‘Living a Quiet Life’

Desultory Twitter browsing led me to the following obituary from Lake County. The county is home to Clear Lake, California’s largest wholly contained freshwater lake — Lake Tahoe is much bigger, but is split with Nevada– and is oddly isolated. Its seat, Lakeport, is less than 100 miles as the crow flies north of downtown San Francisco and about 40 miles from the northern end of the tourist-overrun Napa Valley. But the county occupies rough, highland country bypassed by the main north-south routes to the west and east, so it’s a little bit of a job to get there. Despite the lake, tourism hasn’t taken off; one recent report says it ranks among the lowest of California’s 58 counties for visitor-generated tax receipts. And according to the Census Bureau, it’s significantly poorer and whiter than the surrounding clutch of agricultural counties and the state as a whole.

Anyway, the obit, from the Lake County News, for one Bessie Wilds, who has passed at the age of 85. She was born on a ranch and grew up in Lakeport. The notice picks up the story there, and I would never have thought twice about it except for the mention of the police scanner:

During her high school years she helped her father operate a Shell Oil Gas Station located at 11th and Main streets in Lakeport.

She was devoted to her mother, who did not drive and had difficulty walking.

Bessie graduated high school in 1948 and married Junior C. Wilds. They made their home outside of Kelseyville and raised their son and daughter on a walnut ranch.

Bessie was a member of the Kelseyville Women’s Club and also active in the local Lions Club.

During the 1970s and 1980s she was a waitress at Anne Card’s Coffee Shop in Kelseyville.

In 1986 Bessie and Junior sold their walnut ranch to Beringer Winery and downsized to a small parcel near the vineyard. They watched the transformation from trees to vines.

After the loss of Junior in 2002, Bessie became a solitary person, preferring to live a quiet life.

She loved to sit at her kitchen table listening to KNBR or KGO and the police scanner, and watch the traffic. Her cats and the hummingbirds gave her great pleasure.

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