Friends of TC Library luncheon brings together people featured in history of Carissa Plain

The author couldn’t make it, but four people who’s stories are in his book did and that made for a lively discussion of “Another Place and Time: Voices from the Carissa Plains.”

Author Craig Deutsche was unable to make it to today’s book signing at the West Kern Oil Museum but his collaborator, Jackie Czapla, did and talked about how the stories of the people of the North and South Carrisa Plains came together.

Deutsche is recovering from a bout with Valley Fever that landed him in a hospital intensive care unit.

Attending the book-signing luncheon sponsored by the Friends of the Taft College Library were four local people whose stories are in the book: John Miller, Kathleen Buttke and the Loucks brothers – Alden and Jack.

All four added anecdotes about their experiences on the Plains, which are located southwest of Taft.

Czapla, who is coordinator of the Guy L. Goodwin Education Center at what is now known as the Carrizo Plain National Monument, told the packed house in the Museum’s Buena Vista room how she collaborated with Deutsche on the book.

“It was the spring of 2007 when Craig came to me full of energy and said, ‘somebody needs to do a history of this place because there are so many interesting stories here,’” she said.

Admitting both were technologically challenged, she said, “He bought a computer and we got busy.”

The two of them contacted people who lived and worked on the Plain and set up interviews – more than 130 of them. It was a task that took them to Wyoming, Tennessee and Texas as well as places all over California.

“John Miller was the first interview that we did,” Czapla said. “That was on Nov. 9, 2009. Two years later Craig called and said, ‘you know, I think I’m going to write a book.’”

Their work caught the attention of the San Luis Obispo County Library and Cal Poly State University, which helped get the history published.

Miller, a retired Taft businessman and former member of the Taft College Board of Trustees, helped harvest crops on the Plain from 1937-1941.

The Loucks brothers grew up there, descendants of the Traver Ranch family. Jack is renowned for his Dust Bowl trucks that have been featured at the Oil Museum and other historical venues.

There’s a picture of them on the back cover of the book as boys aiming their cap pistols at the photographer.

Kathleen Buttke is a member of the Hudson family, who ranched on the southeast tip of the South Carrisa Plains. She brought and showed the audience ropes her father, Clifford Hudson, made out of cowhide.

Her great grandfather was a Pony Express rider.

Thirteen members of the Kern County Genealogical Society attended the event.

Loretta Garcia-Lipscomb was presented a plaque as the 2014 Honored Friend of the Friends of the TC Library.