A for effort Pete.

by admin

I’ve never been very good in the training department on ordering up gifts for others to give to me on certain occasions, too much pressure for everyone. I’m tickled with any random thought, dark dove bites, other and I’ve received some nice ones. In going through my scrapbooks where (my mother or I?) stashed every memory jogging thing, I came across a very beautiful keepsake that is history, time, place, and art.

Philmont Scout Ranch, Cimarron New Mexico

I had to give you a taste first. It is a letter from Pete Stack to Paula Graves after her return from cheerleading camp  while he was at Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico.  “I want you to know that I normally don’t write on shirts for letters!!  But I thought it would be a little different. Do you like the little bull? I found the shirt in the little boy’s section.”  I had just passed through Cimarron a few weeks ago and came home to find this work of art and the bull brought it home.

Pete Stack in Master Scout Uniform


This was probably summer ’77. There are a few excerpts for history’s sake below, but he asks, “so how does your dating life go these days?” so it was well into a later friendship stage.  Here are a few noteworthy repeats:

  • I talked to Dave (Nixon) last night for about an hour but it was worth it. It was great to talk to him! He said he had a great time in the Carribean” (I’m sure with Liz hosted by Jack Frost at Petit St. Vincent rubbing elbows with Princess Margaret and George Plimpton, good gig).
  • “He was going to send a bottle to make me sane.” (Guess they didn’t allow liquor at camp, even for the counselors?)
  • “Hope sometime you call!”  (very lonely and ready to go home)
  • “I made a belt the other day! It was macrame and leather. (see macrame) …..I made a pot holder! Neat huh!”
  • (I’m not putting in all these exclamation points).
  • a weird thing from his neighborhood that I won’t mention.
  • side two: he’s wearing down, telling my parents and dog, Dooley hello….”I’m messing up this shirt. You know I got it small so you can’t wear it.” Not then, but after nursing two children, it’s perfect, see below.  I think he’s realizing how much time he’s invested and how cool it is, regrets buying the boys S (10-12), maybe wants to keep it.
  • “I (‘m) running out of things to say but I can bore you somehow. You like my artistry? What a joke!”
  • Strong finish “the mail just came” and then these incredibly detailed drawings. And, “P.S. Tell Marthe hello for me! Also happy cheering!”

    Drawing: Mountain range, Philmont Rocky Mountain Scout Camp patch, Pete's cabin, small drawing of Prairie Village kiddie pool.

    So, I tried on shirt and it fits great. I was taking a break and dancing when John came home after 5 days in Turkey, Texas where he was hunting. The man works all the time, so this was uncommon and I was very proud of him.  We danced a little, then I  took advantage of his 5 days away with me alone in country (loved it) and wanted closure so enlisted his help in capturing the right pose but needed the mirror to get my body right.

John's photographic skill.

This took 5 minutes so quite a bit of effort and diversion from unpacking his bags which I totally relate to when returning home. And here’s the best part.

  • “That’s really a cute shirt,”said John, concentrating on the task: getting this great picture for me, of me, my ex-boyfriend, and my husband. That’s it. So Pete, I just took full artistic credit for your creativity and cleverness. So anyone?, don’t say anything when I wear it to the next reunion if John comes. Too fun.
  • And Pete, it really was a beautiful and thoughtful gift. Thank you.

4 comments on “A for effort Pete.

  • WOW …. what a memory …….. Warmed my heart that you would take the time to blog about such a distant memory. Memories give life such amazing texture and richness. I so appreciate those who have blessed me throughout the years with friendship love and joy. Sometimes i often think of a question we will all ask of ourselves or another may ask of another….. “Did they live a life of passion and have a passion for life?”. Can’t believe that you found that shirt amongst 50 years of memorabilia. I too have a box of instant memories packed away in the garage in the Sunrise Beach. Have a wonderful New Year and continue blogging, keep me notified of your new postings via email. What a great way of exchanging thoughts ideas and of course memories …….. great health wellness happiness and peaceful blessings to you and your family, warmly and sincerely …~pete

  • Only took me 8 months to see this (tech-idiot me) but I’m so enjoying your blog when I actually open my computer. I have quite a few things you made through the years, Paula, tucked away in a box also. I loved and admired the creative expression your parents encouraged in you and Gena (sp?). I forgot Pete was such a scout…and romantic! Miss you both, and blessings to you, as well. Lizard

    • Oh, Lizard. Thank you so much for this sweet note. What I remember are the water chestnuts wrapped in bacon appetizers when we had slumber parties at the Dorrie’s on Belinder, headstand contests at 5th and 6th grade cheerleading parties with Lisa Mann (the creatives you, me, Lisa all must have some stray gene to have this ability to remain upside for 10 minutes plus) steaks marinated in teryaki at Jack’s (with a little of Dean’s help) Castle house on Mission, Dorrie the most real mother I love and remember, your flaxen hair to die for, all the Frost sisters and Jack who survived, the incredible lacquered bows when we met up in Laguna Beach (and Fashion Island in Newport with your dad’s house up on the hill), the Jack Frost vacation photos at Petit St. Vincent with Princess Margaret and George Plimpton for drinks, Leigh keeping some kind of mints in wrappers by her bed when she was a blackjack dealer, and all of your creativity with your family and soccer girls plus a “real” soccer mom, giving all of your talents to the Garden store (name…??? Jane’s deal), soldered charms, and our fun day at the Jr. League Showhouse and getting real after. Are you coming to see Harold Epstein’s band on Fri. 2nd at Paddy O’Shay’s?

  • I would have loved to have made Harold’s Band event but I had Taylor home from school and a little too much going on. How was it? I had forgotten about the headstands. I just saw a picture of our Dads in an old Jayhalker. DId you know someone just bought the castle? DId you ever get to try Dad’s sweet pizza? I saw an old picture of Princess Margaret the other day in some magazine with her “rumored” lover on the island of Mustique. We, of course, knew it was not just a rumor as she came to dinner with him before asking my brother, Jack, to dance. He was so cute as a little boy. Laura drew a picture of her love shack on the island, gave it to her, and she used it as her Christmas card the next year. I saw Lacy in the paper this weekend. Seems like it was yesterday that it was you in that photo. Time flies!


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