Living in the Range of Light

Marian Woessner, author of Yosemite, My Heart and Home—A Memoir of Growth and Change, came to Yosemite National Park in the winter of 1951 to join her husband, Charlie, who had recently contracted to provide dental services for the Yosemite community. Thus began a practice that lasted for decades and a home that lasted for nearly half a century. The Woessners lived in Yosemite Valley until retirement in 1987 and then moved to a house they built in Wawona, a small community in the southern end of the Park. There they lived for another eleven years before moving to Carson City, Nevada, with a wealth of memories and the beginning of a book.

Yosemite, My Heart and Home is a chronicle of forty-eight years spent in the midst of breath-taking scenery, stimulating company, and significant social change. Some of the changes that took place over those years involved behind-the-scenes machinations of government, especially the workings of the National Park Service to deal (not always successfully) with both the visitors and the residents. Some of the changes observed in this book reflect the changes in American society as a whole, shown here as if in a microcosm. An especially poignant example concerns the July 4 riot of 1970, in which the battle lines were drawn along generational, political, and behavioral lines. Those were the times of drug use, war protest, sexual experimentation, and general exuberant disrespect for authority; these phenomena were happening throughout the country, but when they blossomed into battle in Yosemite, with rangers on horseback, the effect was especially traumatic.

Most of this book, however, is about happier times. Yosemite, My Heart and Home is also about the Woessner’s family of growing children, and about neighbors and friends, including several women specially admired by the author. It is also a chronicle of a long and happy marriage, between people fortunate to have each other and fortunate to live in the range of the light.

Marian Woessner has led an active life as a homemaker, wife, mother, and grandmother. She and her husband, Charlie, were awarded the 1993 Yosemite Alumni Award for community service.


Yosemite, My Heart and Home
A Memoir of Growth and Change
Marian Woessner
ISBN 1-56474-396-9
336 pages, paperback, $15.95

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