Reminiscences from Camp Joy Apprentice Mary Burke, 1974-1980

Let’s see— I moved into the redwood circle in June or July 1973 and stayed until I moved to Vancouver Island that fall. Then my mom died the following April (1974); Jim called to see how I was doing and told me to move back. So I did (second late spring-summer 1974). I had already left Antioch College, and arranged to transfer to UC Davis, so I started there— moving into the dorms— in October 1974. Then I quit school in December 1974 and moved straight back to Camp Joy. Then I lived at Camp Joy until the end of 1976. Then back to UC Davis, where I graduated in just a couple of quarters (all I had left), and transitioned straight into the Masters Program. 

But all that time, I was driving back to Camp Joy every third weekend— one weekend study, one weekend chores, one weekend Camp Joy. There was one quarter when all my classes were Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday, so I didn’t have a place in Davis but “lived” at Camp Joy— where my bed and clothes and all my things were—  and slept in someone’s garage here in Davis on Tuesday & Wednesday night, then drove home to Boulder Creek each Thursday afternoon. I guess I was an early ‘bi-coastal’ commuter except for the two-coasts part.

On March 7th (!), 1978, I met Bob and told Jim about him right away (like, an hour later!). Then Jim came up to meet him, they pruned trees together, and then— it seeming normal then— I had two ‘boyfriends’ for another year or so, driving back and forth to Camp Joy, going to the mountains with Jimmy.

Then, later, Bob and I decided to get married (June 1980). Sometime, a few months before the wedding, Jim “broke up with me”, saying— I really want you to have a chance to make your marriage work, and I know you guys want to have kids, and I think it’s time to end this, so you have a chance for your own life to work out. Well, it was very sad. Very very sad and very bad, but luckily Jim kept coming up to visit and somehow the three of us all made it over that bumpy time. Oddly, for years, he’d come visit every year on our anniversary— it was coincidence (he never knew it was our anniversary— probably just a good time to move bees or something).

Anyway. So I never know how to ‘count’ my time at Camp Joy. 

I moved in in 1974 – Jim and I ‘ended things’ sometime around early Spring 1980. 

That’s why, when people asked, I say: “well, I moved back and forth and lived other places, and went back to school, but my home was at Camp Joy for about 6 years.” 

I guess what I mean by that is that I was on the phone to Jim, or writing a letter, several times a week during all those years, so I was “engaged” in whatever projects were underway in that chit-chat way. And Leifin and Towhee and you and Bob G. were all in my life and my ‘primary’ family too. 

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