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Tuesday, July 7, 2015


Built in 1928, by merchant, civic leader George Marston as a gift to San Diego, the structure (above) is currently operated by the San Diego History Center in partnership with the University of San Diego.
GUEST BLOG—By Matthew Schiff, San Diego History Center--Pope Francis’ announcement in January 2015 that Father Junípero Serra would be canonized by the Catholic Church in September, sent ripples through the various stakeholder communities in California who have wrestled with the events that transpired after Serra began his missionary duties in Alta California centuries ago. 

This Thursday, July 9 at 6 pm at the Junípero Serra Museum in Presidio Park, historians and authors Rose Marie Beebe and Robert M. Senkewicz of Santa Clara University will address new perspectives on Serra from their new book: Junipero Serra: California, Indians, and the Transformation of a Missionary ( $31.99).
In July 1769, before the Declaration of Independence was written, a band of exhausted Spanish soldiers and priests, including Father Junípero Serra, planted a cross on a hill overlooking San Diego Bay. Arrival of Spaniards disrupted the eons-long relationship between the native Kumeyaay people and the land.  The Spainards continued a northward trend of missionization along California’s coast, and has managed to stir controversy among the various stakeholder groups in the state for the last 246 years; his canonization will add to the debate.

“Junípero Serra was a very controversial figure during his own lifetime, and reactions to the recent decision to canonize him demonstrate very clearly that he continues to be a controversial figure during our times as well,” says Senkewicz. “He elicits a variety of reactions and our presentation will attempt to provide an accurate historical context for these contemporary reactions.”

 “Father Serra was a product of his time,” says historian Iris Engstrand, Ph.D., author of several books about Spanish colonization of the southwestern United States. “He believed he had the power to save the Indians' souls and guarantee their place in Heaven. Spanish policy was to make the Indians a part of the community and protect their land, not push them out.”

         WHO:              Authors: Rose Marie Beebe and Robert M. Senkewicz
         WHAT:           Booksigning, lecture, and reception with hosted wine and beer, paella from the House of Spain, and traditional Spanish guitar
         WHEN:           Thursday, July 9, 2015 at 6:00pm
         WHERE:        Junípero Serra Museum in Presidio Park 2727 Presidio Drive San Diego, CA 92103
         WHY: Topical, timely conversation of Junípero Serra before his canonization in September 2015

The San Diego History Center, which operates its flagship museum in Balboa Park as well as the Junípero Serra Museum in Presidio Park, tells the diverse story of our region―past, present, and future. The History Center was founded in 1928 and is one of the oldest and largest historical organizations in California. It is one of only a handful of institutions nationwide that is dedicated to celebrating the heritage of a major American city. For more information please visit
         Twitter: @SanDiegoHistory

Monday, July 6, 2015


Charley's kids
Editor’s note: The following is the final posting of Charlotte Kitley’s blog
“Living life with love, laughter and Stage 4 Bowel Cancer.” She died on September 16, 2014.  She had been a regular blogger on The Huffington Post UK since 2013 and sadly passed away on Tuesday 16 September from bowel cancer. She wrote one final post that she wished to share with all of her readers. Like the editors of The Huffington Post UK we are honored to offer it to you here.

MY LAST BLOG—By Charlotte Kitley--I've always been a good planner. I like lists and tick sheets, to-do notes and objectives. I'm very good at starting things, but honestly, I am also easily bored and quickly lose interest once the original excitement passes.

I haven't had the luxury of being allowed to be bored of having cancer. It isn't something you can just give up if you don't fancy doing it that day. There isn't a switch you can chose to turn off one day from the next. At least not for me. From my first day as a cancer patient, I have attended every test, scan and appointment. I have tried every treatment offered, from the standard medical therapies, to eating oiled cottage cheese, having acupuncture and juicing kale. Cancer has become our life. Holidays, haircuts and helicopter lessons have all been timed around good or bad chemo weekends. Danny and Lu, unwittingly as innocent by-standers have had their childhoods protected but also dictated by my various regimes. This is all they have ever known and, I hope, have still managed to turn out to be pretty good, well-rounded, loved and treasured children.

The innocence that we have protected them from has now had to be revealed. Following my birthday, I started to feel 'unwell'. We 'popped' to hospital where the usual set of tests were carried out. Unfortunately, when combined with a recent scan, the results were nothing short of devastating. We were no longer looking at a month by month action plan with a couple of months buffer at the end. I was given days, perhaps a couple of weeks to live. I wasn't expected to leave the hospital, but somehow, have managed to pull it out of the bag at the last moment and return home, to spend what little time I have with my darling children and loving husband.

As I write this, I am sat on the sofa, relatively pain-free and busy doing my little projects, sorting out the funeral and selling my car. We wake up every morning, grateful I can have a cuddle and kiss my babies.

As you read this, I will no longer be here. Rich will be trying to put one foot in front of the other, to get by, a day at a time, knowing I will no longer awake next to him. He will see me in the luxury of a dream, but in the harsh morning sun, the bed will be empty. He will get two cups from the cupboard, but realise there is only one coffee to make. Lucy will need someone to reach for her hairband box, but there won't be anyone to plait her hair. Danny will have lost one of his Lego policeman, but no one will know exactly which one it is or where to look. You will look for the latest update on the blog. There won't be one, this is the final chapter.

And so I leave a gaping, unjust, cruel and pointless hole, not just in Halliford Road, but in all the homes, thoughts and memories of other loved ones, friends and families. For that I am sorry. I would love to still be with you, laughing, eating my weird and latest miracle food, chatting rubbish 'Charleyisms'. I have so much life I still want to live, but know I won't have that. I want to be there for my friends as they move with their lives, see my children grow up and become old and grumpy with Rich. All these things are to be denied of me.

But, they are not to be denied of you. So, in my absence, please, please, enjoy life. Take it by both hands, grab it, shake it and believe in every second of it. Adore your children. You have literally no idea how blessed you are to shout at them in the morning to hurry up and clean their teeth.

Embrace your loved one and if they cannot embrace you back, find someone who will. Everyone deserves to love and be loved in return. Don't settle for less. Find a job you enjoy, but don't become a slave to it. You will not have 'I wish I'd worked more' on your headstone. Dance, laugh and eat with your friends. True, honest, strong friendships are an utter blessing and a choice we get to make, rather than have to share a loyalty with because there happens to be link through blood. Choose wisely then treasure them with all the love you can muster. Surround yourself with beautiful things. Life has a lot of grey and sadness - look for that rainbow and frame it. There is beauty in everything, sometimes you just have to look a little harder to see it.

So, that's it from me. Thank you so much for the love and kindness you've shown in your own little ways over the last 36 years. From the mean girls in the playing fields who pushed me into the stinging nettles aged six to the bereaved husbands who in the last week have told me what their wives did to help prepare their young children and everyone in between. They and you have all, in some small way helped me become the person I have been.

Please, now use that love for me and pass it to Rich, my children, family and close friends. And when you close your curtains tonight, look out for a star, it will be me, looking down, sipping a pina colada, enjoying a box of (very expensive) chocolates.

Good night, Good bye and God bless.

Charley xx