Tag Archives: central maine

Bear Spring Camps opening day 2017

Greetings, readers. Although Bear Spring Camps has a relatively short season of only four and a half months, I do get excited on opening day. I’ve been going to this camp, located in central Maine, since I was five years old, and have truly loved every moment of it. As I get older though, and as my monetary situation changes, it is becoming obvious that my years at camp are numbered. I might only be able to go another three to five years. I have learned through inspirational videos to treasure every moment of life, which is how I am looking at the camp experience.

I saw on the Facebook page for Bear Spring Camps that Peg and Ron are beginning their 34th year of them running the business. The camp opened in 1910. Peg’s grandfather started it, and at some point her father and mother took over the day-to-day running of the camp. At the beginning, it was truly a fishing camp, with quite rudimentary cabins. Now they are quite plush and filled with modern conveniences like small refrigerators, and new wood stoves in some of the cabins. Last year my cabin got an upgrade with new wall insulation and a larger living room area. I really like it. I’m going to keep that cabin as long as I’m able to.

When I was younger, I would buy a calendar at a souvenir shop in Belgrade Lakes and number the days until I would be back at camp again. I was that obsessed with it. I don’t do that any more, but I do keep track of things like the camp’s opening day, closing day, and I still do get very excited about two weeks before I am to arrive for my week at camp in August.

I wanted to take Traci with me this year, and still might if I can talk her into it, as it will feel strange being engaged and not with her for 10 days. We will miss each other of course, and talk to each other every morning and evening on the phone. That is what we did last year and it worked very well.

As a long time Bear Spring Camper, I wish Ron and Peg Churchill and family a successful 2017 camp season, and I can’t wait until August when I will get there for my week at camp. I will fish, swim, go on pontoon rides, visit with family and friends, and have my annual happy hour. As many of you know, I am a man of tradition.

Next week I am expecting a two blog work week. One of them hopefully will be a top ten list. Until then, I bid you a great weekend, take care, enjoy the warmth, and as always, happy reading.

From Rebecca: Update on Keekee while Joe is away

Greetings, Joe’s readers. I have heard from Joe up in Maine a couple of times and he is having fun. He took a boat out at least once, which he enjoyed. And the day he got to camp, he called me from the front porch of his cabin, looking out at the same lake he has seen so many times before, and told me that it never changes and is beautiful. I talked to him today, and he said that they got rain in Maine last night, which made the fish scarce this morning. We are forecast to have storms in both central Pennsylvania and Maine today. It is strange to think that Joe is so far away and might have the same weather I am experiencing, maybe at the same time.

I visited with Keekee today. She seemed glad to see me and let me pet her for a bit of time. She is shedding, as usual when Joe goes away, but it doesn’t seem so bad yet. Probably by Friday I will look like a rug after cuddling with her. She has plenty of dry cat foot in a self-feeder container (gravity pulls more out into a front bowl as she eats out of it) but she really likes the wet food that I give her while I am there. I also make sure her water bowl is full. She is used to Joe talking to her and petting her (I suspect she sheds so much when he is away partly because he naturally thins out her coat on a daily basis by handling her) so I make sure I pay attention to and talk to her when I am there.

Last Sunday, I took my teenage nephew with me when I looked in on Keekee. She has met him before, but this time she was really shy and hid in the bathroom much of the time we were there. We stayed awhile, but I didn’t want her to feel uncomfortable. She seemed okay otherwise, so I just fed her and checked her water dish before we left.

I will be visiting her tomorrow and Friday as well.

As Joe would say, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

Can’t believe it’s almost time to go to Maine again

Greetings, readers. This will be a short one folks, because time got away from us. One week from tomorrow, I will be leaving for my annual trek to Bear Spring Camps in central Maine. It seems like it was just Christmas and now it is summer vacation. Am I ready to go? Mentally yes. Do I have all things packed away and ready? No. Far from it. I have laundry to do, supplies to purchase, a rental car to get; the list goes on and on. My mother was always so good at making the last-minute trip preparations; I am still a work in progress. Each summer I seem to do one thing better than the year before.

I’ve begun a list of things to take and number one on that list is Mom’s beloved binoculars. Will camp be ruined if I forget them? No. But sometimes they do come in handy. Other things that are going to go on that list: a flashlight with batteries, my radio, a box of CDs to play in the rental car, and at least one hoodie for those cooler evenings.

Kitty-cat Keekee has already begun to mope. Somehow, I think she knows that I am leaving. Her yearly shedding has begun early. But I know that she will be in good hands as Rebecca will take care of her. I’ll be at camp from August 2nd until the 9th, returning home on the 10th. Then it is back to work for us that coming Wednesday. It is such a short break but for me it is needed; I just get this craving to get out of town at least once a year. This coming May I will also be away for a week as my best friend David’s younger daughter graduates college.

On Friday, the already-written 300th blog post will go up. Rebecca and I think it is a good one. Until then, stay cool – we’re having a heat wave – take care, and happy reading.

Top ten list of the best things I’ve ever done

Greetings, readers. Here is a top ten list of highlights from my life, plus one honorable mention. They are eleven things or events which I’ve done, that every time I look back on them they bring a smile to my face. Only #1 and #2 are in definitive order. So I hope you enjoy.

#10. Taking a cross-country trip from Pennsylvania to California with my Aunt Marilyn. [Circa the late 70s or early 80s.]

#9. My transatlantic crossing on the Queen Elizabeth 2. [1973. Mom, Dad, Grandma, and I sat at the captain’s table. I have a photo of Dad and me in white hats, on board the ship, most likely on the way to dinner.]

#8. While married to Georgia Barnhart, we took a cross-country trip, via the southern states, to visit my mother-in-law in California, and the subsequent trip to Disneyland.

#7. As a child, learning to play Christmas Carols on my organ. [Ordinarily I’m not good with instruments, but the chords were one finger touch for my weak left hand, so I was able to learn some songs to play for my parents.]

#6. Becoming the Godfather to David and Geri’s older daughter Ashley. I also treasure becoming part of my best friend’s wife’s family as their uncle figure. [Extremely rewarding.]

#5. Meeting and remaining good friends over many years with David Trost, Rebecca Taylor, Georgia Barnhart & Jim Sneeringer.

#4. Wrote my three books and had them published through CreateSpace.com. [I am also proud of my play which got a staged reading at a nearby playhouse, and is currently being turned into a novel by Darren. I also wrote a screenplay for a Charlie’s Angels TV movie back in the day.]

#3. Started my blog in December 2011.

#2. My various trips to Europe with my parents. [Especially Rome, Italy and Amsterdam, Holland.]

#1. Going to Bear Spring Camps in central Maine.

Honorable Mention: Giving several performances of my lip-sync air-guitar show in my apartment building, including a tribute concert to a late friend, Erin Beish.

Well, there you have it. As most of my steady readers will note, Bear Spring Camps is #1. No big shock there folks. Until next week, have a great weekend, take care and happy reading.

Here is another excerpt from my first book

Greetings, readers. As I did once before, here is a second story for you all to enjoy from my first book, Picking Up Where We Left Off: My Bear Spring Camps Stories. As mentioned, Bear Spring Camps book 2 is well on the way. And since it’s going to be an easy day here at the office, I thought it might be fun to give you all another small taste of the first book. This is from a chapter I titled “A Basketful of Stories.” One of the smaller ones which wasn’t quite long enough to be its own chapter.

The above title is linked up to the book’s order page on CreateSpace.com. If you are interested, I have a sale going on until the end of May. Two dollars off the $9.99 list price. Hope you all enjoy and a new blog entry will be posted Friday or Saturday. Until then, take care and happy reading.

            Falling Asleep at the Pole – Another humorous story was about the time that I very nearly lost my fishing pole due to my unplanned late morning nap. As in the previous vignette, the weather was quite warm and without a breeze, and the fish weren’t biting, setting the right conditions for me to nod off to sleep. Dave and I were sitting at the stern of the boat in our usual spots, Dave in the left hand seat and me in the right. As time went by without action, I felt myself becoming drowsy, and decided to put my pole in a side compartment next to my seat. I nodded off. I can’t say for certain rather I was completely asleep or not but I was close enough. At a certain point, I was quickly awakened by Dave’s words, which I shall always remember. “Joseph, I highly suggest you pull back on your rod, now!”

            Grabbing my pole with my right hand, still half asleep, I pulled back and by some miracle did manage to set the hook. So here I was trying to fight a fish while fending off the sandman. Dave netted the fish, as he always did. I thanked him for the assist, for had he not spoken when he did, the fish would not only have taken my bait, but my rod and reel as well. From that moment on I vowed never to fall asleep in the boat again.


Sad day today

Greetings, readers. Yes, it is a sad day today for me. Yesterday evening I learned that a very dear friend of mine passed away. As some of you may know, I wrote one book about Bear Spring Camps in Central Maine, and am in the process of writing the second. Mrs. Mosher was the owner’s mother, who I had known since I was five years old.

I can’t ever remember seeing Mrs. Mosher without a smile on her face. She greeted people in the camp dining room with warm hugs and conversation about their day. Having lost both of my parents recently, I can imagine how Peg (Mosher) Churchill and her family must feel.

It’s ironic that I have been debating making this summer my last at Bear Spring Camps after almost 40 years, because of finances. Times change and many things are just not what they used to be. I used to go with my mom and stayed in the same cabin she had since I was a child. This year I will probably have to go by bus again; not fun. I am also still trying to make my current cabin feel like my second home.

Since learning of her death last evening, I have been in what I can only describe as a funk. I am depressed, feeling older, and wondering if I’m going to be able to do all the things I want to do before I die. I sat in my recliner chair late last night with a PS3 baseball game on in the background, trying to make plans for what I was going to accomplish before I died. Am I starting to get that morbid feeling again? Oh, yes.

At about 5 am, I figured I had to get at least a few hours of sleep because I was going to work later in the day, and I didn’t want to be a complete zombie. My conclusions were that we all just have to try to do the best we can at what we attempt. If we reach our goals, that’s great. If we don’t, that’s life. But not to set goals is not living. It’s existing. Right before I switched off the lights, I decided to make a few short-term and long-term goals. One of my short-term goals is to finish camp book 2 and dedicate it to Mrs. Mosher. One of my long-term goals is to write either a novel or a series of children’s books with good, strong, loving characters that will stand the test of time.

Lastly, I am still waiting to hear from cousin Wino (pronounced Wee-no) in Holland for the final puzzle piece that will let me complete my father’s blog entry. Until very soon, take care and have a good day.

Sharing a story from my first book with you

As many of you may know, last year I published a book with CreateSpace.com, called Picking Up Where We Left Off: My Bear Spring Camps Stories. Now that I have been blogging for a few weeks, I have decided to share one of the stories from the book. This is my favorite story of all of them.

Bear Spring Camps is a vacation spot located in Central Maine. I’ve been going there every year since 1970 and have accumulated many, many fun and intriguing stories. I shall share the link with you to this book and also let you know that Camp Book 2 is in the works. Just follow the link from the book title above for a better look.

Bear Spring Camps Tribute to My Mother

My mother, Dorothy Kockelmans, passed away on June 15, 2003. We were due to go to Bear Spring Camps in August – just two months away. I had never undertaken the arrangements for the Maine vacation before in my life. I was scared and very nearly called it off. But I said no, Mother would have wanted me to go. Not thinking that I could drive the 612 mile journey myself, I got on the computer and booked a cheap round trip airline ticket and a rental car.

When the time came, I flew into Bangor, Maine, picked up the car at the airport, drove an hour southbound on I-95, and arrived in Waterville at the same time my mother and I normally would have when we drove the whole way up from Pennsylvania. Next stop, Bear Spring Camps.

Continue reading Sharing a story from my first book with you

Greetings Blog Readers

My name is Joseph M. Kockelmans and this is my first blog entry. I just want to say hello to  everyone and to let all who are interested know that I am an author and have one book published. I am 46 years old and have been vacationing in the state of Maine all my life. My book deals with my experiences at Bear Spring Camps in central Maine. It is a fun folksy light read which would be enjoyable for anyone. It is called Picking Up Where We Left Off: My Bear Spring Camps stories and you can find it at https://www.createspace.com/3625476.

As I get more familiar with blogging, I hope to post once a week to start and more often after that.