Family & Friends
By Meredith Cordes, F231812, and Ann Schipper, F17603
Rally masters Martin and Dottie Pierce, L57064, once again saw their vision of FMCA chapters gathering for fun, fellowship, and games come to fruition with April Showers VI, held April 9, 10, and 11, 2002, at Clerbrook RV Resort in Clermont, Florida. This annual rally continues to grow in size, with 110 motorhomes representing nine FMCA chapters this year.
A competitive and friendly spirit was evident during the tournament games that were held throughout the rally. Competing were 16 boccie ball teams, 20 beanbag pitch teams, and 12 beanbag baseball teams. Two of the baseball teams — the “April Showers Mixers” and the “Outsiders” — were composed of members from different chapters, illustrating what FMCA is all about.
After two and a half days of competition, the winners were awarded “Olympic gold medals” at an awards dinner on Thursday evening. The Central Florida Roadrunners won first place in the beanbag pitch (two-person teams) and boccie ball (four-person teams) tournaments. The Mid-Week Flamingos (nine-person teams) won the beanbag baseball tournament. The teams that finished in second and third places in each of the tournaments also were honored during the final night of the rally.
It takes many volunteers to make this type of rally a success and, as in the past, the Vagabonds International chapter ably assisted the Pierces. Others who helped make the rally enjoyable for all included Patsy Dickie, F131983; Ron Maloney, F117023; and a hard-working volunteer crew who handled meal preparation and serving. George and Ann Schipper, F17603, organized the games and were assisted by a great group of volunteers who served as referees, scorekeepers, and judges. Bill Niebruegge, F134145, and Jerry Dickie, F131983, led a terrific volunteer crew who greeted and efficiently parked everyone as they arrived.
Also attending the rally were three RV dealerships that brought a selection of motorhomes for display. They were Harberson Swanston RV, C2738; Flagship RV; and Foretravel of Florida, C2062. These dealerships, along with Lazy Days RV SuperCenter, C1702, contributed an abundance of door prizes to the event. In addition, Flagship RV sponsored a hot dog roast and Foretravel of Florida provided ice cream bars.
April Showers VII is scheduled for April 3 through 6, 2003, at Rock Crusher Canyon RV Park in Crystal River, Florida. All FMCA members are invited to join in the fun, fellowship, and games.
Gold Diggers Enjoy Indio And Quartzsite
By Tom Yowell, F243662
Members of FMCA’s Gold Diggers chapter are a marvelously diverse group of friendly people who live in Arizona, Oregon, and California. The chapter has six campouts each year, and we especially look forward to our annual trip to the Western Area rally in Indio, California. This year the rally was held from January 9 through 13 at the Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival.
At the area rally we enjoy the excellent weather, delight in the friendships we’ve made with members of other chapters, and learn more about the motorhoming lifestyle at the many seminars presented by RV industry experts.
This year our chapter volunteered to help welcome the 1,832 motorhomes that attended the rally. This turned out to be great fun for us. As we greeted the happy arrivals, we also presented them with a welcome package of valuable rally event information.
During the rally our chapter entered the parade float competition. Many ingenious chapter members brought collapsible materials that could be assembled into a beautiful float. Our creation received many cheers from our fellow RVers who lined the streets during the parade as we proudly marched beside it.
Following the Western Area rally, 15 members of the chapter caravanned to Quartzsite, Arizona, which is located only a few hours east of Indio. We had heard many nice things about Quartzsite and we knew that it would be buzzing with activity when we arrived — and it was.
If you have never visited Quartzsite, then you are in for a big surprise when you do. The town is one big, wintertime RV park and flea market. It’s estimated that more than 1 million RVers visit this place each year. When we pulled into the campground, we circled our motorhomes in a beautiful parking area. We figured that if the pioneers circled their wagons back in the old days, then we would do it, too.
After setting up camp, we all gathered in the middle of the circle we had made with our motorhomes. We bowed our heads, said a few words of fond farewell, and then ignited a campfire built with the remains of the float that had served us so well in the area rally parade. The burning float warmed our hearts and hands.
Our hosts that evening, Cel and Tusa Alfafara, F271781, prepared a marvelous “hobo stew” from the contributions of chapter members who made the trip to Quartzsite, and this set the stage for a beautiful evening. With the glow of the campfire, a full tummy, a glass of wine, and good friends, it was a special evening we all enjoyed.
Centuries ago, volcanoes erupted and covered the entire Quartzsite area with lava rock that appears to have been just the right size to gravel an enormous parking lot. Scattered throughout the camping area were many varieties and sizes of cacti, some as large as 20 feet tall.
Our campground was surrounded by not-so-distant mountains, so several of us decided to do some exploring. The Palm Canyon trail led us to beautiful, rocky mountain bluffs that had been eroded by years of wind and rain. It was a terrific walk for the active members of our party.
After spending a few delightful days in the desert, it was time to head back to our families and to-do lists. So we all said good-bye to our traveling friends and began our trips home.
Martha Dodd “Was Always There”
Martha Dodd, F867, who served as FMCA’s national secretary in 1976, passed away on February 23, 2002, in Boca Raton, Florida. She also was a founding member of the Twentieth Century Wagontrainers (TCW) chapter and served on FMCA’s Historical Committee in 1987 and 1988.
Friends and family remember Martha as a dedicated individual and true friend. Sally Nobile, F750, and her husband, Alex, are the two remaining charter members of the TCW chapter. “If you asked Martha to do a job for TCW, it was done in a thoughtful way, far above your highest expectations,” Mrs. Nobile said. She described Martha as “a very influential member of the group … she was always there.”
Martha held most TCW chapter offices, including the position of president from 1973 through 1976. She served as editor of the chapter newsletter, “TCW Wagontracks,” for many years. “We would collect news at the various rallies to be humorously reported by her in the next edition,” Mrs. Nobile said. Martha also ran numerous chapter rallies and lent a hand at many others. For years, whenever a child in the TCW chapter got married, Martha gave him or her a fancy stitched pillow she had made herself.
Martha and her late husband, Bill, joined FMCA in 1965. She continued to enjoy chapter rallies after his death, with her daughters Kit and Libby along. A group of men in the chapter assisted Martha with coach mechanics. Mrs. Nobile recalls walking past the Dodds’ motorhome and seeing numerous pairs of legs protruding from beneath the coach. It was a standing joke, she said, that the men were holding meetings under Martha’s motorhome.
Martha was born on April 27, 1916, in Atlanta, Georgia. She graduated from Georgia State College for Women in 1936 and received her master’s degree from Montclair State College in 1966. The Dodds moved to Bernardsville, New Jersey, in 1957. Martha worked as a substitute teacher at Bernards High School and later taught at Mount St. John Academy in Gladstone, New Jersey. Martha obtained permission from administrators at the latter school to hold numerous motorhome rallies on the grounds, near a swimming pool, and these events were particularly enjoyed by chapter members.
Martha was active in the local Girl Scouts organization as well as the National Girl Scout Council. An active Republican, she served on the GOP county committee and the Bernardsville Municipal Republican Committee. In addition, she was a faithful volunteer at the Bernardsville Public Library for many years, where she frequently worked in the local history room.
In 2001 Martha moved from Bernardsville to Boca Raton to be near her daughter Libby. Almost immediately, she became involved at Homewood Assisted Care Residence, her new home, and joined both the welcome committee and the food committee.
Martha is survived by her daughter Kit and her son-in-law Steve White of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and by her daughter Libby Dodd and her son-in-law Rick Beardsley of Boca Raton. She also leaves three grandchildren: Ananda White, and her husband, Jim Tyler of Philadelphia, and Elisa and Evan Beardsley-Dodd of Boca Raton.
Contributions in Martha’s memory may be made to the Bernardsville Public Library, 1 Anderson Hill Road, Bernardsville, NJ 07924.