Arriving in US Mail from St. Louis in the original dehaviland dh-4 biplane in ten bulky gunny sacks are the combined audio book renditions and supplemental background information as presented in podcast form by moi, me-Robert P. Fitton. Good evening one and all wherever in the galaxy you make your home.
You guessed it if you’ve listened before- I’m going to talk about one of my books, available at audible and I tunes, in Barnes and Noble. Amazon and a plethora of outlets. And maybe sell one or two. To do that I’m going to ask one of my characters from one of my books to bring the Fitton on the Air spinning wheel center stage. Will you enter and sign in please on the wall chalkboard? He’s writing with both hands at the same time. Wow! Boze—Boze Brannigan.
“Where’d ever get a name like Boze. I suppose it’s short for Bozo…“
“Watch it, Tenderfoot. You’re askin’ for it…. What it… I’m still quick with the fists, ya know.
“How old are you?”
“Old enough to whup your backside. “
“I am not going to do Bogart but I will say of all the novels in all the world… he walks into one of mine. What book of mine are you in, Boze?”
“I’m in the Matthias Jones Series—“
“Six feet Under, Mr. Big Shot. My boys and me have a tile business in Hamilton New Hampshire. The Patio Boys”
“Wonderful… If you would kindly spin the Fitton on the Air Podcast spinning wheel.”
“Yeah, I can spin that baby. Round and Round and Round she goes where she stops nobody knows.”
“Okay it’s slowing to a stop.”
“Time Portal Alpha? What is that an electric toilet seat?”
“Yeah, right. If you will kindly remove the spinning wheel and head back to your patio work. Time Portal Alpha is a favorite story of mine Boze.”
You need any patio work done?
Time portal alpha started out as a series, a Mission Impossible for time travel, where Mark McKenna brings his crew back in time to correct the evil deeds of Nikko Morro who wants to level the playing field by bringing down the United States. It begins in present day Southern California. When Morro effects a change in the timeline the crew assembles in space, a warp of sorts, to avoid what McKenna and his crew can readily see from Time Portal Alpha.
So, when we think of Southern California, we conjure up images of Hollywood, Disneyland, the Beach Boys, not the Patio Boys. Palm trees grow in the words of Neil Diamond… And let me add that freeways flow. Lots of Freeways. Southern California is green during the freezing snow cold winters back east. Flowers and manicured lawns. Green grass golf courses. What the common denominator?
The common denominator is not any of the above images of Southern California.
Water water everywhere and not a drop to drink, Mr. Coleridge. California’s water system would foster the economic powerhouse that affected the rest of the United States. What if over a hundred years ago there was no water brought into he Southland? Well, Mark McKenna and his crew can observe the timeline transformation firsthand and it’s not pretty. The original arid landscape is not desert- but not Beverly Hills either.
Eaton and Mulholland went on several expeditions up north to chart the water before LA became LA we know today.
I have two distinct lines of thought about the original project to bring water to Los Angeles. It’s very easy, like any argument to latch onto a narrative, more reflective of your psychological make-up than to acknowledge concurrent or even multi current events.
There are reasons why the water was brought to Southern California. Certainly, former mayor Fred Eaton, who was aware of the Owens Valley water and Harrison Gray Otis of the LA Times were prime movers. And so was William Mulholland, chief engineer of the project and superintendent of Water and Power in Los Angeles. The Bureau of Reclamation as well as Teddy Roosevelt approved of bringing the water to LA. Some people made fortunes, yes. Mulholland did his job. Some people got screwed. Others did not. But what is evident with the 1920’s only a couple of decades away that Los Angeles and the country would be forever changed.
The aqueduct (H-2-O) spurred the economic development of Los Angeles. People poured into California partially because of promotion not too long after the Civil War. Why all the hype you ask. Money, money, money, A cornucopia of land companies contributed to the concept called California, the land of milk and honey. And so, they came, the populace and the industry. The idea of a land with an ideal climate took hold as the crates of oranges, lemons and other farmland crops from the San Joaquin Valley arrived in a snow drifted winter back east. The water brought into Los Angeles raised the standard of living.
And then as with many historical sagas there’s another story. Yes, many landowners in the Owens Valley up north were paid for their land. But most had no idea how the men from LA were piecing it altogether to establish the aqueduct to Los Angeles. There were attacks on the aqueduct and shootouts. And many insiders made money off the San Fernando Valley land.
I’m not so naïve that I think that one side should dominate the history books more than the other. I guess people come down on either side depending on their point of view. Surely, the way the land was acquired in Owens Valley with little regard for family history, family structure and food resources is reprehensible. But that doesn’t mean that I throw out the extraordinary result of transporting water to Los Angeles. The progress and hope for a good life for millions and the contribution to Americana and the economic engine of the United States is worthy of consideration. I guess this is a concurrent view of history.
In researching this book, it was as if I were there on the aqueduct. Maybe I lived back in that time in California at the beginning if the Twentieth Century. Or maybe I’ve gotten too much inside my characters’ heads. Or more likely is I’ve just gone cuckoo.
I said at the beginning of this blog that the book didn’t adhere to my original outline. McKenna and his people were to have confronted Nikko Morro in subsequent books to rectify changes in time. Again, a Mission Impossible team for time travel. Except McKenna’s team in this book is confronted with deadly consequences. And I didn’t count on McKenna, while working on the Los Angeles aqueduct, meeting, and falling in love with Aubrey, a former Harvey Girl who works the food concession along the aqueduct. The book balanced so much better with the villain Nikko, McKenna’s relationship with Aubrey, and with the history of the aqueduct.
Am I favoring Mulholland because I admire the guy? Of course, I am. From drifter to ditch digger to superintendent for the Water and Power to worldwide recognition Mulholland represents the American dream in the early Twentieth Century. Not bad. With regard to the horrible St. Francis Dam disaster-Current geological studies indicate Mulholland had no way in the 1920’s to evaluate what he could not see. In this ‘pass the buck’ world of today who would take responsibility for the death and destruction regardless of the consequences? They would be ‘lawyered-up‘
November 5, 1913: The water flows from up north to Los Angeles. Mulholland briefly spoke to the crowd and the ceremony is in Time Portal Alpha and the event is reenacted in the audio version. Yes, I understand that the workers were important because they executed the dream. But without understanding the entire complexity of history we are left as narrow-minded purveyors of the past.