YOU are invited to Dear Mad’m Activities, October 11-13, 2013


You are invited to Dear Mad’m Celebration in Happy Camp, CA!

Stella W. Pattersom was an adventurous lady even when she was eighty and moved to a mining cabin on the Klamath River! The book that she wrote about her experience has been popular ever since it was published in 1956 and we still celebrate.

The Dear Mad’m Day Celebration in Happy Camp, California is coming up in October around her birthday. The 2013 Events will start on Friday, October 11, and will continue through Sunday, October 13. We have a lot planned!

Friday evening – Reception

Saturday, 11am – Luncheon Symposium, Speakers, Award Presentations, Book Signings. 

Last year, Bonnie Alvarez and her youthful helpers served a delicious meal, reminiscent of a Sunday afternoon dinner back in those days, fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, confetti coleslaw salad and fresh corn on the cob. Happy Seniors ladies brought an assortment of home baked pies for dessert. We can hardly wait to see what fabulous meal she will be cooking up for us this year. We will again be meeting at the Karuk-Headway Building at Second Avenue in Happy Camp.

Saturday evening – Stories, songs, and camaraderie at the bonfire down on the banks of the Klamath River at the Klamath River Resort Inn and Rafting Lodge.

Sunday – Pancake Breakfast. This year we will have the choice of sourdough pancakes that were served in life along the Klamath River as well as regular pancakes, coffee, juice and special recipe pancake toppings. If you were at the 2nd Annual Luncheon you will remember the story about sourdough pancakes that Karen Tulledo shared. The breakfast will also be at the Karuk-Headway Building on Second Avenue.

Later there will be the annual trip to see the homestead site of Grandma and Grandpa John Covert’s place where the Diridon youngsters spent their summers. Near by were the cabins of “Dear Sir” and“Up and Up” as well as the three Chicago ladies, who are another part of the story,

Registration for the event will remain the same as last year, $40 for the entire weekend activities. Advance reservations are $30 for the weekend or $20 for Saturday only if you aren’t able to stay for the weekend.

Last year, Pete and Liz Lismer were launching their new book, Dear Mad’m, Who Was She? so it was special to learn more about the rest of Stella W. Patterson’s life. Liz Lismer brought a photo album with photos of Stella from her years married to a San Francisco Judge. We are looking forward to finding out more of the mysteries that have been researched and unraveled in the past year. We hope to hear more of the poem about Dear Mad’m that Judy Hahn shared with us last year also!

 Roberta Everett shared the rocking chair that Stella propped against the door that first night that she spent at the cabin on the mining claim on the Klamath River. Claudia brought photos from the summers at their Grandparents place on the River, We also were able to see some photos of the Patterson clan. We appreciate those who bring things to share.

Registration for the event will remain the same as last year, $40 for the entire weekend activities.Checks should be made payable to the Happy Camp Chamber of Commerce. (Advance reservations are $30 for the weekend or $20 for Saturday only, if you aren’t able to stay for the weekend. Send your check to HCCofC at P. O. Box 1188, Happy Camp, CA 96039. Call the Chamber for further information 530-493-2900.)

 For more information, or if you have information to share or donate (information or items) or wish to nominate someone with adventurous attitude in their senior years for awards, please call the Happy Camp Chamber of Commerce at 530-493-2900, or send us an email at

Hope to see you there!


Dr. Gloria Duffy’s article about the first Dear Mad’m Day picnic in 2011, published in Commonwealth magazine, Oct./Nov. 2011.

Celebrating Our “Dear Mad’m”

by Judy Bushy, Happy Camp, CA
“Dear Mad’m” is a book by Stella Patterson, published in January, 1956. Why do we who live along the beautiful wild Klamath River cherish the story that Stella, known as Dear Mad’m tells??
First of all, Dear Mad’m was a great storyteller. Her book illustrates what life on the Klamath is like. She wasn’t afraid to move to a primitive cabin in the midst of the Klamath Forest in the heart of the Siskiyous alone!. She enjoyed the beauty and diversity of the countryside around us. A great setting for fun with friends!
The fact that she was 80 years of age when she moved to the little mining cabin on the Klamath is hopeful for those who see the golden years come so soon! She was spry and adventuresome, and still able to enjoy life to its fullest. She had friends of all ages and situations down on the River. That’s quite common. In an area where the population is sparse enough to be considered a frontier, You have opportunity to not limit your friends to those your age category, but to fellowship with different ages, backgrounds and views! Our Klamath neighbors are the best reason to live here,\
Stella mentioned that the publisher wanted some things changed in her story, most notably her birthday moved from October 14th to April because it fit the story better. It’s a minor matter and doesn’t hurt the story at all, because the true riches we enjoy in the story are the highs and lows and adventures of living with friends and neighbors along the Klamath River!
Three ladies in particular moved to Happy Camp after reading her book. Vivian Witt, Marie Wilson and Joan Richardson, and lived on the same mining claim the rest of their lives. They were also a great contribution to the small community of Happy Camp! Many still come to see the land where Dear Mad’m lived, and tell of reading the story numerous times. It’s a story you can go back to and enjoy again and again.
We also are so thankful for those we have met as we seek to learn more about Dear Mad’m. Especially we have been so grateful for Rod (and Gloria,) Claudia (and Dick,) who with their brother, Tom, were the youngsters pictured with Stella on the original Dear Mad’m cover! Then we had the happy new book by Pete and Elizabeth Lismer who wrote the book, Dear Mad’m Who Was She? This book helped us explore the life of Stella Patterson before and after the writing of her tale. Then more relatives, of her husband, James Patterson, and Stella herself, became acquainted and the circle widens as does the circle of friendship!
Life on the Klamath goes on, much the way it was in those days, plus a little new technology. We are all so grateful for Barbara Brown of Naturegraph Publishers who has kept her story available to all her new fans and also published, Dear Mad’m Who Was She?
Linda Martin, the leader of the Klamath Writers’ Group that gathered at the Frontier Cafe Sunday afternoons, had the idea to celebrate our most literary accomplished author. The Klamath Writer’s Group, all good Friends of Dear Mad’m, enlisted the help of the Happy Camp Chamber of Commerce to provide a picnic lunch in 2011 in the beautiful shady green lawn of the Klamath River Resort Inn & Rafting Lodge, two miles east of Happy Camp. We so enjoyed Rod Diiradon’s wonderful story of childhood summers at his grandparents place near Stella’s cabin. The next year the luncheon as moved indoors to the Karuk-Headway Building on 2nd Avenue for the weekend nearest her birthday in October.. We hope you will enjoy the story of Dear Mad’m and how friendships have grown around her delightful story.

Some of Ray Arneson's final paintings were of the Dear Mad'm books.

Some of Ray Arneson’s final paintings were of the Dear Mad’m books.

Thanks to all who made Dear Mad’m such fun!

12DMSCelebrating the NEW book, Dear Mad’m who was she? at the Reception at Naturegraph October 12, 2012.

:                                                                                                               Saturday Luncheon at Karuk Building


Rod put more wood on the fire for the marshmallow roast to make Sm’ores!


Thank you to all who worked together to make Dear Mad’m Symposium such a fun event for all last weekend! First of all we thank Geneva Johnson who received our Dear Mad’m Award for her wonderful pioneering spirit. Thanks also to Casey Chambers who shared what Geneva “Dear Grandma” has meant to her through the years since she was a newlywed neighbor.

We Thank Barbara Brown, who was our Dear Mad’m last year at the first annual Dear Mad’m Day. She has been the publisher through Naturegraph publishers, both of  “Dear Mad’m” by Stella W. Patterson and the newly published “Dear Mad’m Who Was she?” More recently, we thank her for having the Friday reception at Naturegraph, and the great sweet grapes and homemade apple juice that she made. Besides welcoming so many to her place, she also provided printing tours thanks to Sonny.

Thanks to Abigail Eadie for the beautiful sunflower cupcakes she made for the occasion and Melissa Colbert who helped her decorate ALL those cupcakes.

Bonnie Alvarez was most responsible for the delicious luncheon on Saturday as she shopped and cooked and served the old fashioned meal with fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy and all the other delicious food.  Bonnie always serves food with love. I cannot believe the effort and wonderful skill she puts into such a meal, all the while being a volunteer. Thanks to Joe for the help that he gave as they work as a good team.  Audrey Henke, Cheyenne Moore, and Nikki were great working in the kitchen and serving the pies. Thanks to the Happy Seniors for providing wonderful coconut cream, banana cream, pumpkin and apple pies that were so delicious–Especially Pauline “Sis” Attebery, Jeanne Burrer and Anita Wolf!

Thanks to Marilyn Townsend for making the colorful cloth napkins in fall florals and leaves  and the idea of canning jars centerpieces to decorate a dozen tables.

Thank you to Judy Hahn who wrote a great poem about Dear Mad’ m! It was such fun to hear the story put to rhyme!!We can’t wait for the second installment which will tell more about her story.

Karen Tulledo was not only a great help on the committee the last month, but also wrote a story based on the historical about John Jeardeau. the Clear Creek postmaster for many years, and his special sourdough. Next year we hope to have sourdough pancakes with blackberry syrup! Her story really made the life on the Klamath River in Dear Mad’m’s day come alive.

Of course, the main speakers were Peter Lismer who is a great nephew of Stella Walthall Patterson and his wife, Elizabeth! Thank you Pete for sharing your family story! Elizabeth Lismer, was also author of the book and shared how they went about research and tracking down the tale of Stella’s life. Their presence ,having flown from a summer place in France, was just in time for this event. We are very grateful.  Thank you Lismers for having the book there for people to obtain autographed copies too.

Thank you Cindy Trobitz-Thomas for your additional comment about the love that James Patterson showed when hearing that Stella was dying and walking all the way from his ranch in Willow Creek, since the flooding had washed the road out in places in December of 1955.

In addition we are grateful to the Karuk Housing for sharing their wonderful building with us for this event. The beautiful kitchen and dishwasher made serving the meal a joy. Thank you Dorcus, Sara Spence, and Babbie Peterson especially.

Thank you Roberta Everett for bringing Stella’s  rocking chair and Claudia who enjoyed seeing it again after all these years. Thank you to Liz Lismer, Cindy Trobitz-Thomas, Karen Tulledo, Claudia Diridon Wagner and her husband Dick, who brought old photos and mementos to share with all of us.

Thank you to James Buchner, Robert & Sherry of Klamath River Resort Inn for setting up a beautiful camp fire right down on the river where we could enjoy a beautiful fireside evening Saturday evening. The stars were beautiful and hearing fish leap in the water was neat!

A very special “Thank you” to Rod Diridon, Sr. both for your comments and help at the Luncheon and for making a map and providing a guided tour of your memories visiting grandparents John and Alice Covert at their place along the Klamath in your childhood. I especially enjoyed your inspiration of how we are all like the storytellers sitting around the fire sharing the stories. The others around about hear those stories and pass them on and some day they will go to another generation.

Yootva and Thank you to the Happy Camp High School Seniors who served a pancake breakfast Sunday morning. Thanks to Cassidy Little the class president, Brandon Tripp who stirred up pancakes, Shelly Hokinson, and Ray Griffin especially! Also thanks to their Class Advisor Alyssa Garcia and her daughter Emma who colored pictures for us.

Thank you to the Klamath River Writer’s Group and especially Linda Martin who originally had the idea for our first Dear Mad’m Day last year.

Thank you to the Happy Camp Chamber of Commerce: Board President Robert “Javabob” Schmalzbach, Vice President Dolly Elston, Ray and Bobi Arneson, Rosemary Boren, James Buchner, and Judy Bushy. Special Thanks to James Buchner for helping get the basic plans off to a good start and Karen Tulledo who joined the Committee the last month and was such an encouragement. They were enormously helpful in making the event possible! Thank you to all who have offered help next year also.

Thank you to all who came and what a joy it was to visit with all those who came, relatives or not. We have enjoyed getting to know Stella through her writings, and now through Pete and Liz’s biography!

The Klamath Writer’s Group has been working on an Anthology of writings about Happy Camp and one comment mentioned that it would be nice to have a book of the Dear Mad’m and Dear Sir awardees over the years so perhaps that could be added to their project for the future!

Can’t wait until next year, OCTOBER 11-13, 2013 to see you all again!


Dear Mad’m Committee,

Happy Camp, CA 96039-1675



Hazel shares about Dear Mad’m at Picnic Luncheon


Hazel Davis Gendron shares a portrait she made of Stella W. Patterson. Hazel is probably the most noted historical authority of Happy Camp and spent many years writing about the little town on the Klamath River. She also has contributed to four issues of the Siskiyou Pioneer put out by the Siskiyou County Historical Society each year for their members. The last issue for which she wrote was Gold Rush and the Mixing of Cultures in Western Siskiyou County (The Siskiyou Pioneer, Vol. 9, No. 8) by Various, Hazel Davis Gendron and Cheryl M. Beck (2009).


Hazel also wrote about Stella W. Patterson at the following site:




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