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Really personal information


Roots

    I was born and grew up in the city of Tarbes, France, at some point during the second half of the 20th century. My mother's family originates from several villages in the valley of the Lavedan, above the city of Lourdes in the Pyénées mountains that separate France from Spain. My father's family was centered in the village of Arbéost, in the next valley to the West, where my sister and I still own the old family house where our father was born. Here is a picture of the village, another one, as well as the view from one of the windows of the house. The house is the white house with open shutters behind the (XVIII-th century) church. It is one of the more recent constructions in the village, as it was built in 1900 when my grandfather returned to the Pyrénées after 10 years in California (and with the money saved there). It replaced the older house where my earlier ancestors were born. I may be the only member of the USC math department who had an ascendant living in Los Angeles in the early 1890's!

    My last name is not french but occitan, which used to be the main language of the southern half of France. Occitan is a very endangered language, in spite of a definite revival illustrated, for instance, by the radio stations Radio Paìs and Radio Occitana. Although it was my parents' native language (more so for my father than for my mother), I don't really speak it although I understand it. My name means good fountain (compare the latin bona fons, or the spanish buena fuente). I believe that I am the only Bonahon living in the United States. There does not seem to be much more than 50 people with this last name in the world, and I tend to be related to most of them (with the possible exception of the few living in Argentina and Uruguay). 

Hobbies

  I like to go hiking in the San Gabriel Mountains, just North of Los Angeles. Here are two pictures which illustrate the wide variety of landscapes in Southern California. This one is taken in late May at the top of Mount Baldy (3,067 m or 10,064 ft) with the Cucamonga (2,721 m or 8,599 ft), Telegraph (2,739 m or 8985 ft) and Ontario (2,650 m or 8693 ft) peaks in the background. This second one was taken a few hours later after reaching the chaparral when hiking down from the submit; note the  blooming yucca. The trail head is only 50 miles away from Downtown LA and USC by car, or 27 miles as the bird flies.
  I also play my french-style accordion (an italian Savoia, Cassotto II, which I have owned since 1969) and my bandoneon (a more recent acquisition, Fratelli Crozio, model Pablo Caliero, chromatic with a french-style keyboard, most likely from the late 50s or early 60s).

Old picture

 Portrait of the artist as a young topologist  (with other friends)