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Golden State of of being, "Native Sons of the Golden West."
By John Weeks   - 03/31/2006


More Info on This Book: Native Sons of the Golden West

If it's true that everyone loves a parade, then everyone is sure to love the new book "Native Sons of the Golden West'' by Richard S. Kimball and Barney Noel.
It's a chronicle of the statewide fraternal organization that, since 1875, has played a prominent role in celebrating California's history.

I promise you, in this book there are enough photos of parades and accounts of parades to give anyone a serious case of happy feet.

Maybe this will give you an idea: Chapter 1 is titled "Celebrating and Parading," with almost 50 parade photos. That's just the warm-up.

Chapter 2, "The Mother of All Parades," focuses on California's 1925 Diamond Jubilee in San Francisco . . . and features a couple dozen more parade photos.

Chapter 3 is called "Restoring and Preserving," which details the organization's vital work in commemorating and protecting state landmarks. Of course, every dedication of a monument or unveiling of a plaque calls for a gathering and good times, and there are plenty of pictures here to prove it.

Chapter 4, we're done with the serious stuff and ready for more "Celebrating and Socializing." This chapter shows that Native Sons not only love parades, but also camp-outs, dances, bowling tournaments and barbecues.

Chapter 5, "Prominent Celebrants," shows us some of the well-known Native Sons, including six governors, who have joined in the fun over the years.

Chapter 6, the final one, continues the theme with "Still Celebrating," with more parades and festivities.

Having read this book, I think the organization might also be called Native Party Animals of the Golden West. The organization has chapters, called parlors, throughout the state, and they are probably easy to find because these people are celebrating at all hours of the day and night, and making lots of noise.

Who knew history could be such fun?

Authors Kimball and Noel are both former grand presidents of the organization, so they know their stuff

Kimball, as many of you know, is the former longtime editorial page editor of The Sun. For 23 years, until his retirement in 2002, he wrote most of the editorials that appeared in this newspaper.

In this important role, he was an auspicious presence in the newsroom. He wandered the corridors deep in thought. His dignified brow was furrowed with the intensity of his reflections. Solemn was his demeanor and stern his visage.

We wondered what he was like when he wasn't at work.

Now we know. He was off whooping it up with his Native Sons pals, parading until sunset and dancing until dawn, cutting capers and carrying on like a wild man.

I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that there are photos somewhere that show him wearing a lampshade on his head.

Thankfully, those pictures are not in the book.

No, this book is full of wonderful pictures and wonderful stories. Hundreds of them.

Not everyone can join the Native Sons of the Golden West because it's for men (and women!) who were born in California.

But everyone can buy this book. And everyone who loves California, and the California Dream, will want to buy this book.

"We believed we could offer an interesting chronicle of how one organization worked successfully to preserve the rich history of California," says Kimball, 63, who makes his home in Highland.

The book is part of the popular "Images of America" series published by Arcadia Publishing. "Native Sons of the Golden West," $19.99, can be found or ordered at area bookstores. It's also available through online bookstores. Or contact Arcadia at www.arcadiapublishing.com, or (888) 313-2665.

For more information about the Native Sons organization, visit online at www.nsgw.org, or call (800) 337-1875

Buy It Now: Native Sons of the Golden West $19.99

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