October 2019

By Andrew Tonkovich

Watching out
Intrepid Canyon Beat (ICB) reporter and Inter-Canyon League (ICL) Secretary Scott Breeden shares notes from September’s ICL meeting, where Silverado resident Anthony Mack presented a slide show reviewing heroic Canyon Watch activity during the 2007 Santiago Fire. He, and other volunteers who stayed, alerted firefighters to where fires were burning, evacuated animals, and shut off water valves at destroyed houses. They communicated by radio with a Canyon Watch volunteer at “Camp Silverado” (Albertsons parking lot), who relayed messages from evacuees bivouacked there.

Mack encourages membership in both Canyon Watch and Fire Watch. Lots to do: add your name to a list of volunteers willing to be contacted during an emergency; monitor Canyon Watch radio communications during emergencies, and relay information to others; patrol roads on red flag days using mobile radios to transmit and receive information via the Silverado and Modjeska repeater antennas (some training required); and, finally, become a block captain, best for gregarious sorts familiar with their immediate neighborhood, neighbors and pets. These volunteers go door to door spreading word of an evacuation order, helping homebound or special needs folks. It was suggested that ICL could help fund radio purchases for volunteers, that motion to be reviewed by current block captains.

‘Nuff said? 
 The 49th annual Silverado Country Fair & Folk Festival is Oct. 12 and 13. Silverado Community Center Fairgrounds, starting 10 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Crafts, food, live music, all to benefit community mutual aid programs and country-style camaraderie.  You know the drill, but organizers remind all attendees: “No Hooch, No Pooch, No ATM.” Free parking. Dress-up encouraged. See silveradocountryfair.org.

Time fleas, err, flies
Silverado-Modjeska Recreation and Parks District President and entrepreneurial guru Kevin Topp solicits you now for a bright, prosperous future, requesting immediately your application to host a 10’ x 10’ booth at the Oct. 26 Silverado Flea Market where you can sell your collectibles, white elephants, and fleas (contact: mitzi.perry@cox.net) or --- for the ages --- your donated Silverado time capsule item, presumably not what you failed to unload at the priced-to-sell marche aux puces.  

Don’t pronounce it “Modrzejewska” Canyon!  
Locals will again decorate National Historic Landmarks Marker #205, dedicated to canyon and mountain namesake Madame Helena Modjeska (christened Modrzejewska in Kraków, Poland) on her birthday, Oct. 12. Born in 1840, the renowned actress and her hubby, “Count Bozenta,” horticulture legend Theodore Payne, and so many residents and visitors, pilgrims and volunteers have made her historic home a must-see OC locale. The marker is at 33° 42.573' N, 117° 37.533' W or, more prosaically, the intersection of Modjeska Canyon and Olive Hill. 

Afghanistan to Zimbabwe via Library of the Canyons  
Favorite literate citizen-reader quote of the month: “I am one Bulgarian book away from finishing up the Bs.” So reported Silverado resident and vicarious world traveler Jill Hitchcock during, coincidentally, the American Library Association’s annual “Banned Books Week” activist celebration of our freedom to read and resist efforts by some to censor or remove books from classrooms, libraries or bookstores. 

Library of the Canyons patrons will have noted Hitchcock’s handwritten three-ring binder log entries, including her short reviews, documenting publically --- as in taxpayer-funded public library --- her project of reading at least one book (fiction or nonfiction) authored by a woman writer from each and every nation in the world, in English. There’s more to her ambitious, if thrilling, endeavor beyond boostering a feminist perspective and modeling intellectual curiosity. Hitchcock, whose day job is working at Auto Club headquarters in Costa Mesa, and who’s resided in Silverado for three years, identifies titles through research, then locates copies of books through the OC Public Library system, with whose Inter Library Loan system she is justifiably impressed.  

She’s secured and read over two dozen memoirs, novels, short stories so far, including familiar and --- at least for most U.S. and English-language readers --- perhaps obscure titles. Among them, renowned Bulgarian fiction writer Zdravka Evtimova, whose “Carts and Other Stories” you can locate on Hitchcock’s list, down from the classic 1901 Australian novel “My Beautiful Career” by Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin; “A Golden Age” by Bangladeshi-born British novelist Tahmima Anam, and acclaimed young Brazilian writer Tatiana Salem Levy’s “The House in Smyrna.”  Just to name a few.  

There are, to answer your next question, 195 nations out there (next: Cape Verde, Cameroon, Cambodia, Canada…), so it’s going to be a thick reading journal, indeed, by the time our local reading ambassador completes her round-the-world’s shelves literary armchair adventure. Says Hitchcock: “I learn something every day, including how to be a better person and live in this world.” 

Canyon Beat:

​One Pole, One Bulgarian