It is with great sadness that I tell you my great friend and teacher Anna Dearing has passed away. We got to be really good friends in the last year after I suggested to her that she teach me how to make old fashioned rag rugs. She was more than just a teacher to me. We shared everything. She was a true human being who had gone through a lot in her life and she never lied or tried to impress me. She didn't hold me at arm's length.
Anna was of the Gabrileno Tongva tribe and she grew up in Santa Barbara county long before it became chi-chi. She worked in the dairies and learned how to cook, quilt and crochet from her sister and mother. She was a strong person then as she was when I knew her. She was vivacious and gregarious and she was "one of the boys". I thought she looked like Patsy Cline when she was young. She met her husband Ed when she was nineteen and they married within a few weeks. Their marriage endured for 69 years. Along the way they had four kids, two girls and two boys. Anna found the Lord late in life. She'd been a heavy drinker. Discovering the Lord pulled her through. Yet she wasn't a Bible thumper. She carried her faith quietly and privately.
Ed and Anna moved to this area about 30 years ago and built a house on Grindstone Creek across from the Grindstone Rancheria. Their property shared the creek boundary with our ranch. They had livestock and almonds in the early years. She still participated in Tribal ceremonies by affiliating herself with the local Rancheria. She sometimes attended the round house ceremonies. The Indians really liked her. Days before her passing they wanted to hold a dance for her but it was too late. She passed before they could organize it.
As for me it's been hard to make friends out here. People are busy and I think some people are miffed that we got this job therefore taking it away from a local person. Anna wasn't like that. I wish I'd made friends with her when we first arrived four years ago. Some of my loneliness would have been assuaged.
But I'm glad I finally did make friends with her. The time we had together, although short, was really good. After I got good enough to go it alone on making the rugs we'd go to Paskenta together. Every Tuesday I'd go over to her house, pick her up and we'd drive the half hour to hang out and work on our fabric projects with the ladies of the Paskenta quilting group. She had been going there for 30 years and knew some of the ladies when they were teenagers. I really enjoyed those drives. We had a lot to share and talk about.
Now it's over and I'll have to find something else to fill the space. Anna is at peace and her physical suffering is over. I'll never forget her.
Anna Dearing b. 1927, d. Nov. 24th, 2015, 88 years old.