The town of Occidental has changed a good deal since Doris Murphy first moved there more than half a century ago, something she herself has had a hand in doing. It’s reason enough for a community-wide party tonight to celebrate here 100th birthday.
When Joe Murphy first brought Doris from San Francisco to Occidental, he showed her the 18 acres of redwood-sheathed ridgetop he had purchased nearby. For more than two years thereafter, Doris recalls, their weekends were spent traveling to the remote property and constructing the solid green and white house with its large stone fireplace, where she has lived fulltime since about 1960.
Doris was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, but hitch-hiked south to San Francisco after graduating from Reed College in 1938. There she met Joe Murphy, the influential leader of the Hod Carriers Local 38 union, and a high-profile organizer for the International Workers of the World. But Doris insists that meeting Joe did not inspire her to change her politics.
This picture of Doris and Joe Murphy adorns the cover of Love and Labor, the lively autobiography she published just a few years ago, at the age of 96. Her lifetime of energetic participation in the town of Occidental will be celebrated in the new Occidental Center for the Arts on Thursday March 11, starting at 6 pm.