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Old 05-19-2021, 04:32 PM   #10 (permalink)
jwb
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Originally Posted by Frownland View Post
I lived in a small town near Yosemite called Mariposa for about seven years as a kid. Definitely the most beautiful place I ever lived, with rolling foothills, oaks galore, creeks, rivers, massive granite faces, and all of that good stuff. In the mornings, you can find a vista to see the tule fog hanging over the central valley like an ocean. I'm not sure where this photo was taken, but it looks a lot like this:



We were squatting in a trailer on somebody's large property (I didn't know that as a kid), keeping warm with a wood burning stove and fallen trees nearby. We never had to cut any down. There was a massive granite boulder/hill that was a couple of miles wide that I loved to climb on in addition to the smaller boulders lying all around. I feel like you have to be crazy to not love nature, but living there definitely cemented that appreciation for me. I also think it pushed me toward academia because with everything so spread out, playdates were hard to pull off, so school was pretty much the only time you had to kick it with the boys and I'd look forward to going.

Mariposa today is mainly a stopping off point for people on their way to Yosemite. When I was living there, an arsonist set off a series of fires that destroyed a good deal of the county. There are always fires in California, but it was the worst they'd experienced since the sixties. The 2018 fire season (year of the Camp Fire) topped it as the most destructive in county history. We were at school when they evacuated it and you could see the flames on the top of a hill almost a mile away from the campus. We also lived there during the Ferguson landslide that blocked the highway between the town and Yosemite for months. It was a huge deal for the townspeople, I remember sharing my lunch with my friend for a few weeks because his family was having trouble getting enough food and all assistance resources were running dry. They moved before it was cleared up.

Driving into the town, you can see a neon green patch of land on one of the taller hills that stands out from the forest surrounding it. In the 60s, the government claimed the plot of land from the county, saying they would use it to test New and Improved Fertilizers for the Brave New World or some ****. Locals think they were testing weapons of agricultural terrorism.

The town has a massive KKK presence. I think there were two black families in the town and one of the girls was in my grade at school. She was blind in one eye because a man at her church threw bleach in her face as a toddler. This was the era of colour blindness as a way to ignore racism, so I didn't make the race connection when I learned about it, I just thought that it was a crazy thing that happened to her. My middle school principal wore blackface on Halloween, which most of the school found hilarious. There was a thriving nazi punk scene, so growing up I thought that people just got swastika tattoos to be provocative like they would a mohawk. I left partway through my freshman year of high school and wonder all the time how differently things would've panned out if I stayed there. There were some BLM demonstrators in the town last year, so maybe the internet is aiding a shift in the youth there. I hope so.

Mariposa was originally a mining town, and the earliest settlers pillaged and raped the local Native American villages until the majority of the tribes agreed to a treaty to end the slaughter. The Ahwahneechees and Chowchillas refused to submit and the settlers waged the Mariposa War on them. The miners indiscriminately killed Native Americans in the area, so many of those in the tribes who signed peace treaties were murdered in the attacks. The miner militias got assistance from the governor, and eventually the Ahwahneechees and Chowchillas were exiled to the barren desert tract that is the Chowchilla reserve (they were the first to assimilate to subjugation, so they received the honourific title). The touristy spots mostly focus on the gold part and an unverified association with John Muir. If you go panning in a creek, you can still find some gold! How fun!

I've also lived in Phoenix area Arizona, Southern California, and the California central valley. Los Angeles' air is gross in the summer but it's been my favourite place to live so far because there's so much cool **** and people to do. There's plenty of history y'all can look into on that because I went on for longer than I expected about Mariposa. Chinatown and Inside the Mind of Watts are good 20th century perspectives.
reminds me of east of Eden
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