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Sunday, November 18, 2–4 pm, History Center

Author Talk: Mara Melandry on Our Paradise: Berkeley’s Fabulous Family Camps.

Mara Melandry, a member of the Historical Society, is a long-time Berkeley resident and Cal graduate. She has researched the history of one of Berkeley’s most beloved institutions, the three family camps, Tuolumne, Echo Lake and Cazadero. Our Paradise: Berkeley’s Fabulous Family Camps covers all three. The history includes wonderful historic and more contemporary photographs. It is about 200 pages long, excluding photographs.

She has delved into the history of the camps from their beginnings in the 1920s to the present.  She has found what inspired city leaders to establish the camps in the 1920s, chronicled their earliest years, recorded their ups and downs, and described their wonderful and occasionally wacky traditions. 

She has found remarkable and entertaining stories about the camps.  Among the fascinating items she has uncovered are Wobbles, the famous horse, who swam at Cazadero; the cow that fell into the septic tank at Tuolumne; men in tutus; “Plunge-o” performing at Cazadero’s  Untalent Night; the time Rowan and Martin and the cast of Laugh-in visited Tuolumne;  the  legend of the purple-haired dog bear who kidnapped campers from Cazadero; the bridge named after Alferd G. Packer, the cannibal; and the truth about the “murderers” at Tuolumne and Echo Lake.   

The book also describes the camps in the context of historical events such as the Great Depression, World War II, and the tumultuous 1960s.   

Following the talk, there will be light refreshments and book signing.


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