So, we all had important roles to play at Lodestar . . . and I like to remember and think that we clearly fit into some very fine and memorable buckets . . . we did, as Lodestar attendees and staff, what we needed to do--be it to function and serve as Lodestar campers; camp leaders; camp cooks and KP crew members; Lodestar crafts leaders; lifeguards; maintenance staff and more . . . we did it all (and happily so) because it mattered and it kept us running smoothly . . . it kept our Lodestar Enterprise afloat.
And it all taught us some most valuable life lessons about doing what we said we would do and what we signed up for, community building, and learning some key life teachings along the way about our deliverables and the responsibility those same deliverables entail . . . in short?
We lived, Lived, LIVED LIFE! And hasn't that all stayed with us for these past 50+ years, Campers?
Anyone, anyone? I know you are out there . . .
One of my most favorite memories from our last BTL reunion -- among so many (like the uber renewed goodwill we gifted each other with . . . the tasty Chai we had in the mornings with Chai Master Peter Livingston and his sidekick, the Lovely and Up-And-Coming "Chai-Mistress-In-Training:" Anne Roeth . . . and if that weren't enough, we had even some Tai Chi with our "Mistress of all Chi," Nancy Linford. . . and who could forget our campfires and happy songs. . . and seeing our Chuck again. . . and my heavy-footed breakage of our lodge light strings. . . and that wide and happy smile on the punum of our Rev. Tom who was so very in his element and moment in time) was this:
I truly loved our tribute and quiet, special memory moments that we all shared about our departed and beloved fellow campers on our last day together. I will never forget the memory of those words shared. They will stay with me always as I am sure they will with those of you who were there.
We must look forward, of course, as campers in life, but we must look back in time, too, as celebrated Lodestar Alums!
And remember the "Happy Times". . .
Memorial tiles for all those remembered at BTL 2018 were designed and hand-made by Tracy Mikkelson. The tiles are under a tree in the Memorial Grove.
By Peter Livingston
I brought Chai Wallah gear home from India. In 3 weeks I will be preparing chai for maybe 50 people at the BackToLodestar camp reunion.
For some reason, I've become fascinated by, and a little obsessed with the chai wallahs (a person who makes and/or sells tea) who work on the streets of India. I want to be a chai wallah. In California. Not a whole new career. Not even a part-time retirement endeavor. But maybe for one or two events a year. Like a music festival. Or the county fair. Or a few special annual once-a-year events. I like the taste of chai. I like the sound of the flame heating the water, milk, tea, and spices. I like the way the liquid bubbles up, froths, and is then knocked down (or in this case, partially removed from the intense heat), only to boil again, steam issuing forth from the big aluminum pot. I like the pouring of the mixture through the strainer and into the little cups; the captured tea and spices put back into the pot to serve as the base for the next batch.
I like the ritual of it; the drama of it; the art of it. I like the visuals, the kinetics, the sounds, the rythms. My souvenirs from India will be various components of the chai wallah trade. I want to be a chai wallah; in California.
I better get to practicing my Chai Wallah skills now. The pressure is on....
By Robert Stetson
"What you want, honey, you got it...And what you need, baby you've got it...All I'm asking, for a little respect..."
And did I/we respect her? I say we do and did! What a tremendous musical life force she was in our lives...her spirit and music will live on in our Lodestar hearts...forever!
And if we don't show up to the BTL reunion playing her music to sing and dance to? Well, I think we all should fold up our camping tents and just go home. And if there was no Aretha to be heard and celebrated? Well, I do know that Mama dos Remedios Litke will be quite verklemp and maybe even apoplectic over the musical slight...
Aretha mattered to us all in one way or another. Otis, too. They made us think through their musical gifts and poetic words. They were magical to be sure. I will miss them. Forever. And that's as long as I can still fog up a mirror.
Come back to Lodestar! Sing and dance your hearts out, Campers!
"I sing to the realists; people who accept it like it is."
"I always felt rock and roll was very, very wholesome music."
By Tom Trutner
After dinner one night at Lodestar, I was walking by the kitchen in the lodge. The familiar music of "Sgt. Pepper…” was playing (by the way, Ringo was knighted today by Prince William 3/20/18), and I popped open the door to see all the kitchen crew doing dishes in a spontaneous, but almost perfectly choreographed dance. I stood in amazement with a huge smile on my face, and now, some fifty years later, that memory still has a warm and wonderful hold on me.
My fond memories of Lodestar are, for the most part, memories of you, the many kids I got to know over those years. Your lives - individually and collectively - gave me some of the most unforgettable and satisfying years of my life.
This is why I am so excited looking forward to our reunion in October. There are so many smiles and hugs to be shared, so many stories to be told (some of which, I’m sure, you now will finally tell me!) and so much fun to be had. I hope you can make plans to be there; I’ll be so happy if you can.
The event is called “Back to Lodestar,” but to paraphrase a book title by a favorite author of mine, “Come Back to Lodestar Again for the First Time” seems to be the theme. It will be a brand new adventure, but every moment will be infused with the indelible memories we all have of those incredible times together.
Looking forward to seeing you,
Blessings and Cheers!
By Vicki Wells Larson
A trip to the River will be one of the optional activities on our BTL weekend, so late Sunday afternoon, Peggy, Richard, and I searched out our favorite Mokelumne River hangout location on Hwy 26, aka Red Corral Rd., found the bridge over North Fork, walked down to the water, looked, and remembered.
You can still see a rope dangling down the side of the rock across the river, and another hanging from a high tree up river.
Is the dam (below right) the one we built (below left)? Those rocks are huge!
Notice the carved steps in the rock? Our spot is now a designated end point for a Class III+ whitewater river run known as the "Tiger Dam Run, Mokelumne River." How cool is that??!!! Bring your kayaks, and let's go!
I remember running to the dorms to put on swimsuits, cramming as many as people possible into whatever cars were available, a hot drive on a long winding road, parking at the bridge, slathering on the Baby Oil (girls only), stretching out on large granite slabs to "catch some rays", sometimes with a paperback book, jumping off rocks into the deep clear river, and splashing in the water to cool off on a scorching hot summer afternoon. The most courageous (or crazy) among us climbed behind the very high rock wall, up into a tree, and dove into the deep pool, while those watching screamed and waved.
Then and Now, I love this place!
By Julie Leigh Domeny
There is no doubt everyone remembers the ice cream shops of our youth; Fenton’s, Edy’s before it became Dreyer’s. The Sweet Shop! And then, during our Lodestar summers, there was also The Jug and Rose ice cream shop in Volcano, CA.
It is easy to recall those hot, dusty Camp Lodestar days of toil. Which will you chose; the river or the pool? And, as the sun settles into the trees and the chores done… time to...head to Volcano to indulge your sweet tooth and cool off inside the semi-climate controlled environments in semi-civilization. It was an ice cream shop, for goodness sakes. We anticipated there had to be some level of coolness there!
The Jug & Rose Cafe was built from the ruins of a stone building originally located in Upper Rancheria, one of the gold camps of long ago. At some point after it was an ice cream shop, the Jug and Rose operated in Volcano as a bakery serving a breakfast and lunch menu until as recently as 2012. Although it received five stars on Yelp, sadly, it is no longer in business.
Today, there is a 7.7 mile Jug and Rose Run foot race and walk to benefit the local high school drama department (yeah). This year’s on September 2nd will be the 44th Amador High School Performing Arts’ annual event. So let’s do some math. The inaugural race was held in 1973.
By Peggy O'Connell
All this Lodestar ‘remembering’ must have unleashed a treasure-trove of memories. For, I recently had a crazy, nonsensical dream. You know – one of those silly ones that you awaken from only to remember the last scene; and this scene left me laughing out loud. And still does when I think about it.
And, you Lodestar campers were the stars! The dream ended on movie night. We were in the Lodestar Lodge, the projector was running – an old reel one – and the last of reel was running, numbers flashing by, as the light came on. Back in our former camper days, as the lights came on, our eyes would readjust to the light, couples clinched hands would drop apart, heads and shoulders would separate, and we would jump up to head to our respective dorms.
Fast-forward 50 years, and in my dream, it was movie night again, the end of the reel was flashing, and the lights came on. This time, hands didn’t separate, head and shoulders stayed together, and no one jumped up. Instead, all you former Lodestar campers were slumped in your seats, head and shoulders holding each other up, soft snoring sounds could be heard, and not one set of eyes needed to readjust to the light.
Will this dream come true?
Come Back to Lodestar to refresh, renew and rejuvenated those eyes!
Come Back to Lodestar to see if you can stay awake for the whole movie, or not.
Come Back to Lodestar; and who knows, maybe just go for a moonlit walk sealed with a …
Lodestar Kitchens ‘heretofore’… By Julie Leigh Domeny
The MiWuk Original Nation went through so much to survive. Not only did they have to catch, hunt, or gather their food, they also had to prepare, preserve, and store it.
Then, the old kitchen crew is ‘ready to serve’ in the good ‘ole days of Lodestar. Peggy and Buzz are preparing a campfire meal at Silver Lake.
And finally, we have the beautifully rebuilt professional kitchen which will produce our meals in October.
LODESTAR: a NOUN
‘the book he read was his intellectual lodestar’
‘she was his intellectual lodestar’
Origin: Middle English: from lode in the obsolete sense ‘way, course’ + star.
I was poking around search sites trying to find any information on how the old Camp Lodestar Lodge burned down and when for a blog on the old, new, and historic kitchens of Lodestar. And while finding nothing, I kept coming upon articles referencing 'Shakespeare' popping up in my ‘Lodestar’ searches.
I followed the link to find, interestingly, The Complete Shakespeare Concordance is an electronic reproduction of a library book that was digitized by Google as part of an ongoing effort to preserve the written word so as to make information accessible, worldwide. Apparently, the 832-page concordance shows that Shakespeare’s works is one of the first times we find the word ‘lodestar’ used in the old English style. Maybe you already knew this, but page 452 documents that William Shakespeare used the word ‘lodestar’ to describe 'lodging', a ‘bed’, or ‘state of bedding down’, and also 'lode-star' as 'the leading-star, pole-star' in lyrical prose.
Please forgive my own ignorance, for I had no idea! The name 'Camp Lodestar' is so perfect for this place... a place which provokes the gift of our own, individually unique, 'lodestars'. A place to empower your heart and soul. A place which brings you closer to the things that matter in the midst of other distractions.
Myself, with more experience in musical theater, have found that Shakespeare has to grow on you – as it did on me, when I was fortunate enough to be immersed in its mysterious, intriguing ways as costume/props/set piece designer alongside Producer/Director Robert Kelly of Theaterworks (Palo Alto) to produce two shows. They were for one of the very first Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festivals in 1995. We did ‘Two Gents of Verona’ and ‘A Midsummers’ Night’s Dream’. Dear Lord, what fun… they were also the last productions I worked on before I started fundraising. I was on my feet 24-7 hours a day in those days - pounding the pavement and stage floorboards.... No wonder they are now riddled with arthritis! (hand flip) ... And, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
(lodge fire update: Jeff (camp manager) only knows the new lodge which replaced the burned lodge is approximately 20 years old)
Link to Shakes' Concordance:https://books.googleusercontent.com/books/content?req=AKW5Qad1kaG-SzZiEtZOCD1eSFKxDpdN-1SMY9Nb9ebrZG1LhAFKK57RX02BKKQojbOWwjdu655WR5c1J4syvLH0wa5cHjDv5_PSgEDbJwDRF1i_l12JvJR4fbJn1X-t91pmkRgFrcQ0ELAY7PmVJ3NSZY-YPoM7jW4BlPq4yp-5IQCZnUWV3xp_qMKUr373bKcleXnUNXUxJixq_8g-h62nlHbFj8a4yMHUEBgK7JHIeIt_JP5eaydtw_WNK4oFNpUbo0EZOgKuGBAjuFqrXqn7paEa57EiQb7rY2snarW4_pfnZPGYTII
Saying it out loud, or even thinking it quietly, the name Lodestar conjures up powerful memories and reflections. And meaning.