"Ten hut! At close intervals, dress right, dress! Ready…Front!"
Camp White Earth Reunion 2006
The first Camp White Earth Camper/Counselor Reunion was held at the Maplelag Resort on Little Sugerbush Lake, near Callaway, Minnesota….. just a short distance south of Lake White Earth. The timing was very good for the ‘turning of the leaves’, September 15th, 16th, and 17th. It was beautiful. The following people attended:
"Eddie Schermerhorn and Guy Hatlie reconnecting from the mid-1950s. Note Camp White Earth Reunion polo shirts. "
Most all of us arrived on Friday evening and immediately the tone was set….the ‘buzz’ was wonderful. Many embraces, warm handshakes, and several loud exclamations… Great fun as we gathered in the hospitality area of the Maplelag Lodge.
There were memorabilia displays with pictures, old NRA medals, albums, and a posting of messages from those that could not attend. There was a large U.S. map with all our current residences depicted. A refreshments bar was set up. It was a terrific setting for old campers and counselors to meet, share some great stories, and re-bond after 50 or 60 years.
Guy and Steve Fox, coffee in display area
Judy Hatlie with Message Board
Dinner was at 6:30… John Nelson lead us in singing the old traditional grace, “For Health and Strength and Daily Food We Give the Thanks, Oh Lord”; followed by the Neils Thorpe admonition…”Drink your water boys”!
“John Nelson…sharing stories over coffee. John was a big help to me as he took a lead role in the ‘Camp Fire” program….very funny guy. Some things never change.”
During dinner a message was read from Diane, a kitchen girl in 1958 &
59. She related the story of the ‘break-in’ of the “cook’s cabin” by the
‘boys’, in search of underware, etc. This led to the flying of Nancy’s girdle
from the flag pole! Nobody at the reunion confessed to the prank.
Dinner was followed by the traditional “Slap-Off”!
Following dinner….the social hour continued long into the evening.
Saturday morning: John Nelson started us off with traditional Camp White
Grace: “God Bless this food to our use and thus to your service, Amen”. “Drink
your water boys”! During breakfast of wonderful Norwiegen pancakes, sausages,
fresh fruit, and coffee, a package was opened by Bob Adams, from Rich
Garlinghouse. Rich had sent two “paddles” (cut off canoe paddles for swats).
They were inscribed with the names of the campers in the ‘upper cabin’ in 1954 I
believe….Bob Adams was one name on the paddle. A good laugh was had by all.
I then shared an anecdote…..it turns out that Rich Garlinghouse (from Nebraska) and Brad Freeman (from North Dakota) were friends at Stanford, fraternity brothers, and stayed in touch for 40 years. But, it was only recently that they came to realize that they were also at Camp White Earth together back in the 50s. They saw each others name on the list distributed with the reunion invitation.
Following breakfast we formed up to caravan to the old campsite…Camp White Earth. A few photos were taken before we departed.
“Knelling, left to right: Bob Adams, Tom Putnam, George Fulford, Bruce Knutson, John Putnam, Dick Flickinger, Guy Hatlie, Eddie Schermerhorn, Bill Putnam. Standing, left to right: Roger Martin, O.D. Hauschild, Karl Hauschild, John Nelson, John (Pat) Phelps, Jerry Fladeland, Steve Fox, Don Neary, Chip Peterson, Steve Koepcke, Rich Borstad, Doug Dypwick, Jim Richards (crouching). This picture actually taken on Sunday before departure.
When we all reached the camp site…..I briefed the gang, i.e. ‘lowered their expectations’ about what they were going to see. Camp is still Camp, and although most all the structures were there, it looked run down and not well maintained. It is currently the White Earth Rediscovery Center, owned and operated by the Tribe. We roamed around for over an hour. Many went all the way to the Softball Field (now soccer field), into the old Lodge/Mess Hall, into a couple of the cabins (the names and dates in the rafters had been covered with a false ceiling for winterizing the cabins), and to the Rifle Range which had collapsed and was overgrown. Back Bay and the Craft Shop looked about the same, but rundown; of course the dock had changed. The old “activity bell” was still there, although not in the same spot by the mess hall. Everybody had a terrific time…a lot of “remember this, remember that”. Although it was a cool (threatening rain) day, the Putnams went for a swim……yes, just like the old days….no suits.
Picture taken on the path between the rifle range and the swim beach. Note rolled up towel….he’s ready!
Many thought that the tour of the Camp was the highlight of the Reunion. It was nostalgic….it brought back a ton of great memories.
Taken by the Flagpole in front of Lodge. Standing Lt. to Rt. Chip Peterson, Steve Koepcke, Don Neary, Gary Smith, Doug Dypwick, Steve Fox, George Fulford, John Nelson, Eddie Schermerhorn, “Pat” Phelps, Bruce Knutson, Bill Putnam, Jerry Fladeland, Wendell Smith. Knelling Lt. to Rt. Tom Putnam, John Putnam, Bob Adams, Guy Hatlie, Roger Martin, Rich Borstad, “Bud” Schoening, Dick Flickinger, Floyd Stewart.
Special note: I didn’t have any decent pictures of the Camp Area. If there are some out there, please send them, and I will try to insert a couple into this ‘summary’.
“Photo taken on new dock in Back Bay. Lt. to Rt. Jerry Fladeland, John Nelson, Eddie Schermerhorn, Doug Dypwick, “Bud” Schoening, Steve Fox, Don Neary, Dick Flickinger, Roger Martin, …and Judy Hatlie hangin’ out with the boys.”
About noon we made our way over to New Horizons (Bowman’s Resort) where the owners, Linda and Chris May had prepared a buffet of hamburgers, hotdogs, (with all the trimmins’), potato salad, chips, and several pies. It was good ol’ comfort food…nicely done.
New Horizons Resort, formerly known as Bowman’s. It has a new enclosed porch, but looks pretty much the same inside.
I say ‘nicely done’ for two reasons….not only did everything taste great, but calm prevailed as the kitchen ‘heated up’. A fire had started in the attic/chimney area! Flames were visible, smoke rolled out of the kitchen. Chris ‘took it on’ with a fire extinguisher….went up on the roof and attacked it! While all this was going on, Linda (albeit a little nervous) continued to serve/cut the pies for dessert…..we as guests knew about the fire in the kitchen, but continued our discussions about the camp tour and generally enjoyed ourselves. About 15 minutes later….the Waubun Volunteer Fire Department arrived. ‘Things’ had subsided by then, but they checked it out thoroughly. Linda and Chris were the definition of great hosts….”fire in the kitchen, no problem, can I offer you another piece of rhubarb pie….perhaps more coffee.” Perfect.
Burgers at Bowman's
Judy and Guy with Karen Kalin
During this gathering, Karen Kalin (daughter of John ‘Poika’ Kalin) was there to meet some of the guys that knew her father, and to sell “Lake White Earth History” books. She later led a caravan down to the Clark’s Bay area where she lives, so we could see the area of the ‘overnight campout site’. Well, we were very close, but not exactly at the site….it was just around the point from Karen’s home. The lake looked pretty with all the colors of fall coming out. We made our way back to Maplelag for the balance of the afternoon.
Saturday evening Social Hour started at 5 p.m……some ‘jumped the gun’ a little…got a little head start. Dinner at 6:30. Rich Borstad gave a wonderful invocation and John Nelson “Slapped us off” at the end. We took a short break before we started the “Campfire”….due to the rainy weather we decided to have it in one of the fine Maplelag conference rooms. Which worked out great because we had slides, old movies, and the microphone came in handy.
“The Gang enjoying the ‘Camp Fire’”
I started us out with a few words of appreciation and some announcements. Then we had a “Who came the farthest” contest: Bob Adams won having come all the way from Coronado, California. We presented him with a nice Maplelag athletic jersey. Wendell Smith from Rome, Ga. came in a ‘close second.’ That was followed by “Who took the longest to get here”…well the Fladelands (Jerry and Cec) won that, hands down. They’d been roamin’ around in their RV for over two months before they arrived at Maplelag! We presented Cec with a nice Maplelag polo shirt for having to ‘put up with’ Jerry for two months in an RV.
The final contest of the evening
was “Best excuse for not coming to the reunion” (aside from health reasons). I
heard a lot of them over the months preceding the reunion, but I’ll share the
11. “My calendar is too cluttered”
10. “I’ll be assisting my son coaching a college football game that weekend”
9. “I’m to damn old!”
8. “I’ll be golfing in Ireland”
7. “We’re leaving for California on the 18th of September” (the day after the reunion)
6. “I’ll be dedicating a medical building in Kenya” (all agreed that was legit)
5. “Softball tournament in Seattle”
4. “I have season tickets on the 40 yard-line; took me years to get them, not givin’ them up”
3. “I’m starting graduate school”
2. “My daughter is getting married”
1. And the #1 reason: “I’m getting married!” That was from Richard Wood who is a V.P. at the U. of Nebraska…..we all signed a card and sent it to him….wishing him and his bride best wishes, and many happy years together.
Then I told a little bit about how this reunion came to be. I will spare you the long story in this writing. Short form: Thank God, Al Gore invented the internet…..; met with some folks in Mpls; they said “do it”; Had a couple of newspaper articles; Set up a webpage; Started making phone calls…..one thing lead to another; had over 125 contacts. And it happened. Had some great telephone conversations, even heard from old girl friends of counselors! The plan for the future is to keep the website as living document, i.e. keep it updated.
My wife Judy read a letter from Sybil Pearson. She is from Mahnomen, and fished on White Lake….she related a story about fishing near ‘swim beach’ and the boys in the ‘buff’…. They moved out to a different area, but always had a good laugh.
At this point in the program we had a moment of silence and I read the names
of the campers and counselors that have passed on. They are listed on the
While Rudy Pedersen, Mildred, and Johnnie worked the administrative tasks of the Camp, Coach Thorpe seemed to be the ‘spiritual’ leader ….story teller, author, coach, elder statesman. Sam Haupt sent me the eulogy that was written and presented by Bill Thorpe at Coach’s memorial service in 1965. I read it for this group of Alumni.
Phipps Rinaldo had sent me an original copy of Coaches book, “The Peter Nielsen Story”. It had original inscriptions from Coach and a letter. Phipps wanted it presented to the Schermerhorn family library, so I read the inscriptions and indicated that they no doubt applied to the Schermerhorn family as well; then presented the book to Eddie and Kay.
I presented a copy of the “Peter Nielsen Story” to Jim and Mary Richards for being wonderful hosts for the First Camp White Earth Reunion. The book will be in the Maplelag library. The inscription: “To Jim and Mary Richards, Thank you for hosting the first ever Camp White Earth Camper/Counselor Reunion, September 15-17, 2006 at Maplelag, the perfect venue. For all the campers and counselors,” signed Guy Hatlie.
In the “Camp Fire” segment we started off with the old ‘Camp Yell’, spelling out Camp White Earth!
Tom Putnam then presented a film from 1954! What a ‘hoot!’ Then Chip Peterson showed a series of slides from Camp from 59-61. Quality of the presentations was excellent given they were over 50 years old. Both narrated well.
Doug Dypwick shared a couple of memories….about camping trips and the pranks the counselors pulled on the campers.
John Peyton related the story of Paul Whitney and a bout with a tick…..on
his private parts! Funny stuff.
John Nelson related the story of the episode of Rich Garlinghouse in the Mrs Jones; John ignites an M-80, in the “stuff” and Rocky Elton has the task of picking crap and slivers out of Rich’s butt!
John told another story about a ‘snipe hunt’… Billy Ratner encounter with a cow. Funny stuff.
Nelson lead us in several old camp songs. He was assisted by Jerry Fladeland, Rich Borstad, and Roger Martin….what a ‘hoot’! John Jacob….., Addalina Maddalina…., You Can’t Get to Heaven…., and a bunch more; all participated.
John N. went through the old magic trick with many assistants…..it involves concentration and a ladies bra….I’ll say no more. Funny stuff.
Chip Peterson told the story of John Belange and how it was ‘acted out’ at one of the campouts;…..Jerry Annis charging out of the woods swinging an ax, scaring the hell out of the campers…..one jumped into the lake!
I read a couple of the messages to the group from those that couldn’t be there: Fred Richards, Reggie Johnston, Whitey Oberg. Others were posted on display in the ‘social area’.
Well, it was a terrific evening of memories….great fun. We promised to get together in a couple of years…..
We closed with “Taps”
Day is done, Gone the sun,
From the lake, From the hill, From the sky,
All is well, Safely rest,
God is nigh
Sunday morning Maplelag provided a wonderful, full on, breakfast smorgasbord! Wow! Wonderful food and presentation.
“Dick Flickinger and Doug Dypwick enjoy a second cup of coffee”
Later that morning we gathered in front of the Maplelag Lodge. We tried to get everybody for a group shot. We have most, but not all:
Standing left. to right. Roger Martin, Janis Martin, Karl Hauschild, John
Nelson, Joyce Fulford, George Fulford, Cece Fladeland, Gerry Fladeland, Steve
Fox, Marilyn Neary, Don Neary, “Pat” Phelps, Chip Peterson, Rosa Maria
Peterson, Carolyn Phelps, Steve Koepcke, Marilyn Koepcke, Rich Borstad, Nancy
Borstad, Mary Richards, Doug Dypwick, Vickie Dypwick, Jim Richards. Knelling
and crouching, left to right: Bob Adams, Tom Putnam, Bruce Knutson, Terry
Knutson, John Putnam, Merre Putnam, Judy Hatlie, Dick Flickinger, Guy Hatlie,
Sue Flickinger, Eddie Schermerhorn, Kay Schermerhorn, Bill Putnam. Not
pictured: O.D. Hauschild (busy taking pictures), Ed Powers, Harry (Bud) and
Jane Schoening, Gary and Karen Smith, Wendell and Sandra Smith, Floyd and Mary
We then car pooled over to the Schermerhorn summer home on the east side of Lake White Earth. After going by this wonderful old log home during many camping trips it was great fun to actually go inside…….it’s beautiful, everything you’d expect, including the big ol’ mooseheard over the huge stone fireplace. Kay and Eddie were terrific hosts, showing us all around the “cabin” and the grounds. This was followed by a wonderful lunch.
The Schermerhorn Home on White Earth
Near mid-afternoon it was time to bid farewell. From the notes and letters I
received….I believe everybody had a terrific time. It was a very rewarding
experience for me personally; great fun to see all of you sharing the great
times you had together from a long time ago. We all vowed to reconvene in a
couple of years. We had 46 people for this gathering…..I believe there will be
more, perhaps a year or two older, but never the less, more of us at the next
Camp White Earth Camper and Counselor Reunion.
“Lake White Earth”
Check back with the website from time to time; I’m going to give it my best shot at keeping it updated. Some folks mentioned “local area” CWE reunions or gatherings. If you have some news or want something inserted into the website, please contact me.
Go the the Photo Gallery section for more Reunion '06 pictures which were provided by Doug Dypwick.