This is the true story of women musicians and artists living in a canyon in Southern California during the 1960’s and 70’s when everything was about love and music. Human interest sagas begin when these cabins become occupied by hippies in the 1960’s and 70’s. The central characters are five women (click here to see a picture of them) musicians and artists who tell about their travels with their music around the world, their love lives and difficulties raising children in this era. There are many unusual characters such as "Rattlesnake Buck", "Dave’s Not Here" and "Canyon Annie" who are all real people with real stories to tell, some humorous and some heartbreaking, all true.

But even more, these stories were shared as a tribute to women everywhere who make the daily sacrificess all women make to ensure the continuance of the human race. To make life on this earth more than simple survival requires all humanity, but especially women, to consider those things that will make everyone's existence filled with grace--and to be pleasurable and meaningful. To accomplish this often requires that we put others before ourselves. Does it mean that we will never have anything we want in this life? Do we have to wait to get to heaven to get our reward? The women in this book, the ladies of the canyon, believe in happy endings, even if there is sorrow along the way. They believe that it is the sorrow and hard work that make the pleasures in life precious.

What is their final message to you?

"We can promise you from our experiences that your reward will not be in jewelry, real estate, or money in the bank. It will be in the peaceful sleep that comes with knowing you have done the best you can for yourself and those you love."

To order Marjorie Muro's Ladies of the Canyon click here.


Marjorie Muro was raised in Evansille Indiana. Upon graduation from high school, she moved to Southern California where the seeds for her first book Ladies of the Canyon were planted. She completed a Master’s progam in Political Science and worked for the Los Angeles Police Department as a Personnel Analyst for 15 years and as the Los Angeles Special Events Coordinator for the Mayor and City Council for three years.

Marjorie has two grown children, a son and daughter, and lives with her feisty little black pomeranian, Tessie, in the beautiful red rock surrounded town of Sedona in Northern Arizona.



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This book was written as an inspiration and encouragement to those of you who are struggling to raise your children alone. It was created through the process of many hours of food, drink, and the sharing of personal experiences - some too painful to discuss with anyone before, even each other. It is hoped that you will discover from these stories, the strength and love women have to share with each other. The characters are a composite in some instances and poetic license has been taken to better express a feeling in certain places, but these stories are true. Perhaps you will be uplifted by them and have a laugh or two along the way.

This is from one of the Ladies of the Canyon:

"I was Sasha and maybe I still am. I am Chapter 8 of this miraculous coming together of my unique friends in a unique time. I hope I have retained even a little of the beauty that was bestowed on me by my friend Marjie. She and I go so far back that I can't remember a time that she wasn't somehow in my life. From our little tea tete-a-tetes to our jumping out of an airplane because we had nothing else to do that weekend, it has been a wild and lovely ride. Congratulations on a very special book, Marjie. It is indeed a lovely tribute to our Kathy."

These stories are dedicated to our beloved friend Kathy who left early to get the party started for the rest of us.

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"A lovely, lively book" -- Betsy Amster, Betsy Amster Literary Enterprises
    "We met at the Phoenix Women's Expo a week ago.I LOVED your book and I am going to make it required reading for my Women Studies class. Wouldn't it be wonderful if all women could have the support group Louise had?!!! This is one of the best stories about sisterhood I have ever read." Cindy Holmes-Bacon
    "A wonderful story - it's part Steel Magnolias and part First Wives' Club. It's just a lovely story to read." Gail Ross, Gail Ross Literary Agency

"Marjorie Muro has done a real service to contemporary history--and provided a treat for readers--with her memoir Ladies of the Canyon. Strong and wise as a sage, the story brings to life the canyon residents who made a living doing everything from working with stained glass to designing rides for Disney.

"Generous in spirit, Muro has retrieved and preserved a segment of the '60's/'70's Los Angeles that might otherwise have slipped through the cracks of paved progress.

"Muro isnt a flashy writer--she lets her cast tell the story. In so doing she weaves a web as intricate as any self-respecting canyon lady's shawl."
Susan Compo, Pasadena Weekly



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...first a perusal of the chapter titles


Chapter 1 Wedding Bells
Chapter 2 Reality Starts At The Stop Sign
Chapter 3 Coming Home
Chapter 4 Politics And Tea Parties
Chapter 5 A Dancing Naked Woman And Death
Chapter 6 The Hideaway
Chapter 7 Moms
Chapter 8 Sasha
Chapter 9 Blackjack
Chapter 10 Marissa
Chapter 11 Help!
Chapter 12 Vagabonds
Chapter 13 Louise
Chapter 14 Canyon Holidays
Chapter 15 Rattlesnake Buck And Canyon
Chapter 16 Teenage Terrorists
Chapter 17 Hot Fish And Love
Chapter 18 Ava
Chapter 19 Lacey
Chapter 20 Strangers In The Night
Chapter 21 Earthquakes And Firemen
Chapter 22 Just Keep Tryin' Til You Get It Right
Chapter 23 The Circle



This is the perfect setting for a wedding -- Marissa's back garden overlooking the creek. The house is tiny, more like a cabin. The only parking is on the narrow dirt road out front and the cars wind up being left any old place and covered with dust. The house is wood shingle with windows across the front decorated with boxes of red geraniums. The blue gingham curtains that Marissa's mother helped her make twenty years ago are still hanging. Just like Marissa, they've improved with age, developed that warm, soft, comforting appearance. Five wooden steps lead up to the small landing before the entry door at the side. It's probably never been locked - too many kids, dogs, cats and friends going in and out to bother with that. Inside, to the left is the living room that people remember as having a fireplace but actually has a wood stove. To the right is the dining room table which accommodates an unlimited number of hungry people in a seemingly limited space. At the rear, through the kitchen, a redwood deck with stairs leads down to the garden framed by a chicken coop on one side and oak trees on the other. On the far back edge, blue hollyhocks, purple pansies, yellow and white roses, blackberry bushes and red and orange flowering wild vines reach down into the rushing creek below a fifteen-foot drop. Paradise!

Teresa and Wade have grown up together here in the canyon, along with every member of the wedding party. My friends and I are happy that there is still magic in the world, that boys and girls still grow up to fall in love and want to get married and have babies. Having us "ladies of the canyon" as their mothers, it's a wonder they haven't just decided to stay single forever. Maybe we haven't done such a bad job after all.

This is unbelievable. After what she has seen us go through, Teresa just charges right ahead and does exactly the same thing. Every one of us is praying that she will not have to struggle the way we have. Her persistence is a tribute to the salmon that swim upstream. She's done it. She's getting married. Everyone is absolutely in awe of both of Teresa and Wade.

It was easy to decorate for the celebration. We simply placed the tables with white cloths and pink-rose centerpieces around Marissa's vine-covered trellis, voila! We have a garden wedding. Our sons set up a small platform for the band and a karaoke machine. Add good food, good wine, and lots of canyon folks and we had a party that could go for days.

The handsome guy in the back doing the barbecuing, Steve, has spent more time helping our sons grow up than any of their fathers have. He's the one who taught them to fish and ride bicycles and motorcycles. He took them camping and helped them find jobs and learn carpentry in the summers. There was a time when I thought Steve might be the one for my children and me to make a home with, but he has too many scars from his past to get too close to one person. He's much happier alone or in groups but he was certainly a blessing to our sons.

This is only one of hundreds of weddings Marissa has performed, but Teresa and Wade are canyon children. Her son Randy, my son Russell and Sasha's son Dallas will be part of the ceremony and of course, all the big sisters are here.

The kids are in their late twenties now and so gorgeous. There are eight of them, four boys and four girls. They are closer than if they had actually been blood relatives. We brought them into the canyon when they were little children and we were all single mothers from separate places, searching for a home.

Looking around, almost all I see is mothers. The only person with a father present is the groom. Everyone was wondering if he was going to bring a date, and he was gracious enough not to. But the truth is, no one would have cared if he had. Wade's mother is standing next to him, her ex but yet not ex-husband. Of all the canyon ladies, I know her least. She prefers to remain at home quietly alone. She doesn't drive and many times I have given her a ride to the bus stop so that she can go to work doing what? I'm not sure. I do however, know her son Wade and her daughter Gena quite well.

After the brief ceremony, Teresa sings with Wade "I Got You Babe." Cute. One of them is very talented and it sure as heck isn't Wade. He's a lot better with a hammer than a microphone but he's a good sport. Thank goodness, here comes Katy to rescue us. She steps up onto the platform, shakes loose her long red hair and picks up her guitar. She's the mother of the bride but she has changed into her usual ensemble of a tee shirt, cut- off jeans and cowboy boots. The effect is such that one of the male guests leaps up on his table and has to be subdued by the men sitting near him.

"For the few who don't know her, I want to introduce my mom, Katy. We're dedicating this song to each other," says Teresa, smiling at Katy. Katy smiles back.

There is a polite quiet period followed by the pure, sweet harmony of mother and daughter, accompanied by acoustic guitar, singing, "I'm Everything I Am Because You Love Me." This is followed by a lot of sniffling, smiling, and applause.

Great. Now they're playing my theme song, "Men bought Louise ten-cent trinkets, but they cried when she died, Louise." No matter how hard I have worked to improve my situation in life, I wind up with nothing but ten-cent trinkets and a broken heart. Well, it seems that's what happens when a woman puts all her efforts into a relationship with a man - at least the men that have been in and out of my life.

Good. Here comes my baby Russell, "Hi Mom. This is Elizabeth. She's here with some of Randy's friends from Santa Barbara. This is my mom, Louise. Want to dance, Mom?" (Forget what I just said about ten-cent trinkets.)

Russell and I walk onto the grassy area designated for dancing. We stand near the edge and start to do a little shuffle. Mine's a subdued "mashed potatoes," and he's watching me to see if I know what to do with the hip-hop music that's beginning to play. I don't, right away. Then that old feeling comes slowly back. I smile at Russell, he smiles at me, and we break out into those wild free-form, rhythmic movements that take over your body and respond to the music. It's been a few years, but I haven't lost it yet. Russell laughs as Elizabeth runs out to join us. By ones, twos and threes, everyone is up and moving until the garden is filled with jumping, shouting, whistling, clapping dancers and the canyon is, once again, filled with music.

I love these people. They are the only family I have known for the past twenty years. I bet just like I am, the other women are remembering their own wedding days. We all have at least one to recall. The ones we seem to talk about the most are the ones that landed us in the canyon, alone, with children to raise.

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