Mae's Real Stories

Memories for Miriam, Alice, Theo, Delia, Tessa and anyone else who would like to be here

Friday, January 26, 2007


Lake of the Ozarks

I don't have any postcards or other images from the time I went to camp, but I found two postcards by searching on the web. Maybe some time Elaine will find some in her collection, too.


Camp Hawthorne: A Long Story

When I was around 9 years old, I went to a camp called Camp Hawthorne. It was on a lake in Missouri called Lake of the Ozarks. I think it took 4 or 5 hours to drive there from home. The campers all gathered one Sunday at a place called the YMHA, and we got on a bus to go to camp. We each brought a big canvas bag. In it we had clothing, a bathing suit, a blanket, a towel, a toothbrush, and other things we needed for two or three weeks at camp.

The camp had quite a lot of buildings. Four “villages” had log cabins with bunk beds and other camp beds where the campers and their councilors slept. The log cabins didn’t have electricity, so it was very dark in them at night. Each camper had a flashlight and some extra batteries. We usually went to bed pretty early. That way we wouldn’t have to walk around in the dark very much. But on some special nights we went to campfires or other activities and came back in the dark.

The village where my friends and I were staying was called “Bluebird.” It was for younger girls. The other villages were for older girls, older boys, and younger boys. In our village, we often saw the campers from the other village. They had to walk down the path through our village and past our cabins to the waterfront. Everyone went to the waterfront for swimming lessons, canoeing, and other water activities.

Each village also had a building with latrines and sinks. Latrines are toilets that don’t flush. They have a hole dug in the ground underneath the seat. They are very stinky. Next to the latrines were the sinks, which had only cold water. Each cabin had to take a turn cleaning the sinks and stinky latrines. We all hated that. At night you only had a flashlight to see by, which was very scary. This was the worst thing about the camp.

In the center of the camp was the mess hall. It did have electric lights. In the mess-hall kitchen the cooks and their helpers, called kitchen boys, made breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Next to the kitchen was a big dining room with many tables. Each one had places for 8 people. When we came in and sat down at the table, one camper would sit in a special place at the table. She would be responsible for going up to a window into the kitchen to get some of the food, like baskets of bread and pitchers of milk or “bug juice.” Bug juice was the camp name for Kool Aid. Many things had a special camp name. I didn’t like the food or the bug juice very much, and often just ate bread.

Some campers at each meal would be selected to help the kitchen boys clean up. We had one song about cleaning up. It went “Don’t put paper in the garbage can ’cause it makes more work for the garbage man.” Another thing we would sing while we were eating could be “Mabel, Mabel, sweet and able, keep your elbows off the table. This is not a horse’s stable, but a first-class dining table.” Some things never change: Alice sang this to me recently. Of course we sang it whenever we saw someone’s elbows on the table.

At the end of each meal a camp leader would stand up and lead all the staff and campers in singing camp songs. My cousin Myrtle had gone to this camp many times, and had once even been a Councilor in Training. Before I went to camp she had typed out the words to many songs so that I would be able to sing them. I felt very good about knowing the songs. The songs I remember best are “Hey Lolly Lolly Lolly,” “Alouette, Gentille Alouette,” and “Rock a my soul in the bosom of Abraham.” On Friday night we had special songs and candle lighting for the Jewish Sabbath, as it was a Jewish camp. For birthdays we sang “Happy Birthday” – and in fact, my birthday was during camp.

Every day after breakfast, each camper planned what to do in the morning, and the girls or boys from each cabin chose a group activity for the afternoon. I liked to go to the nature study room, which was in a building across from the mess hall. Some snakes lived in an aquarium in the nature study room. We could also choose swimming and waterfront activities like canoeing, crafts like making bracelets out of some plastic stuff, and maybe some others. Once our cabin group took an overnight camping trip in canoes across the lake, and slept outside. We cooked our own campfire dinner including s’mores.

The other girls in my cabin were named Dorothy, Carolyn, Candy, and Linda. Dorothy was my good friend from school. Linda and Candy also went to the same elementary school that I went to, and Carolyn knew some of us before camp too. We were all pretty good friends when we were at camp. Sometimes we stayed up when we should have been asleep and Dorothy made up stories about Princess LindaCandyCarolynMae. In the early afternoon we took a rest. We could sleep, read, or write letters to our mothers and fathers. We weren’t supposed to talk, but I think we sometimes cheated.

Our councilor was named Heidi. Councilors didn’t use their own names, but they had special camp names. The waterfront councilor was named Frosty or Frankie or something, and I think she was Myrtle’s cousin. Myrtle's camp name was "Monkey." The nature councilor was named Peggy.

One other person who was at this camp was a boy in the young boy’s village. I never talked to any boys then, so I didn’t actually know him, but his name was Lenny. We met again when we were older, and you know the rest of that story.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls is the other big waterfall that I have seen. It is much taller than Niagara Falls, but not nearly as much water goes over the falls.
The first time I visited Yosemite National Park was on a family vacation. We drove from San Francisco and stayed overnight at a campground with platform tents in the woods. My father saw a bear in the middle of the night. After our stay in the valley, we drove over the mountains on a road called the Tioga road. My father had driven there once in about 1938 (a long time before). He remembered that it was very hard to drive, and that he was very worried about whether the car could stop. At the bottom of the mountain, his brakes were hardly working at all. When we drove over it with the family, the road was better, and has been improved very much since then.

I have visited Yosemite several times since then. The waterfalls are always amazing, especially in early summer. When Evelyn was a baby, Lenny, Evelyn, and I went camping in our own tent in the Yosemite valley. The photo shows the three of us at an overlook point with one of the very tall waterfalls behind us.


Niagara Falls

When I was about 11 years old, our family took a trip to several places, including Detroit, Toronto, Buffalo, and Niagara Falls. We drove in our old black Chevrolet. In Detroit and Toronto, we visited some relatives that our parents had not seen in a long time. In Buffalo, we visited a family who had been our neighbors, but who had moved away. (I don't have a picture of them but their names were Kay, Ann, and Chris, and we were at their house in the picture from New Year's Eve --"Bringing in the New Year".)
In Niagara Falls, we didn't have anyone to visit. Instead we enjoyed seeing the incredible sight of huge water falls with the water enormously roaring over a cliff into a deep river below. A few years ago, Lenny and I visited Niagara Falls again, and it was as impressive as ever before. I have also seen a very tall waterfall: Yosemite Falls. But I think that Niagara Falls are the most amazing water I have ever seen. Even the ocean does not seem as powerful.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Welcome, Tessa


Many kinds of houses

When Miriam and Alice visited the museum in Ann Arbor, we looked at some miniature moels of Indian villages in Michigan and throughout the United States. They were a lot of fun to see. Indians and other Americans have lived in many kinds of houses. I like to travel to places with lots of different kinds of houses.

Some American Indians lived in villages called Pueblos. In Taos, New Mexico, some Indians still live in a very beautiful Pueblo and do things the way that Indians did them a long time ago. Other Indians have changed their way of life. In Taos, some Indians have two homes: one in the Pueblo, and another one nearby that has electricity, TV, and other modern things. This is the Taos Pueblo:

Some pueblos were built into the sides of mountains like this one (next photo) in Bandelier Park not far from Taos, NM. Several hundred years ago some Indians built this village, but they only lived in it for a few generations, and then they all went away.

A long time ago, Indians in Utah had food storage caves in the rock walls. We saw one of these storage places when we were on a trip in Utah:

We stayed in an old-fashioned cabin in Zion National Park, not like the Indians had, but like Americans 75 years ago always stayed in.

In New Mexico and Utah, the climate is very dry. The Indians need to grow grain and other things and store them for winter. They need houses that will protect them from sun and cold weather too.

The native Hawaiians lived near the sea on islands formed by volcanos. They built houses from coral rocks and from lava rocks, and created shelters from palm tree parts and other plants. Once in Hawaii we saw some native people performing a ceremony from their old times, in a park at the site of one of the ancient villages. Here are some photos of that ceremony.

Monday, January 15, 2007


Interlochen and the Clarinet

When Evelyn was in Junior High and High School she played the clarinet. Some summers, she also attended music camp in Interlochen, Michigan. These photos show some of her experiences performing and enjoying herself.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


Myrtle's Story

Myrtle wrote this story for Miriam, Alice, Theo, Delia, and Tessa.

When I was a little girl, your great grandmother Evelyn lived in our house. She was an artist. She had painted a number of pictures to illustrate a children's book, and they hung in my sister Merilyn and my bedroom. There were two of them, and I never heard what the story was about. We also had an embroidered poem that was framed and hung over our chest of drawers. I would crawl up on top of the furniture to read it, and would get in trouble. When I had children, I asked my Mother what had happened to the pictures. She still had them, and I hung them in my daughter's room, and then when my daughter Brenda's children were born, they hung in their room. I have them stored away in a closet waiting for her first granddaughter to be born. I don't know what happened with the embroidered poem.

I am not as artistic as your great grandmother, but I do embroider. I made quilts for each of my grandchildren. I needed a little help with the last two, as our son's wife had twins. My daughters helped me finish them in time for their birth. I think all 9 quilts are still in existence awaiting the births of my great grandchildren.

When your grandmother was a child, her parents and Arny and Elaine spent a summer near Boulder, Colorado. While there, your great grandmother did a painting of the Flat Irons, a mountain formation that could be seen from our kitchen window. She gave me the painting, and my daughter Debbie has it hanging in her front hall.

One of the other favorite paintings of hers is a still life featuring a bible, a wine cup, and a challah. I watched her paint a similar one that hung in our dining room for many years. My mother let one of our relatives have it, much to the dismay of my sister and me. She painted another one for my sister, who has it hanging in her home.

I have many happy memories of your great grandmother. She was very ill the last few years of her life, but she never complained, and showed all of us how to live and die with dignity.


In Myrtle's story, she told about some children's book illustrations that my mother once made. Elaine has this illustration at her house:

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Evelyn and her Grandpa and Cousins

Friday, January 05, 2007


Martin Luther King Day

Monday, January 15, is Martin Luther King Day in honor of an American leader: Martin Luther King. When I was a little girl, this holiday didn't exist yet. In fact, when I was a young woman, Martin Luther King was alive and helping to change some important things in American life. In some parts of the country, not all Americans had equal rights to do many things. He and many others said this was not fair, and they began to have marches and to obtain equal rights for people with all different colors of skin.

I heard Martin Luther King make speeches several times, in St. Louis and in Berkeley, California. He was a very wonderful orator: that, is, he gave good speeches. Martin Luther King died just before Evelyn was born, and later America began to celebrate his birthday to remember him and his work.

Martin Luther King really made a difference. In America today, few of the most unfair rules remain. Children can go to any school, adults can get better jobs, and people are much more free than in his lifetime. There is more work to do, but change has happened.

On August 28, 1963 more than 250,000 people, both black and white, came together near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington to rally for "jobs and freedom." Here are some of the words Martin Luther King said to them:
I say to you today my friends - so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification - one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.
...And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.
Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi - from every mountainside.
Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring - when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children - black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics - will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Monday, January 01, 2007


New Years Eve

We had a family party for New Year's Eve this year. Now it is 2007. We started with dinner. Alice and Miriam had made special New Year's Party hats for everyone. In this picture you can also see our gingerbread house on the sideboard.
Everyone drank out of wine glasses, including Miriam and Alice. Here are Alice and Baby wearing their New Year's hats and getting ready to drink some apple juice from the wine glass.

After dinner Alice and Miriam presented a wonderful puppet show using groovy dolls as puppets and the back of the biggest armchair as a stage. They did Cinderella, Snow White, and Belle.
Miriam with two of the puppets:
In the morning Alice and Miriam had made birthday cards for Oma, whose birthday is the last day of the year.


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