In Remembrance December 21, 2016
June was a first generation Californian who was born in Los Angeles in the late 1920s, when Beverly Wilshire was a dirt road and Westwood (UCLA) was called Westwood Village. My mom’s family later moved and lived on Yosemite’s valley floor during World War II. My grandfather was the plumber for the Yosemite Park and Curry Co.
Before living in Yosemite my mom, her siblings and parents lived in Mariposa. During that time and in that place other family members also came to live. That included an assortment of aunts, uncles and cousins, as well as mom’s maternal grandmother. Mom graduated from Mariposa High School, with 17 other seniors, in the late 1940s. When my brothers and I were growing up she sometimes spoke of her life in rural Mariposa. As mom got older she frequently talked of buying back her family’s 80 acres so her children and grandchildren would have a “safe” place to go. She was convinced the world had gone insane and we all needed to go to Mariposa to “hide out” and live.
When my mom’s sister died a few years ago my cousins spread her ashes on Marie and “Brownies” graves in the old Mariposa graveyard. My mom told me that when the time came she also wanted her ashes with her mom, daddy and sister—in Mariposa. Of course it could not be that simple as my mom had previously agreed to have her ashes put with dads in Cayucos—her name was already on the box. As a compromise mom said it would be fine to put half of her with dad and the other half in Mariposa. “So, that’s what we did, mom. Now you can rest in peace by the sea in Cayucos and beneath the lovely oaks of Mariposa.”
Note: I haven’t yet taken her remaining ashes to Mariposa. She is in my closet. When I asked her which half (upper or lower, left side or right) of her she wanted with dad she said she didn’t care. Well, that was a blessing.