Thank you for Celebration of Stella’s Birthday!

151st Brithday Cake

by Judy Bushy
Thanks for all who made the 151st birthday party of Stella W. Patterson such a warm walk down Memory Lane! We loved seeing and visiting with all the friends of Dear Mad’m at the Siskiyou Museum!

It was so great to see Stella’s” young friends,” Rod Diridon, Sr, Claudia and Dick again!Rod came early and it was so great to see him, Claudia and Dick!! His thoughts shared with us about the world of the 1960s that Stella W. Patterson was a part of from France, to San Francisco. Then Stella took it further to students she taught and on the Circle P Ranch, Yreka, and Redding to the simple little cabin on the banks of the Klamath River!!

So thankful for Lisa Gioia, Director of the Siskiyou County Museum, for her hospitality (and slide projection!) of Dear Mad’m walk through Memory Lane today. The Museum volunteers were great! Grateful to those who have shared photographs, items and memories that were shared today!!

Huddleston Oates (brother to Milly in Dear Mad’m) came and shared a plaque from the school he and his sister attended near the cabin site until it closed. Karen Tulledo who has participated in former Dear Mad’m, with writing and fieldtrip events came. We are ALL especially grateful to Barbara Brown of Naturegraph who kept the book available to us all for these years after the hardcover bestseller went out of print!!
Thanks to Roberta and Terry Everett for sharing so much research and Stella’s rocking chair! Terry and Dan Bushy also welcomed arrivals.Leona McLaughlin made a beautiful Birthday Cake for Stella’s 151st birthday today!! After singing Happy Birthday she served the delicious birthday cake!

“Friends” Gather at Museum

All those who reserved a chair and came to share memories– happy times and sad, in the story of Stella’s 80th year!! Thank you to all the museum volunteers who were tremendously helpful as well. This has the same camaraderie as a happy family reunion! Some of us being among the eldest in our families and the younger generation being busy raising the next generation, it is so inspiring to gather to appreciate the simpler days along the Klamath River, and joys and sorrows of life. Thanks to Rod for inspiring us to share this history with the coming generations!!
I hope that the way Stella’s story has inspired so many more will be an encouragement for you all to share your memories of treasured times in your own recollection and of your families, that down in the future would be of interest to your loved ones.

Life is short, “Remember that!”


by Judy Bushy Published in the Siskiyou Daily News October 4, 2016
Light breezes kept the mosquitoes at bay around the campfire. Stars sparkling in the vast black sky overhead gave a peaceful feel. Occasionally you’d hear a fish splash in their leap from the Klamath River nearby. Sitting around a cheery campfire with friendly camaraderie was the perfect end of a very busy day.

We were content from the 50’s style Sunday chicken dinner that Bonnie had made and was served by smiling high school girls. Previous year Gloria had made delicious so ‘mores, but we’d enjoyed dinner and all the homemade pies! Pete had brought his guitar and sang a couple of songs, one about the silver-hair aging, and one he’d just written about new young life. How fast it goes from one to the other.

A couple from the resort joined the circle and asked what brought us here. Liz explained we were celebrating the author, Stella Patterson, who wrote Dear Mad’m. Liz and Pete Lismer, grandnephew of Stella, had written Dear Mad’m Who Was She? answering many questions about Stella’s life.

.. They shared how Stella’s relatives wanted her to move back to San Francisco to “take care of her” in her declining years. Her independent streak and having been told she had “young legs” recently, led to her plan. For one year she wanted to live on her mining claim on the Klamath River! That it was for “business reasons,” gave her the excuse she needed! She’d try it for a year.

Dear Mad’m was the book she wrote about living in a rustic cabin, the friends she met, a mule named Pete, goats invasion, learning mining and clean-up, storms, wildlife, without indoor plumbing, woodstove, and other challenges, with only her faithful dog, Vickie. Even with all the answers to questions about Stella’a life, more questions pup up. On that night around the campfire, as we so often wished that we could ask her questions and get to know her better. If only she had written more!

Rod Diridon said right then, “Remember That!”

Have you ever written down the stories of your life? You have wonderful experiences, probably hardship and trials mixed in too, but they’ve made you who you are and you’ve learned from them. Write them down! It might end up being something you’d just want to share with your family and friends, but Stella W. Patterson’s one year story turned into a best seller and 70 years later, people are still reading and enjoying her adventures. Adventures which are like those you have in your own life each day and could write about as well.