Tag Archives: Bruce Kindberg

Dear Grandma

1983-dear-grandma

Doug’s Letter to Grandma, 1983, courtesy of Virginia Gorman

Dear Grandma

I haven’t written you in a long time but that has nothing to do with how often I think of you. I received your card for my birthday back in may and I meant to write you and thank you for it but I never got to it. I kept real busy all summer and I’m now in Alaska again for a short while. I’ll be returning to Dallas hopefully before mom and Dad return to Colombia. It will be exciting to see Kathy’s new baby when I return. I hope to see Bruce and Brenda and their new baby as well as Gail + Virginia on the way home in October.

It has been rather interesting working in 10°–30° weather with ice floating all around the boat. The salt water ocean freezes at 28.6° F and is now 29° so we will be forced to head south in a few days. We are working off the coast of Alaska in the Arctic Ocean.

In November sometime, some friends of mine and I are planning a motorcycle trip through Central America to Colombia. I am really anticipating this trip because we have talked about it for years.

In January I plan to go back to school to finish my degree in Mathematics in order to fly in the Air Force. Please pray with me that the Lord will guide me every step along the way. I love you Grandma. Doug

undated letter from Dough (Lee’s son) to Grandma, referencing his parents and siblings; provided by Virginia Gorman (Lee’s daughter); transcribed by Dawn (Steve’s daughter)

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  • What was Doug doing on the boat in Alaska?
  • Where did he plan to finish his degree? Where did he begin? Why did he take a break?
  • What his parents think of this venture?
  • Does this letter reference his Duncan grandmother or his Kindberg grandmother? What did Grandma think of this venture?
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The Letter in Virginia’s Purse

[Virginia]: To get back to the letter: When Chet [Bitterman] had been—no, it was the day that we found out about Chet, Mom and Dad and I had been out of town, not very far from our center [Loma Linda], that we were on a vacation. And when we were on that vacation, there was an American couple. They were oil people. And we were just chatting away and I just said, “Oh, I’d love to work for somebody who had money.” Now I wanted money, you know, and I just thought it would be great to live with somebody who had money.

So they just took my name down. I mean, they just somehow kept our names. And then they called. She went to a hairdresser that met this other lady and, long story short, they were the Bakers and they lived in Houston. He was a former Rams football player. Her family was the Swansons.

[Eric]: Oilers.

[Virginia]: Oilers, sorry. Wasn’t it the Oilers? What?

[Marcia]: [can’t hear] for drilling with us.

[Kathy]: Houston Oilers.

[Virginia]: No. Oh, it was his friend that played for the Rams. That’s right.

green-giantAnd her family was the Swansons. You know, Swanson Frozen Foods and Green Giant? And her family had all this money. Anyway, I ended up being a nanny for them for three summers after that.

But it was her letter in the purse that had our address on it that got the purse back to me.

Anyway, so I went—and it was just that the lady that we met in Villavicencio, which we called Villao, went to the same hairdresser as Carla Baker. They talked. Carla Baker—they’re good Baptist people—said they were looking for someone to help with the kids during the summers, so they got in contact with me.

Aunt Kathryn went to visit them to check them out. She did. There you go! She went and checked them out because she lived in Houston at the time and she went and checked them out to make sure that they were an OK family for me to go stay with. Yeah, so cool.

Anyway, so then when I graduated, Eric and Mary Lynn met me in her little Karmann Ghila. I had never really driven a car and they made me drive it. It was pouring down rain and it scared me to death because I could not see. I had never really driven. I mean, there was one Jeep on the center that we could all use or whatever. Dad had taken us out once or twice in that thing. But anyway, so I was driving her little Karmann Ghila.

I worked for them for three summers after that. They convinced me I was going to go to Dallas Baptist College. They convinced me I to go to Baylor, so I went to one year at Baylor University in Waco.

Then from there, because Bruce and Gail lived in Safford, I wanted to go to, I went there to go to Bible, no, to a camp, to a church camp, and then decided to return my second year to go to Bible college there. Then I went to that Bible college. It’s not accredited. It was just with a church. I went to a couple years there.

That’s where I met my husband. He was first friends with my sister and then she went off to nursing school. Then Bill and I. I mean, they weren’t romantically involved. They were friends, but—

[Bill]: That you know of.

[Virginia]: Then I met him and we were engaged and we were going to get married one date and then—it seems to run in our family—but, however, he was the one that stopped because he didn’t feel like I had gotten over Doug’s death yet. There was. . . .

[Kathy]: So you just waited and got married later.

[Virginia]: Yeah. Mom and Dad had already gotten their tickets and everything.

[Kathy]: Yeah, I was coming up from [can’t hear], of course, too.

[Virginia]: They ended up coming up twice, just because. So then we were married in ’85.

[Dawn]: What were the dates?

[Virginia]: We were married November 9th of ’85. And then our first daughter [Ashley] was born in July 29th of ’87. Then Doug was born 13 months later, or 13 ½ months later, September 9th of ’88, Douglas. He is named after my brother. Then Savannah was born two years later. She was born October 22d of ‘90.

story told by Virginia (Lee’s daughter) with interjections by Bill Gorman (Virginia’s husband), Eric and Kathy (Lee’s kids), Dawn (Steve’s daughter) and Marcia (Steve’s wife) to the family reunion gathering on January 11, 2014; transcribed by Dawn Duncan Harrell (Steve’s daughter)

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  • What is the name of the place where Kathy was coming from in Colombia for Virginia’s wedding? It sounded like “Something anica” to me.

Doug Wants to Chase Somebody

[Virginia]: Every year, the seniors would go on a senior trip. There were all four of us seniors. There was only four of us. Two of us decided we would go to—there was a New Tribes base that was in a town a ways away. And they did let us go, but the other two seniors’ parents wouldn’t let them go because they were too afraid to let them go, which, as a parent now, I wouldn’t let my kids go. I would be like, “You’re staying with me!” At the time, being me, I stood up in the—we had meetings at the base so they could update them as to the what was going on and everything. And I stood up there and I said, “Guys you’re missionaries! You’re supposed to trust the Lord!” And that was my, I was kind of, I was mad because the other two kids couldn’t go. Their parents wouldn’t let them go with us.

[Heidi]: Those people wouldn’t trust the Lord.

[Virginia]: I know. I was like, “Come on!”

[Kathy]: [laughter; can’t hear]

[Virginia]: But anyway, then Chet got killed and of course that was very traumatic.

[Heidi]: Did that end the hiding?

[Virginia]: Yeah, then Dad was back.

[Heidi]: How did they figure that was the end of the crisis?

[Virginia]: I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t remember all of those details.

[Kathy]: I just reread the book. It’s called. . . .

[Virginia]: Oh, yeah. I knew Chet. I took care of his kids during conference.

[Kathy]: Called to Die. It’s very good if you want to read about the whole experience.

[Marcia]: Who wrote the book?

[Kathy]: Steve Estes.

[Virginia]: And someone said, who was it I was talking to? Oh, Jim Suderman. He said he kind of took, . . . or was it Jim? Anyway, he said they kind of embellished a little bit on that, in that book.

[Kathy]: It tells the story very well.

[Virginia]: Yup. Anyway, so then I graduated, and then Doug paid for you and Bruce and you were already down there for my graduation, right? Weren’t you in Colombia for my graduation?

[Gail]: [can’t hear] I don’t think he paid for my trip to go down there.

[Virginia]: No, I paid for your trip to go down for Doug’s graduation.

[Kathy]: No, I went down for your graduation.

[Virginia]: I think you were already—weren’t you already there because Allan was there?

[Kathy]: [can’t hear] Bryant College. Allan and I came—that was the summer we got. . . .

[Virginia]: Oh, Doug paid for everybody. I think, that could. . . . Oh, you didn’t?

[Kathy]: No, because we flew. Actually, Chet Bitterman’s sister’s, oh, no, Brenda Bitterman’s brother flew the plane down with the New Testaments. We flew with him from Dayton, Tennessee to Loma Linda in a little plane.

[Eric]: Where was I all this time?

[Virginia]: I don’t know.

[Kathy]: You were probably, I think you were in Peru.

[Virginia]: This was ’81.

[Eric]: Oh, we were still, we may have been, if this was ’81, we were still in the States. We had just gotten married.

[Virginia]: I don’t know, but I know that he paid for you [Gail] and he paid for Bruce and Brenda to come down. And they had Brett. Was it Brett?

[Bruce]: It was Brandon.

[Virginia]: Brandon. So, anyway, so they came down and the reason I brought that up was because then when I traveled to Bogota before I left, then—Doug had always said, you know, Bogota was notorious for pocket, you know, people that pick pockets and people stealing purses and whatnot. He used to say—you know, tough guy, as you all know—“I just wanna put money in my pocket. You know, I just wanna have the chance just to chase after somebody and grab somebody.”

[Kathy]: Egg somebody on.

[Virginia]: Egg somebody on.

Anyway, I had gotten this purse for my graduation gift. And we were in the taxi. We were in a taxi and I guess he and mom and I were in the back. Dad was up front with the driver. Well, I was sitting on the left hand side and I just happened to look up and there was a guy standing there. And I’m thinking, “I wonder if I should lock my door?”

Next thing I know, somebody’s knocking on the opposite side of the taxi. The guy that I had been looking at opened my door and pulled my, took my purse off my lap and started running.

Well, Doug had his chance. He and dad got out and they pursued those two guys and they. . . .

[Kathy]: Didn’t they go in opposite directions?

[Virginia]: Opposite directions, so Dad was going one way and Doug was going another way. Doug was so mad that he did not catch that guy. He was so furious with himself that he didn’t catch him, but Dad caught the other guy, the guy that did not have the purse. And they did take him to court, but—it’s just really weird—so the purse was taken, but somebody found it. They guy had gone through it. Didn’t find the money because I had the money in a pocket and he didn’t see it.

Because it had a letter—and this is another story I’ll go into—I had a letter from a couple in Houston, who I ended up going to work for. They had my address. Anyway, somebody called the group house and said, “We found this purse.” It was kind of cool. I still have that purse ‘til this day because of the journey it went on.

[Kathy]: So they took what they wanted, what they could get in haste because Doug was chasing them. Then they, in case they got caught, they just dumped the purse and kept going. So Doug didn’t catch them, but then the purse was returned.

[Eric]: So had Doug not been chasing them, they would have had more time to go through the purse. He would have found the money.

[Kathy]: Oh, yeah.

[Virginia]: Yup. I think he found the pesos, but he didn’t find the American money. There was American money that was still in there when I got it.

story told by Virginia (Lee’s daughter) with interjections by Bruce, Eric, Kathy and Gail (Lee’s kids), Heidi (Steve’s daughter) and Marcia (Steve’s wife) to the family reunion gathering on January 11, 2014; transcribed by Dawn Duncan Harrell (Steve’s daughter)

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  • Who else has pick-pocketing stories that you can tell us?
  • Can you tell other tough-guy Doug stories?

Kathy Recommends Jungle Reading

[Kathy]: Ron Snell writes these. You can get them off of Amazon.It's a Jungle Out There!

It’s written from kind of a young boy’s perspective. Very humorous. But Eric and Bruce and Dad [Will Kindberg] are all mentioned in the books and it kind of just gives a taste of what it’s like as a missionary kid living on the. . . . You were commenting on “Really, your parents let your brothers do that!” Well, he kind of makes reference to many things his parents, who were also translators in a related language that we worked in, what his parents let them do as kids. Anyway, very fun.

[Eric]: They’re like kissing cousins [the Machiguenga and the Ashanica Campas]. They’re very closely related, so the stories he tells about his experiences, we could have told some of the same experiences.

[Kathy]: The river, going down the river on the raft, you know, that kind thing. But just living out in the jungle area and living on the Yarinacocha center where we were. so anyway, if you’re ever interested in some light reading, you can look that up on Amazon.

recommendation by Kathy (Lee’s daughter) with help from Eric (Lee’s son) to the family reunion gathering on January 11, 2014; transcribed by Dawn Duncan Harrell (Steve’s daughter)

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  • What books would you recommend that capture the experience or place where the Eight worked, lived, grew up, etc.?

Bruce Does Drugs, Eric’s Brain Leaks

[Mary Lynn]: Bruce was the star athlete of Yarinacocha, too.

[Eric]: Yup.

[Kathy]: Oh, yeah, he was!

[Mary Lynn]: Athletics was, like, huge.

[Kathy]: Bruce had a lot of records.

[Mary Lynn]: A lot of what?

[Kathy]: Records.

[Eric]: Fastest runner. Best hurdler. I don’t know about swimming, but almost everything else.

[Bruce]: The Indians set me up with some drugs.

[Gloria]: Performance-enhancing drugs?

[Marcia]: Performance-enhancing, yeah.

[Eric]: OK, so, Mary Lynn and I got married in 1980. We met in graduate school in Dallas. When I left Peru, I came back and went to the King’s College in New York.

[Mary Lynn]: Honey, you’ve got to tell your brain surgery story.

[Eric]: Oh, OK. Back up a little.

[Marcia]: How about when you were born?

[Stephanie]: He doesn’t remember, Mom.

[Eric]: I don’t remember.

[Marcia]: You don’t know what year you were born?

[Eric]: Oh, OK. Yeah. 1954. Bruce was born in 1953 and we were 17 days apart, so we always opt and celebrated our birthdays together.

[Mary Lynn]: Seventeen days and a year.

[Eric]: Pardon me?

[Steve]: A year and 17 days.

[Marcia]: I hope it was a year.

[Eric]: Seventeen days. Plus a year.

[Steve]: I’ve done that, fooling the patients, that distance between the deliveries.

[Eric]: Uncle Steve, you always come up with the best comments. I remember we were at Park Street Church talking in a conference, you know, with a whole congregation of people. This was during a Duncan family reunion there. Well, here I am up on the platform, nervous as anything and I’m telling my story of living in Kokorake [sp?] at 11,500 feet and Uncle Steve yells out from the audience, “Hope you didn’t fall off the roof!”

You’ve got some good ones. Everyone broke up. I’m glad you keep the humor in the family.

[Mary Lynn]: You and Bruce were in the same grade all through school.

[Eric]: We were in the same grade from first grade on.

So, let’s see. Came back to the States, went to the King’s College.

[Mary Lynn]: Tell the story.

Oh, back to the. . . . When I was ten, we were in the States. You know, people always say, “What about all the wild animals down there? What about, you know, the insects and all these evil, bad things that you hear about?” Well, I came to the States and never had had anything happen to me. Well, Bruce and I were racing across the street in Bloomfield, New Jersey, running to the church, and I got bit by a car.

[Stephanie]: Oh-oh.

[Eric]: So I was 9 years old and it hit me in the side of the face and twirled me around and broke, shattered my knee, my femur. So the doctors thought they would have to amputate my leg. Finally were able to piece it back together and I was in a body cast for quite a while until I got chicken pox. They cut off the upper part and let me at least scratch my itches. But yeah. So that was quite an experience.

[Marcia]: Now she said “brain surgery”?

[Mary Lynn]: Yeah.

[Eric]: Following that. Yeah, following that. I had a fracture and they thought it was just a concussion at the time. They didn’t realize I had a hairline fracture. When I was thirteen, I developed spinal meningitis, back in Peru.

[Victoria]: Oh, my goodness!

[Eric]: Three times. The first time was natural. It’s normal to get spinal meningitis once. Maybe not normal, but, you know, you never are supposed to get it a second time. I developed a second case of it and they knew something was wrong. So they sent me to Lima for observation and tested—you know, I had spinal fluid actually leaking through my nostril, so they realized that they needed to perform surgery to close up that fracture that was still there. So I had brain surgery when I was 13 after the third incident.

[Marcia]: In Lima?

https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fernando_Cabieses

Fernando Cabieses Molina, courtesy of Wikipedia

[Eric]: In Lima. And the neat thing about that is the way that God works. You know, you think of being on a mission field and what kind of medical care can you get there? Here we were, didn’t have the money to send me back to the States or whatever. So here I am in Lima. My doctor was called Dr. Cabieses. Well, he happened to be one of the world’s leading neurosurgeons. Not only that, but there was a conference of the world’s leading neurosurgeons right there in Lima, so he took my case before all of them, so I had the world’s experts in on my case. God is good.

[Kathy]: That’s how he turned out to be so smart.

[Eric]: Right.

[Stephanie]: So what was—you developed a third case of it later?

[Eric]: Third case, while I was in Lima.

[Stephanie]: While you were in Lima.

[Kathy]: I remember, as a kid, when he had that, it was really scary because his fever would go so high, he got very delirious. And I was having a sleepover with some friends. We were going to sleep in the rec-room, which was just separated from the house a little bit, but you could hear him yelling out, counting really fast, up and backward, and just kind of yelling out unusual things because he was delirious. It was just really unsettling to hear your brother. He went on to Lima or had gotten better soon after that.

[Eric]: Yeah, that was, I think, the first incident, or maybe the first or second one. They give you a spinal tap when you have spinal meningitis. They put this long needle. You have to roll up in a ball, so you separate your vertebrae. They put this needle in your back. It is the most—it’s like being in a dentist chair, having that needle, you know, that drill going into your mouth, into your teeth. I hated it. ‘Course I had high fevers at the time when they were doing the surgery, the uh, inserting the needle to get the spinal fluid out to test it.

But, yeah, God is good. I lived through it. Did give me a little touch of something, I’m sure. Did something to my brain.

[Steve, relaying question]: Does he hallucinate anymore?

[Mary Lynn]: Strange dreams. He’s had strange dreams sometimes.

[Eric]: Well, she puts me out of the room. I have to sleep in a separate room because I talk too much in the night. No.

Actually that’s pretty close to the truth. I snore too much at night.

[Mary Lynn]: But that’s why—well, I don’t know if you want to say that—but that also influenced why you ended up going into Bible translation and not aviation.

[Eric]: That’s right.

story told by Eric (Lee’s son) with interjections by Mary Lynn (Eric’s wife), Kathy and Bruce (Lee’s children), Steve, Stephanie (Steve’s daughter), Marcia (Steve’s wife), Gloria (Tad’s daughter), and Victoria (TJ’s wife) to the family reunion gathering on January 11, 2014; transcribed by Dawn Duncan Harrell (Steve’s daughter)

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below. (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.)

  • How do you spell Kokorake? Where was it? When did Eric live there?
  • Where did Eric receive the spinal tap that diagnosed the spinal meningitis?
  • Anybody else have chicken pox as kids? Tell us what you remember.

Shoot Between the Eyes

[Dawn]: You said “alligator hunting”? Lots of it? Successfully, obviously?

[Bruce]: Yeah. We would get the smallest. No wrestling. I actually did taste them . . . [can’t hear] . . . oral cavity was smaller.

[Dawn]: Oh, that’s right. You had a stuffed one that you brought home, right, Dad?

[Steve]: He was a pet [joking, I think].

[Marcia]: Yeah. He did.

[Marcia]: But you would go out at night?

[?]: Yeah, we did.

[Marcia]: And shine the flashlight out and see the eyes.

[Dawn]: And then what would you do?

[Eric]: Shoot between the eyes!

[can’t hear; joking through the following]

[Dawn]: Put your hand in?

[?]: Jump in?

[Bruce]: You have to save yourself.

[Marcia]: Oh you reached in with your hand to get it?

[Steve]: I only did it once.

[Eric]: I’ll tell another story or two. Anything else about Peru, right off the top of your head?

Well, I’m second [child]. One of the things I remember the most about Peru, one of the favorite trips, was a trip around the southern part of Peru on motorcycle. Bruce had a Triumph 500 at the time and he and my dad went on that motorcycle. A friend of ours went with his dad on another large motorcycle. I went with a Peruvian on a BMW 500 or 650. It had . . . so we got to see all the Inca sites along the way. We have a whole carousel of slides, but that’s too boring to show all of you. It was really quite a trip. I think I was 16 at the time, or 15, and you were 16 or something like that.

[Bruce]: While we’re talking about motorcycles, I want Uncle Steve to talk about his Heinkel, his Heinkel experience.

[Steve]: My what? Oh. Ha-ha.

[Eric]: I refrained from bringing that one up last night.

[Bruce]: A Heinkel is like a scooter. It’s like a Lambretta scooter. That’s what a lot of people had down there. Uncle Steve liked those scooters. He got around quite a bit on that one.

We used to carry our dog on the floorboard of that. He stuck his head out one time and went tumbling.

[Dawn]: Awwww.

[Bruce]: From that point on, that dog would not leave the side of that scooter. He was guarding that scooter because—at first we couldn’t get him on there at all. Then once he went for a ride and was able to survive the tumble down the road, then he wouldn’t leave the side of that. He would guard that scooter.

[Kathy?]: Good old Snippy.

[Eric]: Yup. Snippy.

[Gail?]: Snippy.

story told by Bruce and Eric (Lee’s sons) to the family reunion gathering on January 11, 2014; transcribed by Dawn Duncan Harrell (Steve’s daughter)

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below. (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.)

  • What kind of dog was Snippy? How’d Snippy get that name?
  • How’d you come to get the dog? Was he a guard dog or just a pet? Was it common for people in Yarinacocha to have pets?
  • Approximately what length were the alligators in this story?
  • What was the bit I couldn’t hear with reaching down or into the alligator mouth?
  • Did the alligators come up onto the compound regularly or were you going out to find them?
  • Bruce said he tasted alligator. Did you eat them when you killed them?
  • What did you shoot them with? 

 

Bruce and Eric Ride the River

[Eric]: What did you like about Peru? What were some of the things?

[Bruce]: In Peru the way we got around was not by four-wheeled vehicles, but on motorcycles, so from the age of probably twelve. We learned to drive fairly early. There was no pavement. It was all dirt and mud and in summertime it’s dust, four inches thick. That’s how we got around.

Then, of course, alligator-hunting was a favorite. What else did we do? We would climb sheer rock cliffs where we would go vacation once in a while. There was a waterfall that we would mess around in.

We took river trips where Eric and I, at one point, it took us—how long did we figure it took us to get out of one whirlpool that we were stuck in?

[Eric]: Around and around.

[Bruce]: It seemed like it was hours, but it was probably, maybe twenty minutes or something.

[Eric]: Huge, huge whirlpool. Our raft was kind of slender and long. Of course, he was on one end and I was on the other end. When it made it made one swirl around, he would be underneath the water, chest deep, and I would be way up in the air. Then it went around the other way and we reversed, so I was deep in the water, scared to death, and he would be up, laughing at me. We went around and around in this thing. We didn’t know how we were going to get out. Finally, it just swirled us out. It took forever. Later on, I think, we saw a skeleton down on the beach.

[Steve]: Who didn’t get out.

[Bruce]: Spit it out on shore. Did a Jonah.

[Eric]: I just couldn’t believe that our parents let us do that, thinking back. How on the world, did they let us make this two-week trip down the river, in an area where only the Ashanica [recorder off].

. . .

[Eric]: So Bruce ran as fast as he could to get there in case the plane were to take off again. And fortunately, you know, they had room for us. But, I mean, it was all by the seat of our pants. Crazy.

[Bruce]: The year before, they’d had a flood, bigger than usually, so all their bananas and yucca had been washed out, as I recall, so there was very little food. We ended up eating with the Indians as we stopped at different villages. And we were so hungry at this one village we stopped at, I had to brain the head of the fish and it tasted so. . . . Remember that? And then once we got to where the plane was. . . .

[?]: So what? It wasn’t so good?

[Bruce]: Yeah. It was delicious. But we stopped and we ate two loaves of bread each when we finally got to civilization.

[Eric]: Mmmmm.

[Bruce]: We hadn’t had any carbs and we were. . . .

[Eric]: We would get to a community, a Campa community. Of course this was all area where my parents worked and they knew my parents. We knew they knew my dad’s name and so they associated us with him. Some of them knew us as kids, but, I mean, we didn’t know really the people. So we would ask them for a place to stay and they’d put us up for the night, give us some food, and we’d go on the next day. It was quite an adventure.

story told by Bruce and Eric (Lee’s sons) to the family reunion gathering on January 10, 2014; transcribed by Dawn Duncan Harrell (Steve’s daughter)

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below. (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.)

  • How old were Bruce and Eric when they took the river trip?
  • What year(ish) would this have been?
  • What was that bit that wasn’t recorded? I seem to remember something about Eric getting sick.
  • What’s the name of the river they were paddling down?
  • Anybody got a photo you want to add of that kind of raft or the boys/kids in a raft at about that time?