It's been nearly 20 years (I'm thinking) since I've seen Gus Jerdee. That changed this week when I found him. I can't disclose his actual location, but he's enjoying his retirement living on a few acres in the mountains of North Carolina. And that's where we're all probably thinking he should be. He and Suzanne stay very busy developing their mountain homestead. Each summer they invite family and friends of family to their own little camp for a couple of weeks.
Every so often someone gets in touch with me just to chat. I just hung up with Robert LaPlace, who at age ten or so came to TrailRidge for his first of a few summers. He's the guy fourth from the left. In this photo he was on an Outer Banks bike trip with staff members Gus Jerdee, Danny Moore, and Joe Mahon (Great Britain).
I got to know Robert when he was just nine or so when I was living in New Orleans and he was nearby in Metairie. He and I became "brothers" as in the Big Brothers program. We've been friends ever since which would now be over 40 years.
Also in this photo I recognize Chuck Lockwood, Tommy Paylor, Chris Brown, McHardy Stoutz, and Michael LaPlace in addition to Robert, Gus, Danny, and Joe.
I had lunch this week with Tom & Marian Jerdee. If you were ever at camp, chances are you saw them around. They had the cabin at the top of the trail called "Trail's End." Or, maybe that was "Trail's Inn?" It was by far the nicest facility on the property. In any case, the Jerdees were and still are friends and I've known them since my sophomore year in college and that was a long, long time ago. Tom and Marian moved from Chapel Hill a couple of years ago and live in the mountains year-round. When I get to visit with them I get to find out what's up with their son Gus. I'm sure almost all of the old-time campers/counselors remember Gus Jerdee. Gus was at camp before there was a camp. He helped build the dining hall, the barn, the craft shop and just about everything else at camp...and when it came time to build cabins the second summer....Gus was in charge. In case you're interested, Gus is now an assistant principal at a high school in the Asheville area.
So thanks Tom & Marian for all your support and friendship over the years. You guys are great!
Just some random thoughts about how TrailRidge came to be and about life at the camp in those first 15 or so years in Buladean.