PHOTO: The Back to Lodestar Planning Team kitchen crew joined in the “THEN & NOW” fun.
Come Back to Lodestar and join in the fun. Share your favorite Lodestar memories and let us know what you’ve been up to for all these years. Write a “Then & Now” piece, email it to us, and we will post it for you. ThenAndNow@BackToLodestar.com
HANK & JEANNIE NAGLE
THEN – There are so many good memories of the times at Lodestar. With Tom Trutner, Wimp Yinger, Peter Livingston, Scott Anderson, Sue & Chuck Greenwood, Randy Herbert, Robin, Frank and so many others. Being at Lodestar as cook from 1967 to 1973 and then manager for a short time has given Jeannie and I a lot of memories and stories.
After leaving Lodestar we stayed in the Wilseyville area. Jeannie became a post office employee and I became a Merchant Seaman, cooking on different vessels in the Pacific Ocean. The family stayed here in Wilseyville for it did not matter where we lived for I had to fly to different ports where my ships left from, anyway.
I spent sometime working in the lodging industry and did some gold mining and then went back to Sea, but this time working on boats in the S.F. Bay area.
NOW - In 2002 Jeannie and I retired, but I did some sailing after that until 2015 when I had to quit due to a lung condition.
The good LORD has blessed us over the years and one of those blessings has been Lodestar. GOD willing, we will see you all this October at the “Back to Lodestar Reunion." I am looking forward to it.
Hank and Jeannie
THEN - I LOVED my time at Lodestar! It was an important chapter in my youth - right off the top, I have to say that our circles out in the meadow under the stars singing all the great folk songs of the day (“The Great Mandela”, “Let There Be Peace”….) - wow! That has always stayed with me - fellowship & the outdoors, the perfect combo! I also loved square dancing, river time, listening to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band that came out one summer when I was there, & having water fights in the kitchen when we had KP.
Hard to believe that we are talking about 50+ years ago!
Thank you Lodestar!
NOW - I will be celebrating my 65th birthday on October 12 with my partner of 15 years, Raúl, & my son, Cedar, his wife, Emily & our two grandkids, Arlo ( 11 yr. ) & Avin ( 7 yr. ), when fellow campers are enjoying Lodestar! Sorry to miss the event, but it’s very difficult to keep me away from Arlo & Avin, especially on a special birthday. We will be hiking & picnicking at “the ranch” where I lived for 15 years (1974-1989), & where my husband & father of my kids, died from a ranching accident in January 1983. I’m looking forward to finally showing the grandkids the place that was our home & that lies halfway between where they live, & our home outside of Ferndale, CA.
In 1989, my two kids, Cedar (41 yr.) & his twin sister, Tule, & I moved here. I homeschooled them through 4th grade & we ride shared with two other ranch families to get to Ferndale Elementary School for their 5th & 6th grade years. Soon after they began 7th grade I was hired as a bilingual aide (Spanish) & we no longer had a 45 minute drive one way to get to school. My years of working as a ranch hand were over & I spent the next almost 26 years as an educator at Ferndale Elementary. My position evolved into advocate/translator for the families I worked with (all from Mexico), as well as ESL teacher, & Spanish teacher for grades K-8. I had always loved the Mexican culture & had travelled to Mexico many times. Now I was immersed in the culture right here! I created an annual Cinco de Mayo FIESTA, teaching hundreds of kids Mexican folkloric dances over the years, & eventually bringing the celebration to the town as well as the school, parading down our Main Street & shouting ¡Viva México!, complete with Mariachi musicians, horses & kids in beautiful costumes, many of them made by community members. What good fortune to find such a perfect niche right here in northern CA. I retired in June 2015 & Raúl retired 6 months later. He lost his wife in the year 2000, & he has two grown children, Chase & Rose. He & I met during the Cinco de Mayo years, when his daughter danced with our group.
Though Raúl & I did not have children together, we are enjoying being grandparents together :-) We enjoy gardening, going to the beach (10 min. away), watching movies, & being with family. Raúl likes woodworking (lathe work) with wood here on our ranchito (mainly alder), & working on his car projects (Model A & a 1946 panel truck). I have been an avid photographer for many years & have had exhibitions (mostly B&W) in different galleries & a museum in Humboldt County. I am a documentarian/historian so have large bodies of work from my years working with Latino kids, as well as a nearby small community where my son & family live.
My “now" photo is of Raúl & me in April this year, when we took the grandkids to the big island of Hawaii - a dream come true! We snorkeled every day, & Arlo & I got to swim with dolphins at our favorite snorkel spot!
Love to all of you! Have a great weekend!
THEN - For me, camping had always been a part of my life with family camping trips and group camping at Camp Augusta starting when I was in first grade. I was a camper, a CIT and a camp counselor. Then over 45 years ago, Camp Lodestar became the place my friends and I wanted to go to be members of a community…it was where we would learn who we were and explore possibilities of who we could become. The friendships we made were the best.
My other fond memories are of exploring new art mediums, like tie dying and weaving. And of course, the fellowship of singing and dancing with dear friends are part of the sweetest memories of being together at Lodestar. The location was so beautiful, with the meadow under the stars being one of my favorite places.
After High School, I went to UC Berkeley where I studied with many friends from Piedmont. From there, I headed north to Portland Oregon where I graduated with a degree in Education from Portland State University. I began teaching 3rd grade at the same time I got married. I became an instant mom of a darling five year-old boy, Daniel. A few years later, my lovely daughter, Laura, was born. And as life has its twists and turns, I got divorced. I think the resiliency I learned and the faith that there were so many possibilities for happiness helped me through that transition.
I remarried and had my delightful surprise son, Sean.
After Sean was born, I went back to school and got my Master of Education Degree from Lewis and Clark College. I became a school administrator and served as a Principal, Curriculum Director, and Human Resource Director. After receiving my Superintendent’s Certificate, I had an opportunity to join and International Assessment Association in Portland, NWEA. I got to open up the international school market and traveled the world.
NOW - Single again, the stars lined up and I was fortunate to become the Executive Director of CEESA, the Central and Eastern European Schools Association, providing professional development opportunities for international educators. I live in Zagreb, Croatia and get to travel the world for work.
My accomplished adult children live in San Francisco area and Portland, Oregon. I have a granddaughter, Daisha, her husband Troy and three great grandchildren who all live on the island of Molokai, Hawaii. I am so fortunate to have three fantastic children who are the source of my greatest joys in life…And life is GREAT!
I wish I could join you at the Back to Lodestar weekend, but work keeps me in Europe. Enjoy your time together.
Love to you all,
Kathy, Zagreb, Croatia
THEN - Lodestar was a huge part of my life. Many, many fond memories. I particularly recall the summers of 68, 69, and 70, the ones I worked there! Great people, great times!
I graduated in '69, just celebrated my 67th b'day. Married a college sweetheart in '74, divorced in '06. I have four beautiful daughters aged 41, 39, and twins 36. Blessed with seven, soon to be eight, grandchildren, with the last due in January. Can't seem to get away from ladies - seven of the eight are granddaughters. One grandson - poor guy. All four girls are married to great sons-in-law and are all doing well. I have two near me in Roseville, one in L.A, and one in Sweden where she has resided for the last thirteen years. Funny, she always wanted to marry a European and live in northern Europe - living her dream.
NOW - In 2007 while on a cruise out of Amsterdam with my oldest daughter and the younger twin from Sweden, I met Janet. Janet was finishing up ten years in the corporate world in Manhattan with plans to transfer to its west coast operations in S.F. Janet is from Oregon and wished to be closer to her aging mother. Long story short I courted this beautiful lady by completing a few more trips to New York, then drove with her cross country when she relocated. We were married in a non-traditional ceremony at Sunnyside Resort, Lake Tahoe, and it's been great! Janet has no kids so she and mine, and the grandkids, have "adopted" each other. It couldn't have worked out better.
That's a pretty good capsulation of my life. Still in good health, Janet and I still tour the country by motorcycle, and split our time between Roseville, Incline Village and Palm Desert. Still play the guitar from time to time.
Lodestar and friends will always be part of me.
THEN – Lodestar was an important part of my life starting in junior high school, when I joined Pi Chi groups for weekend retreats to Lodestar. Starting in the summer of 1969 I got a job as a second assistant cook for the summer, under head cook Hank Nagle and assistant cook Scott Anderson. It was a true awakening to the world of work and responsibility. Hank was a great mentor, guiding me in basic kitchen tasks: breaking 180 eggs in 80 little bowls for eggs to order; breaking 200 eggs in a giant pan for mass scrambled; cleaning a hot steel grill with pumice stone; and a myriad of basic kitchen tasks each more complicated than the one before; and the importance of not mixing bleach and ammonia to get the floor extra clean … and running the dishwashing crew.
The next summer I was assistant cook, moving into more complicated matters. In 1970 Hank moved on to work the oil ships, and I was hired as head cook, at 18, to run the show. I was helped by a wonderful crew of assistant cooks, especially Peggy O’Connell, my first assistant. We had some notable successes, like the banquet for the music camp that featured 16 dishes, including Shrimp Newburg, created by multiplying the Joy of Cooking’s recipe serving 8 by 60. That meant, among other things, counting out 120 tablespoons of Worchester sauce … yikes. It would have helped to know how many tablespoons are in a cup … We also had some notable failures, like during a retreat for PCC poohbahs when the frozen prepared meat loaf took waaaay longer to heat than I thought, and Dr. Yinger shifted from peeved to irritated to volcanic as the assembled multitude awaited their meals. Good times.
As cooks we did not interact directly with the campers, and we especially enjoyed the break between camps. I recall one instance where some chemically altered staff came into the kitchen and pulled out a large pan of butterscotch pudding (about 5 pounds of it) that I left for snacking. They sat and chatted and with two spoons ate the entire pan. I am surprised they survived. We also had a regular contest to see who could get various items (slices of bread, eggs, etc.) to “float” in an assumed neutral spot in the updraft of the stove vent. That is why the roof of the lodge occasionally sported a layer of refuse around the vent hood. And, of course, please ask Tom Trutner to explain why he rope-locked me in the trailer one night after a staff party.
That job got me a bunch of part time jobs in unrelated fields later, as I could explain that I ran a staff of five and had to budget for meals, etc. Pretty good for an 18 year old.
After that was finishing Cal, traveling with Doug Saunders and later, Mary, around the world, and then getting married (by Tom, of course) and settling in Davis for graduate school. After graduation there were no jobs for MAs (thanks Howard Jarvis!) so I fell into historical consulting, at first focusing on water rights studies and later historic preservation. I did that for 40 years and happily retired in 2017, being bought out by my partners in JRP Historical Consulting, LLC. I now live the permanent vacation.
Mary and I have two sons, Sam and Nick, with spouses Lilli and Christine, and three grandsons (Drew, AJ, and Christopher). Our daughter, Catherine, died of SIDS in 1980 at age 4 months.
While you are all remembering, renewing, and rejoicing at Lodestar, Mary and I will be traveling through the South of France. We are very sorry to miss this special event, but we’ll be there with you in spirit.
Lodestar gave me a quest: for the real, for an authentic life
THEN – In the summer of '62 I was able to work at Lodestar in the kitchen. Ma and Pa Kendall were in charge of the Piedmont Community Church's youth group. This is how they recruited me.
Somehow someone told me that I should go and talk with Ma Kendall. I did. Why? During my 8th grade or early 9th, my father had to be taken to a detox center. His alcoholism turned into D.T.'s. This meant he lost his job. He was our only wage earner, so, of course, this made my mother really anxious and afraid. And, of course, she transferred that in several ways to myself and my brother. This family failure made me miserable inside ... even though football, basketball, baseball and my social life kept me busy and distracted. Ma Kendall heard my story and suggested that I work on the kitchen crew at Lodestar. She knew I needed to be away from my family. This is how I got introduced to Lodestar and to Ernny and Judy Noble.
After that summer I was hooked ... and really appreciated all Lodestar represented. I worked there summers of ’62, ’63 and ’64.
I already had been very involved with the Boy Scouts (Eagle and Order of the Arrow) so the Sierras had already been working their magic on me. As a 'flatlander-city dude' the Sierra Mountains became my 'father' in a metaphorical sense. I loved them, they kept challenging me and forcing me to grow. Going to Lodestar in the foothills of the mountains also meant "harmony" to me ... a deep-seated soul harmony with nature. I concluded Piedmont was in the 'asphalt jungle’ and a part of the disharmony. Cities meant disharmony to me. Besides, the Sierras called out to me to be a man. Being with Ernny and Judy ... and all the Lodestar people ... like Don and Larry Osborne, Bill Byrd, Ashley Cocks, Barbie Stryble, Barbie Cullom, etc. etc. caused a serious value clarification in me. I wanted “real flowers’ not those plastic ‘artificial’ ones.
In Piedmont, I was somehow expected to live as a 'Piedmonter.” My Dad grew up there and was in the Kimmers, My brother, uncle and cousin also were Kimmers. It was expected. Then you go to UCB and get in the fraternity. Then you get a job and move back to Piedmont. Then you go to tons of cocktail parties, etc., and finally alcoholism wins. Would that be my life cycle? I joined the Kimmers too, keeping the family tradition. BUT in my senior year I resigned from the Kimmers and joined the Kapas. Why, because my Lodestar friends, Don, Larry, and Bill were in the Kapas. Individuating and value clarification, again!
One more: In Piedmont there were debutante balls. I went to three of them during high school. These challenged me also about city life vs. mountain life. These events seemed so exclusive and elite. They made me question my purpose in life. Repeat the “Piedmont” cycle?
(Photo, above: Gail Harrington, Bill Byrd, Ashley Cocks, myself, Sue Emerson, and Don Osborne, at a Piedmont party)
In my senior year I decided that the only way to have convergence with my new values after graduation was to BREAK the tradition (no, not UCB), not position myself as an engineer like my folks wanted, but to leave the Bay Area and enroll at Lassen College in Susanville and pursue Forestry. I wanted to be a Mountain Man. At Lassen I took a forestry class my first semester and decided that there was no way I would be satisfied working for the U.S. Forest Service, the California State Forestry, or a lumber mill. I soon changed to journalism.
At Lodestar I was able to eventually bond with and really get to know Errny's brother, Kenny and wife Lois, plus son Bobby who was my age, and Sherry, younger sister. Also, I got to know David, Errny's youngest brother, his wife and family. Pete and Jimmy Davis were special friends, too. All Wilseyville friends and acquaintances were so friendly.
After high school, the summer of '65, I worked for PG&E outside of Los Banos on a crew that was putting up the 500kv lines. It was Ernny's brother, Kenny, who was my foreman and got me the summer job. We often went back up to Wilseyville on weekends. I roomed with Ed Burkett. After my first year of Lassen I was able to get a summer (66’) job through David Noble at the Wilseyville Lumber Mill pulling dry chain. Bobby Noble and I worked together, and I was able to stay in a trailer on his Dad's property that summer. That was a fun summer. During my 2nd year at Lassen I was the student body president. Gradually during that year I was feeling empty inside. Why? My friends and I would drink alot from Wednesday to Sunday. Socially we were starting to have buy-in on being predators ... to party and hit on women ... hoping to get our sexual appetites appeased. It didn’t seem right.
Gradually I was feeling my life turning into “artificial flowers,” but in a new setting. In April, '67 I received a letter and brochure in my mailbox as president of the student body. It was from a club at Shasta College asking if I would join them for the weekend. It was from IVCF which meant nothing to me. The brochure was not religious at all, but it had one weird thing: on the list of items to bring, it said Bible. I didn't have one but I went anyway...just to get away from the “Normal College Weekend Party Activities.”
In short, I was blown away. They exhibited such joy ... without booze or drugs. They exhibited such love ... without sex. This was so 'organic' to me. They told me it was about a relationship with Jesus Christ. I never heard that before. They said I could have that just by praying. I told them, "I don't know how to pray." They had me repeat a prayer. So that prayer began a life-changing relationship with God.
Just to close this up. That summer of ‘67 I worked in the woods setting chokers on logs, then headed up to the University of Alaska for their journalism program. After 10 weeks I became the editor, since the editor suddenly quit and left school. It was '67-'68 and I was ruthless fighting against the war in Vietnam and racism. At the end of the school year I was having another 'value clarification' time. A U.S. Senator from Alaska, Ernest Gruening, wanted me to intern in his D.C. office. I turned it down and spent the summer reading the New Testament ... and was completely overjoyed at discovering a unique Value System ... called the Kingdom of God. Jesus came to communicate in word and deed the GOOD NEWS of this transcendent Kingdom. Forget plastic flowers. Forget politics, forget class, forget race, gender, exploitation ... Communism, Maoism, Socialism, Democracy, etc. etc. The ONLY realm that counts, in the final analysis in my mind, is the spiritual realm, what Jesus said was the Kingdom.
NOW – Since then I have been leaning into and being transformed by this realm. To me, it is the ultimate organic value system...when it's free from manipulation and exploitation. It’s all about love. Unfortunately, Christianity has been so institutionalized and westernized, but that’s not what Jesus taught. He emphasized a relationship with GOD, not religion. My 46-year career has been to come alongside of non-Americans or Asian Americans and, if they are interested, to explore and learn with them the secrets of this spiritual realm Jesus talked about and demonstrated.
This has been my quest for the organic, the real. Thanks to Lodestar I got the ‘kickstart’ that I needed. The quest continues. There’s so much more to learn, to ‘detox’ from, to do, to love.
THEN – What a delight to hear about the reunion and to read your tales and see images from the old days.
My first visit to Jack Ass Ranch was in the fall of 1960. I had relocated my family from New Jersey the previous January. I was twelve. Dad scored a preaching gig at the Piedmont Church...which remarkably came with a ranch (soon to be renamed Lodestar).
My dotard brain recalls portions of seven summers I spent at Lodestar. Initially I was a camper...that lasted a week… Dishwasher. Maintenance. Construction. Lifeguard. Councilor. Art director. Assistant cook at I-House followed. During the summer of '64 we played softball against the local kids. That introduction initiated a semester of my senior year being spent in Wilseyville and attending Calaveras Union High in San Andreas. Nina Schaad drove the school bus. The following summer I worked at the I-House before leaving for college in Long Beach. Cousin Winthrop ran the Interracial Camp during much of the 60's. I recall that and other programs from then, but it's vague. It was the 60's after all.
Following college, where I studied architecture and surfing, I spent a brief time in the army. That was the summer of '69....Woodstock, moon landing, great summer at Lodestar I heard. I made my escape up Highway One in the early spring 1970 with saddle & sleeping bags hanging from my motorcycle. By May I arrived at Lodestar. The resident manager at that time, Bob Stocking, was in the hospital. I was asked to stay on and prepare things for the summer.
The Church had hired two contractors to build Toad Hall during this time. To this day I have yet to meet anyone who is more incompetent then these two. Yet another life lesson from Lodestar.
I stayed on for the summer as the Art director. Jim Serianni, Ed Linenthal, Efail Hurd and of course T. Trutner were there. But as I remember Trutner left for his new posting at Cal just before the senior camp was to arrive. This left the young people in charge of the other young people. wow.
Do I have this right? Any corrections anyone.
Last chapter for me was the summer of '71. Winthrop Yinger was the new Minister of Youth and therefore camp director. The Greenwoods were there I think. People were recruited into Captain Puff's army ... or was that the previous summer?
NOW – Looking back it appears that I have lived my life doing those things I first experienced at Lodestar. My vocations as artist, architect, builder & restaurateur resulted from a desire to recapture that wonderful place and the relationships that were formed there.
Attached you should find a THEN photo of me and Mom (Heading out for Lodestar, spring 1970) and NOW photo of me + wife-to-be Giovanna. As of this writing we expect to be honeymooning in Sicily during the reunion weekend, but I will be thinking of you all and probably humming those old songs from the lodge Victrolla.
Love to all. Jay
THEN – I guess my most powerful memory of Lodestar isn’t really a memory, it’s more like a feeling or feelings --- very real, but kind of intangible. The people, the events, the evening stars, the sweetness of the air, the creativity of high school kids, the Spiritual closeness to one another and to our Creator,--- and so many more experiences --- have blended into something quite wonderful inside of me. If I had to put a name on it, I guess I would call the time I spent at Lodestar a Blessing. It’s a powerful thing in life when diverse elements come together at a certain place, at a certain time, in a certain way, with certain people to create the unique experience we all shared in one way or another at Lodestar. I sense that power when I realize how very much I am going to miss being with everyone at the Back to Lodestar reunion. Although I feel sad at missing the event, I am also overjoyed to know you all will be having such a wonderful experience. As I look at “Then & Now” pictures, read the Blog, and listen to music on the website, I find myself smiling, feeling warm inside, and there is also a tear or two.
NOW – Lynne asked me to say word about my life. Once again I go back to feeling blessed. There certainly were bumps and bruises, good and bad decisions, and unpredictable twists and turns, but as I enter my 71st year (YIKES … really??) in June, I am quite content.
Audrey and I live near Cape Kennedy on the Space Coast of Florida. We do lots of fun things like cruises and other travel, visit family (Audrey has two kids and two grandkids, I have no children), play tennis, get lots of exercise in the pool, and enjoy a comfortable lifestyle. Believe it or not, we have become active in a Southern Baptist church. We are not Baptists, but this particular church is a wonderful way for us to continue our life of faith and to engage our community. We are active in Family Promise, serve at a homeless shelter, teach Bible Study, provide assistance when there is a death within our retirement community, and participate in a program to feed, clothe, provide shelter for, and ensure a safe environment for as many of the 2000 homeless children in our County as we can reach.
In closing I have a couple of requests: if it is not too bold to ask, take a moment sometime during your Lodestar time together and think of me --- since I can’t be there, it would mean a lot to know I am remembered. Finally, if you ever come to Orlando or the Cape, look Audrey and me up. We would love to reconnect.
Have Fun, Kids!
PETER LIVINGSTON, BTL Planning Team
THEN – Previous to becoming "Peter" Livingston, "Pete" spent much of the 1960s in various activities at Lodestar. He was the son of Family Camp Directors Pete and Ruth Livingston; he was one of the light-skinned, hill-kids as a camper at Inter-racial Camp; he attended various Chi Sigma and Pi Chi ventures at Lodestar; and he spent some long summers serving in the Assistant Care-Taker role.
NOW – Peter currently lives in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and has been a partial hermit. He lives with his wife Janine and two Border Collies. Retired in 2015 from a career in Community Mental Health, he is now coming out of retirement and hermitage. After getting the travel-bug out of himself, and nearly dieing in a motorcycle accident in India, Peter is in the process of starting a community education center and private psychotherapy practice in Quincy, CA.
Being involved with the Back To Lodestar project has been really fun and a wonderful way to rekindle old relationships. See you at Camp!
BOB STETSON, BTL Planning Team
THEN – I was truly a "happy camper" at Lodestar. I discovered my affinity for "happy camping" first as a Boy Scout at Camp Wallace Alexander.
Then Lodestar "knocked it out of the park" for me! It was a complete experience set that I will never forget in my life. Lodestar made my high school friendships stronger during my PHS days and thereafter...it showed me what community-building is all about and, out of Lodestar, there were clearly strong and lasting bonds to be had and cultivated.
Because of Lodestar, Greg Milliken coined my name: BoBo. It was not until some time later that I learned it meant “a liberal, highly educated person who combines a bourgeois, affluent lifestyle with nonconformist values and attitudes.” Thank you, Greg, and thank you Jesus.
And out of my Lodestar experiences, Reverend Tom was to take Pami, Cricket, Roz et moi with him to tour Europe after we graduated in June of 1969. What a trip that was to be and I know that we "happy vagabond Lodestar travelers" share to this day some very special times together abroad...including watching our USA astronauts land on the moon that fine summer before we embarked upon our college years. And hooking up with a bevy of beautiful, big-haired high school home economists from the South traveling with their sponsor and chaperone, Mrs. Pusser. Those ladies had never seen the likes of our loose band of Lodestar travelers and revelers ... I am quite sure that we scarred them for life!
After our travels with Reverend Trutner, I went on to UOP for my college years. I graduated with a double major in communication arts and drama. I became a fraternity brother with Alpha Kappa Lambda and ultimately served as president of the Omicron Chapter.
I spent my summers in college acting in the Motherlode in Columbia State Historic Park at the Fallon House Theater. And during my senior year, the United States Information Agency sent a small company of our college actors to Europe for six weeks to perform contemporary one-act plays and improvisational theater. That all noted, they were most satisfying, memorable and truly wild times ...
After graduation, I was a wine host and tour guide in Lodi living in a vineyard cabin. Then I landed in law school. Got glasses thanks to the small law book type ... and returned to the Piedmont Unified School District as the assistant to the superintendent, William Knight. I got engaged to my college sweetheart, Roxanne, and we married in July of 1976. We lived in Palo Alto in a Bungalow where I embarked upon my long career in business-to-business high technology advertising.
I landed in advertising because I was told it would be the most fun you can have with your clothes on. True. And because of that fine choice, I will also never be able to run for public office, you know? Drop microphone. I survived and thrived with 18-years of ad agency life and did some satisfying work in launching products, services and technologies that changed the world and how we lived and played. That was followed by a 10-year career on the client-side with Tandem Computers, Compaq Computer Corp. and Hewlett-Packard.
I was first hired as worldwide ad manager for Tandem and ultimately served as director of integrated marketing and communications managing a staff of forty talented people. Then came my job in the non-profit world working for the Computer History Museum in Mountain View as their director of marketing and communications.
NOW – My second bride, Kim, (a New Yorker) and I were married in 1983 on December 31st ... Reverend Tom Trutner performed the service in our small Spanish-style Palo Alto home in Barron Park. It was to be the happiest day of my life. Kim and I were downtown Palo Alto neighbors first and then became agency co-workers. We have been blessed with two remarkable children: Don and Doris Bickerson who actually outgrew that crap and today are loving, caring siblings!
So, life is good!! Jenny and Tyler are great and Kim and I could not be prouder parents. And whenever I am asked what my greatest achievements in life have been, I say this and proudly so: Getting the marriage thing right the second time around the rodeo and my dear children...
Today, Kim and I live in a Bungalow in the Willow Glen area of San Jose and also in Lake Tahoe. We are working in marketing and sales and are lucky to be "still kickin' it” in our sixties.
I am thrilled to be involved with my "Back to Lodestar" planning team. I am a lucky man and I can't wait to see my pals again ... Carol Ann Hill: that includes you ... and Cricket ... and so many more of you!! That said, you are all on notice: Come “Back to Lodestar ...”
Cheers! Soon! And Peace, Love, Dove,
PEGGY O'CONNELL, BTL Planning Team
THEN – ‘66-70. As a wide-eyed naive high school city girl, Lodestar was a place of endearing friendships, spirituality, scenic beauty, romance, music, work, and a place that positively influenced my life.
My jobs at Lodestar included Camp Counselor, Kitchen Helper, and Assistant Cook. Highlights were working with campers and sharing the Lodestar spirit as we sang morning, noon, and night. Forever in my memory are creating and cooking themed banquets along with flipping a million breakfast pancakes. Oh what fun!
A favorite memory included lying in the meadow contemplating life listening to Judy Collins 1967 Wildflowers album blasting away on the old 33 record player. “I’ve looked at life from both sides now …”
NOW – 50+ years later. A recent return to Lodestar rekindled my memories of it’s beauty, smell and sense, which summoned up so many positive memories it left me smiling for days. Lodestar definitely played a part in my 39-year career as a natural resource scientist, ecologist, and manager. Living in the foothill community of Cameron Park with my husband and owning a bit of property in “mountain misery” country, it feels like Lodestar never left my side.
As I drove into Lodestar, memories flashed about me and I couldn’t wait to get out of the car to sense, smell, and feel Lodestar again. That first deep, deep breath I took in did not disappoint - it was almost overwhelming and definitely made me smile. Realizing that 50 years had passed, time only shows in my wrinkly face and gray hair, but not in the peace and serenity I felt. The spirit of Lodestar lives forever.
So, I beseech – coerce, beg, compel you. Come join us at Back to Lodestar, share in the experience again and I guarantee it will leave you smiling for days! Probably even weeks!
VICKI WELLS LARSON, BTL Planning Team
THEN – I was introduced to Pi Chi and Lodestar in 1967 by fellow Skyline HS still-good-friend, Lynne (then Rishell, now Spickard), participating as often as I could through summer 1970. Lodestar was an unexpected and very welcome breath of fresh air and acceptance for my then-introverted and very shy self. Lodestar and my Lodestar friends were an Oasis for me: positive, fun, interesting, safe, hopeful; family and home life was complicated, difficult.
In 1972, fellow Lodestar camper Dick (now Richard) Larson and I found ourselves sitting in the back seat of Sue & Chuck Greenwood’s VW bus, driven by Keith Stafford and Kathy Heilig, on the way to Columbia to see Jim (now Warren) Kelly in UOP productions at the Fallon House Theater. That long delightful day together led to many more. We fell in love, were married in 1974 by Tom Trutner, blissfully happy ... Then and Now!
NOW – Skip ahead many years: We had settled in for the long term (we thought!) in a small house in Upper Rockridge, but plans changed when our home burned down in the Oakland Fire. Our wonderful daughter, Christina, was two years old, so we gave up our bay view and bought a house (and school district) in Piedmont. We adore Christina and her husband (also an Oakland native), who live nearby. She is a producer for live theater, he writes musicals, and they are expecting a baby, our first grandchild, next February. "Happy" doesn't begin to describe our joy!
Over my career as a graphic designer, I've designed award winning work including corporate identities, collateral materials, promotional and packaging for numerous non-profit and for-profit organizations. Recently, my design and business expertise has shifted to an online jewelry business in collaboration with my very talented younger sister, Elizabeth (some may remember her as a toddler, “Betsy”).
I still love to sing, and am honored to sing alto in the small serious choir at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church by Lake Merritt. The challenging repertoire includes my now-favorites: Gregorian and English chant, and Renaissance liturgical music.
Being involved with BTL 2018 and 2020 is a blast! Getting back in touch with old friends is great fun, and making new ones on the BTL Team and at BTL 2018 has been an unexpected treat.
I am super excited and can't wait to see everyone at Lodestar next May!
JULIE LEIGH DOMENY, BTL Planning Team
THEN – Class of 1971 (preschool – eighth grade). Lodestar 1965/1966. Sue and Chuck Greenwood were my neighbors on Ranleigh Way, where my mother, five younger siblings and I had moved from Prospect Rd. after my parents’ divorce, which was in measure the result of a family tragedy. Somehow, in her magnificent sensitivity to the plight of a 12-13 year old in an unsettlingly stressful situation, Sue arranged for me to attend Lodestar for two straight summers. I’m grateful for the hope her concern, matched with the educational foundation of PHSD, instilled in me as I forged ahead. For somehow I knew I mattered. My brilliantly bipolar mother enrolled in University of California, Berkeley soon thereafter and we moved away to the nearby city of Albany. Then, the UC campus and all it encompassed at the time became my playground. The safety and sanctity of Piedmont Park were but a memory. Through it all, positive interactions with people like Sue Greenwood, Wildwood School teachers and classmates, and other Lodestar campers, never left me.
As an adult, I went on to design, build, and install visual merchandizing in retail settings such as I Magnin’s Christmas windows, Maison Mendosole (I’ll give $5 to anyone who knows this historic shop), The Eagles Nest, Mondi, and huge thematic installations in The Cannery, Ghirardelli Square, San Francisco Center, Valley Fair, The Great Mall, while I did theater at night for San Jose Civic Light Opera/ American Musical Theater, Opera San Jose, West Bay Opera. I have to say, I had fun. But then, I had to get off my feet in my early 40s, and was hired by a theater restoration firm to raise $8 million. This was the beginning of my 20+ year fundraising career in which I raised $30 million for numerous nonprofits.
NOW – At 65, and needing to reinvent myself again, Back to Lodestar is allowing me a way to reconnect with some of the memories and experiences that once helped me make it happen. My writing was founded in Wildwood Elementary School, was rekindled through grantwriting in my fundraising career, and now, am honing in on storytelling both through a memoir in process, and an unfinished 90,000 word novel.
So, at this point, am seeking inspiration to help me overcome writers’ block. I truly look forward to the Back to Lodestar Reunion.
LYNNE RISHELL SPICKARD, BTL Planning Team
THEN – I was introduced to Piedmont Community Church when I was in Junior High at Montera, and eventually at Skyline High in Oakland. I enjoyed being part of the youth group there and started getting more and more involved: participating in the plays and ceremonies; teaching Sunday School; and joining the Instruments of Peace where, in addition to cutting an album, we also presented youth folk services all over the Bay Area, and sang to the wounded Vietnam War soldiers at Oak Knoll Naval Hospital. But, what I especially looked forward to was any chance to spend time at Lodestar. I even brought some of my good friends from Oakland with me to camp, including Vicki Wells, who also fell in love with it and returned regularly to camp. My last summer there I had enormous fun assisting in the kitchen, and with the work crew on projects around camp. Those were very special years that I enjoyed with so many wonderful young people, many who I have kept in touch with over the years, since high school, college, and while raising families. And, I am especially grateful for the guidance during those years from Tom Trutner, and Sue and Chuck Greenwood. You will, forever, be a very important part of those teenage years.
I continued my love of the outdoors and nature, after growing up going camping with my folks, and spending those weeks at Lodestar. Being the only child of fine artists, my life revolved around art, and lots of music. I grew up seeing the world through their creative eyes. After the first Earth Day in 1970, I knew I had to live my life helping to save our planet from ourselves. In college I studied music, dance, art, and biology. I ended up graduating from Cal with a BS in Conservation of Natural Resources, with an emphasis in Environmental Education. I thought the best way to change the direction of our ways was through the children, and teaching them what they can do to make the planet a better place now and for the future. I spent the last two years of my program at Cal assistant teaching and developing integrated curriculum at an elementary school in Berkeley. During that time I also met my soulmate, Steve, in a rooming house in my junior year, and we got married a couple years later, by Tom Trutner of course...and recently celebrated our 42nd anniversary!
Unfortunately, I was a bit ahead of my time, and no one knew what environmental education was. So, I studied more drawing at CCAC, put together a portfolio, and did freelance work in biological illustration. Part of that time I worked at the Oakland Museum illustrating workbooks and helping with graphics for exhibits. My father had recently passed away from cancer, and it was especially nice to eat my lunch in the Robert C. Rishell Garden Court, that was named after him. I figured that instead of teaching in a classroom I could spread my love of science and the environment through my art, and became an active member of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators, where I participated in several annual exhibits. When our two boys were starting school, I decided I wanted to keep the same hours and vacations that they did. I LOVED being a mom (and still do!). I began teaching K - 5th grade art, finally using my passion for integrated curriculum, and continued to do so until the younger son graduated from high school. Then, it was time to care for my incredibly talented and sweet mother, who was suffering from dementia. She had continued to live in her home and art studio at the top of the Oakland Hills for almost 60 years. But, for her last year, Steve and I moved in and took care of her, and our son, Greg, continued living at our Piedmont home.
NOW – So, both my boys are now young men, who are also very talented artists and musicians, and who love science. We spent most of our vacations with them camping, backpacking, and appreciating the outdoors; they even both earned their Eagle Scout awards. Steve was the scoutmaster for our Montclair troop for a few years, and I, thanks to my teaching schedule, was the scoutmaster at their summer camp (who would’ve thought?!). My eldest, Greg, who got his degrees in digital arts, photography, and special effects, lives in Pacheco with his talented girlfriend, Emily, who is also a photographer. My younger son, Erik, is married and working on a PhD in cellular biology at UCSB. He and his wife, Grace, who has her MFT, continue to enjoy their love of playing music.
After working over 30 years as a land use economist at a firm in SF, Steve now has set up his one-man consulting business in our home. We still enjoy hiking and camping; love gardening, traveling, and going to lots of concerts; and appreciate the walkability of living in beautiful Baja Piedmont. I am still going through all the artwork and Oakland history in my parent's studio. I hope to someday have a website, book, and retrospective of my father's work. Stay tuned.
I look forward to seeing all of you at Lodestar in October! We lived through a very special period in time back then, and I truly believe it contributed to who we are today. Come, join us back at summer camp, and re-live those incredible days at Lodestar!
TRACY MIKKELSON, BTL Planning Team
THEN – I arrived late to the party. My parents FORCED a move on my brothers and I when I was 14. Uncle Frank and Auntie Bev Herbert invited us to a Piedmont High School Football game. My Dad fell in love with Piedmont. And said, “How do I get my kids here?” His dreams came true that summer (1967) when we moved from Albany to Piedmont. My new neighborhood was intriguing with lots of exciting new neighbors. One in particular caught my attention. My upstairs bedroom overlooked the Greenwood home on Raleigh Way. Late night from my bedroom window I would snoop. Who were all those people coming and going from that little green house. Sue and Chuck became dear friends and mentors. They introduced me to Lodestar first as a baby sitter for Kathy, David, and Jason, and then as a kitchen helper with Cammie, and Peggy. Oh what a glorious summer that was.
NOW – I’m a retired Art Teacher. I loved my 36-year career. It was the best pathway for me. Each and every student that enrolled in my Art classes enriched my life. I admired their willingness to trust my guidance and to explore their creativity. Our early years of love, peace and understanding that were fostered at Lodestar, guided me as a teacher. As I struggle with where we are today, it’s helpful for me to look at yesterday. Oh and by the way, I still live in my 1967 hood, and fondly think of Sue and Chuck.
ANDREA BLUM, BTL Planning Team
THEN – My family moved to Piedmont before I was in sixth grade. My siblings Chris and Tonia (Toni then), and I were not at the best ages to move away from lifelong childhood friends. My parents thought that we would have an easier time adjusting if we attended PCC. Mom (Janetta Blum) joined the church and taught Vacation Bible School, directed or co-directed several Lodestar sessions, etc. until she and Dad moved away soon after my sister graduated in '67.
My experiences at Lodestar as a camper and later as a counselor or kitchen staff were some of my favorite Piedmont era times. Part of that was being outdoors in nature where I always feel closest to God. Part was because the social and petty competitive differences did not exist the same way at camp. I lived with the Greenwoods for a time and I met many younger Lodestar people through them around the time that Instruments of Peace was formed.
My husband Don and I moved to a West Berkeley apartment complex in early '77 and became apartment managers. After he died, I met Peter with whom I had a child. My son Cody, now 31, was always the light in both of our lives. Cody is now a hard-working good and kind person. What else could a parent hope for?
I have always worked at least two part-time jobs. A friend told me that a child with severe CP would be in her Kindergarten class and that I should apply. That began the most successful and most rewarding career I never knew existed for me and loved working with children with many different disabilities. My biggest successes were with the ones then labeled Asperger (high functioning Autistic).
NOW – I live in Calistoga, CA. My dad and mom are passed now. I am an Elder at the Presbyterian Church in St. Helena. I miss Mom but I also miss the diversity of Berkeley. I love my church friends and the magnificent views from (now) my back porch.
Doug Saunders put me in touch on Facebook with many Piedmont/Lodestar people before Sue Greenwood's memorial service.
Cam and I have formed a relationship far deeper than the one that began when we first met at a family camp. Cami lit the original fire to have a Lodestar reunion. Peter and others took over the reigns. I am so excited!
Questions or comments about the website? Contact our highly appreciated web designer Vicki Wells Larson HERE.