Escondido, CA

Look that up in your Funk and Wagnalls

Some years ago, before he retired, I enjoyed reading columns written by Logan Jenkins who wrote for the T-A/NC Times before moving south sharing his work in the SD U-T. 

Numerous times he would make me consult my Funk and Wagnalls dictionary. For the uninformed a dictionary is Wikipedia in hard copy. And every time I would email to tell him you did it again. Well Logan you have been outdone by a columnist with the U-T who recently wrote an article about Duncan McFetridge, a local environmental activist who has worked for decades to block urban planning, and used some words that I have never seen in print or heard spoken.

Are you familiar with oracular? How about ascetic? Or anachronistic? I read the article only because I had met McFetridge while serving on a new SANDAG sub-committee the 78/125 committee in 2001 to discuss the future of these two state highways. 

When I asked McFetridge why not improve these dangerous roads well that’s when he went into full enviro mode. Interesting guy. Before you go to the internet let me give you a brief explanation of the words. Oracular refers to an oracle. Really? McFetridge? Ascetic refers to severe self-discipline and anachronistic refers to against time. I thought William F. Buckley spoke above the average person’s head but this guy is a close second.

Then I read about the passing of Rena DeJong which reminded me of my association with Arie DeJong and the impact that he and the DeJong family have had —not just on Escondido but North County in general. Many of you remember Hollandia Dairy in San Marcos; now occupied by Mission Hills High School sitting on no doubt some of the most fertile soil in the area. 

A few years ago, Arie was invited to speak at Escondido Rotary to give us the history of the DeJong family and their journey to the United States from the Netherlands in 1949.

Speakers are given 30 to 45 minutes to present their program and all do. Well, Arie began speaking and a full three salons at the CCAE conference center gave rapt attention because we all wanted to hear about this most interesting family story. When he was whisked off the stage he had only got to somewhere in the 1960’s so he was invited back the next week to finish. 

Well, week two wasn’t enough either getting to I believe the late ‘80’s. Because his presentation was so interesting he was invited back for week three. He was told he had to finish up because we can’t have him back for yet another week. Boy, can this guy talk but he is so interesting. Arie was kind enough to autograph his family book “The American Dream” From poverty to prosperity.

Another instance with Arie came about when Lyle Davis called me to meet with him and Arie and discuss his plan to gift the City a clock tower. We met at the old Sizzler on Escondido Blvd. and he showed renderings of this massive two ton tower and we discussed potential placement locations. Then I told him, “Arie, you’ll have to get permits for this”. He grabbed my shirt sleeve and said, “I don’t do paper work.” 

Anyone who knows Arie knows he is not one to always follow the rules. In his heart he just wants to do good for others and permitting bogs down the process. Witness his remodel and re purposing of an historic schoolhouse in San Marcos.

A few years ago he wanted to help the San Diego Farm Bureau find a new location. He found a perfect location I thought about a half mile north of Country Club between Hwy 395 and I-15. He got some skip loaders out there and cleared the property ready for the new building. Only problem was that apparently he cleared what was deemed environmentally sensitive habitat. Oops. But they were just weeds.

Then there was Pete DeJong who passed away a few years ago. I remember him coming to council meetings and offering the Moment of Reflection. Pete was a very religious man and his comments tended to be a little long but well appreciated. The DeJong family will long be remembered in the history of Escondido for their good deeds including assisting with Calvin Christian Church High School and the senior living Meadowbrook housing on North Broadway with that huge windmill which was shipped from The Netherlands piece by piece and re-assembled here. I have been inside that structure and it is more massive than you can imagine. It ain’t never gonna blow down.

Now the anticlimactic. DAVI 1, there must be a 2. BLSSDIZ, hot Hemi and as Tim the Tool Man Taylor would say, oh yeah!

*Note: Opinions expressed by columnists and letter writers are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the newspaper.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *