Santa Barbara and an Unsolved Mystery

posted by Sharon January 27, 2015 21 Comments
Santa Barbara Stearns Wharf

They say you can’t go home again, but I found this isn’t always true. Recently we spent a few days in Santa Barbara, where I went to college. This town, with it’s palm-lined streets and backdrop of gentle foothills, hasn’t changed much at all in the many years since I lived here. The same wharf reaches into the water, and boats continue to crisscross the blue.

The trip down memory lane continued when we drove a few miles into the hills to my college, Westmont. The school was the vision of Ruth Kerr, of Kerr jars. In the 1930s, she opened her home to students and professors. Today, the elegant building is still the heart of the campus.

The surrounding gardens have grown even more beautiful than I remember.

For me, Westmont is the jewel in the crown of beautiful Santa Barbara. I dreamed of attending here, but it’s a private school with a price tag to match. My senior year of high school, I applied but didn’t hope to make it. Then one day a letter came telling me I had a scholarship waiting for me. And here’s the mystery: The money came from an anonymous donor. I’ve never been able to say thank you to that generous person.

My years at Westmont shaped me, taught me to think analytically, and were packed with so much fun. I’m still in contact with friends I made here.

Ambling down those same paths years later, I still feel deep gratitude to the mysterious donor who made it possible for me to call Santa Barbara my home for a few golden years. I do feel like I’ve come home again.

How about you? Do you have a place you return to that feels like home?

Linking up with Texture Tuesday, Wednesday Around the World, and Sweet Shot Tuesdays.The photo of the lily pond is edited with Kim Klassen’s texture kk_BB2.

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21 Comments

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elizabethfstewart January 27, 2015 at 6:05 am

What a wonderful story! Your photos always give me the bug to travel and see these places for myself.

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Buckeroomama January 27, 2015 at 6:42 am

So intriguing! Just think of that anonymous donor as a guardian angel. What a beautiful thing to do for someone else.

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J Bonafilla January 27, 2015 at 9:04 am

Lovely images. It looks like a magical place. I love those amazing palm trees in the last photo; I don’t think I’ve ever seen any so tall. And how wonderful to have been so lucky with that anonymous donor. It’s people like that who restore my faith in humanity. All the best, Bonny

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Pieni Lintu January 27, 2015 at 9:17 am Reply
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FlowerLady Lorraine January 27, 2015 at 10:31 am

What a lovely peaceful place! Your photos are wonderful.

How fantastic to have such a good unsolved mystery in your life. You were blessed to have had that wonderful opportunity and have the great memories.

*Do you have a place you return to that feels like home?* Yes, every time I pull into the driveway. 🙂 My little haven from the crazy world that we live in.

Have a great week ~ FlowerLady

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Tamar SB January 27, 2015 at 12:07 pm

What a beautiful place to have gone to college! What amazing generosity from that donor, too!!

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Susan W January 27, 2015 at 1:30 pm

What an amazing and beautiful place to have spent time at. My special place is the same as FlowerLady Lorraine, my home. I love going out but it’s always so special to come home.

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brooke neal January 27, 2015 at 3:51 pm

Heart warming to read such a happy post, hopefully heaven has been good to your anonymous donor.

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kim at picking poppies January 27, 2015 at 7:53 pm

What a great story, I have goosebumps! And those gardens….are incredible!

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Sheila January 27, 2015 at 9:11 pm

Beautiful place, love that beautiful blue sky. Such a lovely story too.

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dcrinehart January 28, 2015 at 12:08 am

Wow, what a fabulous story, Sharon! An anonymous donor. The stuff dreams are made of, for sure. I attended a small college and worked at a small, elite liberal arts college for 27 years; my daughter {an alum} works there now. There’s just something about a small campus atmosphere that’s special. And your photos of your visit are off the charts!

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Earl January 28, 2015 at 5:12 am

Wonderful story. I love the seagull photo . . . with the light hitting just its head. Beautiful. I am a So. Calif. person at heart. Even though I live in the central part pf the country, my heart and mind are along the coast of So. Calif. That is home to me. That’s where I was born and raised.

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Thoughts from the Desktop January 28, 2015 at 8:38 am

That is a wonderful story how magical that you were able to attend the college of your dreams. I too have fond memories of Santa Barbara, a few years ago on a trip to the US we visited the beach and the Mission.

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Abrianna January 28, 2015 at 3:30 pm

Beautiful photos. Looks like a photographers dream. So grateful you had the chance to attend.

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a spirit of simplicity January 28, 2015 at 3:32 pm

I have never been to that part of the country it looks beautiful. Imagine what type of a person would do such a wonderful thing.

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Evelyn in Oregon January 28, 2015 at 6:27 pm

What wonderful memories! And that scholarship! Isn’t it great to see that places are as beautiful or more so than you recall? (I really like the seagull image!)

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Peabea January 28, 2015 at 9:46 pm

You always have interesting and fun information. How awesome the unknown donor. You must have deserved it with your grades and hard work to get the scholarship. Loved the photos; especially the first ones that reminded me of warmth on this cold day. ~hugs~

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Kerry Goodwin O'Neal January 30, 2015 at 12:26 am

So beautiful… My Mom spent one year there, the rest was at BIOLA… But, we also lived a year in Santa Barbara. Such a beautiful place…and, yes, it doesn’t change a lot over the years. I grew up in San Luis Obispo..and, that’s my place that I really call home!

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jade January 30, 2015 at 3:34 am

Santa Barbara is our home too! We went to UCSB and we got married there. When I think of home, that’s it for me. And the President of my work’s organization, The SOLD Project, is a Westmont grad too! Small world. That’s amazing about your donor.

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jeanne stone February 3, 2015 at 1:02 pm

Beautiful shots and looks like a beautiful city. I do remember years ago going back to the little town that my grandmother lived in after many years of being gone. For me it was like stepping back in time. The whole essence of the place was the same. Quite a feeling of deja vu

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Ariadne February 7, 2015 at 9:27 pm

Such a great story!Whoever did it should rest in peace that what he did had great results!AriadnefromGreece!

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