Mom was always working — here she is cleaning the porch at Alpine
Paula Louise Mauser was born in 1916 in Porterville, California. Her parents were Charles Mauser and Agatha Louse Haenggi Mauser . She grew up in California, variously in Inglewood, Tipton, and Porterville. She was an avid reader and excellent student, graduating as Valedictorian from Tulare High School.
While still a child, her family moved from Tipton to Porterville, where she attended Porterville Junior College. It was at Porterville Junior College that she met her future husband, John (“Ray”) Raymond Longley. She described the relationship as magic and they ended up eloping to Reno, Nevada, where they were wed. She was a home-maker living with her husband near her father’s business on Poplar road when her first son, Karl Emery Longley was born. Soon the family was able to purchase a farm on the Tule River on Indiana Avenue. In these early years, the focus was on building a life around the livestock business and taking work to make ends meet. It was the depression era and life was grueling.
During World War II, her family moved to Sacramento where her husband served in the California State Military Reserve. Ray was accepted in OCS in Florida and Paula met him there towards graduation time. She described the trip across the United States as eye opening because it crossed over the mountains and through the South. She stopped off in Tennessee to get Ray’s birth certificate, which had to be provided to the authorities in Florida. Introduction to the South and its differences from the West was an enduring memory.
After Ray’s commissioning, the family spend time at the Victorville Army Airfield. Paula described working with other officer wives to fold bandages. There was a military wife’s culture, which she observed with some bemusement.
Ray was sent to the Pacific in 1945 and the family stayed in Porterville while waiting for his return home. After the War, the routine of civilian life resumed. Again it was focused around the horses and cattle. Another son, John Jr., was born in 1947 and after a few years Paula wanted to complete her college education, which had been delayed by her marriage.
She took classes at Fresno State and at the Fresno State extension in Bakersfield. She was able to get a provisional teaching credential and started teaching kindergarten. She reached her stride at Burton School, where she taught third grade for some time. Eventually, she moved to the Porterville District. She taught at Bartlett Junior High School and then Porterville High School, where she became a counselor. She worked for many years as a counselor at Monache High School. She is well remembered by many of her former counselees.
While teaching, Paula continued her education by taking classes at Porterville College and Fresno State. She achieved a master’s degree after completing an arduous thesis
She also loved to travel. Either on her own or traveling in a group, she traveled throughout Europe, Africa, Asia and North America. She brought remembrances of her travel home and they adorned her home on the Westwood Street family farm. Her commentaries on people and places were absorbing.
She loved the Sierra Nevada Mountains. A piece she prepared about the Sierra Nevada’s was published in Times Magazine before World War II. She traveled to the backcountry on horseback and always drank of the mountain spirit. These memories she recounted often with great feeling and zeal, because they connected all of her family from the early years of beef herds grazing on mountain meadows, to her family’s many exploits along the Tule, Kaweah and Kern rivers, to the family cabin at Alpine.
Paula was a devoted member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Porterville. She worked to help maintain the Fellowship facility, and in recognition for her work, the UU Fellowship dedicated a redwood tree to her.
Paula was devoted to her family, raising not only her children, but in many ways, her grandchildren. She is remembered with great love and devotion by her son Karl and his wife Friedel; her son John and his wife Theresa; her grandchildren, EJ, Ruthie, PJ, John III; her nephews Bill, John, and Jim; her great-grandchildren Sierra, Sydney, Sian, Emma, Jacob, Tanner, Sarah, John IV, Robert, Joseph, and Sawyer; and her great-niece Laura Temple Lundin.
Our mother, grandmother, aunt was an inspiring and committed individual. Though fiercely independent, she always built her family and worked to give them options and opportunities. She wanted her family to excel and was involved with their achievements and victories. They have sought the dreams she encouraged and they live around the U.S. and the world in Alaska, Africa, the Pacific Northwest and throughout Central California. We love you and will miss you profoundly, profoundly, profoundly– Godspeed.
In Paula’s last letters, she requested a small funeral with family. For those wishing to remember Paula, donations can be made to the Back Country Horseman of America at www.backcountryhorse.com. Paula loved traveling the trails throughout the American Wilderness.