One of the major advantages of being a native Californian with Ozarkian grandparents is an appreciation of “archaeology of the ordinary.” The study of old homes built in the towns surrounding my natal village of Azusa, CA, and proximity to thw Azusa Canyon sharpened my interest in ordinary archeaology at a young age. But laser like focus on the villages and peoples who settled of the grid in the East Fork of the Azusa Canyon and San Gabriel Riverbed was honed by a collection of teachers in the Azusa School District. Beginning with the California history syllabus that’s a part of every fourth graders’ education. One of the projects at my elementary school was to look through the overturned earth on the edge of the school’s playground. No one found gold, but one of my chums did find an Indian Head Penny from the late 19th century. Part of the assignment was to imagine how discovered treasures may have come to rest in the dirt. So off I went with a couple of other fourth-grade chums went after school, to visit the and older woman who had lived in the orchardists’ style home at the South west edge of Mountain View Elementary. She was an Azusa pioneer who led us on a tour of her home and packing shed, patiently explaining to wide-eyed ten- year olds what it was like to live in to a town that wasn’t electrified until the 1920’s and to make a living from trees in an area of town appropriately called “rattle snake acres.” her packing shed was a treasure trove. In addition to a huge collection of 19th century farm implements, she also had a wall festooned with the longest rattle snake rattle I’ve ever seen “Everyone of those came from a snake cose to this house,” she reported She was even able to explain the mysterious Indian head penny in our school yard. “ it may have fallen out of the pocket of a fruit picker, or it may have once belonged to one of the children who lived in a house where the school yard is now.” Point taken by little Jimmy. The best examples of my life long interest in archaeology of the ordinary were searches for native American settlements. There were three in my hometown; one at the intersection of highway 39 and the San Gabriel River, and two others further down stream. My collection of found Indian treasure included the artifacts you would expect from a tribal people whose settlements depended on the bounty of shaded oak rivers laden with wild salmon, steel head trout. I uncovered broken grind stones worn down pestals and a handful of edged stone points. Thanks to the rugged construction of my Schwinn two-speed StarFire, I cruised down river looking for other evidence of settlements. And would often fill its basket with more grininding stones spear points and the occasional mussel or abalone shell fishing hooks. Even way back when, I remember being very impressed that native Americans would catch feisty inshore salmon, yellowtail or California halibut using brittle shell hooks. When I go home to Azusa today, I envy curious 10 year olds on bikes cruising the river path on their mountain bikes. I remember what it was like to crest a rise, see flat ground overlooking a river and act on my curiosity, seeking out evidence of other residents who lived there hundreds of years before. Archaeology the Ordinary, the perfect past time for a redheaded boy equipped with a strong curiosity, a bike with knee forks and a wire basket, and grand parents who moved to the land of Goshen but never lost the cadence, respect for nature or their appreciation of near and far ago people. On top of that, I grew up in a town that had a Carnegie library, and a historical society. Plus, I learned at an early age, if you need an answer to a great question, ask the reference librarian.--Jim Forbes on 8/25/2014.