In 2001, Stephen Chiapella visited the students at Dunn Middle School, and shared the colorful story of his family’s adventures in Mexico and the United States. It's a classic California saga about ethnic diversity and the need to accept and embrace change, told with his characteristic humor and modesty. He passed away in 2014 at the age of eighty-eight. 

For Emmanuel Nana Akyen, soccer has been a pathway to a wider world. Born in Ghana, and by the age of five an orphan, he was recruited for the Right to Dream Academy, where he honed his athletic and academic talents. This led to an opportunity to attend Dunn School in California, and eventually a scholarship to Westmont College, from which he graduated in 2014. He is now coaching soccer and developing a bigger plan for helping to change the lives of others.  Nana's warmth, intelligence, and humor are evident in this interview. Read on, and meet a truly inspiring young man.

Born in a South Sudanese village in 1991, and currently the Inaugural Writer-in-Residence at Dunn School in Los Olivos, California, the journey of Nyuol Lueth Tong has been remarkable in every way. He shares some of his reflections here with stunning eloquence, insight, and honesty. 

I interviewed Aris Alexander at his Hollister Ranch home in Gaviota, California on November 15, 2016.  A retired professor of psychiatry, Aris is erudite and thoughtful. He spoke candidly about life, priorities, and happenstance.

On a recent October morning, John Hollister Wheelwright (son of Jane Hollister Wheelwright and Joe Wheelwright) visited the ranch house in Gaviota where he had spent a portion of his childhood living with his grandparents. He reminisced and reflected with sensitivity and humor about the ranch life he knew, the changes he's seen, and feeling like a 19th century person in today's different world. 



The Living Stories Collective is pleased to be able to share audio excerpts from a 1998 conversation with Jane Hollister Wheelwright and Joe Hollister, both then in their nineties and looking back on their extraordinary lives with humor and candor. 

From the Hollister Ranch to the world and the cosmos, Lincoln Hollister's life has been one of discovery and exploration. In this interview he speaks enthusiastically about his work as a geologist and reminisces with love and insight about his roots.

A therapist, writer, and pilgrim of sorts, Doyle Hollister reflects in this interview on his deep connection to the land that is the Hollister Ranch, the lessons he has learned in his personal journey, and the need we all have for wilderness in our lives. 


The dream of rural living that Jeanne Walker once shared with her husband became hers to fulfill alone in the aftermath of tragedy, and she is legendary among all who know her for her one-woman industry, creativity, and inspiring resilience.  In this interview Jeanne spoke about her years at the Hollister Ranch, her new life at Sea Ranch, and the wisdom she has accrued in the course of her journey. Her thoughts on grief, learning, and wonder are eloquent and profound. 


AuthorCyn Carbone

We visited Sally Jones at the Pork Palace, her Gaviota homestead. Sally beams with pride and joy as she reminisces about life with her husband George and their four sons here and in the Santa Ynez Valley. “I was a homemaker,” she says, “and I worked hard at it, and it was a joy.” In later years she found pleasure and solace in walking, and most recently in painting and drawing. 

AuthorCyn Carbone