Monday, October 3, 2011

Jack London Park - Glen Ellen

The Photograph

The Story

I've been wanting for a few years to go back to a place I remembered from childhood. A place that helped spark my love of all things ancient and ruined; a ruin itself, an American castle in disrepair. The place? The burned out husk of Jack London's "Wolf House". Named so for his own moniker, built in 1913, and inexplicably incinerated a mere month before he and his wife were to move in. With the sturdy stone walls still standing, He vowed to rebuild their dream home, only to die himself before he could keep his promise.

On a school field trip with my brother's class, we visited this park when I was 11 ( I think). Somewhere there's a picture of me leaning on the fence of this dead man's dream, wearing a far-away gaze and a beret. The gaze remains, the beret I left in the 80's...

Side note: My husband looked up the park recently when I brought it up as a nearby get away idea. He found that it is slated, along with 2 other State parks in it's county, for closure in July 2012 due to lack of funds. Days later, we received a Living Social email offering tickets to a concert called "Broadway Under the Stars", an event aimed at gathering support and hopefully generating funds to keep the park open long into the future. We came early so I could romp around the grounds, exploring the cottage London did much of his writing in, the Museum housing artifacts London retrieved from the far flung corners of the world, the roofless winery relics, the vineyards themselves, and of course Wolf House.

We picnicked on gourmet food truck fare, listened to a violinist in the background as we chatted with the performers, and some locals; like an elderly woman who's father worked in London's employ at the turn of the century who brought along a small photo album to show us her tale. At 7 pm, they opened the winery walls to let us find our seats in rows of white folding chairs to await a performance under a shining moon which surpassed our expectations. Really, for me, the show at the end of the day was a cherry on top of the wonderful time I'd already had playing in the forest enclosed ruins of my childhood memories... so, thanks again for a great day Matt :)