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- Mendocino County
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from the Forward
Does an invisible curtain separate Mendocino County from the rest of the world, a Green Curtain that descends north of the Sonoma-Mendocino county line behind which life is more anarchic, institutions more arbitrary, the people somehow larger than life? Yes, in a time of daily astonishments, life in Mendocino County is different.
Populated by some 90,000 people spread over a vast expanse of forested mountains, isolating hills, and hidden little valleys -- all of it watered by rivers and streams once lush with annual migrations of fish -- Mendocino County is larger in area than entire states and perfect for, well, try finding someone who doesn't want to be found.
The fish and the marketable timber are mostly gone, as are the thousands of jobs that went with them and, beginning in the late 1960s, a new population of wild people and their outlaw ways of living has moved into the concealing hills and remote valleys where they sustain themselves by growing and selling marijuana.
Which is not to mention the other part of Mendocino County's unique demographic -- its re-invented people, the people hiding from their prior lives, the people simply in hiding. There are so many odd and mysterious beings tucked away in Mendocino's concealing expanse that the county can seem more like an open air witness protection program than a mere political unit called a county.
Given the peculiar mix of people making their way growing and processing intoxicants -- more wine and more dope per capita come from Mendocino County than anywhere else in the land -- not all the stories in this collection are concerned with crime. Some are merely humorous, or involve people more sinned against than sinning. Some describe startling miscarriages of justice while others simply describe incidents only tangentially criminal. And some are merely tragic.
But, we hope, considered as a whole, the reader will emerge from these accounts of real people and real events with some idea of what life is like in a place like no other, Mendocino County, the land behind the Green Curtain.
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