East Side, West Side, All Around the Town

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This is from my good friend and fellow Forum columnist Jean Ardell: “Maybe Congress should hire an umpire to settle disputes. This way a Senator or Representative could be called out on three strikes and/or thrown out of the building.”


My brother-in-law was visiting three of our grandkids (his great nephews). When he arrived, the three kids greeted him with, “You can’t stay in the guest bed room. That room belongs to Grandma!”


In affluent Newport Beach, one of the things you would least expect to find is a family in search for gold — other than in a jewelry store. So, kudos to the Bartholomae and Hartling clans. Rather than throw you into a deep morass of quotation marks, let me tell you up-front that much of the background for this true story is borrowed from the pens and print of Animal Planet, The Orange County Register, and The Daily Pilot.

The Animal Planet docudrama, “Alaska Gold Diggers,” premiered Thursday Oct.10 at 8 p.m. The six-episode show follows five women, all from Newport Beach, as they head to Alaska to reclaim the lost family gold mines established decades ago by William “Popper” Bartholomae. The Bartholomae clan consists of Sarajane, the mom, single with four adult daughters: Kamme, 45, married with a daughter 5; Korre, 43, married with a daughter 13 and son 10; Krista, 42, single with no children; and Tori, 37, single with no children.

Their father’s last name is Hartling as in Mickey Hartling.

When matriarch Sarajane Bartholomae heard that people were mining on the old family gold mines that her father acquired in the late 1930s, she knew she needed to return to Alaska to reclaim the mines in Nome and Fairbanks. She convinced her youngest daughter, Tori, who

suggested bringing her three sisters Kamme, Korre and Krista. There was hesitation from family and friends. But they went. It turned out to be much more work than any vacation the clan had embarked on previously. The Bartholomaes arrived in Nome in September 2012, unprepared for the cold, wildlife and the unkempt men unwilling to trust the motley crew of camouflage and lipstick wearing ladies.

“Alaska is the last frontier. It is the wildest place. There is no road to Nome. It is the most wild place you can ever be,” Tori said. According to her sister, Krista, you have to worry about wolves, grizzly bears, moose and, “worst of all,” the Sasquatch and yetis. Family bonds were tested during the six strenuous Alaska weeks.

When Kamme, 45, got home, the first thing she did was dive into the Southern California ocean to rinse off the tundra. Readjusting to life as a mother with a child proved difficult, taking twice as long as the trip itself. “For me, it was gnarly to come home to have to deal with my daughter and do everything I had to do before. Up there I got to be so free and do things for myself,” Kamme said. Other daughters craved a return to the simpler lifestyle of the wild: catching a salmon, cooking it for dinner, living more closely connected to the earth. The women

refused to reveal how much gold they found, only saying there was enough to go back next summer and mine again.

The girls’ father is Mickey Hartling, well known real-estate maven, who often stops at Keans’ Coffee to mix it up with the other handsome seniors. Mickey is an encyclopedia of baseball humor. The senior crowd remembers Mickey as a catcher for the LA Dodgers in the 60s.

Michael Arnold Glueck of Newport Beach writes extensively on everything.


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