I was driving to town yesterday afternoon at 5 and Four Strong Winds, a camp song came on 63 Outlaw. I pulled over to call Marthe so we could sing together but I was out of range, so pleased she was so accessible even for a minute at her new media position at Hallmark after just a month. Reached her at 6:30 after errands and we talked camp.
It seemed like everyone played the guitar and brought them to camp at least after a year or two of lessons at Toon Shop in the Village. Ridiculous in my case. I had really wanted to take the twangy banjo, Glen Campbell and all, but didn’t get arranged, maybe too un-feminine at the time. Marthe did play the guitar and does my son Jack who I also had haul off his guitar to Cheley. After the first summer he would forget it with a whole different music genre in 90s though I think pre-i-pods which would have been forbidden anyway.
Marthe’s next-to-oldest sister Elise was a counselor or CIT when I went for first time after 5th grade, instantly mesmerized by the Dreher women.
These older beautiful young women guided and nurtured us and French mama Elise played her guitar.
All ages of young women, we sat around a big campfire at the foot of steep steps from the lodge on the hill where we ate.
Still and all in a circle singing great songs, Marthe and I remembered others played at night in the early 70s; The Great Mandela and Four Dead in Ohio were two. It smelled of pine, smoke, and I’ve never known such quiet as Minnesota at night, the wind blows and coyotes sing where I live.
As usual, the Marthe-Paula telepathy was all lined up for she was just sending me a link for a card shower for the Camp Director Maxine Gunsolly’s upcoming 85th birthday. See Sherwood Forest Camp Deer River, MN history for best information. Marthe knows, too, as she was a counselor there in college with Ann Morrill. Marthe gave me her family background connection. Georgeanne Dreher, Marthe’s mom, was a Pi Phi at KU and friends with Maxine Gunsolly who was a Kappa. The Dreher’s would host the movies every year to tell people in KC about the camp that Gunny had taken on from previous owners in 1951. There was also a Dreher Salina connection and Molly Maloney from Wichita went to Sherwood Forest Camp.
Gunny was beautiful and I don’t know her age in this photo, I’m must have been 45ish when I met her in early 70s. She was beautiful and handsome, tan skin, curly hair that ageless look and square cheekbones like a combination of a young Barbara Bush with the confidence and reassurance of Ol’ Golly in Harriet the Spy. Helen, her assistant Director and longtime companion, had white hair. They were a team.
So many of us in Kansas went to Gunny’s camp, especially those of us with mothers who supported local and this incredible KU woman committed to shaping strong women. A new alternative to other more traditional old school Minnesota Camps, Camp Lake Hubert for girls (Lisa Mann) and Mishawaka (Liz Lynd). KC people went north to the Minnesota Lakes, canoeing, sailing and riding. Before this, we all went out to daycamp to Allendale at Barby Powell Allen’s mom’s place to go horseback riding, swim, and jump on the trampoline.
Those west of Lawrence went to Cheley in the Colorado Rockies for hiking and riding. My mom, Jerry Hesse McGuire, Connie Curran’s mom, my father-in-law Raymond Adams, and my children. After all this riding, I’ve only just learned to suck myself down into the saddle after a brief analogy from my teenage children that helped out a lot.
This is the only year Gina and I went to camp in same session. a) on record before all the camp food I ate and b) pretty great outfits and Gina’s early shag (see Ginny Graves clothes) c)it was the last summer we went the same session. Don’t know if my mother thought sisters needed our separate identities or if my parents could only tolerate one daughter in house at a time.
These are the years I remember and fellow campers.
- 1971, after 5th grade at Highlands School. Nancy Falkenberg Puck, my ornery alter-ego and I were best friends and went together (see Nancy Falkenberg and Nancy Mistele, 67th St. construction). We were in Windle Wisp on the Little End of the camp with the grade schoolers. Nancy on bunk beside me, I met Marthe who was on the bunk above me. And Laura Davis who was very stylish, from St. Paul Minnesota, with long dark hair, a husky voice, and wire-framed glasses as were many girls at our camp.
- The girls from St. Paul went to synagogue or something on Sundays instead of vespers I think because of their not having to go to church I became aware of people being Jewish and going to public schools where almost everyone was Jewish. At SME it seems like we were fairly proportionally Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish and I never really thought about it until college when I realized that Catholics seemed to go to church so much more or at least on Saturday nights.
I had tortoise shell glasses but this was the move to wire frames, 1972. Wire glasses and braces was way too much metal.
- 1972 is top post pic, post 6th grade, my second year of camp. Those from KC to be SMEast were Marthe, Ann Thomas, and Ellen Haynes from Prairie; Liz Frost and Sally Burger from Belinder; and Paula from Highlands. I’m pretty sure Madelyn White and Karen Kokjer were there this year but in a different cabin but maybe this was next year. Polly Johnson in the cabin picture above was a dear friend from Wisconsin who I have lost-but-hope-to-renew contact with who came one year for Thanksgiving.
This is a camp newsletter I found that would come out during the winter season and then we would go to Dreher’s house and watch the movies from the previous summer and enlist new campers for the next year. The style of illustration is Joan Walsh Anglund who I loved and I think I still have these dolls in the attic cradle. I don’t know who n.p. was the poet.
the golden colors of autumn
replace the green of summer
mist enchanted brisk mornings
silently prey upon the empty cabins
August winds echo through the fall lofty pines
Sherwood is alone
Remember when we were together? -j.n.
And last, Marthe and I sang together on the speaker phone and said goodnight. I heard taps and the loons.