With Old Spanish Days just around the corner, stories about Santa Barbara’s heritage and history become particularly apropos. In that vein — and in celebration of her 80th birthday — Elizabeth Erro Hvolboll, descendant of the area’s long-ensconced Orella family, put together a book of her memories of her life on the Gaviota Coast for family and friends.
The self-published memoir includes fascinating photographs of Hvolboll’s family and the neighbors who lived on and worked the land between Ellwood and Gaviota from the late 1800s to the 1990s. Hvolboll weaves history with personal anecdotes, providing an interesting portrait of our county’s beloved coastal ranches through the decades.
Although the book, which she titled Mi Refugio, is not available for general purchase, Hvolboll generously allowed The Indy to give readers a peek into it through the following photos and captions.
SELF-PORTRAIT: Author Elizabeth Erro Hvolboll was born in 1930 at St. Francis Hospital in Santa Barbara. She was the third daughter of Martin and Louise Erro and was raised on Orella Ranch. At age seven, she entered Vista del Mar elementary school near Gaviota. “School was a wondrous experience for me,” Hvolboll writes. Although she enjoyed many subjects, music — especially singing — was her favorite and something she continues to pursue. She was introduced to the music of early California at Vista del Mar, singing the old tunes at Old Spanish Days events beginning in 1946.
SISTERLY LOVE: The author had two older sisters, Mercedes “Cedes” Josefa (1916-1955) and Luzena “Zena” Violet (1918-1993, pictured), who both graduated from Santa Barbara High in the 1930s. Cedes proceeded on to S.B. Teacher’s College and eventually earned a Masters Degree in Education from Stanford University. Cedes died in her late thirties from stomach cancer. Zena graduated from S.B. Business College and was a hairstylist. She married Charlie Tautrim in 1938; they had two sons, Martin and Mark.