WAWONA JOURNAL by TOM BOPP
December, 2011 Annual Year-end Note
The Vernal Equinox brought what's in the
picture, above: snow falling off of the roof piled to halfway up our
second-floor window -- reminiscent of old-timer's tales of Fish Camp
Past. We'd just returned from a train trip to Portland, Oregon, where Tom
had a gig (wedding reception at the World Trade Center) -- we folded
in a visit to Diane's cousins (Phyllis & Dick) and old friends (Kathy & Tim). During the trip home we learned in a sad midnight
cell phone-call that Diane's aunt
Lorraine had died. Disconcertingly the next morning our train collided with a pickup
truck, killing its driver. Upon arriving in Oakhurst we found that a wet
snowstorm accompanied by strong winds had closed the road home; fallen
trees had closed access even to Tom's dad's house, so we had to spend
the night in an Oakhurst motel. Made it home the next day, barely.
During the week-long power-outage we rationed our use of the
propane-powered generator, cooked on the wood stove, shoveled snow,
and generally played "Little House On The Prarie" with our
The last of the snow finally melted in our back yard on June 21. Now, after a summer's worth of house maintenance projects, deck sealing and firewood accumulating, we fancy we're ready for winter...but winter continues to lurk behind the trees, somewhere out of sight. We are dry and snowless; even the Tioga Pass Road remains open to the east side of the Sierra, as ice-skaters glide across Tenaya Lake, not to mention Rainbow Pond right here in Fish Camp. By the way, for a few of Tom's photos of a Tuolumne Meadows sunset on the Tioga Road, click here.
Diane took the fall semester off from teaching and put the time to good use (beyond all that shoveling). She's back to painting, had a 3-month exhibition in Yosemite (at the Wawona Library), and developed a line of fine art prints of some of her paintings (click here to see).
We took several trips to the east side of the Sierra, including a pilgrimage to the site of the Detrick family home in Bishop (ca. 1916 - 1931), which to our dismay had been demolished the previous summer. We attempted to banish our sorrow by dining at the Mono Inn as often as we could. Tom & Dad took their own trip over to the magnificent ghost town of Bodie, and stopped for a picture at Mono Lake (below). Ray also made a solo trip to El Paso to visit family and sightsee.
Tom's activities, beyond his long standing gigs in Yosemite, included performances at the Berkeley Faculty Club, Old Town Music Hall, West Coast Ragtime Festival, various Yosemite Conservancy events, and Monday evening performances for the Yosemite Theatre of his "Vintage Songs Of Yosemite" multi-media performance, including a performance of the latter for the Los Banos Arts Council -- all making for lots of little trips during which our faithful friend, Bob, happily house sat and fed the kitties. Tom also had an edited version of his essay on Yosemite Music published in friend Peter Hoss' book, Born In Yosemite.
Last spring, Tom's dad happily inherited our kitty Kreisler (named after violinist Fritz Kreisler), who'd been rather abusive toward our aging and frail kitty, Zeus. Kreisler and Ray get along famously, and the remaining kitties were greatly relieved. Sadly, Zeus continued to decline, albeit gracefully, until in October we finally had to let him move on to his place with the minor dieties.
Twenty-Eleven saw the departure of many loved ones: two of Diane's beloved aunts, Lorraine and Jennie, two dear friends of Diane's parents and of ours, Chester St. Vincent and Virginia Cornwell, our friend and longtime patron of the Wawona Hotel, Doug Laidlaw, and on December 24 the loss of Tom's "surrogate Mom" Essie Friedman, who through Tom's childhood helped mentor him toward his career as an entertainer.
Thus we see off the old year with a hearty Phooey! - and look forward to the new one with thoughts of those we love and who love us.
We wish you all the best in 2012 !
P.S. For a look back at some silliness, here's a video of the fabled Stanley Cup sitting on Tom's piano at the Wawona Hotel, while everybody sings a Tribute To The Cup penned minutes before by Tom, to the tune of the UCLA Bruin Fight Song (okay, Cal, too).
Diane & Tom Bopp