How scared I was in fifth grade after accidentally breaking a full length mirror in our living room.

He was coming home from work and I was sure I was going to be punished. Instead, he hugged me and told me everything was going to be all right.

The advice he gave me on the phone the night a tire came off a car I was driving. It was snowing, and, the tire just flew off.

I walked to a nearby house and I called Dad. He said, “If you need me to come, I will. But try to find the tire, and then take one lug nut off each of the remaining three wheels and put the tire on with those three lug nuts.”

I found the tire, put it back on, and was on my way. More than anything, he was really saying, “stay calm, and everything will be okay.” How much he likes to laugh. He repeats jokes or funny stories others have told him.

If he really likes the joke, he will repeat the punchline.

My favorite Dad retelling of a funny story is about a deer hunter who shot a doe.

Shooting does was against the law without a special permit, which this guy did not have.

"The hunter went to a bar to brag to his friends. A man at the end of the bar listened as the story of the doe unfolded, and then approached the hunter. Man: Do you know me? Hunter: No. Man: I’m the game warden. Hunter (pauses, looks up at the game warden): Do you know me? Man: No. Hunter: Well, I’m the biggest damned liar in Lewis County."

How good of a friend he has been.

There are many men in and around my hometown who would call him a good friend.

There’s Bill who attends daily Mass along with Dad and stops in for coffee afterwards. Larry is another friend who stops by for coffee on a regular basis.

And there was Fred, a neighbor who Dad would take to the VA hospital in Syracuse in the years leading up to Fred’s passing.

There are others, but I’m not around all the time to see them.

How he will perform an act of kindness just because that’s what he does. Whether it is helping out around his church, tending to a neighbor’s problem in their yard, or taking action when he sees someone in need, he does it because that’s what people do.

How he would never miss Sunday Mass or a Holy Day of Obligation.

How he always thanks me for calling, something I try to do every other week.

We tried it every week, but not a whole lot changes from one week to the next. The calls got better when I got into the every-other-week routine.

When I saw him cry for the first time. It was at the graveside of his brother Bill who died in a car crash at the age of twenty-five, just six months after returning from Vietnam.

How he’s renewed my subscription to a weekly newspaper from home ever since I left in 1979.

What a good relative he is, especially in how he treated his elders. Most of them are gone now: Grandma and Grandpa Newvine, Mary and Dennis, Vaughn and Francis, Charlie and Rose, Peachy and Joe, Myrtle, Kenny, and Grandma Snyder.

But they had a reliable son, nephew, brother-in-law, and son-in-law with Dad.

The same can be said for those who are still with us such as his brother Jim and sister Betty.

How I’ll never forget the night in 2000 when I saw him kneeling at my dying mom’s bedside and saying his prayers next to her ear so that she could hear them.

Mom passed away that night, and I’m sure his loving prayers were the last words she heard on this earth.

 My dad and me. Newvine Personal Collection

My dad and me. Newvine Personal Collection

So I raise a bottle of Genesee Beer and celebrate with an old-fashion donut with peanut butter (a family tradition) to wish my day a happy birthday.

Stub at 85 is not a whole lot different than Stub at just about any other age.

He’s a good man and I’m proud to be his son.

Steve Newvine lives in Merced.

He wrote about his family in two memoirs: Growing Up, Upstate and Grown Up, Going Home. Both are available at Lulu.com

Veterans Memorial Signs Pay Tribute to Merced’s Heroes

Signs Along Veterans Boulevard Call Out 80 Military Killed in Action

 Signs Along Veterans Boulevard Call Out 80 Military Killed in Action. Photo by Steve Newvine.

Signs Along Veterans Boulevard Call Out 80 Military Killed in Action. Photo by Steve Newvine.

Chances are family members of US Army Private Cornelius W. Tuyn are no longer in our community.

The same can be likely said for US Army Mechanic John R. Veary.

Both lived in Merced. Both lost their lives in World War I.

Thanks to the City of Merced, both are being remembered.

Chronologically, they are the first veterans to be honored in the City of Merced’s Memorial Plaque initiative.

*By Veterans Day on November 11, eighty signs will be lining a broad section of M Street in the City of Merced.

 One of eighty memorial signs honoring veterans who lost their lives in US military service. Each sign names a service member from the City of Merced who was killed in action. Photo- Steve Newvine.

One of eighty memorial signs honoring veterans who lost their lives in US military service. Each sign names a service member from the City of Merced who was killed in action. Photo- Steve Newvine.

Among the men whose names appear on the signs is US Navy Corporal Robert M. Crowell who lost his life in World War II.

He was born in the same month that Private Tuyn was killed during World War I: October 1918. Crowell who served in the US Navy, died on July 2, 1944.

The signs are memorials to members of the armed services killed in action who were from the City of Merced. The memorials cover service members from World War I on up to the war in Afghanistan.

The signs have white lettering over a blue background. Individually, they recognize a soldier, his rank, branch of service, and years served.

Collectively, they make a very strong statement as to how our community shows respect to those who gave their lives defending our country.

“They are all from the City of Merced and all members who died in combat zones,” says Mike Conway, the City of Merced Information Officer.

 These white on blue signs are on utility poles up and down M Street. Each one recognizes the service of a soldier from the City of Merced. Photo: Steve Newvine

These white on blue signs are on utility poles up and down M Street. Each one recognizes the service of a soldier from the City of Merced. Photo: Steve Newvine

Army Private Tuyn and Mechanic Veary are the only two Merced residents known to be killed in action during World War I.

Thirty-seven of the eighty soldiers memorialized on the signs served in World War II. The signs include the names of thirteen soldiers killed in the Korean War, twenty-one from the Vietnam War, and four from Operation Iraqi Freedom through the war in Afghanistan.

Among the Korean veterans is US Air Force Captain Ralph A. Ellis, Junior. Captain Ellis died on July 21, 1950.

The memorial to fallen veterans was a natural next step in the City of Merced’s journey to pay tribute for the contributions of all who have served in the military.

In recent years, Merced City Council renamed the bridge on M Street spanning Bear Creek to Veterans Memorial Bridge.

A section of M Street near the bridge now carries the name Veterans Boulevard.

In the most recent stage of renovation for the bridge, five flag poles were installed representing each of the five branches of the Armed Forces.

Flags from those branches of the military will now be flown on the bridge during special occasions and at other times to honor veterans.

 Part of the list naming the eighty soldiers from Merced who were killed in action in our nation’s wars. Photo: Steve Newvine

Part of the list naming the eighty soldiers from Merced who were killed in action in our nation’s wars. Photo: Steve Newvine

The City’s Department of Public Works has been posting the new signs along M Street.

Of the twenty-one soldiers listed among the veterans who died in action in Vietnam, five were Marines.

That list includes Lance Corporal Juan B. Valtierra who was killed on January 5, 1966.

It’s an ambitious undertaking, and it will be an ongoing task to find, verify, and post memorials to other City of Merced veterans who may not be on the current list.

“We don’t believe it is a complete list,”Mike Conway says.“We are seeking the public’s help in making it complete.”

The city staff has started this project with the names of 80 military personnel from the City who have died while serving during combat.

One complication is limited records on World War I Veterans.

That is why Assistant City Manager Stephanie Dietz says her team needs help from the community.

“If your loved one was a City resident who died in battle and is not on this list, please let us know.”

The current list of the eighty City residents being memorialized is posted at www.cityofmerced.org/veterans.

The most recent death memorialized on the signs is US Army Private First Class Luca C. Hopper. Private Hopper died on October 30, 2009.

More names will be added as City staff, working with local veterans groups, verifies other City of Merced residents who were killed in action.

More names may be added if there are more deaths of City residents serving in the current war in Afghanistan. The names I chose to use in the column represent four branches of the armed services: Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines.

I selected one from each war America has fought since World War I, and I included two for World War I as there were only two in that category. Hopefully, when we see these signs we remember not only the soldier whose name appears, but all the men and women throughout the country who made the sacrifice.

Soldiers like Army Private Tuyn and Mechanic John R. Veary are remembered today, more than one-hundred years after they were killed in action thanks to this effort by the City of Merced.

We are grateful to these brave men for their service and proud of the sacrifice from all our veterans.**

Steve Newvine lives in Merced

He remembers his Uncle Bill Newvine who served in Vietnam in the book Finding Bill, available at Lulu.com

Making History at the Fossil Discovery Center

Madera County’s museum houses fossils from the 1993 Fairmead Mammoth discovery.

 The Fossil Discovery Center of Madera County. Photo by Steve Newvine

The Fossil Discovery Center of Madera County. Photo by Steve Newvine

Inside the main entrance of the Fossil Discovery Center, the visitor gets a glimpse at a reproduction of a Columbia Mammoth.  That generally drops the jaw of a typical school aged explorer.

“The students are amazed as soon as they walk in through the main entrance,” staff person Dawn Guthrie says.  

We’ve been reading and hearing a lot about the Fossil Discovery Center of Madera County.  

The organization is in the middle of a big project with three Madera County Rotary clubs to restore the former Mammoth Orange stand to a site on the Center grounds.  

The Orange Mammoth stand restoration is drawing attention to the Center’s work of supporting and promoting paleontology.  The Center was built in the years following the discovery of mammoth fossils at the site of the Fairmead landfill. The landfill is across the road from the museum entrance.

The San Joaquin Paleontology Foundation was formed in 1993 shortly after the mammoth fossils and others from the Pleistocene era were discovered.  Support from the Madera County Board of Supervisors and grants made the construction of the facility possible.

Since opening in 2010 the Center has hosted an estimated ten-thousand students annually who come in buses from area schools.  

 Executive Director Michele Picina looks at some of the exhibits at the Fossil Discovery Center. Photo: Steve Newvine

Executive Director Michele Picina looks at some of the exhibits at the Fossil Discovery Center. Photo: Steve Newvine

The Center’s Executive Director Michele Picina is a retired school principal from the Madera Unified School District.  

She’s always had an interest in archaeology, so when the opportunity to serve the Center came her way, she jumped at the chance.

“The Center is devoted to paleontology,” she told me this summer.  “I believed this would be the closest I could get to archaeology so this has been a real adventure for me.”

The Center gets visitors from all over California, with most of the school student patrons coming from Madera, Merced, and Fresno Counties.  

“But our reach goes beyond those three counties,” says Dawn who sets up the tours with area schools.  “We get Turlock, Bakersfield, Stockton and several other cities making plans to bring school buses with students to the Center.”

 A Fossil Discovery Center volunteer shows an exhibit to a visitor. Photo: Steve Newvine)

A Fossil Discovery Center volunteer shows an exhibit to a visitor. Photo: Steve Newvine)

A typical school tour divides the class into four sections.  Each section is assigned a docent and a portion of the Center.  

The sections rotate so that every student sees everything the Center has to offer with no one feeling as though they are lost in the crowd.

Students view where fossils are brought in for examination by paleontologists.  As anyone with a passing interest in the physical sciences knows, this work requires time and patience.  

The Center is helped by volunteers; many of them have a background in paleontology.

 Many of the fossils discovered in the Fairmead landfill site are stored behind these locked cases. Photo: Steve Newvine

Many of the fossils discovered in the Fairmead landfill site are stored behind these locked cases. Photo: Steve Newvine

In another section, a visitor can see some of the fossils that have been recovered from the Fairmead landfill site.  

More than fifteen-thousand fossils from the site have been found since the first discovery in 1993. Fossils from the Fairmead discovery site are locked behind glass cases.  Those exhibits are considered fragile and best handled by experts.

 Behind the main building, the Center has a dining area, and two unique outdoor exhibits: a Yokuts house and a Water Resource Exhibit. Photo: Steve Newvine

Behind the main building, the Center has a dining area, and two unique outdoor exhibits: a Yokuts house and a Water Resource Exhibit. Photo: Steve Newvine

There are plenty of things to see and explore outside the Center building.  Behind the building is the Pleistocene Water Resource Exhibit.

The exhibit is certified by the National Wildlife Federation as a Wildlife Habitat.  

It presents a scaled down experience of what the terrain in this part of the Central Valley might have looked like in the Pleistocene era.

There is a re-creation of a Yokut house near the Water Resource Exhibit.  Valley Yokuts were the largest Native American tribe in California with an estimated sixty-thousand living in the region.

A house like this one is made from fourteen thousand tules and would take approximately one-hundred-twenty-five hours to build.

On the side of the Center is a simulated archaeology dig site where children can try a special kind of hands-on science.  The digs allow students to experience what the real scientists experience in the field.

 The Fossil Discovery Center of Madera County. Photo: Steve Newvine

The Fossil Discovery Center of Madera County. Photo: Steve Newvine

Over the years, the Center has added new features to enhance the visitor experience.  A recent partnership brought in a display that explores water in the San Joaquin Valley.   

The Center also has a strategic alliance with the Sierra Mono Museum in North Fork, Madera County.

The Fossil Discovery Center of Madera County was founded as a natural next step for the San Joaquin Valley Paleontology Foundation.  

“There was such diversity of life here in the region during that era,” Michele says. “Sloths, camels, llama, elephants, and horses were all common here.”  

And don’t forget the mammoths.

Columbia mammoths define the discovery of the first bones in the Fairmead landfill site from 1993.  

So popular was that discovery that the orange stand on highway 99 was named the Mammoth Orange hamburger stand.  

 From the front entrance of the Fossil Discovery Center, a visitor can see the Fairmead landfill where the first Columbia Mammoth bones were discovered in 1993. Photo: Steve Newvine

From the front entrance of the Fossil Discovery Center, a visitor can see the Fairmead landfill where the first Columbia Mammoth bones were discovered in 1993. Photo: Steve Newvine

The Fairmead area embraced the mammoth discovery back in the 1990s, and the Center is doing everything it can to maximize the connection between that discovery and the future of the facility.  

The Foundation would like to see steady increases in the numbers of school trips to the Center, and more visitors from throughout California.

The Center recently hosted Madera County teachers for a reception to kick off the new school year and to showcase the offerings.  The facility is available as a meeting and conference space to the public.

Expansion is always a possibility if the demand for more visitor space grows and financial support increases.  The Center is positioned as a community resource.

So if you haven’t experienced seeing the wide eyes of a child brighten up to the sight of a life-sized mammoth skeleton reproduction, come and see it yourself.  

You will see why the Fossil Discovery Center of Madera County is making history in the Central Valley.

 For more information on the Fossil Discovery Center:

go to MaderaMammoths.org

Or call 559-665-7107.

Join the Center for Fossil Fest on October 20.  Free admission and a free pumpkin for the first 100 families.

Steve Newvine lives in Merced.

Mammoths and a giant orange stand- A “marriage of terms”

A fund-raising effort has been going on just south of the Merced County border to restore the giant orange juice stand that once stood off highway 99 at Fairmead.

 A vintage photograph of the locally famous Fairmead Orange Stand on Highway 99.  The stand closed about ten years ago. Photo: GoFundMe.com/mammothorange

A vintage photograph of the locally famous Fairmead Orange Stand on Highway 99.  The stand closed about ten years ago. Photo: GoFundMe.com/mammothorange

There was a time back in the 1950s and 60s when giant orange refreshment stands were a common site on California roads.

Oranges were a much bigger piece of California agriculture back in those days. 

The stands sold orange juice and other drinks along with hamburgers and hot dogs to people traveling throughout the state. 

Over time, orange juice was frequently replaced by soft drinks and milkshakes as consumer tastes shifted.

The orange stands were places where a motorist could stop, use the facilities, and enjoy a hamburger and an orange flavored beverage outdoors in the California sun.  

Families could rest at picnic tables under the outdoor canopy and watch the traffic pass by.

The stands disappeared as air conditioning and highway expansion became commonplace. 

 This is what the people restoring the giant orange stand are facing with the project.  The stand is not in great shape now, but will be brought back to its former presence.  Photo by Steve Newvine

This is what the people restoring the giant orange stand are facing with the project.  The stand is not in great shape now, but will be brought back to its former presence.  Photo by Steve Newvine

The last orange stand in the state was in Fairmead, Madera County. 

It closed a decade ago.  The stand was moved to storage in the City of Chowchilla.  Six years ago,   it was sold so that the non-profit organization that runs the Fossil Discovery Center of Madera County could help organize an effort to restore it.

Enter the three Rotary clubs in Madera and Chowchilla who adopted this restoration project. 

The clubs have raised over $15,000 so far and continue to solicit funds through a Go Fund Me campaign and other efforts.  

Additional donations are coming in as well in a separate campaign being run by the Fossil Discovery Center.

Little by little, the restoration project is moving forward.

 The restoration project is a collaboration project among the Madera Sunrise Rotary, Chowchilla Rotary, and Madera Rotary clubs.  Photo: GoFundMe.com/mammothorange

The restoration project is a collaboration project among the Madera Sunrise Rotary, Chowchilla Rotary, and Madera Rotary clubs.  Photo: GoFundMe.com/mammothorange

“This was the vision of the late Lori Pond, a member of our board and a passionate supporter of the Center and of local history,” says Fossil Center director Michele Pecina.  “She made the appeal to the City of Chowchilla to acquire the orange stand.”

According to local media accounts from that time, the Foundation paid $2,050 to the City of Chowchilla for the stand. The City got some storage space back.  

The Foundation got the centerpiece of a new era for the Fossil Center.

A 2012 story on the Sierra News Online site, Lori spoke of requests to Caltrans to rename the road between highway 99 and the Center entrance to Mammoth Parkway, and the reserving of the web address MammothOrange.com for future use.

The Fossil Center was founded in the years following the discovery of Columbia Mammoth bones at the Fairmead landfill in 1993.  The San Joaquin Valley Paleontology Foundation was formed shortly after the discovery.   The Foundation received official non-profit status in 2001.  The organization oversaw the building of the Fossil Center.  

Today more than ten thousand people, mostly school-aged children coming for field trips, visit the Center.

  This is the inside of the former Fairmead Orange Stand.  It’s very clear that the team working on this restoration have a big job on their hands.  Photo: Steve Newvine

 This is the inside of the former Fairmead Orange Stand.  It’s very clear that the team working on this restoration have a big job on their hands.  Photo: Steve Newvine

It’s fair to ask what is the connection is between the Fossil Discovery Center and the restoration of the giant orange stand.

Michele, who spells her first name with just one “L”, can explain that connection.  

“This will be a marriage of terms.  The Mammoth Orange Stand will sit at the site near where the Columbia Mammoth bones were found right here in Fairmead.”

The Fossil Discovery Center is located off the Avenue 21-and- a- half exit in Fairmead west of highway 99. From the Center’s location, the visitor can see the Fairmead landfill where the Columbia Mammoth bones were first discovered.

 Center director Michele Pecina shows the round work that has already started for the Mammoth Orange Stand at the Fossil Discovery Center of Madera County.  Photo by Steve Newvine

Center director Michele Pecina shows the round work that has already started for the Mammoth Orange Stand at the Fossil Discovery Center of Madera County.  Photo by Steve Newvine

Building permits have been acquired, and ground work is already underway.  It is hoped the stand will be ready for use in 2019.  Once the restoration is complete, the Orange stand will be a permanent exhibit.

Michele says, “Food events will be celebrated during the opening and year round.”

Initially, the stand will be used for private food events with the Center considering whether it makes sense to turn it into a regular refreshment stop for visitors.  The Mammoth Orange Stand at the Fossil Discovery Center will offer an exciting new opportunity for the region.

All these goals will come in time according to Michele. 

“We will eventually move to have the state consider designating the stand as a historical landmark.”

The Fairmead Orange Stand was the last of the California big orange stands to close.    

If all goes as planned, the Mammoth Orange Stand at the Fossil Discovery Center in Chowchilla will be the first one to come back in service.

With that eventual opening day coming up in about a year, one might work up a thirst for a cold cup of orange soda over ice or some other beverage.

It’s possible too that one might get a chance to relive a sentimental moment from the past.  The restoration may help one return to a simpler time when a stop at a roadside orange stand was commonplace in California.  

Steve Newvine lives in Merced.  

He has written California Back Roads- Stories from the Land of the Palm and the Pine.  It is available at Lulu.com.

A column about the Fossil Discovery Center will be published on MercedCountyEvents.com in the near future.

To learn more about the Fossil Discovery Center, go to www.maderamammoths.org

To consider supporting the fund drive to restore the Mammoth Orange Stand, go to GoFundMe.com/mammothorange