Santa Barbara and an Unsolved Mystery

posted by Sharon 21 Comments

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?

 

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21 Comments

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elizabethfstewart at

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

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Buckeroomama at

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 at

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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FlowerLady Lorraine at

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 at

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

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Susan W at

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 at

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 at

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

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Sheila at

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

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dcrinehart at

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 at

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 at

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 at

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

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a spirit of simplicity at

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 at

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 at

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 at

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 at

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 at

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 at

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

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