Elizabeth Adda Robinson Ratcliffe
1923-2015
 
Chronology
 
1880s     1900s     1910s     1920s     1930s     1940s     1950s     1960s     1970s     1980s     1990s     2000s     2010s
 

 
October 1853 Elizabeth’s maternal grandfather, George Garrison Stambaugh is born in Illinois.
 
January 31, 1857 Elizabeth’s maternal grandmother, Adda Woolley is born in Colchester, McDonough County, Illinois.
 
February 1862 Elizabeth’s paternal grandmother, Julia E Miller is born in Warren, Vermont.
 
December 2, 1863 Elizabeth’s paternal grandfather, George Henry Robinson is born in Waitsfield, Vermont.
 
May 20, 1883 Elizabeth’s mother, Mary Elizabeth Stambaugh is born in Cheney, Washington.
 
February 20, 1886     Elizabeth’s father, Harold Wesley Robinson is born in Warren, Vermont.
 
1903 Harold graduates from Waitsfield High School.
 
September 1906 Harold enters Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.
 
“The thing that’s really interesting how people’s lives—they all hinge together in some funny way. When [Harold] was in Dartmouth...there had been a person that’s like Billy Graham, whose name was Billy Sunday. And he was travelling around on all the college circuits and he would put up a big tent and have revivals. My father went, this was the thing to do. Billy Sunday asked for all those who, when they felt the hand of the lord on them, when they felt the call, for them to all come down and sign a card. And all of my father’s classmates did, so he knew he was safe and he went down—he knew he would never receive the call [chuckle]. So he went down the isle and signed it. Well, I’m sure that that made a difference to him,”
—EARR, Growing Up In China (GUiC), Part I, March 1999
 
Harold himself describes this event in the beginning of the chapter, “Life In China” from Grandpa’s Story, A Yankee in China, (pp. 42-3):
I have no clear recollection of how I first got the idea of going to China. It must have been while I was in Dartmouth College, and it may have been when I was attending a Student Summer Conference at East Northfield, Massachusetts. I met there people from different parts of the world and was enchanted by the stories which they told of the people with whom they lived and worked. One of them was Dr. Samuel Zwemer from Arabia. Dr. Wilfred Grenfeld of Labrador was another. The only person I remember who spoke on China was Dr. Edwards of the Harvard Medical School, who had not been in China, but was about to go there as a medical missionary. I am not sure that I heard him at Northfield, though I did in Dartmouth.
 
I believe that it was at Northfield that I signed a Student Volunteer card which stated that “if it is God’s will” I would become a foreign missionary. I felt perfectly sure that it would not be God’s will for me to do any such thing, but by signing the card I thought that I would get rid of the feeling that I ought to be willing to become a missionary.
 
After I signed that card, a Student Volunteer Band was organized at Dartmouth and much to my surprise I was elected as its first leader. We had regular meetings, read lives of great missionaries, got missionary speakers to address meetings at Hanover and kept up the missionary interest on the Dartmouth campus. So far as I know I was the only one of that Band who ever got to the foreign field. Probably I was the one who least expected to go when I signed the card.
 
My early impression of a missionary was that he was a preacher, and that was the last thing that i planned to be. Besides, a preacher had to know languages. I hated them. That and the fact that I liked mathematics had helped me decide to become an engineer.
 
1909 Mary graduates from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington.
 
Fall 1909 Harold delivers his first sermon in a Congregational Church in North Pomfret, Vermont.
 
1910
Harold Wesley Robinson the day he graduated from Dartmouth
Harold graduates from Dartmouth. “He had a photogratphic memory; he said he didn’t know that he was bright. But he must have had a photographic memory which he subsequently said he lost. Everybody else thought he was bright. He could just read a page and tell you what was on it and where it was. And that’s a photograhic memory. I certainly don’t have any of that. I don’t know where he lost it but it was a very curious mind he had. And it was always curious and always wanted to learn. A friend of his, who graudated from Dartmouth, I guess, ahead of him, wrote to him and said, ‘Come on out to Hawaii, it’s a great place.’ And that’s where this guy had gone. So this farm boy, from this state of Vermont, who just thought of himself as a hired hand, and then had gone off to college and found out he had a good mind, decided to go to Hawaii and teach mathematics because his major was civil engineering—he loved math.”
—EARR, Growing Up In China (GUiC), Part I, March 1999
 
1910 Harold meets Mary aboard the S.S. Wilhemena after both board in San Francisco bound for Honolulu, Hawaii. Mary is going to teach in the Kawaihao Seminary for Girls in Honolulu after being turned down for the job of principal in a school in Davenport, Washington because she “was not a man” and had heard of the opportunity from a Whitman classmate who was then teaching at Kawaihao. Harold is going to teach mathematics at the Mid Pacific Institute in Honolulu to replace his friend Ralph Richardson who had been offered an engineering position for the construction of Pearl Harbor.
 
1912 Mary leaves Kawaihao Seminary and begins teaching at Mid Pacific Institute.
 
 
Summer 1913 Harold decides to go to theological seminary to prepare for the ministry and proposes to Mary while visiting her parents in Long Beach, California on his was back east. She accepts his proposal.
 
Fall 1913 Harold enters Union Seminary. While there he also enrolls in Columbia University for courses in education and psychology.
 
1913-1916 Mary continues teaching at Mid Pacific in Honolulu.
 
June 15, 1916 Harold is issued his passport in the District Court of Boston for missionary work in China.
 
May 1916 Harold graduates from Union and is ordained in the Congregational Church of Brooklyn where Dr. S. Parkes Cadman is pastor.
 
July 22, 1916 Harold leaves his family home in Warren, Vermont headed for Spokane, Washington to wed Mary Stambaugh, prior to the couple making their first voyage across the Pacific Ocean to China.
 
August 8, 1916
Mary and Harold are wed in Mary's parents home in Spokane Washington
Harold and Mary are married in Mary’s parents home in Spokane, Washington.
 
 
August 26, 1916
 
Harold and Mary leave the U.S. by ship bound for China (as recorded on Harold’s second Passport Application, issued by the American Consulate in Tientsin, China, on September 3, 1918).
 
 
September 20, 1916
Harold Wesley Robinson - Certificate of Registration of American Citizen
 
 
Harold and Mary arrive in Peking where they are enrolled in the North China Union Language School for a year and live in the American (Congregational) Board Mission compound.
 
“In China they went out with a Mission Board called the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. ABCFM it’s called, and it’s very familiar to me. They were based in Boston. They were the same group that sent missionaries out to Hawaii in the 1800s, 1850s, and colonized Hawaii and robbed all the—put foreigners, Americans, into the pineapple plantations and this is the way it works.”
—EARR, Growing Up In China (GUiC), Part I, March 1999
 
Late Summer 1917 The Robinsons move to Paotingfu, 90 miles south of Peking.
 
 
January 1, 1918
Harold Stambaugh Robinson at 2 weeks old with the nurse who took care of him and his mother while still in the hospital
 
Harold Stambaugh Robinson is born in the Presbyterian Hospital in Paotingfu.
 
 
January 1, 1919
Happy New Year! Harold Stambaugh Robinson on his first birthday
 
“Happy New Year!”
Harold Stambaugh Robinson on his first birthday.
 
 
1919
Harold Stambaugh Robinson with goat in Gwantzeling, circa 1920
Harold Stambaugh Robinson with goats in Paotingfu, circa 1921
 
“We always kept goats... they were milk goats, they were female goats. And Harold is having a good time feeding the goat. He must have been about a year and half there. I think this was in Gwantzeling up in the mountains in the summer time. These goats, I do remember them so well.”
—EARR, Growing Up In China (GUiC), Part I, March 1999
 
 
October 4, 1920
James Wesley Robinson with mother Mary and brother Harold looking on
 
James Wesley Robinson is born in the Presbyterian Hospital in Paotingfu.
 
 
June 8, 1923
Manifest for SS Korea Maru, June-July 1923 voyage from Shanghai to Port of San Francisco
 
Harold and Mary board the SS Korea Maru in Shanghai, China with their two sons, Harold and James, ages 5 and 2, bound for the Port of San Francisco, where they arrive on July 3. This is their first furlough back to the U.S. after living in China beginning in September 1916. Their first destination is Mary’s parents home in Long Beach, California where they stay until Harold has purchased a used Buick in which he drives his pregnant-with-third-child wife and two sons across the continent to his home in Warren Vermont.
 
November 1, 1923
Elizabeth Adda Robinson with her Grandmother, Julia Miller Robinson
Elizabeth Adda Robinson is born at 6:40 pm in Barre, Vermont.
 
 
Nov ’23-Feb ‘24
 
Mary is in hospital in Barre after developing phlebitis.
 
February 10, 1924 Certificate of Baptism for Elizabeth Adda Robinson, February 10, 1924
 
Elizabeth is baptized by Dr. S. Parkes Cadman, pastor of the Central Congregational Church of Brooklyn, New York. After Dr. Cadman’s death, Central Church united with another Brooklyn church and the union was named “Cadman Memorial Congregational Church.”
 
February 14, 1925
Manifest for SS Calawaii, February 14, 1925 voyage from Los Angeles, CA, to Port of Honolulu, TH
Harold and Mary board the SS Calawaii in Los Angeles, with their three children, Harold, age 7, James, age 4, and Elizabeth, age 1 and a half, bound for the Port of Honolulu where they arrive on February 21. The family is enroute to China after their first furlough. This is Elizabeth’s first trip to China. The return to China was delayed because of “some sort of warlording going on in Hopei province where [Harold and Mary’s] first assigned mission station was located in the capital walled city of Paothingfu.” [See: My First Trip To China]
 
1929 or 1930 When Elizabeth is six or seven the Robinsons are transferred by the Mission Board from Paotingfu to Techow (pronounced "Duh'joe") in Shantung province.
 
 
June 16, 1932
Manifest for SS President Cleveland, June 1932 voyage from Kobe, Japan to Port of Seattle, Washington
 
Harold and Mary board the SS President Cleveland in Kobe, Japan with their three children, Harold, age 14, James, age 11, and Elizabeth, age 8, bound for the Port of Seattle, Washington, where they arrive on June 28. This is their second furlough back to the U.S.
 
 
1934-35
My Pomes by E.A.Robinson, 1934-35

 
Elizabeth produces her own book of “My Pomes” complete with minature sketches at the beginning of each piece and a drawing of The Author at the back. A black and white representation is included which may provide easier reading than the original faded color scan.
 
January 9, 1937 Mary’s mother, Adda Wooley Stambaugh dies in Long Beach, California, 22 days before she would have turned 80 (born in Colchester, Illinois, on January 31, 1857).
 
June 27, 1937
Manifest for SS Empress of Asia, June-July 1937 voyage from Shanghai to Port of Victoria
Elizabeth boards the SS Empress of Asia in Shanghai, China with her Mother, bound for the Port of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada where they arrive on July 12. Their destination is Mary’s parents home, Adda and George Stambaugh, at 337 Carroll Park West, Long Beach, California. Mary’s purpose was to care for her ailing father and needed Elizabeth to accompany her on this errand of mercy. In later years Elizabeth recounted how Mary needed her daughter to come with her because Mary’s father was a difficult man and Mary felt she could not help him without some support for her own situation.
 
1938 Elizabeth and her parents move to Tungchow, Shantung province where Harold and Mary had been reassigned by the Congregational Board in Boston.
 
1938-39 (?) Tungchow (sp?) — fill in more
 
July 19, 1940
Manifest for SS President Coolidge, July 19, 1940 voyage from Kobe, Japan, to Port of Los Angeles
Harold, Mary, and Elizabeth (now age 16) board the SS President Coolidge in Kobe, Japan, bound for the Port of Los Angeles where they arrive on August 3. This is Elizabeth’s final trip from China to the U.S. after completing her junior year in High School in Tungchow.
 
1940-1941 Elizabeth attends her 12th grade year at Newton high school, living in Auburndale, Massachusetts.
 
1941-1945 Elizabeth attends Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts (graduating in June 1945) receiving a BA in Art History with a minor in English.
 
April 1, 1944 Mary’s father, George Garrison Stambaugh dies in Long Beach, California, at age 90 (born in Illinois, October 1857).
 
1944 James Wesley Robinson graduates with honors from Harvard Medical School.
 
November 1, 1944 Elizabeth meets John Waldo Ratcliffe at her 21st birthday party during her senior year at Wellesley.
 
1945, 1946 After graduation from Wellesley, Elizabeth begins working in July for over a period of about 6 months in the capacity of “Girl Friday” to Edward W. Forbes, the last living grandson of Lidian Emerson, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s wife. At that time Forbes was the retired Director of the Fogg Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her work for Edward Forbes spans two periods, the second of which ends in 1946 prior to her marriage to John Ratcliffe. As a wedding gift, Mr. Forbes gives Elizabeth a water color of his of Naushon Island.
 
Late 1945 (?) Elizabeth moves to NYC to go to nursing school and decides she isn’t cut out to be a nurse after 6 weeks after which she returns to Cambridge, Mass.
 
January 12, 1946 Rev. H.W. Robinson marries Harold S. Robinson and Julie Ann Burnett in Minneapolis, MN.
 
1946 Rev. H.W. Robinson marries James W. Robinson and Hope Buist.
 
October 12, 1946 Rev. H.W. Robinson marries Elizabeth A. Robinson and John Waldo Ratcliffe in Cambridge, MA. He is 26 and she is 22 years of age. They initially live in Norfolk, Virginia while John is serving his time in the Navy (as Lieutenant Junior Grade Medical Corps, U.S. Naval Reserve) and then they move to Framingham, MA, eventually living at 64 Maple Street.
 
1948
ERR, Nurse, Stephen, & Nancy Barker, 1948
 
Stephen Robinson Ratcliffe is born in Boston Lying-in Hospital (now part of Brigham and Women’s Hospital)
 
1950 Bruce Allen Ratcliffe is born in Boston Lying-in Hospital (now part of Brigham and Women’s Hospital)
 
December 1950 Harold and Mary Robinson return from China to the U.S. for the last time.
 
1952 Patricia Anne Ratcliffe is born in Framingham Union Hospital, Framingham, MA.
 
1952 Ratcliffe Family moves from Framingham, MA, to Hillsdale Garden Apartments in San Mateo, CA.
 
1952 Harold Sr. has his own church in Guerneville, California.
 
195- Ratcliffe Family moves to 426 Edgewood Road, San Mateo, CA.
 
 
March 10, 1955
Letter from Pearl S. Buck to Elizabeth
 
Elizabeth receives a personal letter written on this day from Pearl S. Buck replying to a letter of appreciation Elizabeth apparently had written concerning a book Ms. Buck wrote about China.
 
 
1955
 
David Thompson Ratcliffe is born in Mills Hospital, San Mateo, California.
 
1960 Ratcliffe Family moves to 2185 Parkside Avenue, Hillsborough, CA.
 
 
1961
Susana Prieto-Stambaugh visits Ratcliffes in December 1961
 
Susana Prieto-Stambaugh, the daughter of Betty Jeanne Stambaugh, Elizabeth’s first cousin, travels from her home in Mexico City to Harold Stambaugh Robinson’s home in Walnut Creek, California, entering the US on December 1. During her visit, Harold’s family comes to the Ratcliffe’s home over the holidays. Grandpa and Gramma Robinson (who live in San Mateo at that time) are also present. This photograph is taken in the front yard at Parkside. People in the photograph are, left to right: Steve, Elizabeth, Tom Robinson, Susana, David, Jenny Robinson, Gramma and Grampa Robinson, Harold and Julie Robinson, John and Bruce Ratcliffe. The Ratcliffe’s beloved black lab Pingo is front-and-center.
 
Late 1963 Harold and Mary Robinson retire and move from San Mateo Park to the Carmel Valley Manor, in Carmel Valley, CA. The Congregational Church in San Mateo where Harold was a “Visitation Minister” is involved in building the Manor, and Harold and Mary are invited to become some of the first residents by the Church.
 
1964-1965 Elizabeth takes one year of art history graduate studies courses at Stanford University in Palo Alto.
 
Early 1966 Elizabeth and John Ratcliffe divorce after 19+ years of marriage.
 
Fall 1966 After graduating high school in June, Stephen enters Reed College in Oregon.
 
Summer 1968 Elizabeth sells Parkside house, buys 1547 Brandywine Road in San Mateo and moves with Bruce, Patty, and David to the San Mateo Eichler Highlands.
 
Fall 1968 After graduating high school in June, Bruce enters Oberlin College in Ohio.
 
1968-1971 Valentine's Day letter to Mrs. Ratcliffe from a Senior Humanities class Elizabeth teaches Senior Humanities (Art History Component) at Mills High School, in Millbrae, CA. During one of these years in February, she receives a “happy valentine’s!” card made from and signed by her students with beautiful calligraphic writing, stating:
dear mrs ratcliffe,
   thank you
             for
sharing with us.
you have a special way
  of expressing the
    beautiful things
      inside you . . .
and you also have class.
 
March 13, 1970 Elizabeth purchases the house at 7907 Rapp Lane in Talent Oregon for $14,000. She moves there in the fall of the same year.
 
June 30, 1970 Elizabeth receives a Secondary Standard Teaching Credential in Education from the College of Notre Dame, Belmont, CA.
 
Fall 1970 After graduating high school in June, Patty enters Colorado Springs College.
 
Fall 1970 After one year of public high school, David enters The Thacher School in Ojai, CA for 10th through 12th grade.
 
September 1971 Elizabeth enters the University of Oregon in Eugene to pursue a Masters Degree in Art History.
 
June 1973 Elizabeth receives a M.A. in Byzantine Medieval Art History from the University of Oregon.
 
1973 Teaches Parent Effectiveness Training (PET) part time at Lane Community College, Eugene.
 
September 1973 After graduating high school in June, David enters Oregon State University in Corvallis.
 
November 17, 1973
Stephen Robinson Ratcliffe and Ashley Bartlett Perdue are married
 
Stephen Ratcliffe marries Ashley Bartlett Perdue in Bolinas, California.
 
November 8, 1974 Mary Stambaugh Robinson dies in Carmel Valley, California.
 
1974-1975 Elizabeth works at the Service League of San Mateo County providing Marriage and Family Counseling and personal growth counseling to San Mateo County jail inmates and their families.
 
May 23, 1975 Elizabeth completes her second Masters thesis, “The Old Masters Art Collage As An Instrument Of Learning About Oneself.”
 
August 29, 1975 Elizabeth graduates from Cal State Hayward with a M.S. Counseling degree.
 
1975 Elizabeth’s first grandchild, Oona Ashley Ratcliffe, is born of her parents, Stephen and Ashley.
 
1975 Elizabeth works in the San Mateo County Probation Department as a co-therapist in family therapy sessions with offenders in custody placed in the Community Rehabilitation House.
 
1975-1980 Elizabeth serves as vocational / psychological staff counselor at Displaced Homemakers Center (DHC) & Advocates for Women. In 1977 she writes “One Year Later..... An overview of what we’ve accomplished during our pilot project’s first year of operation: May 1976 - April 1977” for the California Senate that appropriated the money to start a DHC. The group’s hope was that this report would convince legislators to renew their initial grant which the Senate did. See Also: For Homemakers Who Lose Their Jobs... flyer.
 
1976-1977 Teaches part time Parent Communication, Women in Transition at Hayward Adult School, Hayward, CA.
 
1977 The Old Masters Art Collage: An Art Therapy Technique For Heuristic Self-Discovery” is published in Art Psychotherapy, Vol. 4, pp. 29-32. Pergamon Press.
 
1978 Elizabeth receives her Marriage and Family Counselor license in 1978.
 
1978-1980 Internship training at the Berkeley Psychotherapy Institute.
 
1978-1980 Teaches (30-40 hrs/week) Assertiveness Training, Career Decision, Dealing With Anger at Displaced Homemakers Center, on Mills College Campus, Oakland, CA.
 
1979 Receives training in Music Therapy from Ruth Dunbar in San Francisco.
 
October 7 to November 4, 1979 Elizabeth travels to Japan to visit Patty who is living in a 4-year period that includes teaching English and studying No-ren, the art of kimono dying.
 
October 25, 1979 In Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, Elizabeth gives a presentation on mid-life women and work in the U.S. From a 1980 article in the Bulletin of the Society to Introduce Kanazawa to the World:
At the invitation of the Society to Introduce Kanazawa to the World, last October Mrs. Elizabeth Ratcliffe gave a lecture about her counseling speciality, women facing mid-life crises in the USA. The speech was well received and stimulated much discussion in Kanazawa about “displaced homemakers.” The stimulation was mutual: Mrs. Ratcliffe was inspired to report back to American women about the situation in Japan. On March 8, she led a workshop on “New ways of experiencing women’s mid-life crisis as a ‘dangerous opportunity’—in Kanazawa Japan and Oakland USA,” as part of the International Women’s Day activities in Berkeley.
Yukiko was her interpreter at this speech. The two women begin a correspondence after Elizabeth returns to Oakland which they maintain and nuture over the next 35 years.
 
1980-1983 Co-founder of The Divorce Clinic, a low-fee service for both spouses in Oakland, CA.
 
1981 Teaches Assertiveness Training part time at Vista Community College, Berkeley, California.
 
March 5, 1981 Harold Wesley Robinson dies in Carmel Valley, California.
 
1981

Cover of ``Grandpa's Story, A Yankee In China''
Grandpa’s Story, A Yankee in China by Harold Wesley Robinson, is published by Surf Cottage Press, Elizabeth & Stephen Ratcliffe, editors. It is compiled from two sources. The first, called Grandpa’s Story, was begun sometime between August 1940 and May 1950 in Tientsin, China where Harold and Mary had moved eight months after the Communists took over Tungchow where they had been living. In his “Author’s Note” Harold recounts how he was still working on this manuscript in 1951, after he and Mary returned to the U.S. in in December 1950. The second source, A Yankee in China, was written after Harold and Mary retired to Carmel in 1963. Additional sections include Mary’s “Grandma’s Supplement,” Afterward, and three Appendices. Appendix A is of Harold’s father’s and mother’s family history, a Robinson Family Tree. Appendix B is an Editor’s Note concerning Harold’s strong identification with his birthplace of Warren, Vermont. Appendix C contains copies of two articles Harold wrote in the early 1920s for National Geographic: “The Hairnet Industry in Northern China” (Sep 1923), and “Keeping Cool (?) in North China”. The second article, although requested and paid for by the Geographic, was never published.
 
December 7, 1981 Elizabeth sells the house at 7907 Rapp Lane in Talent Oregon.
 
1981-1982 Teaches Effective Parenting part time at Vista Community College, Berkeley, California.
 
April 17, 1983 Patty Ratcliffe marries Kirk Robert Phillips at Martin’s Beach, Half Moon Bay, California.
 
1983 Elizabeth purchases the duplex at 1312 Albina Avenue in Berkeley, Califonia.
 
1982-1994 Senior lecturer and supervisor of Art Therapy graduate students at College of Notre Dame, Belmont, CA.
 
April 18, 1987 Bruce Ratcliffe marries Gloria Burrola in Fresno, California.
 
1989 Elizabeth’s second grandchild, Simone Paris Phillips, is born of her parents, Patty and Kirk.
 
1989-1997 Long term volunteer supervisor and board member with Berkeley Creative Living Center for adults with chronic mental illness. Board member for Bonita House and Casa Vincentia, Oakland.
 
June 3, 1990 Harold Stambaugh Robinson dies in Mendocino, California.
 
1992 Elizabeth’s third grandchild, Nanette Elizabeth Phillips, is born of her parents, Patty and Kirk.
 
1997-1998 Receives training in Jungian sand play with Flavia Millikan, ISPA.
 
1997-FILL-IN Training received in Theories of Shame by Marc Miller, PhD.
 
August 21, 1998 Gloria and Bruce divorce.
 
November 3, 2001 Elizabeth marries Lewis Perry at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley, CA
 
2005 Elizabeth’s fourth grandchild, John Waldo Ratcliffe, is born of his parents, Stephen and Molly.
 
2009 Elizabeth’s first great-grandchild, Emmanuelle Oona Michalski-Ratcliffe, is born of her parents, Oona and Tomas.
 
June 2010 Elizabeth closes her Psychotherapy Private Practice.
 
February 25, 2011 James Wesley Robinson dies.
 
2012 Elizabeth’s second great-grandchild, Aurelia Ana Michalski-Ratcliffe, is born of her parents, Oona and Tomas.
 
2015 Elizabeth’s third great-grandchild, Isa Ashley Michalski-Ratcliffe, is born of her parents, Oona and Tomas.
 
December 17, 2015 Elizabeth Ratcliffe dies in Piedmont Gardens, Oakland, California.
 
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