Lois and Gayle Susan Forbes, Azusa, CANovember 1955.
It’s no wonder I’m hardwired to love mountainscapes: Both of
my grandfathers grew up in an area of Colorado’s San Luis Valley near towns now
called “The Teens” and my dad was born in Saguache, CO. Further fusing my bond
to mountains, my mother spent her childhood on the East Fork of the San Gabriel
River in the Azusa Canyon. Many of my earliest memories are stories of mountain
mornings, Western Wildlife and sitting by the side of the East Fork under a
shady oak on hot summer days.
The East Fork defines my soul. This small year round stream
is where I learned to fish for trout using flies that mimicked native bugs and
when those wouldn’t work, I resorted to
bright red salmon eggs on egg hooks tied
to long leaders that bounce down the stream in front of tiny split shot. I’ve
always been able to come home from trips to the East Fork with a couple of
trout in my aged creel.
My mother was always my secret ace in the hole when it came
to fishing the East Fork. She had encyclopedic ground truth knowledge of this
stream gained from countless fishing trips with her parents. In the course of
my life, that information, plus their love of the East Fork was passed to me.
I’ve always been aware o the cycle of life—in six decades, I’ve
seen the East Fork burn, flood and repeatedly regenerate. But zooming up to the
East Fork this weekend before Thanksgiving tested my resolve. Lois Sele’s two
sons and one grandson were on a trip to return the remains of someone who
passed her love of the Azusa Canyon to two generations.
I scattered my 94 year old mother’s ashes streamside today
on the East Fork. It was her sincerest wish and I was able to see the task
through. And as the early afternoon sun refracted off a rill, a small trout
jumped. Mom would have laughed at the rainbow’s antics.
I’m not overly spiritual but I think it was a positive sign
you simply cannot contain the spirit of East Fork Creatures, they’ll burst
through every time. And my mom, Lois Sele Forbes was a force of nature, as
resolute as the year round river that carved the San Gabriel Valley from tough
I’ll miss perfectly roasted turkeys, Apple pie and holiday
treats that marked the sweetness of the family she built and nurtured over 94 years.
Farewell, Mom: child of the Depression, sewer of World War
II assault transport glider wings, and maker of dresses and shirts for her
family. You made us laugh at ourselves and taught us that having a rich life
isn’t something that’s totaled on a monthly bank statement; it’s something that
shows up at family gatherings --.Jim Forbes on November 17, 2012.