Story by Virginia Wyatt of Cabins 43R & 44R
From the Recollections of Life and Events in Wawona series
I am reminiscing today and invite you to take a trip down memory lane with me as I am in the winter of my life, spring: being to my children and youth, summer: adults, working hard to provide for your family, plan for future, fall: ah sweet retirement, grandchildren, hobbies, trips, finding time for things you could not do before and winter: keeping busy mentally and physically as much as you can, memories, reflections and counting all of my blessings. This is for you old timers and for you newcomers a wee bit of history.
Do you remember being able to go to breakfast at the Redwoods? It was served in a bright, cheery area just off of the dining room. The dining room was what is now the conference room. It had many small tables with white tablecloths and pretty red glass oil lamps in the middle of each table and every evening it filled with guests and owners. The menu was ample and the food was good. Sometimes a group of old friends would reserve a big table and their congeniality and laughter would spread throughout the dining room. Then there was the frosty where if you got a hankering for a good hamburger you could order one with all of the fixins. Many guests and owners would walk down to the frosty after dinner for a special ice cream treat. There was a deck with seating where you could enjoy your food. On more than one occasion in the evening a bear would wonder into the area and create quite a stir.
Let’s not forget Mike Corday. Do any of you remember Mike? He was the Jack of all trades for the Redwoods. He collected garbage, was the security and as I remember drove a blue jeep with the word SECURITY emblazoned on the side door and he drove around and checked all of the cabins at night. In the early morning he made the best darned doughnuts in the country. Mike still calls me about once a year and we talk about the good old days and laugh about the garbage man making the doughnuts. Several people have wondered why there can’t be a restaurant and frosty anymore. Is it the WPMI, the park rangers or Mariposa County? Do you remember Jean Ketchum (sp.)? She was I believe head of housekeeping and a really hard worker. I can’t remember her husband’s name but I believe he was head of maintenance.
Many of us had young children at this time and we would make a big picnic lunch and take them to the river down by the school house for an all-day adventure. I wonder if people still do that. In the evening I would sit out by the picnic table, drink hot chocolate and teach the children about the constellations not knowing that our cabin was right on the trail the bears used to go down to the river. I could tell a lot of bear stories but that can be for another day. Hope you all enjoyed reminiscing with me. We truly are blessed to have a cabin in Wawona.
*The picture above shows my mom dressed in her uniform and getting ready to work as the first waitress that the Moores hired. It is hard to see but there is a sign that says fresh donuts today and another signs says Coffee Shop and a third sign that I could not read. When we arrived in Wawona in 1965 the Moores had just built the restaurant and were looking for a waitress. When I told them that my mother was a Harvey Girl and had worked at the El Tovar Lodge at the Grand Canyon years ago they immediately wanted her to come to work for them to train their new waitresses. Mom loved that job. Mike Corday told me that mom would even help feed the little children if she was not too busy. She would tell them that there was a little bear in the bottom of the bowl and if they ate all their food they would find it.
Author: Virginia Wyatt – owner of Cabins 43R & 42R
Editor: Debbi Shelander