Family & Friends
By Margie McLaughlin, F61766
Residents of Prince Edward Island, Canada’s smallest province, were treated to a phenomenal sight as approximately 750 motorhomes from the United States and Canada crossed the eight-mile-long (12.9-kilometer) Confederation Bridge for the 11th annual Northeast Area Rally. The event, titled “Come Play On Our Island,” took place July 25, 26, and 27, 2003, at Cabot Beach Provincial Park. FMCA members from 43 states and five provinces attended the rally.
The Island, as it is referred to by its residents, was decked out in all its beauty with field upon field of potato plants in bloom; green, rolling hills; fishing and pleasure boats sailing upon the crystal-blue waters; beautiful sandy beaches; picture-book homes and gardens; and friendly, down-home folks.
Rally masters Don and Shirley Nauss, F195664, and Ed and Carolyn Beers, F69979, along with the various committees that enlisted the help of 332 volunteers, did an outstanding job, planning and organizing this event. Six Northeast Area chapters worked to make this rally a success: Allo Quebec, Fingerlakers, Long Islanders, Maine Wheels, Mt. Laurel Travelers, and Perfect Circle.
Each day began with a continental breakfast, while the Coaches For Christ chapter held morning devotions. Members of the Frustrated Maestros-NE Yankee Doodle Dandies chapter followed with nostalgic music to keep us entertained.
We were pleased to have FMCA executive director Don Eversmann, F240000, and his wife, Sharon, join us during the event. Don presented several seminars, during which he discussed the benefits to members and chapters of belonging to FMCA. These were informative sessions, as many folks did not realize how many services are provided by the association. The only technical seminar was given by Scott Brady, F19147, and several of his friends, titled “RVing “” Back To The Future.”
The ladies enjoyed making keepsakes “” a flowerpot teddy bear and a tole-painted folk art hanging “” at several craft classes taught by Marilyn Butland, F87189. Sharon Eversmann demonstrated how fun and easy it is to quilt. Judging from the number of ladies who attended, it was obvious that they were very eager to learn the basics.
Organizers arranged several tours that were well attended. During one excursion, 78 people embarked on a double-decker bus that took them to the Green Gables House, the site where Lucy Maud Montgomery found inspiration for her novel, Anne Of Green Gables. The tour also included stops at the beautiful Cavendish Beach in Prince Edward Island National Park; a scenic fishing village; a craft shop; and the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company, where visitors could purchase jams and marmalades made from island-grown fruit.
Other tours included a trip to Charlottetown, called the “birthplace of Confederation,” as well as an agriculture tour that made stops at P.E.I’s largest dairy farm, a hydroponic cucumber and tomato growing operation, a standardbred horse farm (owned by one of our members), and some of P.E.I.’s largest potato-growing farms. Because of high winds, the deep-sea fishing tour was cancelled. However, some hardy souls did go fishing later during the rally.
Saturday was a busy day, with a craft sale and flea market where everything from craft items to motorhome parts and accessories were bought and sold. In the afternoon, the artisans showcase proved very popular. This included locals who demonstrated rug hooking, lobster-trap making, spinning and weaving, and fine iron making (decorative forged-iron pieces for the home and cottage). The Island needlecraft guild demonstrated the art of knitting, crochet, petit point, cross-stitch, Hardanger, bargello, and needlepoint, and the local quilting groups demonstrated their craft. Several of our own FMCA members also displayed their talents and hobbies in areas such as Swedish weaving, fly tying, leather tooling, wood carving, and stained-glass. This was a very popular event enjoyed by all.
A special mention should be made about the P.E.I. seafood we enjoyed, for it was a gourmet’s delight. Island chefs demonstrated the art of preparing several seafood delicacies while providing mouthwatering samples of mussels and barbecue salmon steaks. The seafood chowder luncheon, ice cream social, and Canada cake also kept us well nourished.
The interdenominational church service on Sunday morning included the choirs and congregations from four Island-area communities. After the service, we were proud to witness a Northeast Area rally first “” a wedding.
Richard and Linda (Slater) Arsenault, F325186, from Somersworth, New Hampshire, were joined in holy matrimony in front of those attending the rally. It was all a wedding should be “” a handsome groom, a beautiful bride, proud attendants, pretty flowers, beautiful music, and romance in the air. We all wish them much love and happiness as they embark on their new journey in life.
On Sunday afternoon the ladies were decked out in their prettiest hats and outfits for “Anne’s Island Tea.” The special guest was none other than a character actress portraying Anne of Green Gables, who mingled and chatted with the ladies while enjoying tea. Anne was a delightful young lady with much charm and grace.
The entertainment throughout the rally was spectacular. Rally attendees were in their seats at least an hour before each afternoon and evening performance to be sure they didn’t miss one second of the show. The groups Not All There and Boys in the Kitchen performed Wednesday and Thursday nights to keep the early arrivals entertained.
On Friday night, 15-year-old bagpiper Nick vanOuwerkerk piped in the honorary guests and Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer Kim Hendricken sang the American and Canadian national anthems to get the proceedings under way. Numerous P.E.I. officials were on hand to enjoy the activities, including Gerald McCarville, mayor of Kensington. Prior to the performance, newly installed Northeast Area national vice president Bill Conway, F99081, welcomed attendees to the rally and introduced the 2003-2004 Northeast Motorhome Association officers: first vice president Bill Skolfield, F227377; second vice president Rich Tufano, F261995; secretary Esther Rogers, F98387; and treasurer Paul Dammers, F135857.
Evening entertainment on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday was provided by outstanding groups who performed Celtic and local folk music, gospel songs, and tunes of yesteryear and today. These groups included Fiddlers Sons; Roy MacCaull and Friends; and Jericho Road. Daytime entertainment was provided on Friday by storyteller Erskine Smith and on Sunday by the singing and storytelling group Here On The Island.
Youngsters attending the Northeast Area Rally with their parents or grandparents enjoyed interpretive programs, beach walks, crafts, and plenty of fun and games. The highlight was a pizza party for all ages, which proved to be very popular.
This rally would not have been such a success were it not for the help of our many sponsors. They included P.E.I. Tourism; Agriculture P.E.I.; the Kensington Area Chamber of Commerce; Irving Oil Company; Atlantic Save Easy stores; Atlantic Tractors & Equipment; Gary Steeves Insurance; Confederation Bridge; RV Alliance America, C95; Newmar Corporation, C4363; and Spartan Motors, C3322. Also, thanks to our rally masters, committees, all the Northeast Area chapters, and the friendly residents of Prince Edward Island.
Unfortunately, the event was touched by sadness. The week before the Northeast Area rally, Ed and Carolyn Beers attended the FMCA summer international convention in Buffalo, New York. While there, Eddie became ill and was rushed to the hospital. Much to our grief, he passed away on the day we departed the area rally. Ed and Carolyn were founding members of the Perfect Circle chapter, and with their dedication and drive, the chapter has grown from 30 members to more than 200 members at present.
As friends and fellow chapter members, we extend our sympathy, prayers, and love to Carolyn during this very sad time.
Motorhoming Is A Family Affair For The Nybys
By Pamela Selbert, F195400
Kai Nyby (pronounced “NYE-bee”), F304242, of La Porte, Indiana, said with a grin that he thinks he might be retired, but he hasn’t quite decided. Then he proceeded to rattle off some of his current activities, which made me wonder: If he is this busy during “retirement,” what was he doing before?
Kai and his wife, Starr, high school sweethearts who recently celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary, were hard at work cleaning their 40-foot Holiday Rambler Scepter when we met, despite the fact that a chilly, drizzling rain was falling. The Nybys had pulled into the Louisiana campground late the night before, but by early morning they were eager to get back on the road.
Kai’s Danish ancestry had taken them this far from Indiana. They had just completed a trip to Orlando, Florida, for a board of directors meeting of the Danish Immigrant Museum and Genealogy Center, which was established in 1983. Kai said that he decided to become a board member in order to help continue the traditions and dreams of the immigrants and pass them on to succeeding generations. The 5,000-square-foot museum opened in 1994 in Elk Horn, Iowa, one of six large Danish communities in the United States.
“It’s a beautiful place, set amid rolling hills,” he said. “And the museum has all kinds of good stuff “” Victor Borge’s piano; a Bible from the 1300s; and a 150-year old folkskole, the first Danish school established in this country.” Elk Horn is also the site of a windmill built in Denmark in 1830, which runs a gristmill, he said.
Although the couple was eager to leave this rainy day behind and head westward to Arizona and Texas on the next leg of their journey, they graciously invited me and my husband, Guy, into their coach for a chat. While we talked, the Nybys’ two large Siberian huskies, 10-year-old Cheaney and 2-year-old Dakota, lay at our feet, enjoying an occasional scratch behind the ears.
A bit of a humorist, Kai observed, “Garbage has been good to me.” He credits most of his good fortune to his parents, Folmer and Vera Nyby, F40064. Folmer came to the United States from Denmark in 1950 with an eighth-grade education and $50 in his pocket. He had met Kai’s mother, Vera, who was born in the farming community of Dagmar, Montana, at a dance when she was visiting Hurup, Denmark, in 1948. The two courted by mail for two years until Folmer realized his dream of immigrating to the United States “” he was 19 at the time. After Folmer arrived, it became apparent that farming was not his cup of tea, Kai said. So, the young couple moved to Chicago.
In 1964 Folmer founded Best Way Services and Indiana Sanitation, a refuse collection and landfill business. Kai joined the company and stayed on after his father sold it in 1972. Garbage apparently has been very good to Folmer also. Today he and Vera maintain homes in Denmark; Fountain Hills, Arizona; and Michigan City, Indiana. Inveterate travelers like their son, Folmer and Vera have been to Denmark close to 50 times; once they took the entire family of 19 there and rented a touring bus for a week.
Kai remained in a management position with the firm until 1995, after which he became a consultant, still within the waste industry, buying waste collection companies around the United States.
In 1997 Kai was a member of a group that started United Rentals, an equipment rental company that handles everything from chainsaws to bulldozers. The company currently operates more than 700 branches across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Now in “retirement” from that business, Kai still serves as a consultant. In addition, he owns a real estate company with his parents and siblings, developing subdivisions in Indiana and Arizona. The family businesses also include radio towers.
Starr is a licensed practical nurse, and when the couple is at home in La Porte, she works in a doctor’s office in nearby Michigan City, Indiana.
Kai and Starr began RVing in the late 1970s. They enjoyed it so much that they encouraged Folmer and Vera to buy their first motorhome, a 1978 Georgie Boy Swinger, when the elder couple retired in 1978. Kai’s parents also have owned a 34-foot Beechcraft and two Prevost conversions over the years, including their current 45-foot bus.
Kai and Starr began camping when their children, Kirsten and Kai Christian “” now 28 and 25, respectively “” were small. Their first RV was a 19-foot Steury pop-up camper, which they purchased in 1979. “Friends talked us into buying it, and we camped together all over Michigan and Indiana,” Starr said. Six years later they moved up to a 25-foot type C Rockwood motorhome and expanded their travels to include Montana, Wyoming, and Missouri. They also became members of FMCA, like Kai’s parents. After the Rockwood, the couple moved up to a 31-foot Georgie Boy Maverick type C coach.
“But about 10 years ago my work was keeping me so busy, we had little time for camping, and pretty much gave it up,” Kai said. “We sold the Maverick, and when we camped, we just used my parents’ coaches.
“But about two years ago when we decided to go more full-time, we thought we should own a coach. So, we bought this one, and absolutely love it.” They also decided to immediately rejoin FMCA.
Since purchasing the Scepter, Kai and Starr have averaged 12 weeks a year on the road. Destinations have included St. Augustine, Florida, and Georgia to play golf, although Kai joked, “It’s good we don’t have to base our income on my game.” They also have enjoyed trips to Houston to visit friends; Big Bend State Park in Texas; Arizona and Colorado; and Elk Horn, Iowa, and the Danish Immigrant Museum that so intrigues them. They agreed that traveling by motorhome is the best way to go.
“We enjoy each other’s company and all the togetherness, and like getting away and seeing different things, meeting new people,” Kai said.
“I like having my own stuff around me,” Starr added. “We think of this coach as our second home.”
Full Timers donate to worthy cause
Members of FMCA’s Full Timers chapter joined the Brockport, New York, Elks Club to donate more than 30 pounds of pop-top tabs from aluminum drink cans to the “Pop Your Tops for Lakeside” drive sponsored by the Lakeside Memorial Hospital Twig Association. Proceeds from the campaign will be used to purchase medical equipment. The donation was made during a chapter rally held prior to FMCA’s July 2003 international convention in Buffalo, New York. Approximately 70 chapter members attended the rally, which took place at the Brockport Elks Club lodge. Pictured making the donation are (left to right) Bill Hahn, F118055; Bob Neely, F27941; Sherrill Livesay, F143212; national director Bud Dabney, F227666; chapter secretary/treasurer Susan Livesay; Ed Carson, F188736; Perce McMillan, F51767; Twig president Barbara Windus; and Elks officers George Kipley, Carl Gurnsey, Jackie Scopa, Cliff Ashley, Linda Woodworth, Jeff Bullivant, Steve Woodworth, and Ray Mattic.