A picture of Tom Pears

Cyber Home of Tom Pears
Applying Appropriate Technology to Learning


Our New House
Truck Postcard
A Letter
Pics I Bought
Pics Not Owned
Spoon Ad
AH Davenport
Old Topics

Camp Kawanhee
A Memory Book

Oh Kawanhee...I'za coming

There is a story I was talking about with John Fulda last night that you have got to get in the book. In the 1950's Ed Chase was the one who was calling the Chief. You remember that he would stand up on the rock out beside the Council Fire and call "Oh Kawanhee,.....Oh Kawanhee". And from the shore comes this voice that says "I'za coming boss but I'za going to be a little late". And then you hear this Chris Craft sound as the speaker takes off from down there. Everyone who was here in the 50's will remember that. And it turns out it was Gardner Defoe. At the last reunion Gardner came down and everyone was talking about this story. Gardner's father, Doc Defoe, was the only one who had an inboard Chris Craft on the lake.

GR and wood carving

I had a special relation with GR. I kind of adopted him, my dad died when I was eleven. I met GR at camp and he just kind of adopted me. I used to go over there at Christmas, holidays or whenever I was in town. We would have a little widdling session in the basement. He had really fabulous wood carvings. He did a lion that sat on his mantle. It was a feet long and about a 6" high and the most intricate piece of wood carving I have ever seen. It motivated me to learn wood carving. In fact, GR left his wood carving tools to me. They are some fine Buck carving tools. I don't remember him doing any carving at camp. He was more into the supervision and watching after his kids, He would go up to the shop regularly. That was his favorite place. He would assist kids in the shop but the only wood carving I saw him do was in his house. I feel really blessed to have had the unusual relationship because he changed my life "in a positive way" forever.

War Canoe's

The thing I enjoyed most as a kid was racing the war canoes. The original war canoes. Of course we lost them one winter when the barn roof collapsed under the weight of the snow. I still think it can't be beat for a sport, for the camaraderie, to put 14 guys in a boat. I was Captain of the Maroons in 1955, that was the highlight of my career. I loved calling the signals, steering the canoes on Saturday. Do you remember Abe Witney? He was the Captain of the Grays that year. Abe and I had always been friends and Abe was just the best looking guy, really physically fit. I was a little wizened up kid, and not near as athletic as he was. Back then on Saturday. when they had the water meet, they also had a relay race and he used to leave me in the dust. Then it came to the last event of the water meet, which was the war canoes, and this was my chance to even things up. If we have a war canoe race this year at the reunion, that I want to be part of.

Emma Briggs and the Dining Hall

I got to know Emma Briggs, who was the cook back in the 40's and 50s. What incredible food that lady produced and in huge volume. I can remember distinctly going up to see her and helping her making blueberry and apple pies. I loved older people, and I still do. But I used to go up on Sunday morning and they always had chicken, mashed potatoes, cranberries, peas, the whole nine yards like a big country luncheon, old school. She even let me peel the chickens. I remember one day she said, "I'm going to show you a secret." It is something I still do today. If you take a chicken and you flip it upside down, there are two little soft meat place where the chicken sits. It is the most tender meat on the whole chicken. So I am always the one who pays attention to that part of the bird first.

I learned a lot from her, I loved her. I used to sit out on the back porch of the dining hall with her. Of course that back porch was where all the women ate. At that time, there were no women in the dining hall. Franny Frank used to eat out there and Mary Frank when she came down from the inn. Emma and the others who I can't remember all ate out there. That was a different era. That big old dining hall was the facility I loved the most. People lived upstairs. Cam Scarlett and numerous others. I'm not sure if Emma did or not, and her husband Pee leg White, he was the camp maintenance man. Anyway, you went upstairs on the right hand side as you face the hill away from the lake. And there were sleeping rooms, maybe 10+, up there. And there were Kitchen boys living up there. Most of them were from Rumford, Dixsfield, Skowhegan. They were all kids who were in high school or College. The Dining hall was a wonderful old log building, very much like the Inn. It was built out of solid logs, all chincked. In fact my recollection is that the Inn and the Dining Hall were built within one year of each other. You look at the woodwork in that thing, how many winters it has lasted, the roof never caved in. They had local people build those buildings.

Eagle Lodge

I started out as a counselor with the Eagle lodge, which everyone kind of thought was an entertaining thing They said they really had a need in Eagle and would you take them and I said sure. I got in there and I thought this is nuts! I really liked these guys, because you can influence them more for a longer term than you could with an older guy who were already out of control by the time you got them. And I was one of those who was out of control by the time I got there... I still talk to guys who were kids in my lodges.

Fred W. Hoster Camper/Councilor 48-64 Boating, Shop, Maroon Captain 1955
After 40 years as a professional fundraiser and 55 years visiting Kawanhee, the highlight of my career was building the $100 million dollar Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. I am presently helping the Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity become one of the largest builders in the US.