Was that a great party, or what?!
On Saturday afternoon, July 7, 2012, the members of the Southwest Shore Colony gathered to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Colony’s founding in 1912. Starting around 3:30 p.m. a tidal wave of blue Big Bear T-shirts began to engulf Keystone Point. Over 200 owners and family members from one end of the Colony to the other arrived, greeting old friends and meeting new ones. The oldest member in attendance was Mary Stuart (age 92). At the younger end of the crowd were several babies only a few months old, some of whom represented the fifth generation of their family in the Southwest Shore.
“This Centennial Celebration is a wonderful opportunity to continue the Southwest Shore tradition of camaraderie, cooperation, and concern for one another. We’ve been doing it for 100 years — hopefully, we will continue it for the next 100!”
Families arrived bringing a wide assortment of delicious hors d’ouvres and snacks to accompany the soft drinks, beer, and wine provided by the Southwest Shore Colony Association. Photographers were having a field day, snapping pictures of multi-generational family groups, groups of friends, kids playing games, etc. Soon we hope to have a link to a photo website where you can view many photographs and videos of the evening’s activities.
Speaking of kids at play, Robbie Stuart (Cabin 75) did an amazing, outstanding job of entertaining all of the children with an assortment of games, crafts, and contests. Who knew that Robbie is a recently retired Parks and Recreation Director from Long Beach, who has had many years of experience doing exactly what she was doing for us on Saturday afternoon at the Southwest Shore. The kids were engaged, cooperative, and joyful as they competed in a water-carrying relay, showed their strength by tossing a burlap bag containing pine cones, creatively decorated small wooden bird houses, and teamed with a parent or grandparent for a water balloon toss. The activities climaxed with a rope tug-of-war. First, there were two children’s teams competing. Then a few “big kids” jumped in to help balance the teams. The contest then evolved to men versus men, then women versus women, and finally a raucous contest of mixed teams, each determined to drag the other team across the center line! Thanks, Robbie, for your expertise in taking charge of all our “kids”, both big and small, old and young. A wonderful time was enjoyed by all.
A delicious dinner was served buffet-style, beginning around 5:30 p.m. Many thanks to Pierre and Blanca’s Restaurant in Boulder Bay and their courteous, efficient staff, who catered a wonderful meal of barbecued tri-tip, chicken, and hot dogs, accompanied by baked beans, salad, rolls, pie, ice cream, and beverages, all hosted by the Southwest Shore Association. If anyone went away hungry, it was their own fault! Many thanks to the Gordon family (Cabins 29 and 36), who offered the area adjacent to their cabins to set up the food and drink areas, as well as their front porch to house the audio equipment. Thanks also to the Guylas family (Cabin 30), who offered their “front yard” for all the folding tables and chairs to accomodate a sit-down dinner for over 200 hungry members of the Southwest Shore Colony.
As dinner time wound down, Jack Whitaker (Cabin 66) took the microphone as our master of ceremonies for the evening. Jack first introduced Laurie Large (Cabin 78) and Betsy Curley (Cabin 54) for a huge, well-deserved round of applause for all their hard work in planning, organizing, and supervising the wonderful Centennial Celebration dinner and surrounding events. In addition, Laurie and her son-in-law Craig Minus were recognized for creating the beautiful Southwest Shore Centennial Album, which many owners received at the Annual Meeting earlier in the day. Laurie and Betsy stood up to add their own “thanks” to all the members and families who pitched in to help set up the area for the dinner (and who later helped to clean up the area when the event was over.)
Jack Whitaker described the evening’s entertainment as a “show and tell” among the members, a time for sharing memories, experiences, and stories about their years at the Southwest Shore. To set a mood for the evening, Jack began by singing an inspired rendition of “America, the Beautiful”. Few of us knew that Jack could sing so well, and few of us will ever forget that inspirational moment and message.
Mary Mace Stuart (Cabin 75) came forward as the oldest member of the Southwest Shore, at age 92. She told us that in 1916 her parents, Art and Margaret Mace, honeymooned in a small cabin at Happy Point on the North Shore, just across from Garstin Island. They later obtained a Forest Service lease on lot #75, and spent the summers of 1934-1937 building a small rustic cabin on that site — the same cabin that the family still uses today. You can read more of Mary’s memories and see photos in the wonderful Southwest Shore Centennial Album.
Another highlight of the evening’s “entertainment” was the stories about Old Ski Beach, particularly during the 1970’s. Betsy Curley brought the “Coors Trophy” to the event, which apparently had been in retirement for many years. The large trophy, adorned with Coors cans, was presented each year to an individual whose personality and behavior exemplified the Ski Beach tradition. One former recipient, Dave Shankland (Cabin 77), was called to the microphone to regale us with a few Ski Beach stories. Dave mentioned that another Coors Trophy recipient, Bucky Beaver, could not be with us for the evening, but was there in spirit. Perhaps the Ski Beach stories have gotten enhanced over the years, but whatever the real truth may be, clearly a lot of good fun and good skiing was enjoyed by many past and present members of the Southwest Shore.
Brian Webb (Cabin 59) shared a few stories about his youthful years at his cabin. Apparently, he enjoyed jumping from his deck into Kidd Cove, despite the signs posted by his mother Pat which read, “No jumping from the deck!” While swimming and boating in Kidd Cove, Brian befriended the skipper of the Sierra Belle, who was Tommy, the former Mouseketeer on the Mickey Mouse Club TV show. [Note: Those of us of a certain age were faithful fans of the show. Most of the guys had a crush on Annette and/or Darlene! :) Brian and Tommy became fast friends. One of their many adventures involved taking some of mother Pat’s allegedly overcooked brownies and launching them on a high trajectory into the lake using some type of slingshot rocket launcher. Apparently, the fishermen near the landing zone thought the splashing brownies were jumping fish, at least until one of the brownies clanked off of an outboard motor housing! Maybe it does take a rocket scientist for some tasks. :)
Pat Riggins (Cabin 52) told us that she and husband Ed spent their honeymoon in Big Bear in 1944. Pat had never seen Big Bear, but Ed had apparently painted a word picture for her that was very enticing. How does this sound — no running water, no electricity, no indoor toilet, a wood stove in the kitchen, water carried in jugs from the spring, kerosene lanterns, and an ice box (needs real ice!) on the porch. Whatever Ed said, or however he said it, it must have worked! From then on, Pat and Ed spent every summer and some winters at the cabin on the Southwest Shore.
Other Southwest Shore members shared various tales and memories of the Southwest Shore with all of us. One theme was very clear throughout the presentations. The Southwest Shore is, has been, and hopefully will continue to be a magical place where friends and family come together each summer to have fun, share experiences, and make memories that will last a lifetime and transcend generations. We were all privileged to celebrate that theme at our Centennial, and we look forward to moving forward with that theme into the next hundred years.
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