Tehachapi is known for its magnificent murals. Recently, a father and daughter added to the beautification of the downtown scene by creating their second mural at the Tehachapi Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5948 located on Tehachapi Boulevard.
Barry "Skip" McCloskey, the post judge advocate, and his daughter Jocelyn, 17, helped celebrate the lineage of Tehachapi by showing off the town’s colors and accolades on the post’s boxcar.
After serving 15 years on active duty in the United States Air Force as an aircraft mechanic, Skip relocated Jocelynn along with another daughter, Isabelle, 19, from Poland, Ohio, to Tehachapi in March 2018.
"Thanks to social media groups on Facebook, help from my comrades in arms, and a stroke of luck, the dominoes fell into place to bring me and my family back to the F-15 fighter aircraft working at NASA at Edwards Air Force Base," said Skip.
While waiting a few weeks to report to duty at NASA, Skip said he stopped by the VFW and fell in love with the place, the people and the commander.
"I got involved and signed up for a lifetime membership," he said.
After doing odd jobs around the post to help fix it up, Skip said he noticed a faded mural of a painted eagle on the side of an old boxcar sitting out front. Noticing people taking selfies in front of it, he decided it was time to bring the mural back to life.
Due to the rotting wood of the boxcar, Skip said he decided to re-create the mural instead using sheets of plywood and took them home, lined them against the wall of his garage and went to work.
Said Skip, "Since I just started work (at NASA), I didn't have a lot of time, so Jocelynn took over ... she did every brush stroke."
It took the McCloskeys three months to finish the mural, which was hung and unveiled in time for the Mountain Festival last year.
Said Skip, "Many locals and tourists stop by to use the mural as their visiting backdrop. The VFW is proud they can give to the community a touch of art."
After completing the first eagle mural, Skip said he noticed "an empty easel" on the other half of the boxcar. He decided to create a second mural as a dedication to Tehachapi by creating a mural within a mural inside the letters of the town name.
Said Skip, "Inside each letter is something different about Tehachapi, like the windmills, the rodeo, the poppies and mountains."
Jocelynn assisted her father by painting the second mural as well.
"It just came to us because there are so many iconic things about Tehachapi," said Jocelynn, who is a student at Cerro Coso Community College. "The basic design came to us after we saw this postcard in a movie."
Asked about the hardest part of creating the new mural, Jocelynn said, "Focusing. I drew a basic sketch on my computer so I could lay it all out and see how it would look."
The McCloskeys said they are proud to have the opportunity to give the community a touch of art.
Said Skip, "I believe in karma, honesty and the power of a positive attitude, and look forward to our time here."