Cindy Deskins' MiniReunion 2005 Travel BlogOne CTC Alum's travels, from PA to MI, 8/11-8/14/05
To view a beautiful slide show of the 2005 Mini Reunion produced by Sara Snyder with special camp music she created, CLICK HERE.
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It's off to Michigan! I was so excited to be heading north again, less than a year from the last trip. This time, I flew from State College, PA, to Cincy, OH, to Detroit, to meet up with alum Sara Snyder. My husband, Bill, and son, Corey, went with me to the airport where we checked my bag through early then headed next door to a WWII air show featuring authentic B-17 and B-24 bombers. It was hotter than hades on the tarmac, but we stood in line and actually got to walk through both aircraft. I cannot imagine doing that while either one is flying and being shot at. The acrobatics involved just to get through these planes while they were sitting still on the ground was hard enough! It was amazing to see how many WWII Vets were there with their families, showing everyone where they used to sit in each craft. One of the bombers was named the "Witchcraft" and as we left, my son said "I'm going to write a song about the Witchcraft," and I immediately launched into "If there were Witchcraft, I'd make 2 wishes. A winding trail, that beckons me to roam...." For some reason, he didn't seem impressed that I could pull a song about Witchcraft out of thin air like that. Ha! He underestimates the power of CTC.
At 11:50am, I was back at the main terminal where I checked through security (dutifully taking my sneakers off for inspection) then got on the plane as one of the last people to board. It's a small jet, with 2 seats on each side of the aisle. Being the tall, gangly klutz I've always been, I bent over to stow my bag below the seat in front of mine, then stood up to swing my butt around into the seat, whacking my skull hard on the overhead compartment, only to hear everyone else on the plane go "Ooh!" So much for the in-flight entertainment. Both that flight and the following one from Cincy to Detroit were smooth and uneventful if I disregard the absolute type-A morons who occupied the seats next to me on each flight. Someone(s) didn't take their valium before flying!
I cell phoned Snyde as soon as we touched down in Detroit, grabbed my bag and met her at the curb. Yay! We had a nice drive from the airport to her beautiful home in Ann Arbor where I met her partner, Laura, and we all went out for a fabulous dinner. Back at Chez Snyder/Kelleher, I was introduced to the wonders of TiVO and my life may never be the same as a result.
The next morning, Sara and I had coffee, put stuff in the car and headed north, first stopping at the home of CTC alum Beth Snyder Dierkes and the newest CTC camper-in-training, Jaclyn, who was just 3 months old that very day. What a DOLL!!! She entertained us for awhile, then we all went to lunch, and then it was time for Sara and I to get back out on the road. The remaining ride was even more fun because we had the new Reunion 2004 music CD to listen to! Thank you, Renee Bator!!! That certainly got us in the mood for camp.
Eventually, we arrived in Traverse City and checked into the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa late that afternoon. The downstairs cafe provided a nice quick meal, then back in our respective rooms, we each decided to try out the hotel's jacuzzi bathtubs. At first, I thought mine was broken because no amount of knob turning produced any movement in the water at all. Then I peered at the sign (which they put on the far wall from where the tub is, not realizing that people without glasses who are already in the tub might have a little trouble reading it!), and realized I had to touch the metal square on the rim of the jacuzzi. I did and was almost hurled up into the ceiling. Many squeals of delight ensued.
After all that fun, I turned on the TV and discovered that even though Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith was no longer playing at the local TC theatres (can you imagine that?!), it was available through the hotel's on-demand movie service. Woohoo!!!!! I screamed for Sara to come into the room, we each settled on one of the incredibly soft feathery beds, and indulged in some serious science-fiction, which we both admit we absolutely love. All Hail George Lucas.
Saturday morning, I called Muff (alum Marianne Sawdon) who lives in Elk Rapids, and we agreed to meet at her house between 9:30-10am. She gave us directions and mentioned a farmers market along the way where we could stop and get pie as our "food to pass" for the reunion gathering. We ended up driving by the market and not stopping, but that turned out to be a very fortuitous thing! We got to Muff's house and took a tour of the place, admiring her new beautiful outside paint job. She grabbed her tuna pasta salad, hopped in her car, and we took off for a local gas station that had a market right next door. While Muff gassed up, Sara and I -- dressed in our matching CTC t-shirts, khaki shorts, white socks, and tennies -- went into the market, found a little ready-to-go pumpkin pie, grabbed some Diet Coke and got in the checkout line. A young man in front of us told us to go ahead of him because he was waiting for someone. So we stepped up and sent our stuff down the check-out conveyor belt, when the woman he had been waiting for says to Sara, "I thought Chippewa Trail Camp closed!" It turns out she (Brenda Lawrence) was also going to a camp reunion that day, to the 80th reunion of Camp Maplehurst, north of Kewadin. She knew of Shorty and Susan and asked us to give them her regards. It was a totally cool small-world moment!
The 3 of us drove over to Kettler's Cottage, parked and walked to the back of Linnea Kettler Brunk's cabin, which is the side facing Torch Lake. Already in attendance were many of the regulars (Barb (Grigg) Biron; Natalie Field; Tat Field; Shorty; Susan; Barb (Horst) Fawcett; Bobbie (Stormont) Smith; Karen Wilkins; Mary DeMassa; Ann Mapes; Chop (Nancy Wardwell); Tish (Vance) Smiley; Mardi (Styler) Gast; Mary (Peabody) Barton; Jacque Keen; Helen (Painter) Green; Patti (Green) Brundirks; Mary Kay Kettler (Mrs.K)) plus handyman Harry Dixon -- we all said big Hellos, put our offerings inside with the others, and began mingling and reminiscing in earnest. Linnea has one of the camp metal canoes with the green CTC logo still painted on it, so that was fun to see! After a little while, we were joined by alums Deb Jordan Bryan, who has been staying over at her new summer home -- The LODGE! -- all summer, and then Leigh Ann Sayles Riley arrived, which was very special since she hadn't been able to attend the 2004 reunion.
We gathered round for some photos, then we went through the line to get our food, and even though neither Deb, nor Leigh Ann, nor I -- all former Diningroom Hostesses -- had table numbers there to flip (a definite oversight!) everyone managed to get some food and return to their seats without too much trouble. We ate, then we sang, once again enjoying listening to the different era songs each group knew (of course, Shorty dahlin' knew them all). And Linnea ran among the tables with a tape recorder to catch not just the singing but some great stories. I mentioned later that one common element to all the reunion stories both last year and this year is the phrase "I don't know how Shorty found out, but she did!" Some day, we should compile all those "I don't know how Shorty found out, but she did" stories into one BIG volume.
Next on the agenda was a trip over to camp property to see everything that Deb's done with the Lodge. It looks beautiful -- she's repainted, had the varnish stripped off the fireplace so it looks like we all remember, used old arts & crafts building windows to make picture frames, and hung old CTC photos all over the place in every room. It's just wonderful! At some point soon, Deb plans to put together information on the rental of the Lodge by CTC alums, and that will go up here on the CTC website. Look for it! After much touring, Deb rang the bell and we all regrouped on the deck (or in the old days, it would be at the top of the Lodge steps) for Happy Hour. That's when all the rubber chicken stories came out. For many alums who were at camp from the time Susan Webb first joined camp, in 1970, August 13th was not only Susan's birthday, but the day when Susan, one way or another, received a rubber chicken. According to Shorty, the tradition actually started with the camp's head cook, who asked Susan what her favorite food was. Susan replied that she liked chicken, and the next morning for breakfast, Susan was presented with a complete roast chicken. For breakfast! The next year, Shorty gave Susan a rubber chicken instead, and -- as they say -- the rest is history. There have been rubber chickens inside tennis ball cans, rubber chickens dressed in U of M cheerleader outfits, rubber chickens with business suits and briefcases, inside birthday cakes, and countless other clever places. But this year, because Shorty now no longer drives and the woman who used to help Shorty come up with these schemes every year has moved away, Susan thought she was going to finally have a chickenless birthday. While no actual rubber chicken showed up during the whole day, we did manage to work the phrase "rubber chicken" into an amazing number of conversations as the evening wore on. Further proof of how very clever CTC campers and counselors have always been.
Way too soon, it was time to say good-bye to that little corner of the world again. But now that we know Deb owns a piece of it and will have it there for all of us always, it wasn't quite as heart-wrenching as when we left last year. In yet another show of small-world coolness, Muff, Sara, Shorty, Susan, Deb and I all ended up independently deciding to have dinner at The Torch Riviera, so seeing each other there, we convinced the hostess to give us a big table all together, sang grace (of course) and had one more meal together. It went on for quite a few more hours, and I wouldn't have missed any of it for the world!
I still can't believe how fast the weekend flew by! It seemed like just the day before that I'd flown up, not 3 days earlier! I played one more time in the jacuzzi tub where I managed to whack my shin on the edge, hit my head on the faucet, and get a snoot full of water while washing my hair. Okay, so maybe it's just as well I don't have one of those things at home... We packed our stuff, tossed it once again in Sara's car, and she drove me to the TC airport for my 12:30pm flight back to Cincy, then home to PA. Man, I already can't wait to go again next year!!
Oh, and start thinking now about the BIG Reunion in 2007 -- that'll be 80 years from when camp first opened. You know you want to go and celebrate! Get your trunk out now, and I'll see you there :)
Cindy Deskins Brickley
PS: Photos soon!