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SMITH: Petaluma's caped crusader a force for good

A masked crusader has hatched as a force for good in Eggtown.

Calling himself Petaluma Batman, the young man appears on the streets and at schools in his homemade guise to entertain, intrigue and appeal for a loftier trajectory for humanity.

Closely guarding his identity, the 19-year-old Casa Grande alum and SRJC student engages sometimes in choreographed sidewalk battles with Petaluma Joker and Petaluma Penguin, and he raises money for righteous causes.

Recently an envelope appeared in the bookdrop at the Petaluma Library, an envelope bearing an autographed photo of the black-clad champion and the words, "A hero can be anyone." Inside was a note that read, "For the Children's Library" and $125, mostly in $1 bills.

A new video short of Petaluma Batman by 20-year-old SRJC student Austin Smagalski (youtube.com/watch?v=92Z5jYmEHyo) is drawing hits from across the nation and independent documentary-maker Brett Culp was just in town to include our hero in his feature-length production, "Legends of the Knight."

Holy revelation! It suddenly occurs that all this fascination isn't about the Batman who rights wrong on the streets, but about freeing the one who dwells inside.

GAYE LeBARON wrote a bittersweet piece on the telephone last week that set bells to ringing in Claire Lampson's memory.

Claire recalled that when she settled in Geyserville in 1947 as the bride of deep-rooted Everett "Dave" Lampson, she learned about the shared-line country phone.

"Our home was located 3 miles south of town and had a &‘farmer's-line' telephone, which could serve up to eight families," Claire said. "Each family had its own distinctive ring, but that didn't mean that when it rang someone (in another house) didn't pick up the phone and listen."


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