The History of Roller Hockey on the Coastside by Joel Farbstein

The History of Roller Hockey on the Coastside
Story by Joel Farbstein
Email Joel ([email protected])

Roller hockey has thrived on the coast since 1992, when the Northern California Hockey League (NCHL), part of the non-profit CYA, began play at the Half Moon Bay Airport. The NCHL has developed more than 1,000 youth hockey players living in the Pacifica-to-Pescadero region in northern California, and nearly 120 players and their families have participated each season.

The inaugural season for the NCHL was 1992, when Andy and Caroline Plumber started the league by themselves and ran it as a for-profit
enterprise. but soon after people including Brian McNamara, Mark Stegmaier, and Luz Preciado, took it over and made it a non-profit. A few years ago, before the NCHL strike, there were as many as 160 boys and girls playing in the summer season. The year 2008 was a high-water mark for the NCHL, as we just opened the new Boys and Girls Club Rink at Half Moon Bay High School.

In 2008 we had nearly 120 kids registered for the 2008 summer season, and a dozen teens played on the HMB High School Club team that just began competition in a high school league in San Jose. We hope to open registration in the next week for a Fall League with 50-60 kids. Fast Facts: Approximately 10% of the NCHL players are female. Approximately 8% have minority status. Approximately 5% are on scholarship in the league or have reduced funding.

I live in Montara, so the rink was more convenient when it was locatedat the HMB Airport, though I’m happy to drive to HMB for the incredible facility. Hope you’ll contact me if you have any questions.
Best, -Joel

Dear Friends, Filmmaker friend Mark Fraser & I (Michael Powers) have now returned from

a most remarkable month of sea kayaking, mountain climbing & photo/filmmaking adventures in the beautiful Land of the Vikings – a tough, thankless job, but somebody’s gotta do it.

PS: The reindeer antler you see above in the Svalbard Islands, 500 hundred miles south of the North Pole… miraculously made it home from the Arctic & through U. S. Customs to now proudly rein in its rightful place, upon the great Viking Stone here on Miramar Beach.

To enlarge the beautiful images, click on the photo! Do it!!

Remembering Bryant Wollman (1947-2008) by Michaele Benedict

Remembering Bryant Wollman

By Michaele Benedict

Bryant Wollman said he didn’t much like reading about himself, especially on the Internet, but he forgave my mentioning him in a story about Farmers Feed, our old 1970s food club, because he said it was sweet.

The last time I saw Bryant was at Davies Hall in San Francisco, maybe a year ago. He was impossible to miss, decked out in full Scottish plaids, kilt, sporran, the works.

He looked wonderful. He said that he had had trouble with his heart, but that he was in a hospital group focused on recovery from cardiac incidents, and that they told him he was a model patient.

There were lots of things about Bryant that not many people knew. They saw him in his mail truck, delivering letters along Half Moon Bay’s Route One, but they probably didn’t know that he had once belonged to Mensa, the genius society, or that he briefly attended medical school.

They may have known that he played the lead in “Fiddler on the Roof” in Santa Cruz, but they may not have known he played Wicked Willie Whoppergotter in a Farmers Feed production at the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society some years earlier, in 1972.

I’m sure they didn’t know that Bryant tried a few piano lessons with me, hoping to learn to read music in a hurry so he could join a Russian men’s choir. “They said my voice was all right,” he said, “but I have to learn to read music.”

Some people may remember when Bryant dressed up like Saint Nicholas (“Not Santa Claus,” he said. “This is how the real Saint Nicholas dressed.”) He would distribute toys and gifts on his way to midnight Christmas mass at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. We were on his route one year, and he gave us a little candlestick which angels would fly around when you lit the candle.

Bryant’s friends made sand candles at the 40th birthday party he gave himself, alas, only 21 years ago. He and Gene Fleet made a paradise garden on the Tunitas bluffs, planting right over the tracks of the old Ocean Shore railroad. When my daughter disappeared, they brought food to the house, even if I couldn’t eat.

They had Joe and the kids build a bridge over a gulf their goats would not cross, and I wrote a poem about it.


He blew the conch to summon the herdsmen.
From the next valley came an answering call.
And lo! The Golden Goatway Bridge
built of huge stringers and consummate daring
crossed over the sheer drop to the ocean.

Bridges are something else, he said.

The children cut the ribbon.
He drove the gold stake.
The goats refused to walk across
to honor the occasion;
in fact, Bryant chased them up the cliff,
looking like a goat himself,
but gathering ceremonial flowers.

When he changed his tactic
and ran away from the goats, they chased him.
“The goats have taught me all I know,”
he said, panting,
distributing the flowers.


Bryant Wollman
Nov. 15, 1947-July 9, 2008

(Picture is Bryant at my piano Feb. 2, 1984)

Michaele Benedict is the author of “Searching for Anna,”  for more information please click here

1970s: Rossah “the bellydancer” Remembers the Coastside

Hi June,

You may or may not remember me.  I was living on the coast from 1972-1975.  Lived around the corner from Michael Powers, who had the same birthday as me, in front of the Film School at 16 Alameda Avenue, when the Miramar Beach Inn had a dirt floor.  I was best friends with Karen Zugay when she was dating Peter Adams. 

You may remember me as the bellydancer who taught at the Ballet School on Main Street, Cunha Middle School and at the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society.  Karen, Sharon and I were always together.  I’ve been having these dreams recently about people I used to know on the coast – one of them being David Norkett.  I googled him and found your site.

I know I must have run into you many times at parties because I remember your name but know we didn’t have any close personal experiences together.  I was wondering why there wasn’t any blogs on Carolyn Woods, John Essa and the parties at the Vallemar house?  Jim Rudolph and Cathy Bristol.  Georgia Guido, Richard Henry’s crazy green card wife.  The german mechanic over by Alpha Beta who rode the bike, but hated cars.  Paco de Espacio.  Sandy and David Bickland.  Cherie Harper.  The Ace of Cups. Or David Bagley and Robin Rouke who lived next door to me when I lived at the Wienke Way house on the corner.  You had to know these people.  It was great to see more recent photos of Peter Adams, read the message from Tamale Jerry, and even discover Richard English had died.  He heckled me whenever I walked into any bar on the coast where he sat drinking.  I have no idea why.  I still felt sad to hear he had passed.

This photo is of me and my dancers at Pete’s Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society performing a gig. I’m on the far left, then Marj Staples, Cathy Brubaker and Lindsey. Can’t remember her last name. She worked for the city. Every time I would get stuck stopped for road repairs on 92, there would be beautiful Lindsey in a hard hat stopping traffic! If you look really close, that’s Karen Zugay in the satin pants next to me holding the tambourine.


Please read Reborn—A Woman Dancing by Dorothy Ragosine, click here

I’m including another photo circa 1974 where I performed with Malia De Felice (who still lives and teaches on the coast), Michael Lane aka Jalal, who was a roommate of Karen and Sharon Zugay, and Cherie, who danced with me from age 6-12 with a gigantic brass tray balanced on her head.

“The light within me honors the light within you.”

Michael Powers Explains ‘Big Foot’

Story by Michael Powers. Photo by Frank Jacobsen

Dear friend & family,
I’m safely back home in California after our truly extraordinary adventure up in the Arctic Svalbard archipelago 500 miles north of continental Norway. I’ll send you some of my highlight images & perhaps some of Mark Fraser’s video, asap. In the mean time, here is a photo that one of the Norwegians on the expedition just sent me, of the fresh isbørn (ice bear) tracks he discovered one morning, just a few feet from his tent. Notice the size of it, compared to the human hand. Nice to be back here, where all we have to worry about is an occasional great white shark.
Warmly, Michael

Summer Reading: 1912: County Witnesses Royal Wedding (The End)

From my “Over the Hill” series.

Adeline Easton, Jennie’s grandmother, wore a lavender satin brocade gown and a matching lavender bonnet. She was accompanied by Templeton’s wife, Helene Irwin, attired in a turquoise satin gown with an ecru lace overdress and a blue satin hat trimmed with Paradise feathers. Eleanor Martin, leader of San Francisco’s social set, chose a black Chantilly lace gown worn over ivory satin with a black lace bonnet.

As musicians played Mendelsohn’s Wedding March, all heads turned to watch as Jennie, leaning on Templeton’s shoulder, walked down the center aisle. The bride looked over the sea of black-plumed straw hats, lace bonnets and flower-trimmed tulle hats for a glimpse of the altar decorated with more orchids, palms and tall ferns.

The bridesmaids wore white lace gowns and carried bouquets of white flowers.

Kneeling on a white satin pillow, with Malcolm at Jennie’s side, they listened as Bishop Nichols conducted the brief service.

Guests were invited to a wedding breakfast and reception at Uplands where workmen had constructed a huge canopied pavilion, with an ornate fountain in the center.

That afternoon the newlyweds boarded their private railroad car for the Del Monte Hotel at Monterey.

Later they sailed to Honolulu, with Jennie’s 63 dogs in tow.

The Whitmans divided their time between New York and Hillsborough, transporting their three children, maids and dogs back and forth.

In 1925, in Paris, the Whitman’s ended their marriage.

A year later both remarried at the same hour on the same day, but on different coats; she to the president of a cement company; he to an Italian opera singer. Neither ceremony was much like the glorious wedding held in San Mateo in the summer of 1912.

Malcolm Whitman died in 1931. Jennie Crocked lived a long life, passing away at age 85 in the early 1970s.

The End