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.

13DM_1827Pete&Liz

 

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

`Dear_Mad 

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 info@HappyCampChamber.org

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.

Hello to the Klamath River World!

When the book, Dear Mad’m by Stella W. Patterson, first came from the publisher in January 1956, it became a popular book and book club selection. Although Stella didn’t live to see that day, many didn’t know that and have come to see Stella and the little cabin that she moved to on the Klamath River.

We hope you will enjoy learning more about Stella, the other people in her story and the wonderful times we have gathering to celebrate one of the most famous literary characters from Happy Camp, at the top of California along the wild and scenic Klamath River!

Thanks to all who made Dear Mad’m such fun!

12DMSCelebrating the NEW book, Dear Mad’m who was she? at the Reception at Naturegraph October 12, 2012.

:                                                                                                               Saturday Luncheon at Karuk Building

11DMD3134(4)

Rod put more wood on the fire for the marshmallow roast to make Sm’ores!

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Thank you to all who worked together to make Dear Mad’m Symposium such a fun event for all last weekend! First of all we thank Geneva Johnson who received our Dear Mad’m Award for her wonderful pioneering spirit. Thanks also to Casey Chambers who shared what Geneva “Dear Grandma” has meant to her through the years since she was a newlywed neighbor.

We Thank Barbara Brown, who was our Dear Mad’m last year at the first annual Dear Mad’m Day. She has been the publisher through Naturegraph publishers, both of  “Dear Mad’m” by Stella W. Patterson and the newly published “Dear Mad’m Who Was she?” More recently, we thank her for having the Friday reception at Naturegraph, and the great sweet grapes and homemade apple juice that she made. Besides welcoming so many to her place, she also provided printing tours thanks to Sonny.

Thanks to Abigail Eadie for the beautiful sunflower cupcakes she made for the occasion and Melissa Colbert who helped her decorate ALL those cupcakes.

Bonnie Alvarez was most responsible for the delicious luncheon on Saturday as she shopped and cooked and served the old fashioned meal with fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy and all the other delicious food.  Bonnie always serves food with love. I cannot believe the effort and wonderful skill she puts into such a meal, all the while being a volunteer. Thanks to Joe for the help that he gave as they work as a good team.  Audrey Henke, Cheyenne Moore, and Nikki were great working in the kitchen and serving the pies. Thanks to the Happy Seniors for providing wonderful coconut cream, banana cream, pumpkin and apple pies that were so delicious–Especially Pauline “Sis” Attebery, Jeanne Burrer and Anita Wolf!

Thanks to Marilyn Townsend for making the colorful cloth napkins in fall florals and leaves  and the idea of canning jars centerpieces to decorate a dozen tables.

Thank you to Judy Hahn who wrote a great poem about Dear Mad’ m! It was such fun to hear the story put to rhyme!!We can’t wait for the second installment which will tell more about her story.

Karen Tulledo was not only a great help on the committee the last month, but also wrote a story based on the historical about John Jeardeau. the Clear Creek postmaster for many years, and his special sourdough. Next year we hope to have sourdough pancakes with blackberry syrup! Her story really made the life on the Klamath River in Dear Mad’m’s day come alive.

Of course, the main speakers were Peter Lismer who is a great nephew of Stella Walthall Patterson and his wife, Elizabeth! Thank you Pete for sharing your family story! Elizabeth Lismer, was also author of the book and shared how they went about research and tracking down the tale of Stella’s life. Their presence ,having flown from a summer place in France, was just in time for this event. We are very grateful.  Thank you Lismers for having the book there for people to obtain autographed copies too.

Thank you Cindy Trobitz-Thomas for your additional comment about the love that James Patterson showed when hearing that Stella was dying and walking all the way from his ranch in Willow Creek, since the flooding had washed the road out in places in December of 1955.

In addition we are grateful to the Karuk Housing for sharing their wonderful building with us for this event. The beautiful kitchen and dishwasher made serving the meal a joy. Thank you Dorcus, Sara Spence, and Babbie Peterson especially.

Thank you Roberta Everett for bringing Stella’s  rocking chair and Claudia who enjoyed seeing it again after all these years. Thank you to Liz Lismer, Cindy Trobitz-Thomas, Karen Tulledo, Claudia Diridon Wagner and her husband Dick, who brought old photos and mementos to share with all of us.

Thank you to James Buchner, Robert & Sherry of Klamath River Resort Inn for setting up a beautiful camp fire right down on the river where we could enjoy a beautiful fireside evening Saturday evening. The stars were beautiful and hearing fish leap in the water was neat!

A very special “Thank you” to Rod Diridon, Sr. both for your comments and help at the Luncheon and for making a map and providing a guided tour of your memories visiting grandparents John and Alice Covert at their place along the Klamath in your childhood. I especially enjoyed your inspiration of how we are all like the storytellers sitting around the fire sharing the stories. The others around about hear those stories and pass them on and some day they will go to another generation.

Yootva and Thank you to the Happy Camp High School Seniors who served a pancake breakfast Sunday morning. Thanks to Cassidy Little the class president, Brandon Tripp who stirred up pancakes, Shelly Hokinson, and Ray Griffin especially! Also thanks to their Class Advisor Alyssa Garcia and her daughter Emma who colored pictures for us.

Thank you to the Klamath River Writer’s Group and especially Linda Martin who originally had the idea for our first Dear Mad’m Day last year.

Thank you to the Happy Camp Chamber of Commerce: Board President Robert “Javabob” Schmalzbach, Vice President Dolly Elston, Ray and Bobi Arneson, Rosemary Boren, James Buchner, and Judy Bushy. Special Thanks to James Buchner for helping get the basic plans off to a good start and Karen Tulledo who joined the Committee the last month and was such an encouragement. They were enormously helpful in making the event possible! Thank you to all who have offered help next year also.

Thank you to all who came and what a joy it was to visit with all those who came, relatives or not. We have enjoyed getting to know Stella through her writings, and now through Pete and Liz’s biography!

The Klamath Writer’s Group has been working on an Anthology of writings about Happy Camp and one comment mentioned that it would be nice to have a book of the Dear Mad’m and Dear Sir awardees over the years so perhaps that could be added to their project for the future!

Can’t wait until next year, OCTOBER 11-13, 2013 to see you all again!

Sincerely

Dear Mad’m Committee,

Happy Camp, CA 96039-1675

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Geneva Johnson, honored in Happy Camp

Geneva Johnson, long time resident of the Klamath River, honored at Dear Mad'm event.

Geneva Johnson, long time resident of the Klamath River, honored at Dear Mad’m event.

 

            I felt I knew Dear Mad’m immediately when I read her wonderful adventure of living on her mining claim near the Klamath River.  Obviously I didn’t know her personally, but it didn’t take me long to draw the obvious comparisons between Dear Mad’m and my own Dear Grandma Geneva Johnson.  Geneva and her husband, Walt, bought their mining claim in the early fifties.  Their claim, which consisted of two unfinished, rough cabins, sits above the Klamath River in a spot less than five miles from Dear Mad’m’s Bent Pine Claim.  At first the claim was a getaway spot for the two city dwellers who loved fishing and hunting, but mining…not so much.  Next the cabins became a home for Geneva’s aging father and stepmother.  Finally, in 1970, those two rough cabins became Grandma and Grandpa’s full time home.  They gave up their lovely home in San Francisco, complete with a fully finished basement where Grandma could do all her canning, and had a beautiful award winning yard, where Grandma not only created a space that was the envy of all her Garden Club friends, but also provided plenty of fresh vegetables to feed the family year round. 

Grandma Geneva moved to Happy Camp with a lot of misgivings.  She loved her San Francisco life.  But with her wonderful, positive, “can do” spirit, Grandma Geneva tackled the job of living in the remote Siskiyou wilderness.  She grew to fiercely love that run down claim, and although she never forgot her city friends, she quickly made new friends and created a wonderful home, quite literally on the edge of the edge of nowhere.

            My Grandma Geneva isn’t really my Grandma, but since I never had one, I chose her.  I am her Nora…we need each other.  I moved to Happy Camp at 23, a brand new bride with a good education, but not a whole lot of common sense.  At that time, in the summer of 1976, Grandma Geneva lived in a small cabin next door to me.  Just as Dear Mad’m wondered how Up’N’Up and Nora could make it, I know Dear Grandma worried about me.  I couldn’t cook, garden, sew, fix a broken anything, and had no idea how to keep the fire burning to heat my house.  Thank goodness Dear Grandma, like Dear Mad’m, needed to be needed, because living 800 miles from my own family, I sure needed her.  And I’m not the only one.  All around Happy Camp there are adults and children who claim Grandma Geneva as their own.

Like Dear Mad’m, Dear Grandma has always had young legs.  Now, at the impressive age of 99 those legs are complaining a bit, but they still refuse to act their age.  A few years ago my friend Nena was working at both of the Happy Camp schools.  One day I heard her going on and on about a beautiful yard she passed daily as she walked between both schools.  Nena raved about the beautiful elderly lady who grew spectacular flowers and had a vegetable garden filled with vegetables and NO weeds.  I knew immediately that elderly lady was Dear Grandma.  She was well over 90, but that garden put all others to shame.  Those young legs seemed forever young.  But, when I caught her standing up on her counters, cleaning on top of her cupboards, I gave her a piece of my mind.  Even young legs can slip.  And who cleans on top of the cupboards anyway?

Dear Mad’m spent the first day on her mining claim creating a flower garden.  I wasn’t there, but I would bet that Dear Grandma did the same.  The two ladies share the wonderful ability to take a rough and rustic mining cabin and make it into a home.  After a day toiling in her garden, Dear Mad’m said “I had a backache that made it impossible to straighten up-but I was happy.”  Dear Grandma, after a very full morning of hard physical work, would spend the late afternoons resting her weary muscles by sitting out under the big oak, watching the birds and the wildlife, and enjoying the peaceful beauty of her wilderness setting.  That yard definitely made her happy.

But not all wildlife was welcome.  Like Dear Mad’m, Dear Grandma kept her trusty pistol close by to scare off unwanted wildlife.  There were no cougar incidents, but bears were common on Dear Grandma’s claim.  Three separate times overly eager bears tore off the screen door to the cabin in an effort to get inside.  Once Dear Grandma banged a bear on the nose as it climbed through, and another time she grabbed for the closest thing, which happened to be a bottle of bug spray.  After a thorough spraying to the face, that bear went coughing and sneezing back to where he belonged.   Dear Grandma was afraid only one time during her time on the claim.  She saw three bears down by her chicken coup.  She hollered and two of them quickly ran off, but the third, a gray snouted old timer, came right at her.  As he got closer and closer, and her hollering wasn’t helping, she knew she was in trouble.  If she ran, that bear could easily catch her.  But the old guy stopped to sniff, and when he did, Dear Grandma ran as fast as her young legs could carry her, into the cabin.  Grabbing a 410, she peppered the intruder with buckshot, and he ran off. 

The bears were mostly just a nuisance.  After the third time they tore down her chicken coup, Dear Grandma gave up raising chickens.  But unlike Dear Mad’m, Dear Grandma knew just how to handle unwanted rodents that trespassed in the cabin.  No need to mess around with paper mache, with or without mustard.  Just a little bit of Blue Vitrol on toast would just suck the fluids out of those pests.  Don’t even try to buy it today!  You know that stuff had to have some serious chemicals!

Like Dear Mad’m, Dear Grandma was made of stern stuff.  Born in Illinois in 1913, the rough winters and farming life taught her to work hard and be resourceful.  Her stories of using a rope, tied from the barn to the house, to guide them to the barn to feed the livestock, reminded me of something from Little House on the Prairie.  But her family must have had a lot of sense, because in 1922 they packed up all their belongings and made their way to a new life in Santa Barbara, California.  What a trip that was!  They had to carry their own gas and water, and of course had to repair their many breakdowns on their own.  Some places there wasn’t even a road, but rather wagon wheel ruts.  The trip took over two weeks, but Dear Grandma still remembers the camping each night.  One beautiful place in particular, Green River, Wyoming, she fell in love with…that is, until they had to abandon camp at dusk when black clouds of mosquitoes drove them away.

Dear Grandma’s training for a pioneering life continued in Santa Barbara.  Her mother taught her to garden and can and sew.  Dear Grandma claims she isn’t much of a seamstress, but making curtains or sewing a layette was fun for her.  But man can that lady cook.  Every dinner had multiple courses, and her “grocery store” was the shed out back.  Amazing home canned goodies came out of that grocery store. Her mother taught her well!

As a new bride in the early thirties, Dear Grandma moved into the lighthouse in Santa Barbara.  There, cleaning lights and polishing equipment became part of her daily chores.  Once, while taking the cover off the light, Dear Grandma spotted a Japanese sub.  When she reported the sighting, the man on the other end of the phone just laughed at her.  It may have been a coincidence, but a short time later a Japanese bomb was found in a yard along the shore.  That bomb didn’t explode, but it definitely wasn’t a laughing matter.

Living at the Light House in Santa Barbara may have helped Dear Grandma prepare for a life of solitude.  Although she loves peace and quiet, and the serenity of the Klamath Forest, she is, at heart a party girl.  Even at the age of 99 Dear Grandma loves a party, and her young legs willingly carry her to any place where her loved ones are gathered.  In the old days she would brave the rocky roads and travel in to Happy Camp for a movie at the Del Rio or music and camaraderie at the Buckhorn.  Like Dear Mad’m, sometimes the trip home was treacherous, with Dear Grandma at the wheel and Dear Grandpa picking up rocks off the road. Or vice versa. 

The quiet solitude of each day on the claim was broken when Ginger, the mail lady, came by with the daily mail.  When she could spare the time, Dear Grandma would hike up to the highway to greet Ginger and learn all the news from town.  Sometimes a longer visit was in order and Dear Grandma would hop in the van and help out on the remainder of the mail route.  But don’t tell, because I don’t think that was allowed.

Dear Grandma was willing to work hard during the day so she would have time to head to the river for some serious fishing.  It must have been the beauty and peace of the river that drew her to her favorite fishing holes, because it certainly wasn’t the taste of fish.  She still can’t stand to eat fish, and strongly dislikes the odor they create when she cooks them.  But she loved catching them.

Dear Grandma has had a wonderful life.  I so appreciate her willingness to continue to be needed by so many of us.  These days, her difficulty with hearing causes her a lot of frustration because she wants to hear more about our daily lives.  But there is nothing wrong with her memory.  She clearly remembers every stage of a long life that has not always been happy or easy.  But she will happily share with you stories of her wonderful life on the mining claim.  She misses that place, and wishes she were there still.  Like Dear Mad’m, she has lived the life she loved; a life that has given her much satisfaction; with flowers to fill her days with beauty, wildlife to observe, and friends who need her. 

Dear Grandma Geneva Johnson is the perfect 2012 Dear Mad’m!  Thank you for recognizing her today!