May Showers and Sunshine for Dear Mad’m!

Friends of Dear Mad’m had a very busy weekend! A favorite Happy Camp author, Stella Walthall Patterson (who was called Dear Mad’m) wrote the book by the same name. Four years ago, Linda Martin thought we should have a day to commemorate her and life along the Klamath.

Karen Tulledo planned the Friday reception and made a very special chocolate cake. Abigail Eadie made strawberry cupcakes decorated with delicate icing butterflies and pastel flowers. There was also liver pate, served in an antique coffee can, in honor of another character in the book, Frenchy although it wasn’t made of horse liver as his was!!

Saturday was the Dear Mad’m Symposium Luncheon. Jess Haun, who teaches at Happy Camp High School, was the Master (or mistress?) of Ceremonies again and added her cheerful good humor to the program. Christian Robinson was honored for a literary story he wrote about the author, Edgar Allen Poe which won the Dear Mad’m Writing Contest and was presented with his $200 prize. Dennis Day helped at the book table and mentioned how Robert Service had written a poem, The Cremation of Sam McGee, and that launched him to fame and fortune. Perhaps some of our talented students will have the same experience as they continue their writing. The Happy Camp Chamber and Klamath Writer’s Club were happy that students entered the writing contest and look forward to seeing more of their work in future contest. Thank you to all who contributed to the prize for the Writing Contest as well. Bob Seaman sang the song that went along with the privy or outhouse building project in Chapter four of Dear Mad’m and also read another student’s story, about climbing town trail.

Everyone had been looking forward to the continuation of a poem that Judy Hahn had begun about the Dear Mad’m story and that was such fun to hear. Judy has a real talent for writing poetry and her daughter Christine Robinson joined her as well. Megan Hogue was the winner of the basket of homemade crocheted items and jams made by Norma Seaman. She already mentioned the plum jam was delicious!!

Sheri Boren Kennedy and her helpers made the BBQ chicken dinner with chocolate cakes, as “Nora” brought for dessert. By evening time, the wind had picked up, spring weather being rather unpredictable, but a small group still gathered about the fire at the Klamath River Resort Inn at twilight before the clouds increased.

By morning the rain stopped and more came to the Grange for the Pancake Breakfast which was delicious, thanks to Norma Seaman in the kitchen. Don Clark and his son, Matthew, came as they were visiting Jay and Stella in Happy Camp. Before the fieldtrip to the scene of the story, it began to rain again, and so the field trip was postponed to another time. Bob Seaman received a first edition “Dear Mad’m” donated by Klamath River Resort Inn.

The Committee is looking forward to next Dear Mad’m Symposium April `10-12th, 2015 and looking forward to learning more about life on the Klamath River especially from around 1946 to the serialization in McCall’s Magazine and book publication in 1956.

First Reservation Coming from Maine!

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We are so excited to meet new fans of Stella W. Pattersons book, Dear Mad’m!

Last Tuesday, just before the Happy Camp Chamber of Commerce meeting, we had a call from a contact in Maine who had been going to send us a first edition of Dear Mad’m and a scrapbook that she had inherited. We had been looking forward to seeing what was in that scrapbook for sure!! The news was even better, she will be flying here for Dear Mad’m days. So now we have more than just the copy of the book to see and the scrapbook but to really meet a fan of Dear Mad’m from across the country–Couldn’t be better than that!!

Jess Haun will be our MC again this year. Karen Tulledo, who shared her Sourdough Story previously, will be happy to take you on a tour of where the cabins of Dear Mad’m and Dear Sir were located. It’s a beautiful spot to enjoy the wild Klamath River flowing by on its way to the sea. The cabins are gone now. The route the river takes has changed but not the beauty!!

We appreciate the assistance of the members of the Happy Camp Grange helping to make this event a cooperative effort with the Klamath Writer’s and the Happy Camp Chamber of Commerce and others, some from the days Stella lived and wrote her book here in her rustic little mining cabin! Our community will share one of our literary favorites with you!

Looking forward to hearing that you will be coming May!! Make your reservation now!

Happy Camp Chamber of Commerce
35 Davis Road, P.O.Box 1188
Happy Camp, CA 96039

Spring Celebration of Dear Mad’m Coming!!

The Fourth Annual Dear Mad’m event is coming May 3-5!

May is Dear Mad"m!!

May is Dear Mad”m!!

The book, Dear Mad;m by Stella W. Patterson was published in 1956 but it told the story of how Stella moved to a cabin along the Klamath River in 1946 when she was eighty years old. This adventure of hers and the friends and neighbors along the Klamath have inspired many since those days.

Inspired by comments by Pete Lismer, Stella;s great grandnephew and author with his wife, Liz, of the autobiography “Dear Mad’m Who Was She?” about involvement of the young people something new has been added. We will have a Dear Mad;m Writing Contest and keep stories they’ve written. We plan to make a book of the stories and the winner’s writings will be presented at the Saturday luncheon.

If you’ve read, Dear Mad’m and enjoyed it, we would love to have you join us. If you haven’t read Dear Mad’m, we’d love to have you join us to celebrate the literary accomplishments of our Klamath neighbors!!

Further information will be added of speakers and Judy Hahns continuing poem, and the campfire musicians and storytellers. But we want you to plan to come and we are looking forward to seeing you there and having a wonderful time together!!

Highlights of the 3rd Annual Dear Mad’m Days!

Cindy Trobitz-Thomas shared the story of James B. Patterson, Stella's husband.

Cindy Trobitz-Thomas shared the story of James B. Patterson, Stella’s husband.



Jess Haun, a new teacher in toen, presented Judy from Eureka with the basket of homemade ellies and handmade articles after the trivia quiz on Dear Mad'm.

Jess Haun, a new teacher in town, presented Judy from Eureka with the basket of homemade jellies and handmade articles after the trivia quiz on Dear Mad’m.

The third annual Dear Mad’m Day event was full of fun, good food and celebrating Dear Mad’m October 11-13, 2013.

Besides the delightful evening Campfire at the Klamath River Resort Inn and Rafting Lodge there were such great fun activities for the 3rd Annual Dear Mad’m Days in Happy Camp this weekend. We were so happy that the weather was glorious and the beauty along the River Road fabulous.

Friday night Barbara Brown hosted a wonderful get together at Naturegraph Publishers. It was great to have Pete and Liz Lizmer with us again. Pete is Stella’s great-nephew and it is Stella Patterson’s book “Dear Mad’m”  that we are celebrating. Pete and Liz wrote “Dear Mad’ Who Was She” and both books are available from Naturegraph or many places locally including the Happy Camp Chamber of Commerce who sponsors this event along with the Klamath Writer’s Group and a committee consisting of James Buchner, Karen Tulledo, Norma Seaman and myself.

We were so happy to have Jess Haun leading the program for the Luncheon Symposium at the Karuk-Headway Building. The most fun was a trivia contest, and the winner of the answers was Judy from Eureka. Cindy Trobitz-Thomas acquainted us with “Big Jim” Patterson whose Ranch was in Willow Creek and was Stella’s second husband. It was great to have them share and to learn more from Pete and Liz what they have learned about mysteries we still wonder about. Norma Seaman donated a basket of homemade jams and jellies: Klamath Plum, Blackberry and others as well as hand knit washcloths with unique designs.

The lunch was cooked by Bonnie Alvarez and as usual she did a fantastic job in the kitchen assisted by Audrey Henke and Alyssa Titus. The Happy Senior ladies topped it all off with their homemade pies! Delicious! We didn’t have much room for refreshments at the evening fireside after that, but it was such a nice time although some didn’t attend due to the previous rain showers.

Sunday morning Pancake Breakfast was also delicious. You’ll think we did nothing but eat delicious foods all weekend, but the pleasant company for visiting over the good food was most wonderful.

We sang Happy Birthday to Dolly Elston. Bob Seaman sang the “Outhouse Song” and we discovered that he has hidden talents and worked entertaining for USO previous to teaching in Happy Camp and knowing much history of the area. Aaron Martin was the photographer for the guided History of Happy Camp Tour up Second Avenue and down Buckhorn to the Cemetery where we found Fred Crooks’, “Dear Sir” from the story, marker.

After that walk we went down to the former site of the Dear Mad’m cabin. Karen Tulledo shared with us her explorations and observations of the Ferry Point Area. After the regular tour, we even went down to Browns’ Creek to enjoy the flowers and checked out the view of Siskiyou Mine from Independence Bridge.

By that time it was time to bid adieu and get back to town. I wish friendly fun events like this happened more often in Happy Camp and that more of you had joined us and enjoyed the fun. Maybe next time

Your help with Remembrances Appreciated!!!

There were many opportunities for fun, great food and walking down Memory Lane fabout what things were like in the forties and fifties last weekend. We learned and shared stories from the past, around the tables at luncheon and Pancake Breakfast, as well as in conversations and program for Dear Mad’m.. Can you help us solve some mysteries?

Sis came by the Chamber office and shared how Ray Knuteson’s home was moved from Down River to Indian Meadows years ago. I’d forgotten that move. John and Alice Covert also had a large home down at Ferry Point that CalTrans bought the property out from under. Their home was moved except for the large fireplace. Does anyone know where it was moved, and if it is still in existence? Besides the Coverts, we’d like to know more about the families living down at Ferry Point at that time. Can anyone fill us in on Fred Crooks, who was called “Dear Sir” in the book? How about Clarence, “Cy,” Jenson who was known as “Up’n up” or who his wife, “Nora” was? Did anyone know the family well enough to know their baby boy, “Benji or what his real name was?” We have found out “Frenchy” was Henry Marquette. Does anyone know more about Frenchy or when he drowned in the Klamath River?
I’d especially like to know more about the young girl, called “Millicent,” who visited Stella while she was writing about living in a cabin on the mining claim along the Klamath River. in 1946-8.
Any other information about Happy Camp and especially the area south on Highway 96 around Ferry Point, its residents, visitors and history from about 1946 to 1955 in particular would be appreciated. Then, there is the story of the three ladies who moved there later. When did they come, and what do you know about Marie Miller, Vivian Witt and Joan Richardson? Thank you for your help in learning more of these details.

YOU are invited to Dear Mad’m Activities, October 11-13, 2013


You are invited to Dear Mad’m Celebration in Happy Camp, CA!

Stella W. Pattersom was an adventurous lady even when she was eighty and moved to a mining cabin on the Klamath River! The book that she wrote about her experience has been popular ever since it was published in 1956 and we still celebrate.

The Dear Mad’m Day Celebration in Happy Camp, California is coming up in October around her birthday. The 2013 Events will start on Friday, October 11, and will continue through Sunday, October 13. We have a lot planned!

Friday evening – Reception

Saturday, 11am – Luncheon Symposium, Speakers, Award Presentations, Book Signings. 

Last year, Bonnie Alvarez and her youthful helpers served a delicious meal, reminiscent of a Sunday afternoon dinner back in those days, fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, confetti coleslaw salad and fresh corn on the cob. Happy Seniors ladies brought an assortment of home baked pies for dessert. We can hardly wait to see what fabulous meal she will be cooking up for us this year. We will again be meeting at the Karuk-Headway Building at Second Avenue in Happy Camp.

Saturday evening – Stories, songs, and camaraderie at the bonfire down on the banks of the Klamath River at the Klamath River Resort Inn and Rafting Lodge.

Sunday – Pancake Breakfast. This year we will have the choice of sourdough pancakes that were served in life along the Klamath River as well as regular pancakes, coffee, juice and special recipe pancake toppings. If you were at the 2nd Annual Luncheon you will remember the story about sourdough pancakes that Karen Tulledo shared. The breakfast will also be at the Karuk-Headway Building on Second Avenue.

Later there will be the annual trip to see the homestead site of Grandma and Grandpa John Covert’s place where the Diridon youngsters spent their summers. Near by were the cabins of “Dear Sir” and“Up and Up” as well as the three Chicago ladies, who are another part of the story,

Registration for the event will remain the same as last year, $40 for the entire weekend activities. Advance reservations are $30 for the weekend or $20 for Saturday only if you aren’t able to stay for the weekend.

Last year, Pete and Liz Lismer were launching their new book, Dear Mad’m, Who Was She? so it was special to learn more about the rest of Stella W. Patterson’s life. Liz Lismer brought a photo album with photos of Stella from her years married to a San Francisco Judge. We are looking forward to finding out more of the mysteries that have been researched and unraveled in the past year. We hope to hear more of the poem about Dear Mad’m that Judy Hahn shared with us last year also!

 Roberta Everett shared the rocking chair that Stella propped against the door that first night that she spent at the cabin on the mining claim on the Klamath River. Claudia brought photos from the summers at their Grandparents place on the River, We also were able to see some photos of the Patterson clan. We appreciate those who bring things to share.

Registration for the event will remain the same as last year, $40 for the entire weekend activities.Checks should be made payable to the Happy Camp Chamber of Commerce. (Advance reservations are $30 for the weekend or $20 for Saturday only, if you aren’t able to stay for the weekend. Send your check to HCCofC at P. O. Box 1188, Happy Camp, CA 96039. Call the Chamber for further information 530-493-2900.)

 For more information, or if you have information to share or donate (information or items) or wish to nominate someone with adventurous attitude in their senior years for awards, please call the Happy Camp Chamber of Commerce at 530-493-2900, or send us an email at

Hope to see you there!


Dr. Gloria Duffy’s article about the first Dear Mad’m Day picnic in 2011, published in Commonwealth magazine, Oct./Nov. 2011.

Celebrating Our “Dear Mad’m”

by Judy Bushy, Happy Camp, CA
“Dear Mad’m” is a book by Stella Patterson, published in January, 1956. Why do we who live along the beautiful wild Klamath River cherish the story that Stella, known as Dear Mad’m tells??
First of all, Dear Mad’m was a great storyteller. Her book illustrates what life on the Klamath is like. She wasn’t afraid to move to a primitive cabin in the midst of the Klamath Forest in the heart of the Siskiyous alone!. She enjoyed the beauty and diversity of the countryside around us. A great setting for fun with friends!
The fact that she was 80 years of age when she moved to the little mining cabin on the Klamath is hopeful for those who see the golden years come so soon! She was spry and adventuresome, and still able to enjoy life to its fullest. She had friends of all ages and situations down on the River. That’s quite common. In an area where the population is sparse enough to be considered a frontier, You have opportunity to not limit your friends to those your age category, but to fellowship with different ages, backgrounds and views! Our Klamath neighbors are the best reason to live here,\
Stella mentioned that the publisher wanted some things changed in her story, most notably her birthday moved from October 14th to April because it fit the story better. It’s a minor matter and doesn’t hurt the story at all, because the true riches we enjoy in the story are the highs and lows and adventures of living with friends and neighbors along the Klamath River!
Three ladies in particular moved to Happy Camp after reading her book. Vivian Witt, Marie Wilson and Joan Richardson, and lived on the same mining claim the rest of their lives. They were also a great contribution to the small community of Happy Camp! Many still come to see the land where Dear Mad’m lived, and tell of reading the story numerous times. It’s a story you can go back to and enjoy again and again.
We also are so thankful for those we have met as we seek to learn more about Dear Mad’m. Especially we have been so grateful for Rod (and Gloria,) Claudia (and Dick,) who with their brother, Tom, were the youngsters pictured with Stella on the original Dear Mad’m cover! Then we had the happy new book by Pete and Elizabeth Lismer who wrote the book, Dear Mad’m Who Was She? This book helped us explore the life of Stella Patterson before and after the writing of her tale. Then more relatives, of her husband, James Patterson, and Stella herself, became acquainted and the circle widens as does the circle of friendship!
Life on the Klamath goes on, much the way it was in those days, plus a little new technology. We are all so grateful for Barbara Brown of Naturegraph Publishers who has kept her story available to all her new fans and also published, Dear Mad’m Who Was She?
Linda Martin, the leader of the Klamath Writers’ Group that gathered at the Frontier Cafe Sunday afternoons, had the idea to celebrate our most literary accomplished author. The Klamath Writer’s Group, all good Friends of Dear Mad’m, enlisted the help of the Happy Camp Chamber of Commerce to provide a picnic lunch in 2011 in the beautiful shady green lawn of the Klamath River Resort Inn & Rafting Lodge, two miles east of Happy Camp. We so enjoyed Rod Diiradon’s wonderful story of childhood summers at his grandparents place near Stella’s cabin. The next year the luncheon as moved indoors to the Karuk-Headway Building on 2nd Avenue for the weekend nearest her birthday in October.. We hope you will enjoy the story of Dear Mad’m and how friendships have grown around her delightful story.

Some of Ray Arneson's final paintings were of the Dear Mad'm books.

Some of Ray Arneson’s final paintings were of the Dear Mad’m books.