Today, we embark on a new era at Thunderbird. We are very excited to publish our first edition of “The Grapevine” blog! A few weeks ago, I asked our Thunderbird Facebook group to help name this blog. We laughed and enjoyed reminiscing with all who contributed. ”Grapevine” is a term that alumni from the late 1950s through the early 2000s know. Through these years, we printed the Smoke Signal/Tom Tom newspaper during the summer and winter and utilized it to communicate relevant camp information and keep our community connected. Though instant messaging, websites and social media took over and the newspaper felt less relevant there was still fun news to share. Our desire to keep our T-bird community connected and up to brings us full circle to “The Grapevine” blog. It occurs to me that the revival of the name is also a great opportunity to share a piece of Thunderbird history.
Back in the days of Speedy’s winter travels and then Moe and Carol’s, pads of paper would be set out at reunions. Campers and staff would flock to the pads waiting for a chance to write down a “shout out” to friends or update everyone on an accomplishment. My grandparents and parents then reformatted this information and placed it in the Smoke Signal/Tom Tom newspaper. Each family received a copy of the paper several times over the school year. It looked something like this: ….Shari “Tres” Sigoloff sends a big hello to all of her campers and co-counselors from Movin’ On ‘89….Roger “Brick” Bristowe sent a letter from England to tell Moe that he received his contract and can’t wait to return to lead PNW 1996…. Names were underlined, bolded and the four…. dots in between indicated a new person’s note. When the newspaper arrived, campers and staff alike poured over this part of the newspaper to see if their names were mentioned or if friends included updates on their lives. Remember that other than snail mail and expensive long distance calls, this was the only way to communicate with friends.
I visited the annuals of the Smoke Signal/Tom Tom newspaper to search for the first publication of The Grapevine article. What I learned fascinated my extended family and me. Speedy in all of his wisdom started the Grapevine concept in 1947, but he called it The Bulletin Board. It carried this name until 1954 when Speedy and Honey changed the name to the Mailbox and then Mailbag in 1956. Finally in 1957, he officially transitioned the name to “The Grapevine.”
So, in memory of Speedy, Honey and Moe and in honor of Carol, we revive a piece of history and bring you “The Grapevine.”
We are excited to present newsworthy “snip its” and stories from Camp Directors, counselors and perhaps campers this camp season and beyond. We hope you enjoy it!
Shari “Tres” Sigoloff