Thursday, October 15, 2015

Literary Tribute to Dear Mad'm by Stella W. Patterson

Many people still come to Happy Camp because they want to meet Stella W. Patterson. Of course, Stella's story of a decision she made at the age of 80 to try living along the Klamath River on a rustic mining claim happened about 1964. But people still come to see where her wilderness cabin was and find out more about her!! After Dear Mad'm was published in 1956 it was very popular across the United States, became a Book "Club selection, and was also published abroad.

After getting all kinds of questions from visitors, Linda Martin had the idea of a Dear Mad'm event to celebrate the story of an adventurous mature woman living along the Klamath River! First Dear Mad'm Picnic was 2011 at the Klamath River Resort Inn a couple miles east of Happy Camp with a beautiful setting on the lawns overlooking the river! Rod Diradon and Gloria, his sister Claudia and her husband Dick  Peter and Elizabeth Lismer and many from town and Hazel Gendron from Redding were among the guests. It was such fun to hear the stories of Stella's days on the river. Pete and Liz were writing a book about Stella at the time and busily taking notes of everyone's impressions. Cindy from the Coast who is a niece of Stella's second husband,  James Patterson, and friends came as well. We had a tour of the site where Dear Mad'ms cabin had been een though our guide was called away for a fire alarm, and several vehicles got stuck in the sand when they left the path. Gloria made great so'mores around the campfire in the eening at KRRI and we watched the fish jumping. Perfect end to a great day celebrating a literary work that took place right here.

Second event, 2012's Dear Mad'm Symposium began again at a reception at Naturegraph Publishers where the owner, Barbara Brown has kept the Dear Madm in paperback since it went out of hardback. Lunch was held at the Karuk Senior Nutrition (old Headway) Building and Dear Mad'm Who Was She? by Peter and Elizabeth Lismer was launched! Everyone was so anxious to hear about Stella's life before and after the year that she wrote about in Dear Mad'm!! There were over sixty people at the luncheon! Judy Hahn had been discovered for her poetry abilities and she started a poem about Dear Mad'm that was so enjoyable capsule of the story!! Karen Tulledo told a Sourdough Story that she had written, Roberta Everett brought a rocking chair that had belonged to Stella too. Bonnie Alvarez and some high school girls, Audrey and Cheyenne served a delicious luncheon like a Sunday Dinner from back in those days!! Happy Senior ladies made homemade pies too!

Third Annual Dear Mad'm Day in 2013 had Jess Haun as the master or mistress of ceremonies. Cindy shared more information on James Patterson and Stella who surprised all their Eureka friends by their marriage February 19, 1907. Kitchen crew grew, and Pancake breakfast was also held at the Karuk Senior Nutrition Site. Bob Seaman sang the Outhouse Song to commemorate the boys building facilities at Stella's mining cabin and also gave a historic tour down Second Avenue and up Buckhorn to the grave site of DearSir, Fred Crooks.

Fourth Annual Dear Mad'm event in 2014 was at the Grange. Karen Tulledo organized the evening reception Friday evening. Norma Seaman brought pate" in commemoration of French's gift when Stella entertained. Sherri Kennedy helped in the kitchen for the luncheon. Rain and wind made the turnout at the Klamath River Resort fireside fewer brave souls around the fire but breakfast was at the Grange Sunday morning.

Fifth Annual Dear Mad'm lunch will be at Naturegraph Publishers, 3543 Indian Creek Road at 11:00 A,M. on Saturday, October 17th. Kathi Jones is bringing some artifacts from Stella Patterson to share.

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