Saturday, May 06, 2017

The O.C. Answer Man has left the building

"Holy Jim" Smith by Blair Thornley
I've been the "O.C. Answer Man," featured on the final page of each issue of Orange Coast Magazine for quite a while now. I started doing the monthly column in Dec. 2011 and have run the gamut of strange local historical facts and other curious O.C. topics (at least 195 in all). But the magazine's new owners have drastically cut the budget for freelancers, and I'm among the many caught in the RIF. This month's issue will probably be my last.

I have zero complaints. It's been a fun six years, I've enjoyed working with great folks like Marty Smith, Alan Gibbons and Jim Walters, and I've been lucky enough to have my work illustrated by talented artists Blair Thornley and Devon Bowman. My thanks to all of them.

Also, thanks to all my O.C. history friends like Phil Brigandi and Stephanie George, who sometimes fed me "Q"s for the "Q&A" and who helped point me to useful resources. Thanks to the late Jim Sleeper, whose inspiring almanacs showed me that even short historical blurbs could convey something worthwhile. And thanks to Mom, who was always happy to receive and comment on drafts when I thought an article wasn't quite working. (Everyone needs a retired teacher in their family.)

"Ask the O.C. Answer Man" was a great way to share O.C.'s stories with the world, but it's hardly the only way. As a local historian, I'm always at work on other projects (like my current exhibit at Chapman University, my monthly column in the County employees' newsletter, my article in the last O.C. Historical Society journal, etc, etc.), and undoubtedly still more opportunities will present themselves. Even though I'll miss Orange Coast, there will always be more useful historical work that needs doing.

In fact, you may see a bit more posting going on here at the O.C. History Roundup, now that I'm not saving so much material for paying customers.