Rude Awakenings ~ Catherine Sevenau

Catherine Sevenau Catherine Sevenau is a writer and storyteller who is out to capture your skittery mind. She's penned three books, compiled numerous collections of family genealogy, and has been a regular columnist in the SUN since 2016. She can be reached at [email protected].


Revolving door spun – mom was back

Posted on November 16, 2023 by Catherine Sevenau

Chapter 65: 1950 • Camp McBride, Strawberry Lake, Pinecrest, California

Even though she shunned ruffles and ric-rac, Betty carried a purse wherever she went, typically a small shoulder strap as it freed her hands to climb fences. She had a collection of pocketbooks handed down from aunts and older cousins. My ten-year-old dark-haired middle sister had too many important possessions to fit in a pocket: bottle caps, hair bands, a safety pin, magic river rocks, her agate pee-wee and bottle-green shooter, her lucky rabbit’s foot, and a silver dime. She even took a purse to camp.

Dad and Carleen were worried about Betty. She was not doing well with Mom’s comings and goings and they thought it would be good for her to go to Girl Scout camp. It was. She loved Camp McBride: the hiking, fishing, and swimming, and especially the food. They served oatmeal and Betty had never eaten oatmeal; she ate and ate and ate. She ate so much the counselors finally told her, “Look, your parents are spending just so much money to send you here.” She came home dusty, happy, and full.

The revolving door spun again, and Mom was back.

Jun and Jul 1950 • Larry’s diary (age 16)

My brother posted daily about the usual. Some highlights:

Jun 8  Band played for graduation. Went to Phoenix Lake after for senior party. Got 5 books in mail. Got 2 A+ one in orchestra and in band. Last day of school.

Jun 14  Worked in back yard. Took bath.

Jun 17  Days came up and slept in my room. Judy, Jeff, George and Verda came. Had to wear suit to church.

Jun 18  Mom and dad went to Modesto toy show. Will stay down 2 or 3 days. Days left.

Jun 21  Went to San Francisco with Dad. Drove all the way from Sonora to Walnut Creek. Stayed at Drake Hotel. Saw show with Dad.

Jun 27  Polished horn and put it in its case for Tuolumne. Took bath till midnight, made bed. Looks like war. U.S. bombs Reds.

Clemens siblings 1950, Sonora, California: Carleen, Claudia, Betty, Larry, Cathy in front

Jul 1  Cleaned up room. U.S. troops rushed to Korea. Mom went up to Dardenelle for fishing

Jul 3  Sent in my name and $5.00 registration for Camp McBride

Jul 4  The whole family went on picnic. I stayed at the store by myself till 7:30.

Jul 5  Paid $10.00 for Scout uniform and insignia. Got shirt, pants, books, badges and socks.

Jul 7  Everything ready for camp. Got $25 from dad for week at camp. Draft passed.

Jul 8  Left for Camp McBride this morn. Am going to stay with Mariposa Troop 90.

Jul 9  Got classified as a beginner in swimming. Got physical check and weigh in at 139.


Jul 15  Came back home from camp, had ride in back of pickup

Jul 16  Mom and dad gone on vacation, kept store open by myself all day. Went to 8 o’clock mass. No sermon. Keen.

Jul 26  Phone call from Mom and Dad from Chico, got Ima in kitchen. Korean War 1 month old today.

Jul 28  Mom and dad came back from vacation in Oregon, Tahoe and around. Got Christmas toys in. Store in tip-top shape.

Jul 29  Averaged $102 per day during Dad’s two-week vacation. Went through Dad’s coins and found a dime worth $30.00.


To be continued…


Catherine Sevenau is a writer, humorist, and storyteller in Sonoma. The stories in this series are from, Through Any Given Door, a Family Memoir; available at A longtime Broker/Realtor at CENTURY 21 Epic Wine Country, she can be reached at [email protected]




Sonoma Sun | Sonoma, CA