Project Portland: First Impressions

Welcome to the second in the series Project Portland, an exploration of what it’s like for regular cannabis consumers (including patients) to relocate to a state in which adult use of cannabis is legal.

I arrived in Portland shortly after midnight on April 19. I hadn’t considered the fact that this would be Oregon’s first 4/20 in which adult use cannabis was legal. While it might seem overly dramatic, I have to admit that it was an honor to spend 4:20 pm on 4/20 at the top of Mount Tabor in Portland. Both the young punks and the old school Deadheads were authentic in their mellow, passionate embrace and love of the kind herb.

And to all those who helped me with directions as I was looking for the entrance to this volcano mountain park (while running behind schedule and wondering if I would make it before 4:20 pm): Thank you.


Yes, I will replace this with one of my own.

I recall a particular dreddied dude and his girlfriend with whom I briefly chatted as I was cranking up the mountain on my carbon fiber ballerina. Amongst the thousands of cannabis consumers on the mountain, turns out he and his cute partner were friends with the cultivator smoking the monster joint in the photo below.

Small world, eh? He looked at me and said, “You worked hard to get up the hill. This is your karma…” as I dragged on the large cone handed to me for the third time. Dig the sharing culture.  #warmandfuzzy

I have been staying in the SE section of the city. I quickly learned that this town is basically split into quadrants, each with its own culture, affluence, and art and food scenes.

I do have to admit, the presence of good dispensaries and a very robust cycling culture—in addition to my new favorite coffee shop on Division, Dapper & Wise—has attracted me to the southeast area.


A 25-year-old legal cultivator at the 2016 4/20 celebration on Mt. Tabor in Portland.

After a few days in this city, I can say that I had had to adjust my understanding of “good” cannabis. Yea, I’ve had good stuff before in places like Humboldt County, Vancouver (Canada), and Toronto. But not via legal dispensaries. For the first time in my life, I was able to walk into a shop and ask “Do you have Durban Poison?”

And when the friendly budtender replied “Yes,” I got shivers down my spine. Holy shit, Batman, this is the way this stuff is supposed to work. This is a culture feeding itself. This is amazingly enticing. For potheads, that is.

I endured blinding snow storms in New Mexico, failed brakes (thanks, Enterprise), and 2,100 miles of driving—instead of the comforts of a flight—to fully understand what it’s like to be a cyclist in Portland. While I have been blown away by legal cannabis, I have been even more impressed (and borderline shocked) by the sheer number of hardcore commuting cyclists in this city.

People here do everything on bikes. Don’t think “let’s go for a bike ride after dinner.” Think: “I go to the coffee shop, the dispensary, work, and the club on my bike.” Yea. And in numbers like you have never imagined. And yes, there are too many Toyota Priuses.

I was basically verklempt for nearly an hour as my attractive co-cycling host led me through streets like Clinton and Division on our way to the famous bridges on the river. It was in the 80s and sunny. I had not yet developed an appreciation for the fact that, at this time of year, these were some very special days involving relatively immaculate weather.


Wild West Growers in Eugene, Oregon. Look for the feature article in June.

Today it is 59 degrees with scattered showers. But it’s fine. The wealth of artsy sculptures and a mellow environment at my purple “magic” house Airbnb is refreshing. The back yard is mesmerizing (I’ll share pics and video later and begin doing the Periscope thing).

If you love cannabis or are a patient and feel your batteries running low, plan a road trip to Portland or Seattle. Wipe your chalkboard clean. Blow out the carbon.

Regardless of what you call it, simply do it. Don’t wait until tomorrow.

Because sometimes tomorrow is too late. Me? I probably got lucky. But don’t underestimate the power of a blinding snowstorm and second life.

More to come….

P.S.: To Ally, the smart Aussie chick with the masters in English Literature: You’re a better writer than you think. Never give up; never surrender.

All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2016 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The KindSKUNK, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.


A Short History of My Life

The following was originally intended to be published as a short, historical ebook. Due to the unforeseen emergence of cannabis legalization in the United States, many of my non-cannabis writing and publishing projects have been put on hold.

In late 1943, in the middle of World War II and near the end of the Great Depression, my great-great grandmother, Rosella Rabinski, was asked by one of her daughters to document her life. The following is her manuscript.

In a modern world dominated by Twitter, Instagram, and ubiquitous smartphones—where instantaneous communication and fast, reliable travel are taken for granted—Rosella’s life history illustrates just how far the western world has evolved in the past one hundred and fifty years.


Not Rosella; my daughter Bean (Rosella’s great-great-great granddaughter).

Rosella had, by today’s standards, a poor education. What little she gathered, she basically foisted upon herself. She lost her mother at the age of nine and her father at 13. After she became an orphan, Rosella gained additional education only because she demanded it, with little encouragement from those around her. She joined the workforce as a nanny when she was 16.

Born at the beginning of the American Civil War, Rosella (who went by “Ella”) was an only child and orphan at a time when most families had a dozen or more children. She had a unique spirit.

How many women were progressive enough to hyphenate their name in the early 20th century?

I never met her (I was born a couple of decades after her manuscript was written, which was shortly before she died), but am thankful that her daughter urged her to compose this short life history. Due to the miracle of modern digital publishing and social media, Ella’s story is now available to the world—not simply the seven children she raised.

My apologies for the run-on paragraphs and sometimes awkward construction found within this document. I have attempted to preserve the original text whenever possible. Also brace yourself for social stereotypes, stigma-inspired references, and the mild bigotry and class separation that was prevalent at the time.

Chapter 1: How I Began

My daughter, Cecile May, has asked me to write a short history of my life.

This is December 1943. I will begin by saying that I, Rosella Rabinski, was born in Liberty Township in Knox County, Ohio. It was just over the line of Clinton Township, three miles west of Mount Vernon, on January 5, 1861.

I was born in a double-hewed log cabin, with two rooms downstairs and a double fireplace. The room on the west had two windows and was plastered. The kitchen on the east had one window, two outside doors, a stairway, and a door leading to the front room. We lived there for some time. It was zero weather when I was born, I heard them say. Today the temperature is 36 degrees above.

My father and mother both came from large families. Mother was one of eleven children and Father had two full brothers, six half-brothers and sisters on his mother’s side, and five or six half-brothers and sisters on his father’s side.

I was an only child.

In those days there were, of course, no automobiles and very few buggies. We had no paved roads. Some people had so-called spring wagons. Often, the roads were almost impassable. I can remember when the mud was so deep that it came nearly up to the hubs of wagon wheels and up to horses’ knees. Now, in 1943, one seldom sees horses and wagons on the roads—and most roads are paved. Back then we had sleds and sleighs and the young people would put a string of bells on their horses when they went sleigh riding. Those bells could be heard for a mile.

Hearses for children were drawn by white horses. However, those were happier times than today. Later there was built what we called a surrey, with two seats and a covered top.

About forty years ago, they began to build automobiles. The first one I saw was used by our mail carrier. It was built like a high-wheeled buggy—but had a motor, of course.

It has been handed down to me that there was a German, Lewis Bricker (the name in some localities was Praker, I have been told), who married Elizabeth Calvert, the daughter of Cecil Calvert (an Englishman who was much opposed to his daughter marrying a German). But they seemed to get along well. Elizabeth was said to have driven a team of horses to Philadelphia with loads of grain and provisions. The couple reared a large family and accumulated a fortune. Two of their sons, John and Jacob, married two Koonsman girls. Jacob married Elizabeth Koonsman and, in 1808, John married Barbara Koonsman (my grandmother).

Lewis Bricker migrated from Pennsylvania to Liberty Township in Knox County, Ohio and bought several 100-acre tracts of land from the government (beginning in what is known as the Liberty Township east line, three miles west of Mount Vernon). John Bricker and Barbara had one daughter, Rebecca, who was born in 1809. This was before they moved from Pennsylvania to Ohio in covered wagons in 1810.

The new land of Ohio was heavily wooded—none of it cleared. Not even was there a road laid out. Some of the Bricker sons and daughters came to Ohio and settled on this land, building cabins of rough logs. These houses were like a song I’ve heard: They had “clapboard roofs and puncheon floors[1], a crack for a window and a quilt for a door.” The clapboard roofs were split out of logs about four feet long. They had small trees and saplings put up for rafters. Then poles were put across them to lay the clapboards on, and poles over the clapboards to hold them down. The cracks between the logs were filled with pieces of wood and clay plaster to keep out the cold. To collect the logs, they had what they called “log rollings” where they would burn felled trees.

There were some Indians around then, and some were savage. They killed a family not far from where Chesterville, Ohio, now is. The people near Mount Vernon built a block house to protect them from the Indians. There were also some wild animals—bears, panthers, and plenty of wolves. I remember hearing my folks say that a catamount, or wild cat, came into our upstairs, leaving our house by running down the stairs and out a side door.

My grandmother, Barbara Koonsman, was born in Washington County, Pennsylvania, in 1789. She came from a family of six children (three boys and three girls). Her brothers were Jesse, George, and Daniel; her sisters were Nancy and Elizabeth.

John Bricker made a trip now and then back to Pennsylvania by horseback. Once he took with him some maple syrup in saddle bags. Some trip, was it not for a horse! He stopped at a tavern to stay the night and took his saddle bags upstairs to his room. He didn’t sleep much that night, as he thought several times that he heard somebody on the stairs. He would raise up in the bed to let the supposed thief know that he wasn’t asleep. Apparently somebody thought that he had something valuable in the saddle bags.

Another man went the same trip on horseback, and when he was on his way, his horse became lame. He stopped at a blacksmith shop to have his horse examined; it had a wire around its foot above the hoof. The blacksmith said, “You better examine your gun”; the traveler did and found the chambers filled with ashes! He re-loaded it and went on his way. He came to a woods where a man, all blacked up, came out and waylayed him. The traveler said he would shoot, but the robber only laughed because he thought the traveler had a gun full of ashes. But, to his amazement, the traveler shot real bullets! And the robber was the tavern keeper!

As time went on, John Bricker and Barbara had more children, making a total of six (three boys and three girls). First there was the eldest, Rebecca (who was born in Pennsylvania in 1809); next a boy, George; then the third, Aaron; then Mary; then another son, Solomon; and finally, Sarah (the baby of the family, who married a Higbee). When Rebecca was only twelve years old, John Bricker died of tuberculosis, leaving Barbara (my grandmother) with six small children.

Chapter 2: Changes & Civil War

There have been many changes since my grandmother, Barbara Koonsman-Bricker-Rush, came to Knox County in Ohio. I am now 83 years old, but I can remember that there was a big two-story building called the Market House where people came with their wagons full of produce. They drove onto the Public Square (also called Monument Square), unhitched their horses, turned them to the back of their wagons, and fed them.

Some people lived upstairs in the Market House. I remember an old man named McGrady who had a shoe shop there. He lived in a large brick house on Mulberry Street (second house from Chestnut street, on the west side). Later his daughter lived there. And then her adopted son, Charles Blair. Now those buildings are gone and the Mount Vernon Post Office stands on the corner of Mulberry and High Streets, on the northwest corner. On the northwest corner of the Public Square, there was a restaurant at which one could get a good meal for 15₵. One night it burned down. Now the whole block is built of brick.

As Christmas is near (it is now December 20, 1943), I will tell you, these people had a real Santa. A man would come around with nuts and cakes. He would say, “Will you pray?” and they all knelt. Then he would scatter nuts and cakes to see them go after them.

We think we have hard times, but let me tell you: They had no stoves as we know them today. Instead, they had what was a fireplace built of flat stones, plastered up with clay. In this fireplace was placed, lengthwise, an iron rod. On this rod were hooks called trunnels, on which they hung their iron kettles and tea kettles. When they fried meat, they pulled some coals out on the hearth and set their iron skillet on these coals, as well as their coffee pots.

They also had what they called “Dutch ovens” in which they baked their bread. These were approximately 12 inches in diameter and six inches tall, with legs about two inches long and an iron lid. When their bread was light enough to bake, they scraped coals of fire out of the hearth, placed the Dutch oven on them, and put coals of fire on the lid. Yum! Yum! Was that bread good! Maybe you think I don’t know! (My step-grandmother had an oven and baked to please me.) People also had clay ovens in their yards that were big enough to bake six loaves of bread or pies at the same time. They would build a fire in these clay ovens and let it burn down to coals, raking the coals out and putting their bread and pies in to bake.

I remember that when I was small, after the Civil War, there were quite a few tramps (or “beggars,” as they were called in those days) running around the country. One day mother and I were alone when one came to our house. Our dog didn’t like tramps; he would meet them before they could get to the door. The tramp went first to one door, then to the other. But our dog “Old Bull” met him there and the tramp finally went away. One evening, while my father and I were at my Grandmother’s, a tramp came to our house (which was nearby). There was a hogshead[2] in the yard, with a pig in it. We surmised that he thought we were in it. We watched him until he left, then my father went home.

A man (whose name I can’t recall now) went out hunting and was belated. A bear had overtaken him and he had crawled up a sapling, which bent down with his weight. The bear stood on its hind legs and reached the man, but he kicked it’s nose until it bled. Some of his friends went out to hunt for him and found him there.

When John Bricker (my grandmother’s first husband, but not my grandfather), was boiling down maple syrup, wolves would come so near he could see their eyes. But they were afraid of fire and did not come close. One night, my grandmother heard them outside and said she guessed they got our sheep—but the sheep were safe. One day an Indian came to their door, asking for bread. Barbara ran out past him, leaving two small children in the house alone. But, as she said she had no bread, the Indian went away.

Now, as I said, I was born in the year 1861, and I remember seeing the soldiers that came home in their blue suits. The men from the North went to the South and burned buildings and destroyed properties. I heard a Northern Army soldier tell me how they took pianos, tore them up, and made bunks out of them.

A woman told me there was a band of Negroes that went forth to kill the white people. One Negro woman wanted to save her mistress. She had on a full skirt, which she spread over her mistress until the men had passed.

There were good slaveholders and bad slaveholders, just like some men are good and some are bad today. I think those slaves could have been bought and freed. Then there would have been no bloodshed. The Northern soldiers drew pensions, some who said they never carried a gun. Did the Southern soldiers get pensions? No! But the South had to pay a part of these pensions. Even our northern states were affected by the war and farmers couldn’t get much for their livestock and produce. Eggs brought six and eight cents a dozen; hogs four cents a pound; butter eight cents a pound; a good-sized chicken twenty cents. It was several years before times improved.

An example of men’s cruelty to animals: I heard it said that a man somewhere in West Virginia struck his horse on its head with a shovel. The horse kicked the man in the stomach and killed him. I think he got what was coming to him.

As I said previously, when Rebecca was only twelve years old, her father, John Bricker, took tuberculosis and died (on May 9, 1821). This left her mother with six little children, including Rebecca. In 1826, Grandmother was married to Peter Rush, who had been a bloomer by trade (a bloomer was a furnace and forge in which wrought iron blooms were made directly from ore). He lived on a farm near Bloomfield, in Morrow County, Ohio.

She went to live with him there. They had two boys: Jeremiah, who was born on May 1, 1827; and Ananias (my father), who was born on September 4, 1833. Soon thereafter, they moved to my grandmother’s farm west of Mount Vernon, where another son, Andrew Miller, was born on June 4, 1843. My father was reared in the same house (a log cabin) in which I was born. Andrew Miller, his youngest brother, was also born in that cabin, and they lived there until they were grown. Then they built a frame house in the same yard, which still stands today (1943) and is nearly 100 years old.

My grandfather, Peter Rush, was a soldier in the War of 1812. The Commissioner of Pensions states: “Peter Rush served from August 28, 1812, to October 31, 1812, as a private in the Company commanded by Captain Jacob Young and John Greer of the Ohio Militia. In 1855 he was 77 years of age and a resident of Knox County. He received the B.L. Warrants 35620-120-55 and 15980-40-50.”

My father, Ananias Rush, on January 11, 1860, married Martha Ann Roop, a twin (who was born on March 31, 1834) of Margaret Roop—and moved back into the original log cabin. On January 5, 1861, a daughter was born to them, which, of course, was I. My father and mother did not live in this log cabin long. Father’s oldest brother, who had lived about a half mile west, on Grandmother’s farm, moved to Illinois and we moved into his house. Another brother, Jeremiah, had moved to a place just west of Richwood, Ohio.

Besides her twin sister Margaret, my mother had six brothers and three sisters: Frederick, born March 18, 1819; Peter, born March 31, 1824; John, born November 28, 1831; Jacob, born June 19, 1836; Michael, born May 23, 1839; George, born August 13, 1842; Elizabeth, born August 31, 1821; Catherine, born September 15, 1826; and Mary, born April 14, 1829. My grandfather, on my mother’s side, was John Roop, who was born July 18, 1787 and died October 22, 1859. My grandmother was Catherine Meyers, who was born October 30, 1797 and died July 29, 1857. They were married on January 29, 1818.

When I was a child, the land was not tiled and the ground was very swampy. Many people suffered with ague (an intermittent fever), something we never hear mentioned today because the land has since been tiled.

My Uncle Jerry’s wife, at Richwood, complained of ague, so my grandmother wanted my father to go to Richwood and move them back to Knox County. Father and Mother started for Richwood one afternoon in a wagon with a team of horses. I, of course, went with them. We went the first day as far as the home of Filo Pruner, a brother of Uncle Jerry’s wife, near Sparta, Ohio. We stayed the night at his home. Then Filo, my father, my mother, and I started out the next morning for Uncle Jerry’s. My father and Filo each drove a team hitched to a “big wagon.” We took dinner with us and ate it at Whetstone River Bridge, an old covered bridge.

We forded the Scioto River, as there was no bridge then where we had to cross (they were just building one). The water was so deep that it nearly came up to the wagon bed. We arrived at Uncle Jerry’s about sundown; I think we stayed two nights and a day before starting back home. I remember it rained nearly all the way home, and the cover we had for protection from the rain was only two bed sheets. I was six years old and I remember that trip like it was yesterday. Mother and I and two of Uncle Jerry’s girls, Dicy and Emma, rode in one covered wagon. The two men, Father, Filo Pruner, and Uncle Jerry’s oldest son, Arnold, rode in the Pruner wagon. We brought back with us some of their household furniture—a cupboard in one wagon and a bureau in the other.

Uncle Jerry and Aunt Lavina then had a baby girl named Barbara (named after my grandmother). Barbara was born on March 25, 1867. At the time of this writing, she is 76 years old. The boy who came with us from Richwood, Arnold—born on July 28, 1856—is now 87 years old. They both live in Pasadena, California. As soon as Uncle Jerry’s family was able to travel, they loaded the rest of their belongings into his wagon and came back home to Knox County. They moved into a cabin near Grandmother’s until they could get another house. Uncle Jerry’s brother had a house and some land. As soon as his brother’s house was empty, they moved into it. While living there, they had a baby boy, Raymond (making five boys and five girls). That last baby boy was later a Methodist preacher, but is now retired, being 74 years of age. Another son, Benton, lived in Oakland, California. Only these four of the ten children are living at this time.

Chapter 3: School

When I was about six years old, I started to school. My first teacher was a young man by the name of William Bricker. He taught three months, then took a vacation. Viola Bricker then taught three months, beginning the first of June and continuing through August. Then no more school until December, January, and February. No teacher taught more than three or four months at a time.

Manda Hagerty taught one summer and Mother visited the school. I remember different teachers. Miss Hagerty had “red” hair. When my mother was very ill, I was not sent to school. But the winter she died, a young man by the name of Russell Robertson taught at the Bedell School where I attended. He was studying medicine at the time, in the winter of 1869 and 1870.

My mother died on January 8, 1870, when I was nine years old.

As I said, I went to school only part of the time. There were about 75 pupils in the school. The teacher boarded with the Sylvester Pratt family. One day, while he was gone for his dinner, the boys decided to shut the teacher out. There was no lock on the door, so they braced some of the benches against it and wouldn’t let him in. This was all because they wanted him to treat, it being Christmas time.

Dr. Robertson taught two terms at this school and turned out to be a fine doctor. After he began practicing medicine, I went to him when I needed a doctor’s services. Once he told me that, when I was his pupil, I was so timid that he was afraid to say anything to me. He died the summer before I was married.

My grandmother, Barbara Koonsman-Bricker-Rush, was the mother of nine children, the six born to her and John Bricker, and the three born to her and Peter Rush. Her husband, Peter, had six children by his former wife (three boys whose names I recall were James, John, and William; two of the girls were named Mary and Margaret). I do not recall the names of the other girls. By the time Peter and Barbara’s children were nearly grown, the fields had been cleared so they could raise crops on them.

My grandfather Peter Rush had a loom and my Aunt Rebecca learned to weave cloth. They raised flax, and of this flax, they took the straw and hackled it: Made it into thread and wove it into linen sheets and other articles. They raised sheep and had their wool carded[3] and spun into yarn. They knit their own stockings and made flannel. They also made what they called Lincy Woolcy[4] for men’s clothes. The warp was linen and the filling was wool.

I have told you that I was an only child. I guess my mother and father sort of spoiled me. Mother always took me to church and I would sing and think I was as big as anyone. I had several cousins to play with, one who was nearly three years older than I. We each had our dolls and played house. There was a woods near my cousin’s home. We would go there, mark out a floor plan, and cover the supposed floor with different kinds of moss. I remember that place when I was almost grown. At my home, we played “in the shade of the apple trees.” I also remember playing “keeping store.”

In our house was a large chimney. Outside the chimney was olay burned red that we used for sugar. I once had a family of four gray kittens which we dressed up one day. My Mother decided to get rid of them and took them away, but brought me a blue and white cat instead.

My mother always had poor health, but when she became seriously ill, we sometimes had a “hired girl” (what maids were called in my early days). Sometimes my father did the housework with my help, and my Aunt baked our bread and also helped out (as did some of my mother’s nieces). I remember that one time I wanted chicken to eat. Mother told me, “You can have one if you can kill it.” I was about eight years old. I caught a chicken and took a corn cutter and cut its head off. I then scaled and picked it. I can’t remember the rest, but presume my father cooked it. I also remember that one time we were out of bread and I said I could make biscuits if Mother would tell me how. Father put some flour in a pan and I made the biscuits. I remember what a time I had getting the dough off my hands.

When Father would be in the fields working, I would go to the milk house and skim the milk and feed the calf—while my mother was sick in bed. I also had to do other things, such as sweep the floors and make the beds. Playtime was over for me. Mother kept getting worse. Hannah Meeker stayed with us until after Mother died and we held her funeral. It was in a home where my father’s half-brother, Uncle George Bricker, had lived before he went to Illinois to live that my mother died on the 8th of January, 1870. I was nine years old on the 5th of January. My mother was laid to rest in an old family burying ground and was the last one to be buried in it.

My father and I then went to live with my Grandmother. In a year-and-a-half (sometime in the last of June, 1871), my father remarried, this time to Delia Ann Lewis. They lived in the home with her father and mother. A year later, a baby boy, George Franklin, was born to them. The Lewises had a beautiful eight-room home, six rooms downstairs and two rooms upstairs, and there were beautiful pine trees in the yard. There were two springs of cold water and a spring house with water running through it. All went well at first, but later clouds began to gather and that beautiful house wasn’t a happy home.

Before my father married the second time, I spent a lot of my time in the field with him, sometimes riding a horse to help him plow corn. I wonder that I hadn’t been killed. My Aunt Rebecca was always saying, “You will get her killed.” Once I slid down over a horse’s head. Another time the horse was tied to the limb of a tree; the horse went under the tree and raked me off behind his heels. Another time I was riding home to dinner when our dog ran out of some bushes and frightened the horse, which jumped and threw me off. I thought every bone in my body had been broken, but I got up and walked home.

I also spent much of my time fishing. There was a stream of water called Armstrong Run. There was a big sycamore log on one side of the Run and a deep hole was washed out beside it. There I sat for hours catching fish. I remember once seeing how many I could catch. I caught fifty minnows, some about as long as my fingers (about three inches). When I was older, and when my Grandmother was sick, I would lean over that sycamore log and snare the bigger fish, called Suckers. I’d take them home and they would fry them for Grandmother. I could have drowned and they never would have known where I was.

On December 11, 1873, my father died with pneumonia, leaving Delia Ann with a baby boy eighteen months old. Then, in about eighteen months, Delia Ann’s father died, leaving no man around to help keep the place beautiful. Two weeks before his death, my father came to my Grandmother’s and took me to where he lived, with the Lewises. We then traveled to Friendship Church, from which we proceeded back to his home. In the evening, he took me nearly home to Grandmother’s. That was the last time I saw him until the day before he died.

I think he had a premonition that his time was short on this earth, for he talked to me until I nearly cried. He told me he wanted me to be good to Grandmother and Aunt Rebecca. He turned and looked at me and said, “I can’t do much for you now as long as John Lewis [his father-in-law] lives,” then he went back to their home. About two weeks later my cousin Arnold Rush said to me, “Did you know your pa is awful bad sick?” That was the first I had heard of his being ill. The next day my Aunt Sarah Higby went with me to see my father. He was as bad sick as he could be and still be alive. Then he said to me, “You will not have a father here much longer, but be a good girl and you will have a father in heaven.” He died the next evening.

I was nearly thirteen years old—old enough to realize what I had lost, for no one loved their father more than I did mine.

My father was laid to rest in what was known as Liberty Chapel Cemetery. How well I remember: My Uncle Miller Rush took Grandmother, Aunt Rebecca Bricker, Aunt Mag Rush (his wife), and me in his wagon to the funeral. Ben Lewis took Pap’s horses (I called my father “Pap”) to his wagon and took Delia Ann, her father and mother, and little George Franklin, to the funeral. George Franklin was only one-and-a-half years old (he never remembered his father; he was reared by his mother and grandmother Lewis). On the day of the funeral, the roads were muddy and the mud was deep. When they went to put my father’s casket in the grave, there was so much water in it that they dipped it out with a bucket before they could lower the casket. But he wasn’t there: His spirit had gone to its giver and his body had gone to “Old Mother Earth.”

My father’s death hastened the death of my grandmother, who passed on May 10, 1874, at about 85. I was left then with only my Aunt Rebecca. The coming fall, Aunt Rebecca and I went to the home of her daughter (my cousin), Rose Thayer, where I lived most of the time until I was about sixteen years old. Many were the times my grandmother would look out the window toward the way my father always came and say, “Oh, will I never see my son come anymore?” Father’s mother, my dear old grandmother, tried to make up to me for the loss of my mother, but nothing and nobody can fill a mother’s place.

After the sadness of losing Mother, Father, and Grandmother, I enjoyed life, for it seemed that everyone befriended me, realizing that I was an orphan. However, seeing other children caressed by their parents caused me to miss my father and mother more, and it would leave me an ache in my heart that none will ever know.

As I said, it was about eighteen months after Father died that Delia Ann’s father died. By that time, I was practically a grown woman. I often went to see Delia Ann and my half-brother, George Franklin. They were always glad to see me. One night Grandmother Lewis fell down the cellar steps, broke her hip, and wasn’t able to walk again for a long time—except by pushing a chair ahead of her.

After the death of my mother, father, and grandmother, and the schoolhouse being quite a distance away, I did not go to school very much. As I have said, I was all alone and had scarcely nobody and nothing to fall back on.

When I lived with my old aunt and said anything about wanting books, she would say, “When I went to school, if they had an English reader and a spelling book, that was all they needed.” My mother being sick so much, I was neglected. I was sent to school until I was ten years old—with nothing but a McGuffy spelling book. One of the neighbor girls asked the teacher, Joan Phillips, if she didn’t think I could have a first reader. She said, “I will see.” She had me read a piece from my spelling book and said, “Yes, I guess you can have a first reader.” I was overjoyed. I went home, told my father, and got the reader.

When I look back over the years, I wonder, “Is it really me?”, like the old woman who got her petticoats cut off. I didn’t have a first reader very long until I got a second reader, then next I was ready for the third reader. I was eleven then. We had left some chickens at our old house. They had laid some eggs there and hatched some chickens, which had grown to a size large enough to sell. One day I decided to take my old dog and catch some of these chickens and send them to town to get myself a third reader and spelling book.

My dear cousin, Rose Thayer (the one called “Grandma”), took those chickens to town and got my books for me. You now wonder about where my other books came from. Well, dear “Grandma” Thayer lent me an arithmetic book, a neighbor girl another book, and so on. This neighbor girl, Clara Newell, was instrumental in helping me get my first reader, and also got me into what we called the Lower School (a school that took up after my school, the Bedell School, was out).

The Lower School had a sweet little teacher by the name of Ella Rogers, who lived with her grandfather, Henry Pratt. Her mother was also dead. It was she who taught me to write. She had me get some foolscap paper[5] and she made me a copy. It was there that I got my first lessons in penmanship. I am not the best scribe now, but, like the speed in which I learned to read, I soon learned to write pretty well. I went from the third to the fourth reader, then to the fifth reader—but no farther. I never was the best in arithmetic, but can make out. As I said, with no one to encourage me (and as I didn’t have the books that I wanted), I quit school and didn’t go much after I was thirteen years old. Now children have an armful of books.

When I was sixteen, I was small for my age. People didn’t think I could do much work. They would say they didn’t think I ever would be very big. I wanted so much to grow and get big like the other children. I seemed to be healthy enough, but I had slept with my grandmother when she was somewhere in her eighties and on the downward road. Therefore, it has been suggested that perhaps I was stunted. After she died, I didn’t live with old people and I started to grow. By the time I was twenty years of age, I was as big as most other girls, but people never thought I was as old as I was. I didn’t keep company with the opposite sex as early as some others did.

Chapter 4: Maple Sugar & Nannies

As I said previously, after my grandmother’s death, my Aunt Rebecca and I went to live with my cousin Rose Thayer. She lived close to a woods where there were maple sugar trees. I decided to tap some of these trees. I put crocks and a jar beside the trees to catch the sugar water. I put an iron kettle on a pole, built a fire under it, boiled the water down, and made some maple sugar. I had made enough maple sugar that, when sold, brought enough to get me a dress and a belt.

Then I got an awful headache and felt like my brains were flopping up and down. The next morning I was broken out with measles. That stopped my sugar-making. Cousin Rose and Aunt Rebecca had to give me their “cure-all.” They got some spicewood and made some tea. And what else do you think they put in the spicewood tea? Sheep “nannies” (sheep manure). They knew I wouldn’t drink it if I knew what was in it, so I was not told until after I got well. However, as you know, it didn’t kill me.

I don’t know if I ever had the mumps. I remember my cousin Olive Rush was once where they had mumps. We heard people say to rub your neck on a hog trough and you wouldn’t get the mumps. We both rubbed our necks on a hog trough and we didn’t get the mumps. But I may have had them before that. I had been exposed at different times later and never got them.

In connection with the making of maple sugar, I am reminded that, when I was seven or eight years old (or perhaps younger), there was a sugar camp on my grandmother’s farm. Uncle Miller Rush tapped the trees. He took a ¾” bit and bored holes in the trees and drove two spoils in the holes he had bored. Spoils were made of alders with one side shaved off and the pith pushed out. The sap (or sugar water) ran out of those trees, through the spoils, and down into a trough that had been made from a piece of a butternut tree. It was hewed out and made into a trough.

The water was then carried from these troughs in buckets and put into barrels. It was then put in 18 or 20-gallon kettles which were placed over a furnace made of stones and clay. These kettles were hung on so-called trunnels made from wood. These trunnels were made with a forked end, with one end cut off and hooked over a pole. The sugar water was then boiled down to a syrup, keeping a big fire under the kettles. When the syrup reached a certain consistency, it was strained. If syrup was wanted for table use, it was taken off the fire before it got thick enough for sugar. When sugar was made, the syrup was boiled down real thick. It was then stirred with a large wooden paddle until it got crumbly. Grandmother had what they called a wooden cask, which held four or five gallons. I remember getting sugar out of that cask.

I just heard on the radio somebody talking about making a cake. I remember one of my first cakes. My step-mother had made a cake and, after she put it in the oven and it began to rise, she stirred it down. I told her I would make a cake for her. I was about twelve years old then. I made a cake and it wasn’t so bad.

Chapter 5: Work

Today, as I proceed with this history, it is January 8, 1944, and just 74 years ago today my mother died. I was nine years old. I look back and see the many changes. Father had a sleigh for traveling when snow was on the ground. In the summer, he would hitch two horses to a spring wagon. Sometimes he would hitch the horses to a “big wagon.”

I did not have a home like other girls. I would go places and do housework for people until they didn’t need me any longer. They would say, “I guess we don’t need you any longer,” then take me to my aunt’s or my uncle’s (my Uncle George Bricker’s). An old gentleman by the name of Hatcher had heard of me and he came to see if I wouldn’t come and live with them. I was just past fifteen. I went and stayed there five days. Mrs. Hatcher was eighty years old and was an old maid when she married. She was very queer and all the time when she would lie down, she would groan like this: aah, haa, aah, haa. So much that I couldn’t’ stand to hear her, so I told them I was needed at home. They gave me 50₵.

In the meantime, Nicholas Darling came for me to go to their house, as his wife wasn’t very well. They had no children. There was just Nicholas and his wife. She had been another “old maid,” as queer as one gets. But for all that, she was good to me in her way. She paid me $1.00 a week, but I had most of the work to do except baking. (Remember, girls didn’t get wages then like they do now.) I lived in their home about five months, then came back to my cousin Rose Thayer’s and Aunt Rebecca’s.

Later Mr. Darling came after me again, but I stayed there only two weeks, as his wife didn’t want to pay me what the work was worth. When he told her what he was to pay me ($1.50 a week), she said she wouldn’t have asked for my services, so I said I would go home. Then she wanted me to stay, but I was hurt by her saying what she did.

I walked some distance, to Fredericktown, Ohio, where my cousin Mary Thayer was working. I was thinking I could get her to go home with me on the train, but she refused, as she was expecting her friend Charley Hatten. Her mother, cousin Rose, had learned about Charley Hatten and sent Mary’s brother Elias to bring her home. When she told my cousin Rose and my Aunt Rebecca about my wanting to come home, they sent Whit Higby after me. He came with two horses, one with a side saddle for me to ride. The Darlings didn’t like my leaving, but such was life for me. Someone would come and say, “Can I get you to help us for a week or two?”—till they got their work done—then I would pack my clothes and go back home until somebody else wanted me.

When I was about 22 years of age, I went to work for a family by the name of Anderson. Mrs. Anderson was a nice woman. She told me they once had a “hired girl” by the name of Frye and how Mr. Anderson and his hired hand had hauled water for their livestock in a barrel and had put her in the barrel. One would hold her and the other would drive. While I was there, they got a new baby. When Mrs. Anderson was in bed and I passed Mr. Anderson on going out to milk the cow, he pulled me down on his lap. There was a table close by with some books on it. I got off his lap, took one of those books, and threw it at him—hitting him in the mouth. Was he mad! I got out the door as fast as I could, but he sent his boot after me. He didn’t like me after that, but there was no love lost between us. I decided to leave them and go back home to my cousin’s.

I wasn’t home yet when our neighbor, Mrs. Charlie Blaire, wanted me. I went. And what a difference! I didn’t have nearly the work to do—and I felt right at home with them. They had two little girls that liked me and I liked them. They would argue over which one would sleep with me. I was there eight weeks and they paid me the same wages as the Darlings did. After that I was a regular visitor in their home. When I went there, the little girls didn’t want me to leave and their mother always wanted me to stay. They were more like my own people than neighbors.

We lived across a field from the Blairs, about a mile, and to get there I would go through a valley where there were trees on both sides of the road and where birds of different kinds were, such as Blue Jays, Red Birds, and Merry Brown Thrush.

The two Blair girls, Lottie and Nellie, grew to be young ladies. But the eldest, Lottie, incurred tuberculosis and died. This, naturally, nearly broke her parents’ hearts, as well as the hearts of her grandparents. The younger girl, Nellie, got married to a school teacher by the name of Charles Body. Before these two girls were grown, a son was born, named Herbert (and a badly spoiled child he was). Then another girl named Mary. Nellie and Charles Body had one little girl when Lottie died.

The Blairs were good Christian people. Early in life they had parties at their home, as they had a big house. My cousin and I were always invited to these parties—oyster suppers, and so forth. Later, when I worked away farther from home, I didn’t visit them so often. I was at their home after I was married, then they left the farm and moved to Mt. Vernon. We were living in Mt. Vernon at the same time.

I worked for Deacon Travis for, I think, fourteen weeks. They paid me $2.00 a week. Later I went to Curtis Grubb’s for two weeks and it was from them that the James Ramsey’s heard about me. I went to the Ramsey’s and could have stayed there, but the Leonards offered me $2.00 a week, so I was there six months, after which I returned to the Ramsey’s.

From the Ramsey’s I went to work for a family by the name of Banning. They owned a flour mill and lived in Mount Vernon. Mrs. Banning was a nice person, but had never done much work. They had a little boy, William, who was three years old. William would walk up to anybody who came in the house and say, “I will spit in your face.” His father wouldn’t permit his mother to correct him. One day he said to me, “I will spit in your face.” I said, “If you do, I will wash your mouth out with soap. He said, “Wash my mouth.” I picked up a cloth and washed his mouth.

He cried and his mother came in and wanted to know what was the matter. I told her and she said, “Well, Willie, I can’t blame Ella.” Later she told me that had broken Willie of this bad habit. (I told him about this when he was grown.) Mrs. Banning said, when she showed me her diamonds, that she wouldn’t show them to other girls she had had. The father, mother, and this son have all gone to their rewards. The Bannings paid me only $2.00 a week and I left there after six weeks. There was too much work for this money.

I was always treated with great respect except by one old lady, a Mrs. McIntire. Mrs. McIntire had two girls who always wanted to be near me when I was there. Mrs. McIntire had a sick mother and the preacher and his wife came to see her and were going to have prayer. She asked her daughters to come into the room, but they wouldn’t go in without me. Then I asked to enter the room to have prayer, and Mrs. McIntire made a remark that humiliated me.

I also went to Levi Braddock’s and was there six weeks when I decided to quit and made the excuse that I was needed at home. Then I decided I would go and be a chamber maid at the Gambier School for Girls. But before I was ready to leave, John White came for me to work for them. It was from there that your daddy started keeping company with me.

I stayed a part of that winter at my cousin Rose Thayer’s, then went back to the Ramsey’s and stayed there until I was married to your father on November 26, 1890. The marriage ceremony was performed by Rev. Joseph Hamilton, the same minister who preached my mother’s funeral and who was pastor of the Methodist Church called Liberty Chapel (which my mother had attended, with which I was united, and where my father was a member after my mother’s death—and where he was baptized and laid to rest).

As I have said, I quit school at sixteen and, as I wasn’t left with much of this life’s goods, I went out to make my living amongst strangers. I was 23 years of age when I went to live with the Ramsey family, who had one child, a boy nine years old. They were grand people and Mrs. Ramsey was like a mother to me. Their names were James and Almeda. It was about seven years from the time I went to live with them until I was married.

Chapter 6: Family

On February 2, 1891, your father and I moved onto the Peter Allerding farm—where we lived for three years. On this farm, David Harold was born on April 23, 1892 and Cecile May on October 6, 1893. We then moved onto the Ramsey farm, where Irene Elizabeth was born on January 30, 1895.

We then bought a farm of 70 acres, known as the Dave Travis farm, which is between the two Delaware roads, about seven miles west of Mount Vernon. We moved to this farm on April 1, 1895. On July 30, 1896, Floyd Jacob Bryan was born. On May 25, 1898, twins, George Andrew and Rose Anna, were born. And on September 23, 1900, Mildred Marie was born. All on the Travis farm.

In recalling the past, when we lived on the Allerding farm, near the Ramsey’s, I went to town in a cart, driving a horse we called Jack. At the Ramsey place I passed some boys, among whom was “Do Do” Ringwalt. He reached over with a whip and hit Jack (a colt your daddy had brought from home), who started to run. “Do Do” was a mental case.

When we lived on the Ramsey place, Daddy hitched up a horse named Dandy—a colt Grandfather White had given him—and we went out to look for hogs. When we got as far as the Lewis place, some boys in an old shop scared Dandy. The horse started to run and turned the cart over on its side, where I was sitting, throwing me between the side of the cart and the wheel. I was dragged until Dandy got loose from the cart. But Daddy held on and Dandy made a sled of him, pulling him by just the lines.

Daddy lost the skin off his little finger and I had a fractured rib. And were we muddy! But we were lucky not to be worse off. Daddy kept Dandy until the fall of 1900 when Mildred was born, then sold him and bought a mare we named Rock (to raise colts).

The first colt was a horse I named Captola. She had Queen and then Belle. Queen and Belle were our team when we later lived in Mt. Vernon. Daddy bought a mate for Captola, which we named Morgue (after the man by the name of Morgan from whom we purchased him). Daddy sold this team to make the final payment on a house we had bought in Mount Vernon, on Sandusky St. Incidentally, the man who bought this team was blown to pieces by nitroglycerine—a sad ending. But not the horses he had bought from us, Cap and Morgue.

When I look back over my life with Daddy, I recall the first year we lived on the Allerding farm. I went out and raked hay in a green calico dress, which got caught in the gears of the rake and was ruined.

When we left the Ramsey farm and moved onto our own farm between the two Delaware roads—the David Travis farm—Irene was two months old. I couldn’t help much, but as soon as I could wrap up the children and take them to the barn, I would leave them in the “entry” while I did the milking and feeding. Sometimes your father would take a load of hogs to town in the afternoon, getting home at night. I would take the lantern, go out to meet him, and stay with him until he had his horses put in the barn. I did this until the children got big enough to do it.

As I said, I always went to the barn and put feed in the boxes for the horses when your Daddy was gone. When we were on our farm, I mowed hay, raked hay, loaded hay, cut corn, and hauled in corn. Why did I do it? To get ahead and have something for my children.

I was just thinking how you children used to go to meet your Daddy when you would see him coming up the road from town toward home. He would stop and let you in the wagon and almost always have a sack of candy for you. But longest joys don’t last forever. As I said, your Daddy would occasionally go to town in the afternoon, then seldom got home until late at night. You children would be in bed, but I always stayed up and got his supper and took the lantern and held it for him until he got his horse unhitched.

I remember that one time I was holding the lantern when “Old Rock” jumped at me. (She was very mean about biting people.) I started backward and couldn’t stop until I fell down. One time I rode the mowing machine to cut clover for seed, with Mildred on my lap a part of the time. Once, when all the children were at school, I said to your Daddy, “You harness the horses and, when I get my work done, I will hitch them up and haul in a load of corn.” Then he would drive it to the house and unload it while I got dinner.

Just remembering and living life over again! Having a family, there was work for all. One day I sent Irene and Floyd to the potato patch to dig some potatoes. Irene was about five years old and Floyd eighteen months younger. I heard Floyd cry. He had bent over to pick up some potatoes and, when Irene went to dig some more, she struck just in time to hit him on the nose. When he came to the house, his nose was bleeding and the right nostril was closed by the hoe hitting it—a thing that should have been taken care of by a doctor. But your Daddy wasn’t one to have a doctor for “little things.”

When Mildred was three years old, I wanted to go to see my Aunt Margaret Smith (my mother’s twin sister), who lived in Hebron, Ohio (near Newark). We had a field of small corn, which your Daddy said was so short he dreaded cutting it. I said, “If you will take me to see Aunt Margaret, I will help cut the corn.” I helped out on that and another field. We got a neighbor to stay with the children and drove “Old Rock,” hitched to a buggy, to Hebron. I think we stayed about three days.

I have prayed that the Lord might spare my life to make my son Harold a home, for it seems no one in the family wants to keep him in theirs. He has an ungovernable temper and some think he should be put in a home for the feeble-minded. However, he is not one who could be called “silly.” At times, he seems as bright as other people. When he went to school, he didn’t learn like the others did, but he can read and can tell a lot of what he learned in history.

The children all went to school, and Cecile and Irene passed the Boxwell examination (required before entrance to a high school). But where were they going to stay while in school? One day we were driving up Sandusky Street in Mount Vernon and noticed a house for sale. It was the home where my cousin Emma Rush-Secord had lived. Your Daddy went to see the administrator, a Dr. Wagner, and bought the place.

When school began in the fall, we moved the two girls down into some of the rooms of this house which were unoccupied. Then we moved from the farm to this house the first of April, 1910, when Cecile and Irene were still in high school. Four of the others went to grammar school there. Cecile decided to quit high school and got a job in a dry goods store and then got married. But Irene continued in high school for three more years. We them moved back to the farm, leaving Cecile and Irene at the home in Mt. Vernon. Later George entered high school.

Cecile married Frank Koletka on August 18, 1913. On October 20, 1914, a baby girl, Rose Marie, was born. They soon went to live in Huntington, West Virginia, where her husband’s people lived. Then they had a son, Jack. Irene also married and had a baby girl, Anita. Cecile got work in a dry goods store in Huntington and asked Irene, who had given up housekeeping, to come down to Huntington to keep house for her—which she did. When Anita was a year old, Irene saw an ad in a newspaper for a stenographer. She answered it and got the job. Then she sent for my last girl, Mildred, who went to Huntington (leaving me all alone with their father and two boys, Harold and Floyd George). In the meantime, Rose married.

When we moved into our own home. The house was larger and newer than where we had rented. It had a shingle roof on the main part. But your daddy thought a slate roof would last longer, so he decided to put a slate roof on it. He, my half-brother Franklin, and Charles Hatten (my cousin Mary Hatten’s husband) put the roof on.

Chapter 7: The Fire

One day later, George (who was too young to go to school), put wood in the heating stove in the dining room (a stove we called the “parlor cook stove”). It was dry rail wood. The chimney was built on two wood planks. They caught fire.

The fire was making good headway when Cecile and Irene discovered there was a large hole burning in the ceiling. Your father was at the far end of the farm. I sent two of the children to him, two to our neighbors (the Myerses), and put a 15-foot ladder up on the house. I screamed “fire” as loudly as I could. The neighbors came running and said they could have heard me for two miles. Your daddy went up on the house and said “We will have to cut a hole in the roof.” He did and found the fire was going up the rafters. If he hadn’t, the main part of the house would have been on fire.

This was the fall, when men were getting ready to sow their wheat. Thus, the house just stood there as it was, with nothing done to the flue or roof. Night after night, I would look up at that flue and see if there was any fire there. After Daddy got his wheat sowed, Charles Hatten helped him tear the roof off the dining room, build a bedroom on the south of the dining room, move the pantry from the south to the east of the dining room, and raze the kitchen and move it to the south. The door, which was formerly on the outside of the house, now led to the pantry. The door which had been the south outside door to the dining room now went into the bedroom.

Then we made stairs to the basement out of what was our long sitting room on the southwest corner of the dining room, and made a back stairs leading from the downstairs bedroom. The roof over the dining room was razed and we made a bedroom over the dining room. An outside entrance to the basement was also built. This was all done in the fall of 1903, when Mildred was three years old.

Chapter 8: Crystal Anniversaries & Farms

When we were married fifteen years, we had a crystal wedding anniversary. Two preachers were there, Rev. McBroom and Rev. Warren Bedell. Rev. Bedell was a schoolmate and friend of my father. There were about 100 people present. We set a table in the front yard, had a 10-gallon can of ice cream, plenty of cake, and a whole stalk of bananas. The party was not to get presents, but to get our friends together (although we received some very nice crystalware; I still have some pieces left). There have been many changes since then.

Those two ministers and their wives have gone to their reward and only a few of the others are left. My children are all grown and married—except Harold. Some of their children have married and now have children.

Daddy’s mother died in the fall of 1896. Your daddy did his father’s farming until his father died in the fall of 1898. Your daddy’s father wanted he and his brother David to take over the place, but his daughters Jennie McKinstry, Mary Doty, and Sarah Lacey went to court and took the estate out of the administrator’s hands. It was then sold by the Sheriff and Judge Wayt bid on it. He tried to settle with your daddy’s brother, John White, but he couldn’t get him to agree to anything. Judge Wayt came out from Mt. Vernon on two different days. He ate dinner with us the first day and said he would eat the next day with John, but that John was so cross, he came back and ate dinner with us the second day.

Thus, Daddy gave up getting any of his father’s farm. John and Cassius Ewalt (sister Anna’s husband) got a surveyor’s chain and parceled land off the west side and wanted Daddy to take it, but he let them have it all.

Later, Ransom Yaokum sold Daddy eighty acres from his farm to the north of ours. Later a man who owned what was called “the McIntire land” sold him fifty acres. Daddy came home from town the evening after he had bought the fifty acre tract and said, “I did something bad today.” I said, “What did you do?” He replied, “I bought the fifty acres over there” (making us 206 acres). The first year we owned this fifty acres, I think we must have harvested 200 bushels of wheat off that place. The next year Daddy, with the children’s help, put up seven big ricks of hay off the same field. The children rode the horses and dragged in the shocks. Elder McBroom helped him that year. We all worked and saved.

I can remember that, after we were married and during the presidency of Grover Cleveland, we sold hogs for three cents a pound. Later that year, we got seven cents a pound. When I was a child, and after the Civil War, muslin was 15₵ and 20₵ a yard. I remember that I got muslin later for 6₵ and 8₵ a yard, and once I bought calico for 3₵ a yard.

Later, when the South began to rebuild and raised more cotton, prices came down to where calico and prints that had sold for 25₵ came down to 10₵ and 12-1/2₵. Woolens sold at $1.00, $1.50, and $2.00 a yard, and there was not much that we could afford to buy (the effect of the Civil War). Times finally got better and farmers were paid some better prices, but not until the last twenty-five years did farmers get better prices for what they produced. But, really, these were the good old “wagon” days, before the automobile. Fewer people were killed.

Your father was the youngest of eleven children and is the only surviving member at this date. His sister, Anna, died two years ago, the 13th of January. We were married fifty-three years on November 26, 1943.

At the time of this writing, I am in Huntington, West Virginia, with my daughter Irene. I will be 83 years old on January 5, 1944. I don’t amount to much—only keep Irene company. My daughter, Rose Anna (Riley) is at our place, keeping the home fires burning. Your father is quite feeble for his years and not as able to work as I am.

Your Mother,

S/ Rosella Rabinski

If you’ve finished this term paper-cum-mini book of American history, you deserve an amusing anecdote. Granma Rabinski had provided me with only hardcopy of my great-great grandmother’s manually typed paper (we must remember, it was written in late 1943, nearly two years before the end of World War II).

The availability of only a physical copy, with nothing digital, meant I had no option but to manually type the paper on my laptop. A small task for such an interesting chunk of history, right?

Until the file became corrupted during my final edit. I had to not only repeat the editing, but also re-type all of the words. Every last one of them.

So if you find me channeling my great-great Granma’s writing style, you now know why….

[1] A type of floor characterized by roughly hewn floorboards, common in log cabins during the colonial and pioneer days of the United States.

[2] According to Wikipedia, a hogshead is a large cask of liquid or food. A tobacco hogshead, for example, was a very large wooden barrel (in standardized form, it was 48 inches long and 30 inches in diameter and weighed roughly 1,000 pounds) and was used in American colonial times to store tobacco.

[3] According to Wikipedia, “carding” is a mechanical process that disentangles, cleans, and intermixes fibers to produce a continuous web or sliver suitable for subsequent processing.

[4] Known today as linsey-woolsey.

[5] According to Wikipedia, this is lined, legal-size paper that is called foolscap because, in the 18th century, folio-size paper featured a watermark of a fool’s cap.

All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2018 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The KindSKUNK, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

Project Portland

I am beginning to focus on developing several series of articles regarding cannabis wellness and science, not just standalone pieces. This has two advantages: 1) It allows for the creation of smaller, more easily consumed articles while 2) simultaneously permitting readers to explore a specific sub-topic in greater detail, if they please.

In other words, presenting learning content in the form of an article series, including multimedia elements, is a more practical way of consuming educational materials. If our overarching, collective goal as a movement, culture, and emerging industry is to educate average voters in the real science and value of cannabis, we must make facts and opinions easy to consume and comprehend.


A cannabis legalization activist in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Our educational materials can’t require too much time or effort on the part of our target audiences, plain and simple. We must entice and reward, both intellectually and spiritually, those who question the efficacy of cannabis or its benefits to patients with PTSD, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, depression, anxiety, pain, and sleep disorders—among many other conditions.

Welcome to the first installment in one of these series: Project Portland.

Travelogues have never been my specialty. However, tens of millions of cannabis consumers across North America fantasize about living in a place where the cultivation, purchase, possession, and consumption of cannabis flowers, and derivatives thereof, are fully legal.


I’ll replace this image with one of my own. Nice vantage point.

There are a few places in the United States—if you’re a cannabis advocate, way too few—where consumers can enjoy these progressive liberties. The shortlist includes Seattle, Denver, Portland, and Anchorage.

Exploring Oregon

Readers deserve to see beyond media hype, aggressive marketing, and social stereotypes to know what it’s really like for a patient or regular cannabis consumer to live someplace like Portland.

Because good investigative journalism doesn’t come easily and I like a good challenge, I’ll be spending a week in Portland over the 4/20 High Holiday to check out Oregon’s largest city (what better time, eh?). Just for safe measure, I’ll also be traveling south to Eugene to check out some of the local gardens and personalities.

Portland is known for many things, including its support of craft businesses (think breweries, coffee shops, dispensaries, and new companies like Smuggle Portland). It is arguably best known as the most bicycle-friendly metropolis in the United States. To test this part (because life is about more than just cannabis), I’ll be taking my bike.


A backyard bush in Toronto, Canada.

Perhaps a more organic exploration of the city, via walking and cycling—while leaving the internal combustion engine car at home—is appropriate for the culture in Portland that embraces organic farming, cannabis medicine, the arts and music, and great food.

What Do You Want to Know?

Project Portland will be more impactful for all of us if you tell me what you want to know. Do you live in Ohio? Kentucky? Florida? Is prohibition weighing down on you like a 10-ton boulder—and making you wish lived in Boulder?

During 2016 and 2017, more than a dozen states will consider the legalization of cannabis for adult use. For the wave of legalization to continue, Americans must be educated in the real science of this plant and how it helps everyone, from terminal patients and those who need to survive current or previous abuse to those who simply need to mitigate stress.

We must, against all efforts of the U.S. federal government, throw off nearly a century of propaganda, misinformation, and fear mongering to achieve a more enlightened, science-based view of cannabis among the masses.


A home garden in the American Midwest.

So let’s all gain an education together. I’m suited up with a new camera and several mobile devices to help ensure that the photos and videos that accompany the words herein are as entertaining as they are educational.

All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2017 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The KindSKUNK, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

Gooey’s Cannabis Queries: Part 1

Welcome to the first in a series of answers to queries directly from readers—all of which come in at exactly 420 words (out of respect to your time).

To set the mood, just listen to Cab Calloway tell you how it is…in 1932 (five years before cannabis became illegal in the United States).

— Gooey Rabinski

Today’s request comes from Nurse Mary J Hemp Tattoo Aftercare. She sells a groovy hemp-based lotion that ensures that your tattoo stays as perfect tens years from now as the day you got it. She is also a big supporter of cannabis education and learning. Which is how I met her.


Nurse Mary J Hemp Tattoo Aftercare (Photo credit: Nurse Mary J).

Nurse Mary J is curious about the most common misconceptions of our favorite plant, cannabis. Great question, Nurse Mary J….

The Toke Hold: It might as well be called the “choke hold,” because holding one’s breath when inhaling cannabis smoke or vapor is actually counterproductive. Your lungs nearly instantaneously absorb the THC and other cannabinoids found in cannabis smoke or vapor.

According to Dr. Sunil Aggarwal, human lungs are able to accomplish this feat in part because they feature the surface areas of a tennis court.  In fact, when one holds one’s breath, all they achieve is depriving their brain of oxygen (a decidedly bad thing).

Cultivation Collateral: Some home cannabis cultivators falsely believe that allowing plants to grow as long as possible results in more cannabinoid-bearing resin or more potent resin. Unfortunately, this isn’t necessarily true.

In fact, once the trichomes (nearly microscopic resin glands) on the flowers become cloudy, the harvested cannabis medicine will increasingly be narcotic indica-like. Less cloudy generally results in a more sativa-like, energizing effect.


A home garden in the American Midwest.

Amotivational Syndrome: Many cannabis critics cite the ability of some strains to produce a lack of energy and motivation (what those in the culture often call “couchlock”). In reality, there are two types of cannabis: Sativa and indica.

Sativas have a reputation for being uplifting, energizing, and promoting creativity and productivity. Indicas, on the contrary, are often better for pain management, sleep, and appetite stimulation (great for patients with Crohn’s, cancer, and those undergoing chemotherapy).

Mango Mania: Let’s close with an urban legend regarding cannabis that’s actually true. Eating a mango can really amplify the effects of smoked or vaporized THC. Why? It’s because the mango contains a terpene called myrcene (pronounced “mur-scene”). Myrcene is known to amplify THC.

Steep Hill Labs in  San Francisco claims that >0.5% myrcene (by volume) in a plant results in an indica, whereas below this level will produce sativa-like effects in patients. 

All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2017 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a technical writer, instructional designer, and photographer who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The Kind, Emerald MagazineSKUNK, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, WoahStorkWeed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, CannaBiz Journal, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

Autonomous Cars: Not Why You Think

As Bob Dylan once said, “The times they are a-changin’.” Part of the change on the vehicular landscape is autonomous, or self-driving, cars.

In a 2015 LinkedIn Pulse post, John C. Abell, an excellent writer with a history at Reuters and Wired, wrote a post entitled Self-Driving Cars: A Super Cool Idea Whose Time Will Never Come. While I agree with many points in his article, I disagree with the overall premise.

I believe self-driving cars will come to fruition and populate our roads by the millions.

700,000 Accident-Free Miles

Abell began his article by citing the milestone of 700,000 accident-free miles driven by Google’s autonomous Lexus and Toyota vehicles in the Mountain View, California area. Because LinkedIn’s offices are close to those of Google, Abell often sees Google’s robotically driven vehicles on the roads.

He wrote, “Some dreams come true, but I’m very skeptical about self-driving cars,” citing one of his reasons as the fact that fully autonomous vehicles aren’t that much safer than cars equipped with “driver assistance systems” such as “lane-drifting warnings, drowsiness detection, and adaptive cruise control.” While I need to do more research, I understand what he’s saying here. Although I think fully-automated vehicles are the safest option of all.

Abell then states “If driverless cars can reduce accidents, that would be a compelling argument. Consumers respond to safety ratings, especially if they have children.” Other than his overall prediction of the demise of self-driving cars, this is my main point of contention.

Drivers Don’t Care

I once Tweeted “The only true reality is consumer behavior.” I don’t think the average car buyer knows if the model they’re considering has received a five-star crash rating. And I don’t think most consumers care. A car buyer’s biggest safety concern? I’d bet my next book advance that it’s “Does it have airbags?” Even the planned Elio car, at only $7,000, would feature three airbags.

Because nearly all vehicles on the road today, in all price categories, feature airbags, even this has become an assumption and a moot point—and probably a question rarely asked of dealership salespeople.

I inquired with my friend Buzz Smith, a senior salesperson at a Dallas/Fort Worth Chevrolet dealership about his opinion. “My experience is probably five percent or less [ask about safety issues]. Most ask about horsepower, miles per gallon, warranty terms, and available colors,” he said, adding, “I think cars have gotten to a point that it is assumed they’re safe.”

Autonomous cars will offer amazing safety and significantly reduce traffic accidents and fatalities. There’s a reason Google’s robotic cars have achieved nearly a million accident-free miles. And they’re only test mules and prototypes, not market-ready production models!

Convenience is Key

That said, I simply don’t believe it will be safety that entices buyers to jump on the self-driving car bandwagon. As a society, we’re more hedonistic than safety-focused. This is similar to how, for most buyers, it’s not environmental concerns that are the chief motivator for purchasing an electric car like a Nissan LEAF or Tesla Model S (it’s saving money on gas and maintenance, or technolust and having the coolest car on the block).

Instead of safety concerns, it will be convenience that drives consumers to purchase autonomous cars.

We are a nation of convenience. There’s a reason even Pizza Hut and Walgreens have a drive-thru. Consumers with work commutes will desire an autonomous vehicle so they can recoup their commute time. They’ll use their “drive time” to help their career by studying, working, or even holding mobile meetings. Others will simply mess around playing full-on Angry Birds or commenting on their friends’ casserole recipes or deer hunting photos on Facebook.

Most of us don’t own sports cars and aren’t auto enthusiasts. Driving is a chore. I’m weird; I love it (even in crappy little econoboxes). I get plenty of opportunities to drive my wife’s car. Whenever we travel together, she would rather sit in the passenger seat. She’s more like the average middle class driver than me.

Legal Liability

Abell’s other point regarded legal liability. He wrote, “If a self-driving car is in an accident, who—what—is to blame? I wouldn’t want to be sued if I didn’t play an active role.” Agreed. Which reminded me of an article I had read a few months earlier.

Regarding liability, Google actually thinks it should be liable! According to The Atlantic in a May 19, 2014 article entitled Google’s Self-Driving Cars Have Never Gotten a Ticket, Ron Medford, safety director for Google’s self-driving car program (and former deputy admin for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) said, “What we’ve been saying to the folks in the DMV, even in public session, for unmanned vehicles, we think the ticket should go to the company. Because the decisions are not being made by the individual.”

Trippy. And likely not words that will put a smile on the faces of Google investors. Something tells me that the insurance industry needs to prepare for some serious disruption. Allstate, Nationwide, USAA: Are you paying attention?

But I don’t think it will be Google that popularizes autonomous cars (although it may hold an impressive patent portfolio or partner with major automakers). It will more likely be Tesla and Nissan. I think Google will be off developing contact lenses that tell me if I have testicular cancer….

[For an excellent high-definition video about Google’s driverless car tech, check out this video.]


All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2017 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a technical writer, photographer, and compliance documentation specialist for cannabis businesses who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, CannaBiz Journal, MERRY JANEEmerald Magazine, Grow Magazine, Herb.coThe KindSkunk, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

Improving Coffee

This isn’t an article ranting about Starbucks. Rather, it’s about cost-effectively making the best possible coffee at home—while spending as little as possible. There are no $800 hipster frap machines in this article.

I write about consumer technology. The machines that grind and brew coffee are tech gadgets, after all. Besides, a large percentage of the high-driving professionals on Twitter and LinkedIn consume quite a bit of java to keep the motor running and sustain productivity.

In some respects, there’s no right or wrong here. If you prefer Folger’s instant, that’s cool (although you probably don’t get out much and are likely a friend of my mother). Coffee snobs, however, frown on such bourgeois concoctions. And then there’s the rest of us. We don’t want crap, but we also don’t want to spend $550 on a boutique coffee machine that will produce results for which we can’t taste the difference.

So how, exactly, does one affordably produce great coffee at home?

I asked myself the same question toward the end of 2013. I was using a cheap $20 Hamilton Beach machine I had purchased at a Walmart in San Antonio. Because I knew that freshly ground beans improved quality and flavor, I also had a $20 blade grinder. The value proposition was high: For $40 in hardware, I was enjoying thoroughly mediocre coffee. Even when I purchased top-shelf beans.

What to Get?

So when my kids asked me what I wanted for the holidays that year, I said a good coffee maker. After a few hours of research and watching customer reviews on YouTube, I finally decided on a model.

And what did I learn? That good coffee is about much more than simply a good coffee maker. It’s also about the particular type of grinder you use and how you store your beans. Um, you do purchase fresh roasted whole beans and toss them in a grinder, right?

Ultimately, I went with the $160 8-cup Bonavita with a thermal carafe. I drink coffee for several hours in the morning and often into the afternoon, so the thermal carafe has been invaluable for my particular use case.

Granted, you can spend much more than this on a high-end coffee maker. A buddy of mine has a $300 espresso machine (but he’s into latte fraps; I’m not). Like most areas of life, you can spend literally thousands of dollars on a cool coffee maker. But most of us are middle class schleps; this stuff has to be affordable.

Where I really gained some schooling was in terms of the basic science behind good at-home coffee. First, most coffee makers don’t heat water to a temperature high enough to properly extract the oils and all of the coffee goodness from the ground beans. The Bonavita, like only a few other moderately priced consumer models on the market, heats the water to 205 degrees F (96 celsius).

If the water isn’t at least 200 degrees, forget extracting the best flavors from even the most luxurious coffee beans. So I had taken care of the temperature problem exhibited by the majority of coffee makers on the market—even some of the more expensive models.

Bean Grinders are Critical

What really blew my mind was the important, albeit critical, role of a coffee grinder. There are two types of grinders: Blade and burr. You want a burr grinder.

Blade grinders are bad for a few reasons. While they’re good in that they’re the least expensive variety, they’re bad because they produce an uneven, coarse product. Also, blade grinders, based on the physics of how they operate, generate too much heat. Your coffee beans are already roasted.

A blade grinder basically roasts them a bit more, adversely affecting the flavor. This is a pain because you want to thoroughly grind your coffee (depending on your particular brew method), but you don’t want powder. But the more you grind it, the more you harm the flavor and quality due to the heat you’re creating. It’s a primitive double-edged sword, and your taste buds are the victim.

Enter the burr grinder. These types operate much more slowly, crushing the beans between stainless steel conical burrs. This both alleviates the heat produced by blade grinders and results in a much more uniform grind (avoiding the chunks and dust of their bipolar blade-based cousins). About the only downside of a burr grinder is that some models can be loud. Like holy-crap-wake-the-family-loud (I actually used mine on my outside deck one morning in an attempt to not wake my kids and their sleepover guests).

Tonx Talks

If you want to watch a short, humorous video about this topic, check out Tonx Talk: Making Do With A Blade Grinder on Vimeo. Within the video, an employee of Tonx coffee, a high-end roaster based in Los Angeles, states: “Coffee nerds hate blade grinders, and for good reasons. Burr grinders…[allow] you to make small adjustments and to dial-in your brew method. Blade grinders are like really cheap food processors; they hack away at your beans and leave you with [a] chunky mess. They really suck.” She adds, however, that

“A crappy blade grinder can still give you a decent cup if you start with fresh roasted whole beans.”

There are two types of burr grinders: Conical and flat plate. Grinders featuring flat plate burrs are superior, but typically cost-prohibitive for consumers. They’re found on the commercial models at your local coffee shop and overkill for almost all at-home coffee drinkers. Conical burr grinders are much more affordable, don’t produce unnecessary heat, and deliver a nice, even grind.

I chose a Bodum Bistro conical burr grinder I found on Amazon for $130. I know. Nearly $150 for a grinder—not even a coffee machine—is a steep proposition for many middle class consumers. My overall investment to improve my coffee experience was about $330. But when you consider how much you pay for good coffee beans—and how much Starbucks and other shops want for a decent cup, especially if you drink it on a daily basis—it’s an investment that pays for itself over time.

Probably the best thing most people can do is purchase whole beans, not pre-ground coffee and acquire a nice burr grinder. If nothing else, this will elevate the quality of your coffee by leaps and bounds. If you really want to hit a home run, get any coffee maker that is guaranteed to heat your water to at least 200 degrees.

Final Advice: Storage

The final advice for good coffee is storage. First, understand that storing your raw beans in the freezer to maintain freshness and quality is a myth (this can lead to nice debates with your parents, who may have been doing this for decades). Why? The freezer removes the moisture from the coffee, something that’s critical to its freshness and flavor.

No, you don’t want your beans to get too moist or humid, but you also don’t want anything near what a freezer will do to them—especially over time. It’s about a fine balance, grasshoppa, and the freezer blows it, dude.

The rules are simple: Store your coffee beans at room temperature and away from light and air. Personally, I use a BeanSafe stainless steel storage container that I got on Amazon for $25.

If you’re tired of the crappy java your Mr. Coffee or Hamilton Beach model delivers, try spending a few more bucks and getting one that heats the water properly. Then get a good burr grinder and a purpose-built storage container for your beans. And don’t forget the advice of Tonx: Always use freshly roasted, high-quality beans.

You may love the results.

— Gooey Rabinski

All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2017 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a technical writer, photographer, and compliance documentation specialist for cannabis businesses who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, CannaBiz Journal, MERRY JANEEmerald Magazine, Grow Magazine, Herb.coThe KindSkunk, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.


The Universality of Coming Out

Recently, a colleague approached me with some feedback regarding a popular social media campaign within the cannabis community.

He’s not turned on by the fact that the #comingoutgreen campaign “borrows” on the LGBTQA+ theme of coming out of the closet—a metaphorical nod to the act of a person of alternative gender identity or sexual orientation no longer hiding their true lifestyle.

The Act of Coming Out

When fully exercised, coming out involves either no longer hiding or even directly informing friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors of one’s position in terms of how they identify and what they want.

Coming out may have become a recognized life event for some because of the LGBTQA+ community, but it is an equally powerful experience of courage, rebirth, and honesty for millions of cannabis consumers throughout North America.


Macro shot of a fuzzy backyard bee in Cleveland, Ohio.

Coming out is a grand catharsis; a significant life event involving a brave defiance interwoven with self-confidence. It’s something with which most straight, middle class “conforming” Americans cannot relate.

Catharsis & Truth

Coming out is the act of recognizing one’s true nature and declaring it for all others to see—with pride and determination.

It involves embracing catharsis and honesty. We could argue over whether these elements are necessary for the happiness and contentment of the human spirit until the cows come home. My point isn’t to debate philosophy, but rather to proclaim the healing powers of honesty to oneself and those around them.

If the benefits of catharsis and truth are so great for one set of people, why not for another? Ok, so we have catharsis and truth behind the power of coming out. But there is an even more important theme: Inclusivity.


A backyard cannabis plant (Toronto; 2007).

The entire concept of coming out, optimistically speaking, is that the majority will accept the minority member who is doing the coming out. Unfortunately, we know this isn’t always true.

For some, coming out has had very negative repercussions. I certainly don’t want to trivialize these challenging and sometimes even horrific experiences, especially for teens in homes with little or no sensitivity to their situation.


Just as society at large must accept and, preferably, embrace alternative viewpoints and preferences, such as homosexuals and cannabis users, as they emerge from the shadows, the leaders of the cannabis movement/industry/culture must also focus on inclusivity if they wish to accomplish their goals. This includes all users of cannabis, be they straight, gay, black, white, rich, poor—and regardless of how or if they pray.

Whether your goal is to see national legalization, help those in the cannabis and patient communities, or just to make a boatload of money with a business based in a legal state, the topic of inclusivity won’t go away. Groups like Women Grow and others are sincerely battling with this issue every day.


Folk blues virtuoso guitarist Joe Rollin Porter (Cleveland; 2015).

Coming out requires boatloads of bravery and is not always without punishment of the innocent. Optimistically, however, it can result in a soul-liberating catharsis and integration of truth into one’s life.

But without inclusion, coming out doesn’t work. This fact is as important for the cannabis community as it is for LGBTQA+ people revealing their true selves to society.

Gooey Rabinski

All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2018 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a technical writer, photographer, and compliance documentation specialist for cannabis businesses who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, CannaBiz Journal, MERRY JANEEmerald Magazine, Grow Magazine, Herb.coThe KindSkunk, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.


Time for Tesla

Back in 2015, Tesla Motors, in Fremont, California, unveiled its forthcoming all-battery electric Model 3 sedan. This five-passenger, sub-six second bleeding edge beauty is a real-life semi-autonomous family car from the future and will be priced at $35,000.

That’s $27,500 if the U.S. federal government maintains its $7,500 tax credit for qualifying alternative vehicles. While the upcoming Chevy Bolt will certainly be hefty competition for the Model 3, it will be an also-ran in terms of design, self-driving capabilities, and overall telemetry muscle.

The new $35,000 Tesla Model 3.

The following is a blog post I wrote under a pen name in 2014, when the Model 3 was all but a vapor fantasy. I updated it during the week of August 8, 2017, just after the Model 3 began rolling off the Tesla assembly line.

— Gooey Rabinski

Seeing new cars on the road, in addition to my typical obsession with consumer technology, has produced a constant mental Venn diagram—with new cars in the left circle and consumer tech in the right. And in the middle, overlapping section of the diagram?

Tesla Motors.

In a recent blog post, I kvetched about the lack of technical innovation in the auto industry. In reflection, I was referring only to the technical enhancements to personal transportation, such as Bluetooth, backup cameras, haptic feedback, adaptive cruise control, and head-up displays.

But what about the core drivetrain?

When you consider the pace of improvement and innovation in industries like consumer electronics, entertainment, and computers, it’s amazing that all of our cars (even if you drive a Chevy Volt or a Toyota Prius) are simply leveraging an improved version of a 155-year-old technology: Internal combustion.

Clean Personal Transport

Regardless of whether you’re conservative or progressive or your stance on climate change, no one can argue that auto exhaust is good for the planet. If given the choice, I’d vote to exclude it from my community. And so would Elon Musk, the co-founder and CEO of electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors.

In fact, Musk’s vision is for one of his other successful companies, residential solar power provider SolarCity, to provide clean, sustainable energy for our homes and for Tesla to offer a viable, affordable solution to consuming that clean energy for transportation.

Have you been cheating on me? Musk juggles multiple CEO gigs.

Musk has faced roadblock after roadblock for his small offering of high-tech, sporty, and fully electric vehicles. Back in 2014 and 2015, car dealers and lawmakers across the United States challenged him based on the fact that Tesla sells direct to consumers—not through dealerships. Old laws from a bygone era designed, ironically, to prevent monopolies were being leveraged across the country to prohibit Tesla from selling its cars. Michigan and West Virginia, among many others, banned Tesla from selling within their borders.

“Unfortunately, it seems that most car dealership owners are more talented at screaming “Discounts, discounts, discounts!” on the local FM radio station than taking on a fair fight. Apparently their wallets are bigger than their balls….”

Lazy car dealerships acclimated to purchasing local monopolies for their particular brand are apparently so intimidated by Tesla and its attractive electric tech that they have been taking legal action and calling on their country club cronies to help protect them from open market economies. Unfortunately, it seems that most car dealership owners are more talented at screaming “Discounts, discounts, discounts!” on the local FM radio station than taking on a fair fight. Apparently their wallets are bigger than their balls….

Legacy Tech = Modern Cars

Combined with fuel costs hovering between $2.00 and $4.00 per gallon—and each of those gallons delivering an average of only 25 miles per gallon (according to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute)—the old way is feeling about as advanced as the paper and pencil that might have resided in the pocket of Henry Ford at the 1908 introduction of the Model T.

When you compare these items with a modern smartphone, like an internet-connected iPhone or the Samsung Galaxy, you get an idea of how far technology as a whole has evolved in American society. Henry Ford couldn’t have even imagined Instagram or binge watching Game of Thrones on HBO NOW.

The $69,500-140,000 Tesla Model S. Some consider it the best car ever.

If the Model T was the foundation of the fossil fuel-propelled auto industry, then it is surely one of Tesla’s models that is the genesis of a new age of significantly more advanced and earth-friendly vehicles. Because of Musk’s own passion for cars—specifically those of the high-performance variety—we’ve learned that electric cars don’t have to be boring. As practical and decidedly high-tech as the Toyota Prius is, “sexy,” “sleek,” and “fast” are terms that simply don’t enter one’s mind when considering this vehicle from our friends in Japan.

Let’s face it: If you have any lust for sportiness or curb appeal whatsoever, the hybrid Prius has always felt like a sacrifice, as if a middle-aged dot com hippy is, by driving down the road in one, symbolically stating, “I’m doing my part for the environment.”

Musk has personally bootstrapped Tesla during the course of its relatively short existence, investing more than $75 million of his personal wealth. He spent his last $40 million (from the sale of his brainchild PayPal to eBay) to save the company from bankruptcy in 2007.

Tesla now seems to be out of the woods in terms of its financial solvency. Past investments from industry titans like Mercedes and Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, in addition to a successful 2010 IPO, have helped keep Tesla alive and growing.

Musk Knows Affordability is Key

Putting us at 2017. Tesla is beginning to sell a $35,000 everyman’s version of its vaunted $69,500-140,000 Model S that will be called the Model 3 (Musk has stated that the price is prior to federal and state tax incentives).

The Model S is the follow-on to Tesla’s first vehicle, the exotically sporty and expensive Roadster (hyped at its introduction by celeb customers like George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Arnold Schwarzenegger). Tesla also owns a ginormous battery plant outside of Reno, Nevada dubbed the Gigafactory, a partnership between the company and Panasonic that will help make the Model 3 affordable for consumers and profitable for Tesla.

The gorgeous Model S passes the pump.

Musk has pointed out how market forces alone—especially given the heavy-handed lobbying and deep old-school pockets of the petroleum industry and car dealers—haven’t been enough to decrease the price of car batteries fast enough, enabling affordable electric vehicles. The Gigafactory, using leading-edge manufacturing processes, is purported by Musk to be the reason his company can offer a fully electric car that competes on price with gas guzzlers from Detroit, Tokyo, and Seoul.

Musk is one of those once-in-a-generation entrepreneurs who truly gives you the goosebumps when you consider everything he’s accomplished—and when you comprehend what he might do in the next decade or two (he’s only 46, after all).

Unlike some of the more ego-driven and bombastic executives in Silicon Valley—like Oracle’s Larry Ellison, Microsoft’s (former) Steve Ballmer, and T-Mobile’s John Legere—Musk is a relatively humble founder and CEO. Not to be confused with his confidence, which is hypnotically powerful. Some have accused Musk of having a cult-like following. Others simply appreciate his engineering-minded perspective and proclivity for efficiency, performance, and optimistic goals.

“Given Musk’s accomplishments during the past few years, and his likely successes in the coming decades, it will be exciting to see what his companies achieve.”

Given Musk’s accomplishments during the past few years, and his likely successes in the coming decades, it will be exciting to see what his companies achieve. Although The New York Times and Britain’s Top Gear TV show might have lost faith in his efforts, or even rigged some of their testing of his vehicles, the prospect of a Model 3 electric car for the masses, priced realistically and practically, may indeed change the game for automotive consumers.

So let’s cheer underdog Tesla Motors and its tenacious CEO Elon Musk for having the courage to challenge established players—be they car dealers or the big guys from Detroit. Porsche performance in a zero-emission car with leading edge technology, less expensive fuel than from fossils, and the quality and comfort of premium brands is an option that American consumers deserve.

And clearly want.

Gooey Rabinski

All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2017 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a technical writer, photographer, and compliance documentation specialist for cannabis businesses who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, CannaBiz Journal, MERRY JANEEmerald Magazine, Grow Magazine, Herb.coThe KindSkunk, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.