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April 18, 2014     The Catalina Islander
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Watson From page 1 founder George Shatto. Previous- ly, names like "Shattoville" and "Shatto-town" had been bandied about as contenders• But fears that the town might one day become a rowdy seaport (thus tarnishing the Shatto name) put the kibosh on that. Another, less poten- tially controversial name was sought and Shatto's sister-in-law Etta Whitney pulled the name "Avalon" from Lord Alfred Tenny- son's poem "Idylls of the King." That much you prob- ably already knew or at least should have known if you've spent any amount of time here. But where did Lord Tennyson get the name? And from where did that source get the name and the source before that? Where was the name first spoken or upon whose parch- ment was it first inscribed? Since this column is about the origins of the word, let's cut right to the chase: Apples. The origi- nal word "avalon" is believed to be derived from the Welsh word for apple, namely "afal". This word is the root of the word "affalon" which loosely translates to "of the apples.'~ The Latin spelling of "affalon" would be "Avallonis," which gets us much closer to the modern spelling. It was in the legends of King Arthur that reference to an "Is- land of Apples" is first made. The legendary • "Insulis Avallonis" first appears in Geoffrey of Mon- mouth's "Historia Regum Britan- niae, as the place where King Ar- thur's legendary sword Excalibur was forged. Later, King Arthur himself was taken to the "Island of Avalon" to recuperate from wounds suffered in the Battle of Camlann. Things get a little more inter- esting in Monmouth's "Vita Mer- lini," or "The Life of Merlin." Merlin the Seer or Merlin the Ma- gician should need no introduction to anyone familiar with Arthurian legend, Merlin was one of the residents of this "Avalon" along with anoth- er mysterious character from Ar- thurian legend named Morgan Le Fay. Miss le Fay was the leader of nine sorceress/enchantress sisters who lived on the island• By some accounts, le Fay was an ally of Arthur's, but appears in later ac- counts as an antagonist to him and to the Knights of the Round Table in general. But it wasn't just the inhabitants of Avalon who possessed magi- cal powers. According to Monmouth, the Is- land itself was magical (sound familiar?). In Geoffrey's own words: "The Island of Apples (Avalon), which men call 'the Fortunate Jim Watson Isle,' gets its name from Columnist the fact that it produces all things of itself; the fields there have no .need of the ploughs of the farmers and all cultivation is lacking except what nature provides" Interesting. Illustration of the headstone on the reported tomb of King Arthur. Note the word "Avalonia" inscribed near-the bottom. (Artwork courtesy John P. Pratt). "The ground of its own ac- cord produces everything in- stead of merely grass, and peo- ple live there a hundred years or more." An interesting twist occurred in real life in the year 1190 when monks at the Glastonbury Ab- bey claimed to have found the bones of King Arthur and his queen Guinevere. Up to this point, Avalon had been considered a fictional land. But once these supposed remains were found, the monks got it in their heads that, just maybe, they were standing on the site of the long lost Island of Avalon. (At this time, Glastonbury was not an island, but it had historically been surrounded by marshland. This marshy fen had since been drained, so it was not out of the question that the monks felt they might be stand- ing on a former island). The remains of King Arthur and Guinevere were reinterred at the Abbey. The headstone that was placed over them reads (in Latin): "Here lies entombed the renowned King Arthur in the is- land of Avalon." While this sounds romantic, the authenticity of this find has been questioned by historical and archaeological experts. To some, it was a fraud perpetrated-to raise funds to repair the Abbey after it had been nearly destroyed by fire in 1184. Unsatisfied by this pos- sible example of pseudo-archaeol- ogy, others have searched for the legendary island of Avalon for centuries, creating an air about the island not unlike that which sur- rounds Atlantis or Shangri-La. Of course, those of us living on Catalina long ago discovered the truly magical place known as Avalon, where all manner of ap- ples can be found in the Produce section of Vons From page 1 nation for children who consume their first alcoholic drink prior to the age of 13 and alcohol related costs in California total more that $200 million per year. The message the City of Avalon Girls Basketball Team. members said they want the community to know: "Time is one of the most important aspects in a young athlete's life. Eventually, a per- son's athletic ability will begin to diminish with age. Athletes have to accomplish in the first quarter of their life. What they will never have the opportunity to accom- plish again being an athlete. This program isn't just about drugs and alcohol; you get to hear real stories and tragedies that affect us in our future so let's all take take a stand and make our future brighter." At the end of the program they receive team or individual cer- tificates. The team members said they strongly encourages athletes, par- ents and coaches to take the free, interactive Life of An Athlete pro- gram. ..... , ...................................................................... i ........ THE CATALINA ISLANDER Friday, April 18, 2014 i 9