Buckaroos, this is an addition to our web page so all our
past guest can keep up with the changes at the ranch.
The biggest change for the new millennium is the management
of the hostel. My two boys, Dirk and Jake have
grown into a couple of fine young men and are now of the age
of responsibility. Dirk graduated from Washington State
University (my Alma Mater) with a BA in Hotel and Resturant
Management. He managed for Boston Market for a few years and
receive top awards for his position. He decided to leave fast
food and try his hand in the hospitality industry. What
better place to begin than his home turf.
Jake graduated from Western State University in Aug of 2001
with a BA in Anthropology and Environmental Studies. I
am so proud of Jake, his schooling was interrupted by a short
term marriage that produced a new man in my life. My
grandson is now 7. He calls me "TEEPEE GRANDMA"
. Then in 2001 Jake had another child, a
little girl called Kaya. She is grandma's pink princess and
a dream come true. It has all made a difficult challange for
Jake to finish school, but what an accomplishment, and what
a nice addition to our hostel family.
Now that the my two boys are managing the hostel, Malachi
and I are going to Disneyland.
The two of them have some fun changes in mind for the hostel.
Formost on their list is reaching out to more groups and schools.
They want to use the hostel as a teaching ground for all ages.
Jake is putting together a non-profit hostel with his friend
Johnny Street. They want to raise enough money to buy 100
acres near Stevens Pass for an environmental hostel. They
have even signed up for the "Amazing Race" TV show
to try and win the million dollar prize to help fund their
dream. I am excited for both these guys. Without a dream,
it's hard to make it a reality. Their hostel will be called
Maktup meaning, It is Written. They are building a web site
to help others get involved and soon we will have the site
address listed here.
Well the battle with the county is over and I am not sure
if you call it a victory. It all depends on which side
of the fence you are standing on. The bottom line is
that we get to use the barn and thats a relief. Now
we are free to do what we do best, and that is providing you
with a special place in the Pacific Northwest.
regret to announce that our old hostel dog Koko passed on
to green pastures. She was a familiar part of the hostel and
greeted all with love and affections. She was with us for
17 years and will be missed. We also lost Miss Piggy, the
cat who also was a resident hosteller. She was 18 and had
a good life, hope she enjoys her travels in the other world.
now have 11 teepees, 4 covered wagons, a new tenting area,
the Big Red Barn , 3 private Log Cabin rooms, a 4 acre nature
walk, and a special new house called the Lavender
Duck for our couples who want more than a teepee.
We are working hard on the new nature trail that will have
benches, interesting art works, 3-D animal totems and new
rhododendrons donated by our school groups, brownie troops,
campfire girls and boy scouts. The flowers add so much to
the nature trail and we thank all that donate them.
past summer has seen many school groups using the hostel.
It is particularly satisfying to hear the laughter and see
the children enjoy the little world we have created. I have
been impressed with the quality of teachers that have brought
groups out to study early American history. They are teaching
how to make candles, quilt, write in journals and eat dried
foods they prepared in class. The kids all seem to enjoy learning
in the teepee and covered wagon setting. I am always willing
to share my knowledge with any group that wants to know how
to put up a teepee or how to build a log cabin. I love sharing
my ideas, explaining my tongue-in-cheek humor around the hostel
and explaining the animal totems I painted on the teepees.
hope some of you saw our TV documentary in 1996 on "Living
in a Teepee" that aired on Channel 7. I showed how to
put up a teepee and it was filmed at the hostel. Then in 1997
we had a 30 minute program called " An All American Picnic"
which showed on Channel 12 for the Dorothy Wilhelm show. It
was so fabulous. She brought in the Cimeron Dancers from Tacoma,
a great fiddle group and a Dutch-oven cooker. It turned out
very well. Also in 97 we had a nice article in Family
Fun Magazine published by the Disney Company, boy did we see
an increase in bookings from families. As of March of '98,
I am happy to announce, that I am in a new book by Jo
Giese called "A Womans Path".
picked 40 women from across the USA that had built an interesting
path out of a difficult situation. I am very honored to be
in this beautiful book. I hope you will take the time to look
up my story and all that occurred in building the hostel.
those ex-hostellers who might be wondering, I am still flying
the friendly skies or what ever they call us now. In November
I start my 40th year with United Airlines. I am
now a designated Purser on the international flights. I hope
I see you on board United on in my backyard. But first
I am going to take a much needed vacation and head for France
to study the growing of lavender. Hope to see you at
2000 / New Years
was the most miraculous experience I have ever had
in my life. I share it with you because it is
so wonderful. It is my gift to all who believe
in miracles. It is titled:
"Miracle on UALFlight
What greater gift
could I give my mother than to find her brother. Separated
as children, she had not seen him for sixty-seven years and
assumed he had died in the war. She knew he had gone into
the service before he was eighteen as many young men had done.
Mother was adopted when
she was seven months old. From then until she left home, she
moved every year of her life. It seemed as though her parents
were running away from someone or something.
Mom recalls playing with
her "cousin" when she was eleven. Suddenly she was
whisked off to a neighbors house, hidden for the day,
and promised a string of pearls if she kept quiet. She never
saw him again. At age 22, she was told the "cousin"
was really her brother.
By the time mother was
sixteen, she was tired of moving and left home. She lived
with a Salvation Army family, working for her keep. Life was
tough, but mother lived by the Salvation Army slogan, "Dare
to be a Daniel; Dare to stand alone; Dare to have a purpose,
and Dare to make it known". Through the years,
her slogan was preached to her children. The slogan became
my guiding light, especially whenever I faced a daunting situation.
Mother never asked for
much out of life. She assumed nobody wanted her, and whatever
she got was all that she deserved. The black hole within left
her feeling less about herself but did not affect her willingness
to sacrifice for others.
She has been my helpmate
for twenty years. She helped me raise two sons, build my business
and fulfill my dreams. She has been my best friend for as
long as I can remember.
I have wanted desperately
to repay mother for all she has done for me and help her feel
whole and complete. I began searching for her brother. I searched
records relating to births, deaths, adoption, and military
service. I even paid to list her with a search company. I
always came up empty handed. After a year, I put aside my
efforts and worked on other projects.
Just before Christmas
2000, I was cleaning out my file cabinet when I ran across
the old file on my mothers brother. I shuffled through
all the information. Nothing new jumped off the pages. Reluctantly,
I slid the file back into the cabinet, closed the drawer,
and vowed that I would spend more time in the New Year pursuing
the search. I would have time as soon as I finished my latest
project, the cottage.
In September, I had decided
to build a small cottage for mother. I own a hostel and Bed
and Breakfast. The constant activities of staff and guests
make privacy impossible. My home slash business has become
quite hectic for someone mothers age. I therefore set
out to convert a 103 year old peach-packing shed, into a cottage.
Despite the crooked walls, termites, uneven concrete floor
and two ole carpenters who were not quite up to speed, the
project was doable. The renovation quickly ate up the money
I had budgeted. Rather than borrow more money, I decided
to pick up a few flights to earn the extra cash.
As a flight attendant,
you are paid for flight time only. I told my family that this
year I would fly Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, something
I had avoided in the past. The cottage had to be finished
On December 29th, I piggy
backed a Hawaii trip onto a New Zealand trip. Its an
exhausting way to pickup time. I would fly in from Hawaii
in the morning, sleep and then fly out to New Zealand late
I flew the purser position
for the Hawaii trip. When I looked at my crew list for the
flight, I was drawn to one flight attendants name, Stanclift
with a "T". It is not a common spelling, but the
same as my mothers birth name. If I had not been purser,
I would not have noted the last name. United Airlines has
23,000 flight attendants, and we fly with different crews
all the time.
When Camille Stanclift
walked into the briefing room, I thought she resembled my
niece. However, I put aside my curiosity and prepared for
the trip. I didnt think any more about it until an unusual
set of circumstances occurred on the flight. Several passengers
met friends they had not seen for awhile and others discovered
they had close friends in common. While talking about chance
meetings, I mentioned that I was intrigued by Camilles
last name. I brought up the fact that mother was adopted and
her birth name was also Stanclift. I added that I had been
trying to find my mothers brother.
Camille, commented, "Gosh,
my grandfathers sister was stolen by the babysitter!"
I responded. "If
his name is Bobby I will be spooked"
"No his name is Robert!"
We both got very
excited. When we compared the ages of my mother and her grandfather,
the age difference was right. Mother is 78 and Robert is 80.
When did he last see his sister, what was her name then? Mothers
adoptive parents had changed her first name, and I could not
remember it. Camille could not recall the missing sisters
name. Camille said it was a family joke that they had come
from circus people because her great-grandfather worked in
With this bit
of information, I went weak in the knees, and a chill passed
through me as though a ghost of the past was verifying the
words. My mother was told her grandfather was in a circus.
Part of his act was to break rocks on his chest.
Tears welled up in my
eyes; my mind was spinning. Could it be? We still had to fly
back to Los Angeles, and I was so glad it was an all-nighter.
Most passengers sleep, and I wanted to think. I reviewed the
old files in my mind. I did remember a small picture of Bobby.
He had a lazy eye. It looked half closed, but I wasnt
sure if it was a permanent infliction.
I raced to the back of
the plane and told Camille about the picture. She gasped and
relayed that her grandfather had a lazy eye, but she thought
it was because he was old. She remembered a picture of her
grandfather holding her father when he was a baby. Her grandfathers
eye was half shut. He evidently had his lazy eye his whole
Now the evidence was
overwhelming. Suddenly, I remembered the name of mothers
birth mother. I hurried back to Camille and said, " I
think mothers birth mothers name was Vivian".
as though a ghost had nudged her, and she said, "I just
got the biggest chill all over my body, I think my great grandmothers
name was Vivian."
"Pinch me, I must
be dreaming", I said. "I think we are cousins,"
Had I found my mothers
brother? Did I now have an uncle?
We were stunned. Camille
would call her grandfather and verify some of the information
we had shared. I needed to find out mothers first name
at birth. Camille agreed to e-mail me that night before my
New Zealand trip.
wait to call my mother. "Mother, I have the best Christmas
present ever, are you setting down." I told her the miraculous
Her reply was a long
soft drawn out, "Oh My". She began to cry and said
she was not sure she wanted to open the past. She was stunned
to learn she had a brother who was still alive. She told me
her birth parents had named her Ruth.
Needless to say, I didnt
sleep much before my New Zealand trip. When I woke up, I rushed
to a computer. The e-mail, was titled, "The Scoop."
My heart pounded as I opened it up and read, "Grandpas
sisters name was Ruth. His mothers name was Vivian.
Guess we are cousins.!!!"
How do you stand
in the middle of a crew room and shout for joy without twenty
other flight attendants thinking you are crazy? You dont.
I settled for running to a supervisor and sharing my excitement.
Thank you the powers
that be, the millennium forces were with us. If Camille had
married and changed her name, I would never have put it together.
If she had not been on her first international flight, our
paths would not have crossed. If I had not started the cottage,
I would not have flown the holidays. If I had not been purser,
I would never have seen her last name. She has only been a
flight attendant for two year and I have flown thirty-five.
With that spread in seniority, it is not common to fly together.
And she had only heard the story of her grandfathers
lost sister three years ago.
were all around me. An explosion of fireworks danced in my
head. Happy New Year!
My most precious wish
has been granted. Merry Christmas Mother.
For those of you that have met my mother, Gwen,
you know what an integral part of the hostel she is.
She is our accountant, receptionist, laundry maid and house
cleaner. It would be heard to do what I did without her.
2003 Dirk married a beautiful girl named Katie. He
is no longer managing the hostel but busy creating boarding
houses in the University of Washington area. He bought a beach
house on Vashon, remolded it and then sold it for a handsome
profit. With his gain he bought his first building. As of
now he is on his 4th building. I think they are more like
long term hostels.
2004 Judy and Gwen moved from the cottage at the Lavender
Duck to a new Dockton place on the water. Judy plans to do
weddings and enjoy the sunsets. Katie and Dirk welcomed their
first son to the world, Jack and he is so cute. I call him
Captain Jack and I am known as"ROW BOAT GRANDMA"
because Dirk takes him out in a row boat at my new place in
2005 This was a good year that saw more hostellers
returning to the US. We bought a few more teepees and created
a couple traditional teepees that are very popular with our
guest. More weddings are being booked at the Hostel and at
Judy's new water front property. Both places offer beautiful
settings to tie the knot.
The bad new is that I lost my brother to cancer. He was my
travel buddy and confidant. He is the first to go in our family
and that sure leaves a hole.
2006, this is our 25th year and since 9-11 we have
not done well. The hostellers are not coming and although
we do groups and families we need more bodies to stay open.
HI has shown a drop in hostelling by 25% throughout the hostel
net work. I guess people are heading for Asia or other places.
Jake plans to move the hostel in a new direction. We are not
sure of its destiny, but one thing is for sure, it has been
a great journey. It will be exciting to see what Jake has
in store for the hostel. Check back for the status of the
hostel and tell your friends to join you in a fun adventure
at the AYH Ranch Hostel on Vashon Island. One thing for sure,
our hostel is unique and fun and we have many repeat visitors.
Now for the bad news, we lost my younger borther's only child
in an avalanch in Devos Switzerland. Jake and his friend always
head there in the winter and Josh joined them this year. He
too has worked at the hostel and built the buffalo that greets
you at the entrance of the driveway. He loved making scrap
sculptures, graduated in art and sold some out standing big
pieces for thousands of dollars. Some of you may remember
him. He was always fun and full of laughs. We were so lucky
to have him in our family for his short 32 years on the planet.
Mulhair joined the Mulhair gang and belongs to Katie and Dirk,
I now have 2 boys and 2 girls, I am so blessed. Jake has moved
to Bend OR. where the sun shines 359 days a year, the rest
of us remain in the wet ole Seattle area where the sun shines
4 months a year. That was the good new in 07 and now for the
bad, Grandma Duck (86) passed away unexpectedly in her sleep.
She has been such a part of my hostel I am not sure what I
will do without her. Our murel in the barn that William Forrester
did has her picture helping a horseman and is so typical of
her presence at the hostel. She loved making blackberry syrup
for the hostellers. They would pick the wild berries and she
boiled it into syrup to be slathered on the free pancakes,
yum. Mother lived with me for 28 years and did all the bookwork
for the hostel, hemmed sleep sheets, picked up hostellers,
managed the phones, did the banking, laundry, and made beds
at the Lavender Duck, we were a great team and she is surely
missed. I do touch base with her when I unexpectedly see 11:11
on the clock. It is a strange story, ask me about it when
you visit and I will share it with you at the campfire.
2008 This was a special year for us. Jake married the
girl of this dreams and met her at the hostel. Stacie is so
special, I guess that is why she is the only girl he asked
to marry him. Granted he has a couple children by others but
they were friendships and this is the real thing. Their moms
are still special to all of us and if situations must end,
it's good that friendships remain. What a wedding, They were
wed in San Diego on the water. What a beautiful wedding. Stacie's
mom made her dress hand beaded it and even made little tuxs
for the kids, dress for the bridesmaids and children. The
flowers were exquiste, food delicious and the Bride and Groom
beautiful.......wow best describes it. Before the wedding,
I did squeeze in my first hostel trip with my oldest grandson,
Malachi. We went to France and England. It made me feel young
again and I am sure it made him feel more grown up than 13.
We plan to do it again and again. Watch out world here we
2009 This will be our 27th year, that's a long journey
and I may have to publish this newsletter because it has reached
novel length. I am still flying the friendly skies and have
been for 43 years. Dirk will turn 38 and Jake 34 I guess that
makes me 65, ouch! Dirk is on his 9th apartment building and
Jake is taking up flying and hopes to fly packages before
people, that means Fed Ex or what ever comes his way. Dirk
is buying a new house and Jake is in Bend OR. till he is through
flying and wife Stacie is studying to be a nurse.
A lot has happened these past few years and I am moving a
little slower, the teepees are getting heavier to put up and
take down and the covered wagons are disintegrating where
they stand. I think the time has come to say soooo long Buckaroos,
this ole mare aint what she use to be. I hope you had a chance
to visit my dream world and be part of the 150,000 guest we
sheltered over the past 27 summers. That doesn't even include
the Lavender Duck for the past 12 years. Just thinking of
all the beds I have changed and laundry makes me tired. It
has been a great experience and I have met some wonderful
people from all around the world. Many of my guests helped
build the hostel into the great place it is, and believe me
I will not forget all your helping hands.
Does it sound like I am throwing in the towel. There comes
a time when things must come to an end and this is a good
year to think about doing it. The ranch is up for sale, and
I hope it will go on serving the public, sharing experiences,
and making new friends. I still have a couple years with United
before I retire and then I want to work for habitat for humanity
at least one year while I can still sling a 2x4 and hammer
a nail. After that you may fine me on a hostel trek with my
Happy Trails it has been a pleasure meeting ya!
2010: Well we are back, hostel still has not sold so Jake,
my youngest (34) will be operating the hostel as an Independent
Hostel. We dropped the International Organization of Hostelling
International due to the economy. It has been a fun run with
them for the past 27 years but we will wing it on our own.
So we hope to still see you at the Ranch for a stay in our