Family & Friends
By Bewick Murray, F256653
In March 2002, the Heart of Georgia Travelers chapter held a rally at Beaver Run RV Park in Metter, Georgia. Henry and Juanita Hogan, F258257, and Hartis and Dorothy Rogers, F274094, were our hosts for the event and provided a wonderful Saturday night dinner with fried catfish, grits (several flavors), shrimp (several flavors), hush puppies, and all the trimmings. Even after everyone ate too much, we still had a good bit leftover, including two large pans of fish that were prepared but not cooked.
With so much leftover food, we began talking about how nice it would be to find some place that could use it. John and Mary Bon Wallace F303070, called Joseph’s Home for Boys, and were told the facility would be glad to receive the food. So everything was loaded up and driven 25 miles to the home.
Joseph’s Home for Boys is a group home that cares for abused, troubled, and neglected boys ages 6 to 17. It is not federally funded and gets a limited amount of money from the state.
When the delivery crew backed their vehicle up to the home, two boys came out and helped unload the food. The house parent gave us a tour of the home, which is a nice facility. The boys thanked and hugged the delivery crew over and over. When we returned to the RV park we told the other chapter members about our uplifting experience.
The chapter decided to continue helping the home. In July of that year, Joseph’s had its annual fund-raising golf tournament. The Heart of Georgia Travelers sponsored a hole, entered a group in the tournament, and invited the boys out to Beaver Run for dinner so more chapter members could meet them.
That’s when members began talking about what the chapter could do for the boys at Christmas. It was decided that we would ask for a list of the boys’ names with their sizes, wishes, etc. In October we received the list from the home, and chapter members selected names and bought gifts for the boys.
Our December rally was held at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida, at which time members brought their wrapped gifts for the boys. We put all of the gifts into a trailer and took it to Joseph’s. When the trailer backed in at the home, the boys thought it was someone bringing paper goods or other supplies, and they all came out to help unload. When the the boys saw all those gifts wrapped with pretty paper and bows, they were stunned.
At our next rally it was decided that the chapter would make gift-giving an annual event, but we wanted to have the boys come out to Beaver Run RV park for dinner and to enjoy a visit from Santa Claus.
In October 2003 we formed a committee to work on the event and received a list of names from the home. The chapter raised money to buy gifts for the boys. We also bought five 21-inch TVs for their bedrooms. The committee purchased Christmas gifts for all of the boys. When we arrived at the RV park and contacted the home, we found out that two new boys would be arriving the next day. We told them that this would not be a problem, and said everything would be taken care of.
That evening when our guests arrived at the park for dinner, one of the new boys was walking in with one of our members and said, “I was told we might get presents tonight.” The member didn’t know this was one of the new boys and told him that Santa was supposed to come and he might bring some things with him. The boy said, “I’ve never had a gift before.” He was 14 years old.
Members of the Heart of Georgia Travelers had heard about the boys’ reaction to things being done for them in the past, but to see the excitement on their faces as they opened their gifts left few of us with dry eyes. The evening really made Christmas special for everyone there that night.
In 2004 the December rally was again held at Beaver Run RV Park, which is now the Brookwood RV Resort Park at Beaver Run. The boys came out for dinner on Friday night. Santa arrived and had a Christmas bag full of gifts for each boy. Each boy also received a cash gift “” kept by the home “” that they could draw from during the year to purchase items for trips, etc. Again, we all had a wonderful Christmas watching the youngsters from Joseph’s Home for Boys open their presents.
The 2004 event was attended by Southeast Area national vice president George Schipper, F17603, and his wife, Ann. We had been telling them about the boys, the home, and the Christmas party for a while and were glad they were able to attend.
Joseph’s is now in the process of building a new and bigger home that we hope will be able to help even more boys.
Betty Ramsey Passes Away
Betty Ramsey, L18426, wife of the late Bob Ramsey, a former FMCA national officer, died on December 5, 2004, in Falls Church, Virginia. She was 81.
Betty was born in Bells, Texas, and attended the University of North Texas. She married Robert Roddy in 1943, but he was killed eight weeks after their wedding when his plane was shot down over France during World War II.
Betty married Bob Ramsey, an Air Force officer, four years later. During Bob’s assignments in Germany, Belgium, Spain, Ethiopia, and the Pentagon, Betty was active with the officers’ wives club, serving as president several times.
In 1964 the couple settled in Vienna, Virginia, where Betty became a volunteer in the gift shop at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. She also was a member of the Vienna Baptist Church.
The Ramseys joined FMCA in 1976 and that same year helped form the FMC Club East chapter, for which Bob served as president and national director. Bob, who passed away in 1992, served three years as Eastern Area national vice president (1985-1988) and then three years as national senior vice president (1988-1991). He also served on numerous committees during that time. In addition, the Ramseys were members of the FMC Club Southeast, the Dixie Traveliers, and the Tennessee Ridge Runners chapters.
Betty is survived by a brother and a sister.
The Lays See A Bright Future
By Pamela Selberet
When Louis and Lynn Lay, F342705, are parked at a campsite in their elegant 2003 Alfa See Ya motorhome, with the coach’s generous slideouts wide-open, the sight is eye-catching. The white 40-foot coach, detailed in burgundy, dark blue, and tan, is a real attention-getter.
Equally as eye-catching, in an unusual way, are the little statues they arrange outside their coach. My husband, Guy, and I did a double-take as we drove past their site at a campground in Hot Springs, Arkansas. There, sitting on an outdoor carpet was a white-plaster Buddha. The Buddha shared the carpet with a large iron frog, and a creepy foot-long iron “attack ant.” We knew then that we had to meet the owners of this eclectic display.
The Lays have been full-timers for five years and joined FMCA in February 2004. We met them at a campground operated by the owners of a quartz mine just north of Hot Springs in central Arkansas. We had come to search for quartz at the mine, but the Lays, who had been traveling for the past nine months, had come to the area for a very different reason.
Louis, 67, explained that he recently had been diagnosed with macular degeneration, a serious eye condition that gradually steals one’s vision and has no medical cure. He had learned about a Danish acupuncturist named Per G. Otte who opened the Arkansas Therapy Center in Hot Springs Village approximately 10 years ago to perform a procedure known as “micro acupuncture” that promised favorable results for those with macular degeneration and other eye diseases. We soon learned that many other motorhomers at this campground had come for eye treatments also.
The Lays had been at the campground for a week when we met. During that time Louis had gone for micro acupuncture treatments “” tiny needles placed in the palms of his hands, soles of his feet, and both temples “” three times a day. The couple would need to return in six months for his second round of treatments, but Louis already was thrilled with the improvement.
“After just this short time I can read without my bifocals,” he said. “People come from all over the country to be treated, and we’ve heard lots of other success stories.”
Motorhoming became a way of life for the Lays soon after they married in 1987. They had met in a small town in eastern Washington where she owned a tavern and he was a customer. Louis joked that he liked to annoy his future wife by coming in just before closing time and ordering a large meal.
“At first we seemed a pretty unlikely couple,” Lynn, 58, said. “I was a city girl from San Francisco; he was a country boy from Minnesota.”
Louis said that his family lived on a farm outside tiny Walnut Grove, Minnesota, where they raised corn, oats, and barley. So what brought him from Minnesota to Washington?
“One day in about 1980, I was taking my son to the airport “” he had the good sense to move to Phoenix,” said Louis. “It was the middle of winter, and the wind chill was way below zero.” Louis said he decided on the spot that enough was enough. He went back home, packed up his car with a few belongings, and headed for the Northwest and its milder climate. He has never regretted the move.
After marrying, Louis and Lynn moved to Forks, Washington, where they worked at a print shop, Lynn in binding, Louis as an offset pressman. In Forks they bought their first motorhome, and the town is still their home base.
“I had always wanted a motorhome,” Lynn said. “I had made that decision years ago after taking a two-week vacation in my van.” She suggested they buy a motorhome, and if they didn’t like the lifestyle, they could always sell the unit.
Their first coach, which they acquired in 1990 “” trading in a 23-foot boat and the 1976 van for it “” was a 23-foot 1974 Minnie Winnie. Since they began motorhoming, the question of abandoning the lifestyle has never come up, they said, as everything simply “clicked.” Since then they’ve owned three other motorhomes: a 34-foot 1988 Southwind purchased in 1993; a 1998 Mountain Aire that they bought in 1999; and their current coach, the Alfa See Ya with its eight-foot ceiling and two roomy slideouts.
“It has everything we wanted: two recliners, a big pantry, and a computer desk,” Lynn said. “The only thing it was lacking was a wine cellar, and we took care of that.” In a back corner of the elegant blond-oak living room they installed a four-foot-tall wine rack, wound with metal vines and leaves, which contained not a few bottles of wine. (Lynn said she prefers California vintages, but has found good selections from Virginia and Colorado.) Also an oenophile, Louis wears a shirt blazoned with the words “Niente vini moschi,” which he said translates to “No wimpy wines.”
Like many motorhomers, the Lays travel with a four-footed friend, their black-and-white cat Tio Mario Andretti, who seemed to enjoy walking on his leash. Tio had been “Tia” until he was six months old. That’s when the Lays realized he was not the “she” they thought they had adopted.
Louis said his dream was to be retired by the time he reached age 62. By then the couple had already chosen a mobile lifestyle, but decided to let it provide an income. At the print shop he had worked on publications for American Guide Services Inc., a publisher of materials for the campground industry, and learned about work camping at RV parks and resorts. When he told his wife he was ready to retire and begin living, not just traveling, in the motorhome, she suggested he consult the publications for work opportunities.
They found that many work camping jobs were available. In 2000 the Lays spent six weeks at the Ice House Resort near Placerville, California, and another six weeks at Mariner’s Resort on Eagle Lake, near Susanville, California. Lynn tended bar while Louis did maintenance work.
They then returned to Washington, to the town of Sequim, on the Olympic Peninsula, and found more temporary jobs at Rainbow’s End RV Park. They spent six months of each of the next three years work camping in Sequim, but then decided it was time to take the winter off and spend it traveling to the Florida Keys and elsewhere in the Sunshine State.
They also enjoyed traveling around the Southwest, especially New Mexico, where Lynn said she can indulge her “food snobbishness.” They said that future destinations included southern Maine, the Texas hill country, and after that, who knew where?
“We love work camping and have made a lot of good friends doing it,” Lynn said. “But we may hold off and just travel for a while. You really can’t beat motorhoming as a way of life.”
When the couple explained why they enjoy the motorhoming lifestyle, they echoed the sentiments of most other motorhomers I’ve encountered over the years.
“I love traveling to different places, observing other customs, eating all different kinds of foods,” Lynn said. “And you meet such nice people.”
Louis added, “And if you want, you can have a different view out the front door every day.”