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50th Anniversary - Our Guests

Our Guests ~ In preparing this special newsletter, we attempted to contact over 20 of our guests who have been coming here the longest. Following are thoughts from those we reached. From some, we had recent photographs. Others had tales told on them by "friends." If you're not included, it's not that we didn't try; we just missed getting in touch with you. Please, send us your memories and, if possible, a photograph that we could include in our next "Riders of The Alisal." Thanks.

Dottie Porter -- Our family has been coming to the Big A for 30 years," relates Dottie Porter. Music has been a recurring theme in their visits. "Rollie Reynolds used to entertain in the Waggin' Tongue Lounge and we'd keep egging him on and on to continue. We'd all stay until he'd finally quit. We've also always enjoyed Bill Powell and celebrated his 25th anniversary at The Ranch. When the Westons would visit, we'd always hope Jo (Stafford) would sing. When I first met her, I was so nervous ... I felt like a teenybopper."

The Porters always came to The Alisal at Easter when their daughter was younger. "Then, we cut back to every Labor Day and Christmas, a beautiful joy at The Alisal. I keep in touch with everyone and look forward to meeting with friends, such as the Caracos, along Golf Course Row during these holidays.

"On a beautiful day like today (it was in the mid-70's), we would always say, `Wish we were up there playing golf,'" adds Dottie. "Even the deer cooperate at The Alisal."

Remember the Weston's humming bird feeder? For more than 40 years, the Westons have frequented the Ranch, usually more than once a year. For years, composer Paul was known for hanging a humming bird feeder on Jo's and his front porch. We've always looked forward to the Weston's return...so did the hummingbirds!

The Stanley Sands -- During the late 60s and 70s, the Sands family with five boys and a girl came from Nebraska for a lengthy visit every summer. Everyday, Mr. and Mrs. Sands took two rides. Upon check-out, they made their reservations for the next year.

The kids got married and brought their kids. (By the way, Mr. LaVonne, we may have discovered how some of those horses got out when you were general manager!)

Ann Lund -- The Lunds were The Alisal's original guests. "We stayed there before it even opened," laughs Ann Lund. "For some time, we'd been going to a beach house. With the kids getting a little older, we were looking for something different. After an ad in the Los Angeles Times caught our attention, we drove up to see The Ranch. It had a Mexican motif.

"Back then, we were only given one clean napkin per day, in the evening. It had to last you until the next night. We each received a clothespin on which we wrote our names and then used it to tack our napkins onto this huge sombrero hanging on the wall. Isn't that something?

"After a ride up to The Adobe, the cowpokes would `pick on' some of the guests. The way they would mimic how a guest got on or off a horse or how he or she rode was so funny we'd fall on the ground laughing. It was really Western and everybody who came had such great humors. We had loads of fun."

Emil and Catherine Steck (Sandy, Fred, Sara and families) -- "Our family has been regularly coming to The Alisal since 1957," Emil reports. "In the early days, we shared the single tennis court with the Miller Freeman family. Then, there was the Easter we had the rains and Burt Lancaster read to the children in the Rec Room ... always fun