Camp White Earth

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My Memories

Just click on the pictures and they will enlarge.

Guy Hatlie in 1957 on a camp-out near the south end of White Earth Lake. I had a wonderful time. I kept these pictures for nearly 60 years as well as an original list of names and addresses. That’s kind of how this all started.


These gentlemen were the owners: Rudy Peterson and Coach Neils Thorpe. They were terrific people who, along with Johnnie Thorpe, managed a great staff of counselors and camp staff for about 3 decades.

Rudy Peterson and Neils Thorpe taken the evening of the Final Assembly in the mess hall. I believe Rudy was a high school principal in Minneapolis, and Coach was the coach of the University of Minnesota swimming team.

Typically, our day started with the flag raising as depicted below. I remember one year the dragonflies were swarming and pretty thick in morning.


I apologize for the quality of these photos. They were taken with my little Brownie camera about 50 years ago. Hard to identify individuals, but you may recall Mr. Peterson. “Ten hut! At close intervals, dress right, dress!  Ready.., Front!” Then hoisting the flag. We were dismissed to the dining hall in groups based on some criteria that shall always remain a mystery.

The counselors cooked for us occasionally. We ate pretty well. This is Bruce Piggott in the foreground, John McClure next to him. Paul Whitney opposite center. Others - not sure.

This is Rich Borstad and Jerry Fladeland on a Cookout. Everything would get piled into the wooden boat powered by the “10”, and we’d zoom off for a campsite somewhere on the lake. This particular site was along the west shoreline of White Earth Lake, I believe.

And the kitchen staff waited on us.


These young ladies probably raised a little hell with our hormones, too. I think that’s Cleo on the left. Beatrice Benson and Bobbi Jo Waltz are pictured on the right…..near where the pump and cup rack used to be.

We had entertainment. This is Jerry Fladeland, Rich Borstad, and Tom Kokesh, with Rich Garlinghouse on the piano. The Back Bay Campfires and the gatherings in the mess hall were always fun times. I remember watching the sunset over the trees, the log fire, and being absolutely taken by Coach’s story telling. Remember the Count of Monte Cristo. The skits were a hoot! The Great Enlarging Machine.


Once in a while Tom Nelson (I think it was him) would lead us on a trek through the reeds, the swamp, the whatever, by making sounds with his hands. We’d all do it, sometimes we’d go fast, somebody chasin’ us, and sometimes slow. And the crazy camp songs; “Isaac a Zoom-ba, Zulu warrior Zulu chief” is one I remember. And, of course, the W H I T E E A R T H yell! Sunday night campfires were a little calmer, more reverent. 


And awards. This is Paul Whitney receiving the “Trout Can” for winning the mile swim. Jerry Fladeland making the presentation with Rich Garlinghouse.

We had a little adventure. Not sure where this is - maybe the entrance to the White Earth river.



And fun in the cabin. Boys will be boys.


These are a few of my many camper friends. Bill Saul (foreground), Paul Whitney, and Bill Putnam (in the rafters).Who knows where they are today? Well, actually they are in Tennessee, Oregon, and Missouri respectively. You guess: one is a lumber magnate, one is an ichthyologist, and the other is, well currently, out on bail. Just kidding, they all did very well. Perhaps more on that later.

This is me playing cards during “quiet time”.

Then, in late August, all my camper friends got on a bus and headed home. I never saw, nor heard from any of them again. Over the years I’ve often wondered what happened to these guys. To this day, I cannot believe I just let all those friendships and great memories drive off in a bus!  I had good intentions. I scurried around and got a bunch of addresses, but I regret the lack of follow-through. So, now is the time!