by Earl D. Meyer
It was the early summer of 1954, I was 24 years old, just out of the U.S. Navy, had graduated from Junior College and I was spending the whole summer in Mineral King at our newly purchased cabin. Alvin and Emma Meyer were my parents and in the fall of 1953 they had purchased cabin #24 in West Mineral King. We were all absolutely thrilled to have our own family cabin. We had been camping in the upper Mineral King valley for years and cherished the summer vacations we had spent there.
For several weeks, three of the men who had retired and were spending their summers at their cabins with their families started to drop by to “get to know” the new owners of cabin #24. My parents were friendly folks, easy to talk to and were pleased to have neighbors “drop in.” Also, mom had fresh coffee brewing mid-day and usually had some baked goods in the oven or cooling off… and the aromas would bring the neighbors in! All three cabin owners were of varied backgrounds, but one thing they had in common was a great, deep love of Mineral King. Van Dixon had taught physics at East Los Angeles Junior College. Pappy Hart was a farmer from the valley. (He would usually have several cartons of peaches or plums and at least one carton of fresh vegetables which he shared with us.) Bob Bungay was a retired executive of Union Oil Company of Southern California. Then there was my father, Alvin Meyer who had worked for Pacific Electric Railroad in the Los Angeles Harbor area for many years. This group would get together, early afternoon on the porch of the Meyer cabin and talk politics, weather, fishing, sports (especially baseball) and anything else that came to mind.
Eventually they came to a discussion of a large rock that was in the middle of an area adjacent to the cabin front porch. This was a large hunk of granite rock that stood vertically out of the ground in the very center of a flat area that would be one fine area to have picnics in if the rock was not there! That brought to mind… where did the rock come from? And how did it arrive where it stood: embedded in the soft earth, standing erect at attention like one the Queen’s guard at Windsor Castle in England. The rock originally was part of and attached to the great mother lode accumulation of granite at the top of the mountain behind the cabin. Over the hundreds of years, with rain, the snow and the freezing and melting, it had released itself from the mountaintop and came sliding, slashing, crashing down the side of the mountain, destroying anything in its path, only to come to rest in the soft earth, very close to our cabin.
We had tried several approaches, trying to break the rock down, but to no avail. Finally, after days of deliberation, Van Dixon said, “I know what we can do. We can bury that rock!” And then they all looked at me, because I was young, strong and willing to do what I could to help my parents with the family cabin.
The next day, early in the morning, I started digging with Van Dixon supervising as the project engineer. He was in his glory and after three days of digging, measuring and removing a lot of earth, we came to the front of the bottom of the rock. It was over 5 feet in the ground and about 4 feet wide. It also extended above ground just over 3 feet. When I had reached a level of 4 feet, the rock was braced with a 2” x 12” board to keep it from falling forward until we were ready to have it move. We reached that point on a Friday afternoon. Everyone was there – waiting to see “The Rock” assume a new position. Fortunately, we had not encountered any large rocks we were unable to relocate. Van Dixon rechecked the dimensions of the hole in the ground to be sure it was large enough to accept all the rock when it moved forward. Then, with all interested parties watching, we carefully removed the 2” x 12” brace, went to the backside of the rock and pushed it forward with the brace. It fell forward with a loud THUMP and a great cloud of dust, and landed in its new hole we had prepared for it. It was a perfect fit and all hands cheered as it settled in place about one foot below the level of the ground.
There were compliments on a job well done! It took us the better part of the next day, Saturday, to fill in and level the earth over the rock.
What a difference! That effort had opened the whole area to be utilized for a fire pit, tables for picnics and other activities.
After the rock had been repositioned and the dust settled, Mom Meyer said, “Alright boys, you have done a fine job…now let’s all have a cup of fresh coffee and a piece of apple pie.” There were smiles and hand shakes all around and the group moved into the cabin to take advantage of the offer.