Friday, February 27, 2015

Thankful Thursday - The Ranch

Today, I honor the ranch that has brought our family together over the last near 70 years and has given us grandkids, great grandkids and now great-great grandkids countless and unforgettable memories of hiking the beautiful hills, dunking our feet into the cool creek waters during the late Spring months, playing baseball on the property land, perusing the old chicken coops and barns, and many more wonderful memories- this was and still is - the Murphy Ranch in Brentwood, CA.

This beautiful land was inherited into our family when my Great Grandmother, Lydia Roehm, remarried in 1950 to William "Bill" Murphy, a few years after her first husband, George Roehm, had passed away in 1948. Bill had never married up until this point. My Grandmother has told me that Bill met Lydia at a dance hall in Oakland.

Bill Murphy was living with his mother in Oakland at the time of meeting Lydia. The Murphy's still owned their large family home in downtown Brentwood and also many acres of land on the outer skirts of Brentwood, which was being shared between Bill and his siblings. Bill owned the portion that had many of the almond trees, the barns and the creek running behind the nice little valley, with an old tannery building made of stone across the creek-  it once had a wood door and roof, which has since caved in and has now been overrun with cottontail bunnies.

Here is a little photographic tribute with narration:

The Murphy children, Arthur, Katie, William and Esther Murphy, circa 1900

Esther Murphy, circa 1903-04, age 8-9

Katie (age 13-14) and Esther Murphy, circa 1903-04

 Katie Murphy with possibly younger sister, Esther, circa 1898-1899 
Esther Murphy in front of Murpy Home, circa 1896-1897

Mrs. (Christiana Braun &) William Murphy, circa  mid-1880's, San Jose, CA.

Christiana Braun was from a well-to family from San Jose, CA. She graduated High School and also went to college - a rarity for women in her time. 


Here is Bill Murphy as a young boy, a teen and a little older as a young man, in the late 1890's through the early 1900s. (click on each picture to enlarge)

Bill Murphy as a teenager, about 14-15 years old, circa 1906-1907

Bill Murphy entered the fight in World War I, and fought for his country, as seen below.

My grandmother, mother, Aunt Penny, Uncle Terry (on horse), Aunt Diane and Grandfather, with my Grandma's youngest brother, Jimmy Roehm, on the Murphy Ranch almond tree orchard, circa 1955.

My Aunt Diane and Penny, uncle Terry, Bill and Lydia Murphy, Joyce Wolf with son and Jimmy Roehm, at Bill and Lydia's home on the Ranch, built in 1951 by my grandfather and my Grandma's brothers. This picture is from around 1959-1960.

A family gathering on the ranch, with hills in the background. My mother is the little girl next to her Aunt Doris who was in a wheelchair - Lydia is kneeling down to the right of Doris, and my Grandma and grandpa are next to Lydia, circa 1955-56.

Same family gathering, circa 1955-56 (Bill Murphy is man standing, back row, 4th from left)

Same family gathering, circa 1955-56 (Aunt Diane in front, pretending to a take a picture)

Murphy home being built, circa 1950-51 (It still stands today)

My cousin Ross Jr. (Izetta and Ross Sr's son), circa early 1958-59, age 15-16, standing on a foggy day in an almond orchard.

Althought not a photo of the ranch, this is a photo of Bill and Lydia together with my Aunts Diane and Penny, with a family member, circa 1956-57

Some years later, my grandfather Vibert, being caught on camera on a typical sunny day at the ranch, circa 1993.

My cousin Melissa with my grandparent's dog, Bozo, along the banks of Marsh Creek, circa 1993.

My cousin Tiffany poses for her mother on the ranch, near Marsh creek, on a lovely Spring or Fall day (our Summers never have grassy fields - by the time late May/early June arrive, our green fields have turned golden brown.

Aerial views of the ranch in the 1980's

Second part of the aerial view, 1980s

My Uncle using a very old tractor to till the land, circa 2014

Springtime at the ranch, circa 2013

Surprisingly, this is sometime in November, as California hadn't had hardly any rain in months, and the earth was very dry and parched, circa 2014.

 Such a difference - 1st barn photo was taken in October of 2014, and the 2nd barn photo was taken in April of 2014. California only really has two seasons - Hot and Dry and Wet and Green

And, taken from Marsh Creek, a view of the hills up against the creek and land, as driving into the driveway, the beauty never ceases to amaze me with each visit, circa 2014.

This land is truly a treasure and I will do everything I can to try and keep it in our family during my lifetime, maybe even getting to live out here and experience life on a ranch someday. Who knows! This is the one place I can still come back to and feel like time has stood still. I no longer have my childhood homes to return to, so to me, this is home - our one last surviving home in our whole family that remains a constant.

I feel so fortunate that we've inherited this land and each time I drive up to it, I feel luckier and luckier.