Member News

RMOWP welcomes new member Randy Watkins of Cushing, Oklahoma. A photographer, lecturer, and artist, Randy is a native Oklahoman, having been born in Stillwater, according to his website. 
About himself, Randy writes, “Something in my being finds Oklahoma nature and its myriad forms and textures absolutely enthralling. Oklahoma’s land, water, the astonishing variety of cloud shapes and the play of light on them all, in these I sense a peculiar and profound beauty… This is my art, this is my land and people. I wish to share it with you.” 
To see some of Randy’s photography visit his website,

Long-time RMOWP member Mary Alice Murphy, founder and editor of, a digital-only news source in Silver City, New Mexico, has published a book compiling 81 interviews she has done over the years with World War II veterans in southwest New Mexico.

God’s Umbrella: Southwest New Mexico World War II Survivorsrecounts, in the words of these men and women, the tragic, humorous, and other memorable parts of their service during wartime.

Humorous, you ask? Mary Alice tells us that most of these veterans were in their late teens or early 20s when they volunteered or were drafted, and they played pranks, which created levity in lives that they perhaps could not otherwise have tolerated. The title, she says, comes from a quote from a survivor of the Bataan Death March, who told her, “God had an umbrella over me.”

   Some of those interviewed teared up with memories or would not talk about the painful parts, but they shared their words with the local readers of the newspaper, where many were first published. Now, readers from other parts of the country and world will have an opportunity to read what these survivors of World War II told about their experiences. The photos, from their service days and when interviewed, provide a sliver of history from the four counties of the southwesternmost corner of New Mexico.

 “I describe the book as a labor of love,” Murphy said. “I dedicated it to my father, who served as an enlisted man in World War I, stayed in the Army Reserves between the wars and because of his fluency in five languages, in addition to English, was called back to serve as a translator for Allied Occupation Headquarters during World War II.” Both stints of service took place in the European Theater and he was honorably discharged in 1945 as a Captain, a so-called Mustang.

“This book recognizes the sacrifices veterans and their families have made in service to and in love of country to preserve our freedoms,” Mary Alice tells us. “May we never forget their selfless actions.”

God’s Umbrella: Southwest New Mexico World War II Survivorsis available at, as well as various Silver City locations, including the Silver City Museum.

Robert Stone, another longtime RMOWP member, has also announced the publication of a new book, the fourth edition ofDay Hikes Around Ventura County.

Part of Robert’s popular Day Hike series, Day Hikes Around Ventura Countyincludes 123 of this California county’s best day hikes, providing access to both well-known and out-of-the-way greenspace. 

Hikes range from the Pacific Coast to the mountainous interior and forests, highlighting coastal estuaries and tidepools, long beaches backed by bluffs, waterfalls, swimming holes, forested canyons, secluded creek paths, caves, ridge walks, historic sights, filming locations, and rugged outcroppings.

The large number of hikes provides an excellent cross-section of scenery and levels of difficulty, with a mix of relaxing, scenic strolls and mountain-to-coast treks with panoramic views, according to Robert. Most hikes are from one to three miles long, and hiking times range from 30 minutes to seven hours. 

The 400-page book is organized by location and contains 388 maps, at least one map for each hike. Companion guides include Day Hikes Around Santa Barbara, Day Hikes Around Los Angeles, Day Hikes On the California Central Coast,Day Hikes On the California Southern Coast, and Day Hikes in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Since 1991, Roberthas been writer, photographer, and publisher of Day Hike Books. He spends summers in the Rocky Mountains of Montana and winters on the California Central Coast. Day Hikes Around Ventura Countyis available through Robert’s website,, and also at