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A.V. PAIR NOT TOO OLD TO ROCK.

Byline: Bettie Rencoret Senior columnist

Still tired from the rigors of planning and executing last month's gem and mineral show at the fairgrounds, Fred and Lois Ebel relaxed in their White Fence Farms home and talked about being rockhounds.

``Our favorite place to search for specimens is Fish Lake Valley, Nev.,'' Lois said. ``There's no fish and no lake, just peace and quiet.''

``Fish Lake is on what we call desert pavement,'' Fred said. ``It's kind of like hardpan except that it's all on the surface. We call the stuff we find there `in float.' ''

He displayed three bolo ties created with salmon jasper pieces made into cabochons.

``That's where we found these flakes. Most of the ones we find are like this, but once in a while we can find a good-sized chunk,'' Fred said. ``You can see how beautifully they polish up.''

``We've found some pieces of petrified wood, too,'' said Lois, displaying a gnarled bit of wood. ``Specimens from that area are known to be at least 10,000 years old,'' she continued. ``We plan to go there again soon - after we've rested up.''

Fred has served several terms as president of the Palmdale Gem and Mineral Club and for 20 years has chaired the Desert Gem Roundup for the club.

``The roundup is annually a combined effort of the Antelope Valley Gem and Mineral Club and the Palmdale club,'' Lois said, ``so the A.V. group has a chairman, too.''

Displayed at the show again this year was ``The Rock Shop,'' a doll-house-type building filled with tiny miniatures by Lois. On one shelf is a clock fashioned from a polished rock, centered and inlaid with a small watch face and crystal.

Turn-of-the-century figures are part of the country store setting, which includes mite-sized ollas and other examples of primitive items tastefully arranged. Visitors have a clear view of the interior through glass windows across the front.

Other activities the Ebels enjoy - metal detecting, woodworking, miniatures collecting and crafting - all tie in with their love of rock collecting.

``We're supposed to be retired, but we aren't. We pack up our creations and take them to sell at craft shows,'' Lois said. ``We go in our truck and trailer and just stay in that for the length of the show. While we were getting ready for this last show, we just took the rig over to the fairgrounds. It was easier that way.''

One room in their home is reserved for their stock - lamps made out of kettles topped with lace-lined, metal colander shades, doll furniture, sports decorations, wood-framed mirrors with candle holders, thread holders, and much more.

``Both Lois and I work the wood, but Lois is the decorator,'' Fred said. ``We don't have time for much else, but this keeps us off the streets and out of gangs.''

Fred and Lois come from hardy backgrounds.

Lois was born in the Los Angeles Methodist Hospital to Methodist medical missionaries just five months after their return from what is now Indonesia.

The family home was in Glendale. Lois attended schools there and the First United Methodist Church. She and Fred met and were eventually married there.

Fred was born in Brookshire, Texas, and received his early education there. When he came to California in 1938, he attended Glendale College for 1-1/2 years and later completed another 1-1/2 years at the University of Oklahoma at Norman.

From 1939 to 1945, when he was drafted, he worked for Lockheed in Burbank, as a low-level supervisor for production of P-38 fighter planes.

Almost all of his military experience in the U.S. Army Air Corps was in Texas.

Upon his release in January 1947, he went back to Lockheed for a few months.

He and Lois were married May 17, 1947, after corresponding while he was in the service, then dating about five months on his return.

In 1948 they came to Antelope Valley to raise alfalfa on a 60-acre ranch at 10th Street East, between Avenues R and S.

``Tumbleweed School is on the northeast corner of that property now,'' Lois said. ``We worked that ranch for eight years, and Principal Fred Strasburg, who is quite a local historian, has asked us to speak to some of his teachers about the area back then.''

Their four children, Steven of Atascadero; Denice Lindsey of San Jose; and Barbara Jensen and Mark Ebel, both of Lancaster, were raised on the ranch.

They moved when Southern Pacific Railroad bought the property in 1956.

``I tried sales for a while, but I wasn't much of a salesman, so it was back to Lockheed for me,'' Fred said.

Fred stayed on the company's payroll until 1964, when he and Lois bought the Speedy Clean Laundry on Palmdale Boulevard.

In 1976, after 12 years, they had had enough of the grueling laundry business.

``All of our kids worked there with us, and they hated it,'' Lois said, ``so we finally sold it.''

Fred had always been talented at woodworking, Lois was gifted at making miniatures, and they were too young to draw Social Security, so they gathered up some of their work and went down to a Saugus swap meet. They rented a booth and were soon selling more than they could produce.

After a while their son-in-law joined them, and for several years they made a good living.

``We supported two families out of there,'' Lois said. ``That was a lot more fun than playing laundry, I can tell you.''

LANCASTER - Menus for the week at the senior life nutrition sites in Lancaster, Palmdale and Pearblossom have been announced. All meals include bread, margarine and coffee, tea or milk for the suggested congregate donation of $2.

Monday: Meatballs and spaghetti, mixed vegetables, tossed salad, orange and grapefruit sections.

Tuesday: Chicken burrito, Spanish rice, carrots, fiesta coleslaw, vanilla pudding.

Wednesday: Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, beets, garden salad, peach crisp.

Thursday: Chicken Dijon, oven-browned potatoes, Normandy vegetables, salad, cake.

Friday: Baked fish, au gratin potatoes, green beans, coleslaw, fruit cocktail.

CAPTION(S):

Photo

PHOTO Fred and Lois Ebel are devoted rockhounds and often look for specimens.

Bettie Rencoret/Special to the Daily News
COPYRIGHT 1998 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1998, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

 
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:May 3, 1998
Words:1028
Previous Article:OBITUARY : WILLARD KEPHART.
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