It may contain some typos. First I noticed that the park was in absolutely immaculate condition, in better shape than ever in my lifetime, going back to my s school days. The Bethesda Terrace beside the lake and the adjoining Great Mall with its once-decrepitating Naumberg bandshell were all fixed up. Vanished original buildings such as the Dairy, designed by Olmsted and Vaux in the s and then lost to decay, had been meticulously reproduced.
October is the bad month for the wind, the month when breathing is difficult and the hills blaze up spontaneously. There has been no rain since April. Every voice seems a scream.
It is the season of suicide and divorce and prickly dread, wherever the wind blows. The Mormons settled this ominous country, and then they abandoned it but by the time they left the first orange tree had been planted and for the next hundred years the San Bernardino Valley would draw a kind of people who imagined they might live among the talismanic fruit and prosper in die dry air, people who brought with them Mid-western ways of building and cooking and praying and who tried to graft those ways upon the land.
The graft took incurious ways. This is the California where it is possible to live and die without ever eating an artichoke, without ever meeting a Catholic or a Jew.
This is the California where it is easy to Dial-A-Devotion, but hard to buy a book. The future always looks good in the golden land, because no one remembers the past. Here is where the hot wind blows and the old ways do not seem relevant, where the divorce rate is double the national average and where one person in every thirty-eight lives in a trailer.
Here is where they are trying to find a new life style, trying to find it in the only places they know to look: The case of Lucille Marie Maxwell Miller is a tabloid monument to that new life style. Imagine Banyan Street first, because Banyan is where it happened.
Past the motel that is nineteen stucco tepees: But after awhile the signs thin out on Carnelian Avenue, and the houses are no longer the bright pastels of the Springtime Home owners but the faded bungalows of the people who grow a few grapes and keep a few chickens out here, and then the hill gets steeper and the road climbs and even the bungalows are few, and here desolate, roughly surfaced, lined with eucalyptus and lemon grovesis Banyan Street.
Like so much of this country, Banyan suggests something curious and unnatural. The stones look not like natural stones but like the rubble of some unmentioned upheaval.
There are smudge pots, and a closed cistern. To one side of Banyan there the flat valley, and to the other the San Bernardino Mountains, a dark mass looming too high, too fist, nine, ten, eleven thousand feet, right there above the lemon groves. At midnight on Banyan Street there is no light at all, and no sound except the wind in the eucalyptus and a muffled barking of dogs.
There may be a kennel somewhere, or the dogs may be coyotes. Banyan Street was the route Lucille Miller took home from the twenty-four hour Mayfair Market on the night of October 7,a night when the moon was dark and the wind was blowing and she was out of milk, and Banyan Street was where, at about For an hour and fifteen minutes Lucille Miller ran up and down Banyan calling for help, but no cars passed and no help came.
Some mourners heard Elder Robert E. Denton of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church of Ontario speak of "the temper of fury that has broken out among us. Elder Fred Jensen asked "what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Of course she came from somewhere else, came off the prairie, in search of something she had seen in a movie or heard on the radio. For this is a Southern California story.
By the time Lucille Maxwell enrolled at Walla Walla College in College Place, Washington, the Adventist school where her parents then taught, she was an eighteen-year-old possessed of unremarkable good looks and remarkable high spirits.
Unhappy marriages so resemble one another that we do not need to know too much about the course of this one. There may or may not have been trouble on Guam, where Cork and Lucille Miller lived while he finished his Army duty.
There may or may not have been problems in the small Oregon town where he first set up private practice. There appears to have been some disappointment-about their move to California: Cork Miller bad told friends that he wanted to become a doctor, that he was unhappy as a dentist and planned to enter the Seventh-Day Adventist College of Medical Evangelists at Loma Linda, a few miles south of San Bernardino.
Instead he bought a dental practice in the west end of San Bernardino County, and the family settled there, In a modest house on the kind of street where there are always tricycles and revolving credit and dreams about bigger houses, better streets.
By the summer of they had achieved -the bigger house on the better street and the familiar accouterments of a family on its way up: And they had reached the familiar season of divorce. On April 24 an old friend, Elaine Hayton, died suddenly; Lucille Miller had seen her only the night before.
During the month of May, Cork Miller was hospitalized briefly with a bleeding ulcer, and his usual reserve deepened into depression. By July 8, the conventional tensions of love and money had reached the conventional impasse in the new house on the acre lot at Bella Vista, and Lucille Miller filed for divorce.
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only an houreast of Los Angeles by way of the San Bernardino Freeway but is in certain ways an alien place: not the coastal the California ofsubtropical twilights and the soft westerlies off the Pacific but a harsher California, haunted by the Mohave just beyond the mountains, devastated by the hot dry Santa Ana wind that comes down through the passes at miles an hour and whines through.
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