Friday, January 8, 2010

Felicity, California

Fri - Jan. 8th

A very good date. This is the birthday of my mother-in-law, my grandpa and Elvis.

Jaques-Andre Istel, mayor and founder, of Felicity is a French-born veteran of the U.S. marines and a pioneer of free-fall parachutung. He wrote a children's book about the center of the world and went to the commisioners of Imperial County in California and got them to certify the town he had created as the official center of the world. Then he got his birth country of France to also declare it
the official center of the world. They even sent
dignitaries over here for an official ceremony.

We visited with him. He said it started when he wanted to put up a monument to honor his parents. He had planned a 100 foot monument. but when he saw how it would look in the huge, barren desert, he decided it had to be much bigger or it would never be noticed.

So a more ambitious project, the Museum of History in granite transpired. It has the history of humanity and other subjects on 16 massive monuments that hold 3,000 linear feet of etched granite panels.

He researches the topics and writes the condensed histories himself. It's truly amazing! The L.A. Times said it was meticuously researched and condensed and it would take five hours to read all the panels.

Pictures show a few examples of the content.

John is reading on the other side. The first row has the history of Arizona on one side and the history of California on the other side. The next row has the history of the U.S. Then the history of France. Then the history of the world. There is one row that is a memorial to Korean War vets and has all the names of those who died in that war.

One row is just for people and groups who would like to pay and have their name there for eternity. It is a work in progress with many empty panels yet to be used.

I visited with this artist from France as best I could. He didn't speak English and I don't speak French, but we found a few common words that we each could understand. He and his lady were staying in the apartments there for the winter months, I assume for free and donating his talents.

He showed me 14 pictures that he had etched and invited me to watch him work and take his picture. He also pointed out some pictures done by other artists that he especially admired.
Very interesting indeed.

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