Pauline Curry and Christine Hemmings

Recorded June 25, 2009 Archived June 25, 2009 01:14:58 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: MBX005470


Pauline Curry (64) is interviewed by her daughter, Christine Hemmings (40) about her lifetime love of the Dolly Copp campground.

Subject Log / Time Code

Dolly Copp National Forest Campground; first memories of going to Dolly Copp
story about Smokey the Bear disappearing; curfew; sneaking out of the tent
plan to put electricity at Dolly Copp; 65th summer without missing one summer; flush toilets
2005 the city built a one mile road next to Dolly Copp; glacier rocks; buying a lot that borders Clay Brook ad the National Forest
fire tower on Pine Mountain; marble seat in memory of someone; climbing Mount Washington


  • Pauline Curry
  • Christine Hemmings

Recording Location

MobileBooth East


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00:02 Hi, my name is Christine Hemmings and I am 40 years old today is June 25th 2009. We are in Berlin New Hampshire and I am here with my mother.

00:21 My name is Pauline Curry. I'm 64 today is June 25th 2009. I'm in Berlin New Hampshire and I'm here with my daughter Chris.

00:36 So Mom for my whole life, you've talked about Dolly Copp and what it means to you. Can you talk about your first memories? And first of all, tell me. What is Dolly cup?

00:48 Okay, Dolly. Copp is a National Forest campground. It's located in well, it's not Gorham New Hampshire. It's one of those locations or whatever and

01:02 It is one of the most relaxing joyful places that has been part of my life. My first memories are when I was probably about 4 years old and my father and the friends that they had met and the kids had wagons and he tied them all together and told us all around the campground and

01:37 Tim swimming in the swimming pool, which is not there any longer and

01:45 This is something I don't remember but it's something that I've been told over the years is that we went camping and Riverside Drive and I walked up the hill to somebody that was camping up there. They had a little boy that was supposed my age. And so we would play together and I went up one day and I I said to them my parents would like you to come for dinner. I remember the stories and so Being the adult check it out before they come expecting to eat today so they came down and they met my mom and dad and no they haven't been invited to dinner, but they became lifelong friends. And so they were from Toronto Canada in every some of they would come down.

02:45 Wanted to have biggest traits was to buy all of their clothing for the year in Berlin and

02:54 You know Deke also was a lifelong friend and I still talk to mrs. Maynard K main it.

03:05 So I think that's one of the special things about Dolly got pissed that you do have lifelong friends that you made.

03:17 So you may like you did make a lot of friends while you were camping. You went back every year you made a lot of friends while you were there.

03:27 One friend and she remains my closest friend I met when I was about 14, her name was Lou Johnson, and she's from Lynn Mass. She lives down in the keys right now and we talk almost everyday on the phone with just really maintain this close Bond every summer she comes up and spends time with me and we go to Dolly Copp and you know, she's just such a special person a lot of

04:04 Our experiences and I love of Dolly Copp. We share how old were you when you met her I was about 14. Why don't you tell me some of the things that you and Lou did when you work well win?

04:20 We were teenagers then and so we would hang out with some of the the teenagers that were there in that would be there at the same time. Every time that we went and one was a time Lucy. She was from Rhode Island and we are still in touch. Although maybe about two or three times a year and then we met the Flynn boys who were from Winthrop Mass and they were three guys that were our age and so we would hang out with them and in the evenings, they would have campfires Mr. Mrs. Flynn would have these big campfires and they would bring out there musical instruments and Dave Flynn used to play this thing called that sounds like a big bass. It's made out of a wash basin that's upside down and

05:20 Rope goes to a hole in it and then a stick rests on the edge of the

05:30 The wash basin and it sounds just like a base and we had just wonderful times around the campfires with them and all of the other campers in we were in the big Meadow by then would come and we went.

05:52 Just really relax and enjoy it and

05:57 Sing songs and yep, all of those Old Camp signs you have any examples of the camp songs?

06:08 Is chewing gum does your chewing gum chewing a few other ones that get a little bit disgusting with on the weekends the campground with the open them up and they would have different kinds of activities and the ones that we love the most where the has a teenage who were the dancers that they would have it lose parents had this old.

06:49 It almost looks like it was put together like with paper mache full length mirror. And so all of the girls who could see no pilot of the trailer and primp and get ready for going to the house and some people with some friends of my parents. They would call Square dances some of the times and that was a lot of fun and they did have another one a couple of years ago down there. So those have wonderful memories. Also I seem to remember a story about the Smokey the Bear disappearing. Do you want to tell me about that you're telling about all that stuff fun things that you did with everybody as a group, but I remember some other stories.

07:45 Well, one of the things that I had was a curfew and if I was out walking around with the kids, I would have to be back by 10 and my parents were sleeping in the in a steam Taylor trailer with my sister Joyce and she's six and a half years younger than me. So she got to sleep in the trailer and I had my own tent which was the original 10 put my parents and I camped in which was one of those old umbrella tents and I would wait until they fell asleep and then I would gently unzip the 10th and I would sneak out and join the friends we would walk around the camp.

08:38 You know what go down to the ball field at the rec Hall and that was it was closed, but we would sit and talk but one time we took the big cut out of Smokey. The Bear that was made out of wood was about seven or eight feet and we put it in the ladies room down there so that when someone came in with a flashlight and I mean right in the middle, and so then we would tell you no say goodnight and go back to

09:24 You know the tenth one time I was out and it was going to start to rain in a few minutes and then it started to you. No have a few drops and then it would rain a little bit more and I said I have to get back. I just booked out of there about getting wet and I think it was about 3 minutes that you got ensure that if he came and checked on me, so I was

09:58 Safe in my bed. Did you ever climb any mountains in the middle of the night? No, I did not have a curfew so she would often do some of those other kinds of activities. Yes. So you were just talking about rain and rain seems to be the thing that all tent campers dreads. So why don't you tell me what you did on rainy days?

10:31 Well, I have seen the photos of when I was in the infant and there's one there that it's raining in my parents of sitting around the campfire with umbrellas with their friends that they had met by they only had met lots of families from Rhode Island and they formed a group called the trail dust has and they all had kids tip of my age and

11:00 And so they had put like he looks like a fence but it is made out of canvas behind everyone so that they would not get the rain from that side and they're sitting sitting on my dad's lap. So that doesn't sound too great to me these if it was during the day we would go into Berlin and that was the big thing that we would save for a rainy day and we would walk and go into every one of the stores that were there and it was a World War and the Woolworths had a like a soda fountain and so it stopped there and always get a

11:47 A snack so we try to really stretch it out.

11:55 You know stop raining by the time we went back but there have been times when it rained the whole time. We will compare my goodness it was.

12:05 I don't know if you remember when June yes, I remember that June live next door to us at.

12:12 Home in Westfield Mass. And she came up one time with her three children young children my three children and

12:27 She had the most horrendous time because it rained and it rained in a rage that whatever first time there right at sleeping bags for the Catholics and we would have to go into town and try them out and left laundry that still there actually and I was amazed that she came back to next year. I remember putting wooden planks over so that we can walk from one area to another so let's Jump Ahead a little bit and talk about when you begin working full-time. Cuz when when we were little you were you had done remember having you had the Summers off and you weren't working until probably Steven was in kindergarten, right? So

13:18 Would it be did you still come up to Dolly Copp then? And what did you do? Let me go back a little talk to when I was a teenager and I started working full-time. I would plan to my vacation so that I could go out with my parents around the same time and by there and I had met your dad Justin and

13:43 He was taught to him problems with the idea of camping. But he said that he would come up my parents had advised him to come up and visit and so they set a tent out for him and he went and got there. He had brought the mattress from his bed. She's I can just picture that everybody that was there with just roaring when he took it out it to put it in the tent. My father was really brutal with him. He took advantage of him and he asked him to go next door to the

14:26 Family next door that he knew and deparo the vacuuming and he said sure right jaw League hop and so they just really roared that that that and he pulled a few more things. Like I'm sure he'll say you're playing right now to put electricity italique up and we're really concerned that that's going to change the flavor of the campground because really they has been not many changes over the years. I've gone I was 11 months the first year I went and

15:17 This is going to be my 65th summer without missing all summer. And I have to say that we used to have pit toilets. I have flushed and that's a good Improvement not been many changes in his liking and

15:44 Did really I feel some damage to the campground so

15:52 Do you have any stories about after you and Dad were married that that

15:59 You want to share with us, but I had told Justin that I was going to be going up to Dolly Copp, even if he didn't want to go because it's part of my heart and its it means a lot to me because of all the friends have made and the joyful things that we did with my parents in the hiking and so he said, well, he would go up and try it. So we were married in February and that June we went up to do well.

16:36 Camping with June season in the swimming pool area, we had bought this tent and the midgie swear. I never thought of that when I said it was awful. I have to say that that's the only time that I was just about crying and wanted to go home, but I couldn't do that because I didn't think that's going to come back. So fortunately it was only for the weekend, but those noseeums are awful. So

17:14 Do you have any other stories about after you were married?

17:17 How about bringing kids that must have been a new experience? That's that's something that

17:27 What's really exciting and a challenge you had three children? Yes. David was one after another.

17:38 And we came up with him in the beginning of August. So he was about two months old and at that time there was no disposable diapers. And so we have the cloth ones and that we were going to the laundromat. You know, it's really easy to go camping with it an incident and he loved putting his feet in the water at Flat Rock even though it was really cold and then the next year we had you and you were born in July. So we came up at the beginning of August until you were a month old.

18:22 And you didn't care if the water that way. I think it's still a little bit of a challenge and then Stephen was born in October. And so we had a little bit of a breather which was good because he was born with a disability spina bifida and he needed a lot of surgeries and a lot of different treatments and so he it was that next August that he came up which is still he was still under one but he was a trooper and it was fine. And and you know, it was nice to see us as you kids grew how much you really enjoyed being there and it just is wonderful that you

19:17 Continue to come up and go and also now that your daughter's my granddaughters come up and love it as well as well as Joe, you know, your husband David does not come up as much as

19:37 He used to and Steven because he is wheelchair. It's difficult for him to get around and you know, they really aren't same kind of activities that right you are the kids can participate in although one year when it was about 15 or 16. He wanted to push up and I have to give him credit because he pushed all the way up to the fort and center right he would on it in the Hills. He would push up 3 inches in roll back to and he didn't have a racing wheelchair anything I specialize wheelchair and

20:22 He wouldn't have let anybody touch his wheelchair to give him a push.

20:27 So he persevered and

20:31 He did it.

20:36 So something happened in 2005 and it probably is a combination of a

20:44 Lifelong. I don't know dream, but just something that

20:48 That was really wonderful that happened in your life. Can you tell us about it?

20:53 I had always said that I would love to have a piece of property up there because I knew at some point that camping would become a little bit difficult. And also I'd like to stay a little bit longer and come up in the winter time and we were very fortunate thanks to you I think because you told me when the area was going to be developed when they were putting the road in that one mile from the entrance entrance to Jolly. They were putting in a road and nobody really knew too much about it, but we sort of figured out what it was going to be and so we contacted Ed Ricart from the Gorham lamp company.

21:41 And he said yesterday we're going to be putting some develop some Lots up in that area. And so I asked if he knew had more information about it or how much it would be. He said he didn't at that time, but I told him I wanted to be contacted as soon as he know my friend Lou came up and she and I drove up and

22:13 Drove in when they were putting the road in which was an amazing job because they had to take some of the land out and just where rocks and set the Rocks as her. The rocks are so special because what they are a glacier rocks and so they are millions of years old in their just beautiful. They have Micah and granite and they sparkle and so I said to put slain who is the one that was put in the road in that he should save some of those because otherwise I'd get ground up and right, you know destroyed so

22:58 So that day we walked a blue and I walked around and decided where it would be the perfect place.

23:09 You note to buy out a lot and I kept calling head Ryka. The land was surveyed and they were ready to you know, go through with Statin to advertise himself. We Justin and I went up quickly and I think you came over there and also and Joe walked the the lot that we would thinking about borders Claybrook and also the National Forest right and it has the most magnificent views of Pine Mountain and Madison and Mount Washington. It's just the view that I grew up with the dolly cup and so we

24:03 Put a deposit down and

24:08 Then we would just going to hold the land, you know, we weren't going to do anything with us. And of course, you know.

24:17 Skip pumping up. My mind gets had to get it out about to look at you different websites about luck happens because I really wanted something that would be fit into the area and they did that for a couple months and then I found the ones that's watching dad was great about going around with all of this because it was a big project in and which was so great and letting us know about different contractors like plumbers and electricians and Carpenters. Mr. Trembly from Berlin Cayman.

25:11 Helped us put the the first I forget which called the first like floor that you build on the foundation not the foundation, but it's it's them covered. Well, you know beans and wood and his son and Tay on has done a lot of work with us to sew and we've become friends and so

25:42 So I pretty much was the general contractor organizing all of that. I say this the cheapest the best bagging that I ever was to find a porta potty for $75 for the whole building. Did you do for the building. How did you get the log cabin up? Well, we we got this I hate to take it because that sounds like it's Lincoln Logs with something but it's similar from Konomi log homes and Nova Scotia and I contracted with one of the people that put them up for two weeks. And so he came down and then for two weeks in May of 2000.

26:31 Alaska family and friends came up and help to build the log cabin and it was such a meaningful experience because it reminded me of the Amish log and amazing The Amazing and dinner and my boss came up Mary Lou cell has two sons and she is a wonderful cook.

27:06 But one time I asked her I said, you know how many cans of beans do you think I should open up by having hot dogs and beans and salad and she said well, I think this is going to be enough.

27:21 Well, I'm not sure but another wonderful thing that happened which was a surprise to me was that Lewis said that she was going to give us a gift the deck and such an amazing wonderful gift that that was because we didn't have the money to

27:57 Do anything about it.

28:01 And it's 12 by 12 feet by 30 feet. And then it goes 38 feet by 12 foot round two sides and we sit out there and

28:16 Just Revel and Lee wonderful views that we see I'm usually out there at 6 in the morning. Everybody else is asleep with my coffee and listen to the birds and just sit there in.

28:32 You don't just amazing that such a wonderful gift.

28:39 Do you have a thing that we did was that I wanted to gas fireplace at some point area. That's the other thing we have money for at the time but I did ask everybody that came to help build to pick out a really nice Stone from the area and I saved them and two years later. We had a gas fireplace put in and damn came and he did the the work to put the stones up around the the fireplace and and the mantle is made out of logs. And then the the stones that people gave us all along the the whole

29:24 Top 10 watch called that, you know from the mantle up and they're jealous of beautiful stones and you know people gave such

29:40 They were just wonderful about giving their time and to come in to help out even though they may be never had looked it up a hammer reform and David are.

29:55 Son David was fantastic to come and

30:00 Work so hard after the two-week. The roof was still not on and we opened up the packages of the metal roofing.

30:16 And it was the wrong color. I had wanted Heron blue, which is more like a blue gray and actually came up to be this bright blue and you know it back and forth with the company and all of this and finally we had to put the the metal on because we didn't want the inside to get wet.

30:43 So it matches the sky. Yes. I did. It's very beautiful and we can see it from the top of Pine Mountain. Yes, the cabin with a blue roof. That's how you're known. And that's where we tell people when they're trying to find you know.

31:00 And down at the entrance to the driveway lose husband Tom made the number 10 out of birch logs the number of her.

31:12 Lamb lyrics

31:14 Keeping in with style of the area on a nice big sparkly rocks, which was one of the first mountains that all of the little kids climb first and said that was what we did and they had wonderful blueberries. Yeah, I got to the top and at that time they had a fire at our on the top when you were little yes, and when you get to the top of the tower the fire range at there would give us a membership card in can't remember the

31:55 Hold title, but it was I think they

32:00 Order of the squirrels squirrels to be a marble seat at the top that had been built for in memory of someone it's still there. Well, you know what they are is is they have put another one in in its place. But the first one was all white marble, and it was just Ridin the storm out so I never do that.

32:37 And so that's just wonderful Mountain. It's probably about the easiest around and yet the views her terrific terrific and then we climbed Washington and stayed overnight at the Lake of the clouds and have gone up that many times and Madison and we are hemp and now in Luke Combs. She usually has a rental car. So we grabbed. Is there anything else you want to tell me about Dolly Copp any other? Well, I think the the story of Tully cup is interesting because people always want to know will what does that mean? Right? It's kind of a funny name of a campground. Yes, and it was named after a woman.

33:37 Who lived with her husband Hayes cop and she used to take him visitors at her house that was there. And it was like 3:18 and there's a book called the pilgrim soul and that sort of talks about the story because she was one of the she and her husband one of the first settlers to the area in ears and on her 50th wedding anniversary. So they say she announced at 50 years is long enough to live with any man. And so she left and went to meeting to live with her daughter.

34:23 So they have the memorial there to her. And as I said the campground is pretty much the same as it always has has been we usually camping big Meadow. Yep, campsite 28 within an hour and fortunately because of the trees have taken down to Snug look the same and you were in 49. I don't remember we've been in several. I know we know where it is, but not back in the summer or so and swimming was

35:04 Wonderful at Flat Rock and what is Flat Rock Flat Rock is who can either walk down the trail from Big Meadow or you can drive around and talk in Flat Rock is just as it sounds the roads were the rocks are.

35:24 Very very long and flat and beautiful and you can spread out a towel and sit on it and stick your feet in and then you're on the ice cold one of her legs is on your knees.

35:49 You know like to do some looking for fish or tadpoles that filled the bridges across the I have three paintings of the view that you get from Flat Rock that has in the distance Vine mountain and it is one that was done by friends of my parents and it shows all of the friends that we knew what that time and I'm swimming in the water and my father standing in the water talking to one of his friends and my mom always had this multicolored towel and so she's sitting on the rocks with the towel. So I have that painting in the cabin. I made one when I was ten little amateurish, but that's hanging and then

36:48 Dad did one of me laying on the Rocks reading and they all have the same few. Yeah, so it's newest upset its area. It's a campground that is close to me and that I love and

37:09 I guess that comes through in what I've said, so I think you're right. So I really want to thank you for doing this Chris and I was my pleasure. I love you, too.

37:20 I love you. I'm not doing it.