Helen Ruth Heibel was born in San Francisco just after the start of World War II and is a third generation Californian. She moved with her parents to Pope Valley in 1945 when her parents bought Aetna Springs Resort. Life was good at the resort with lots of people during the summer and just the family and a couple of employees during the winter. Helen always loved horses and started riding at the age of 3, her horse was her best friend. She attended Pope Valley School with two others in her grade, when it was just a two-room school house, and started 1st grade when she was 5 since there was no kindergarten. She attended St. Helena Jr. & Sr. High School from the 7th – 12th grades with 80 other classmates, and the bus ride around Conn Dam took one hour.