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Sweet Determination

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Sweet Determination


Before barely allowing me to get the words out in a sweet, cheerful voice, “Would you like to buy some Camp Fire mints?” the woman grumbled while slamming the door in my face. Hurrying back to the car, as a very young girl, I explained to my father that she must have just been having a bad day. I wasn’t a bit bothered by her need to take her crankiness out on me—the cutest little Bluebird. Instead looking up at my daddy with the pure innocence of a child I stated confidently, “I will try again tomorrow.”

The next day I did go back to her door and this time the outcome was much different. Yes, I was tickled. She bought a box of delicious chocolate mint patties from me. Either I won her over with my determination or even more it was my undying faith in mankind. My wonderful marketing skills had paid off. That year I was the youngest Bluebird in Campfire Girls to sell the most candy.

I was thrilled at my accomplishment—I had earned several free weeks at camp. Some of my fondest memories were while at camp. My parents were older and spent a great deal of time traveling for pleasure without me while I was growing up. Camp, a part of my parents’ great-getaway-plan, was delightfully my refuge. I loved singing around the campfire, performing skits after meals, and being comforted by the twinkling starry sky I called a nightlight as we slept outdoors.

After all the wonderful experiences I’d had as a camper, I still distinctly recall this one particular time had more significance than the rest. Calling my parents from the Camp Director’s private telephone, I hinted that I really missed them after just a few short weeks. Sniffling, “No, I am not homesick,” I answered with a little trepidation as if I were trying to convince myself otherwise. I don’t remember if I managed to stay all the weeks or had to leave early. However, I do know it was my camp counselors and the many older, more-seasoned Camp Fire Girls at Camp Maacama in Healdsburg, California that were wonderful encouragers in helping me survive such a long time away from home as the Bluebird with the great sales abilities. It was the most rewarding and adventurous summer of my young life. I believe I am a true inspiration to others that slamming the door in one’s face doesn’t necessarily mean a definite, “No.”

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  • Dave says:

    Fun story, good job

  • Glynn says:

    Great story. These experiences are what teach us and shape us, and what we remember when we’re separated from them by decades.

  • katdish says:

    You’re so right. Not a definite no. And if you’re not afraid to hear no, you tend to get a lot more yes’s. Great story.

  • Bridget says:

    Such determination and courage. No wonder you are doing such an amazing job dealing with all the difficult times you’ve been facing, JoAnne. You are a very strong woman… and it sounds like this is who you’ve always been. Great post!

  • Louise says:

    I love the analogy of the door slamming in your face — and not accepting the no!

    Great story — I felt your sadness and your joy.


    And thanks for dropping in — I’ll look for you next time I’m having a tea party at the bottom of the pool! 🙂

  • Val says:

    Great job…then and now! Those closed doors aren’t there to stop us but to reveal how badly we want what is behind that door. Determination that’s you!!!!

  • kali says:

    I remember that camp. 🙂 Hubby is in Heldsburg/Geyserville right ow helping his mom recover freom a broken hip, ouch.

    Love ya.

  • Julie L. says:

    As usual a great touching story. Hope you and your family are well.

  • Lynn Mosher says:

    Bless your heart! You are a real trooper! Love this! And you! xoxox

  • Thanks for sharing the great memory, a good witness of the power of determination and the faith of a child, which we all could use more of.

  • Lori says:

    I spent years in Camp Fire Girls and loved those peppermint patties – do they still sell those? I went to Camp Namanu in Oregon, but can’t imagine staying for 5 weeks! Thanks for stiring up my memories from those days. Sweet story JoAnne.

  • Nancy Miller says:

    Camp Maacama was a very important part of growing up in the 1950’s, as was selling candy. My mother, a door-to-door sales lady, taught me (after I tried doing it my way) that the biggest, fanciest homes did not house the best customers. She directed me to a street of small bungalows and cottages and that year I won the prize for most boxes of candy sold. For three summers, 57-59 I worked as a counselor; running the dining room, and learning to work with teenagers… in Sherwood Forest. At that time it was very rare for a camper to stay more than ONE week.

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  1. Well written! Thanks for sharing I really connected with this one. Peace and Love!
  2. So sad, what a terrible experience. and I know it was only one of many for you. Love you friend!!!
  3. This fills me with sadness: “No child should have to continually try to make a parent love them.” What a tragedy that your mother was not able to accept love from you. My guess is that deep down, she didn’t feel lovable, and she had to cover that shameful fact up with a bunch of br…
  4. It’s insane that these findings were made but nothing was done about it. All these years later, you are still waiting for the wrongs to be righted.
  5. I love you❤