|Ann and Jim Wendlandt at the Mazama Lodge |
circa 1953. Photo: Unknown.
When Jim Wendlandt recounted how he met his future wife, it always began, “I saw you sitting by the fireplace…” He and Ann, his wife of 65 years, met at the Mazama Lodge, raised their daughters at the Mazama Lodge on their regular visits, and welcomed guests to the Mazama Lodge as if it were their own home. Daughters Wendy and Nancy recall learning to ski on the slopes outside. The intervening years have obscured who their instructor was, but it is very possible it was Frank Kalec, the lessons costing only ten cents apiece. As the girls kicked about on their used skis, their parents took the shuttle bus up the hill to Timberline before carving their way back down for lunch, which they had to eat in the basement because it was not prepared in the lodge’s kitchen but brought from home. Ann Wendlandt’s life was deeply intertwined with that building for decades. I recently had the opportunity talk with her and listen to her narrate a series of vignettes that arced across a lifetime of experiences and relationships.
|Ann Wendlandt at NcNeil Point in 1976. |
Our conversation zigged and zagged. Ann’s eyes, though only narrow slits as she wrestled with her inability to recall, were still bright. She peered intently at the yellow legal pad of names that had been drawn up before I arrived as a tool to jog her memory. Bob and Martha Platt. Vera Defoe. Nick Dodge. That last one drew out a clear line. She told me about the book that he wrote and that she edited for him, A Climber’s Guide to Oregon, which was published in 1968. Editing? Yes. Our conversation turns with the flexibility of a water-born otter. For a dozen years she edited the Mazama Bulletin. Articles were delivered to her by members who had authored them, and in her own home she worked on the layout. This was the late fifties and early sixties after all. Each month she drove the final copy to John Arbuthnot on Sandy Boulevard who was the printer. These details poured out clearly but then came to a dead end.
|Ann Wendlandt accepting the Parker Cup in 1967. |
I asked how the club has changed in the intervening seven decades. Without skipping a beat, she said, “Without staff you need the volunteers to step up to make things happen.” The portrait that she painted next surprised me. Once a month, there was a membership meeting where it was common to have a hundred people in attendance. Committees made reports about the goings-on and their events. Then, rudely, the grandfather clock in the corner of the alcove where we were chatting interrupted us as it tolled eleven times. The line of thinking was disrupted.
|Ann Wendlandt in the foreground on the 1953 |
anniversary climb of Mt. Hood in 1953
The slippery otter that was this tete-a-tete rolled deftly over despite the turbulence of sound. She recalled Martha Platt who was the club president in 1954 and Bob Platt, her husband, who served in the same role seven years earlier. Their son, Bill, would eventually go on to marry Fred McNeil’s daughter, Judy. In a sense they were just a branch of Ann’s extended family. Then out of the fog of memory emerged Betty Parker, who served on the Executive Council in 1954, and Jack Grauer, who was Wendy’s Basic Climb School teacher when she was just a mere freshman in high school. Wendy chuckled as she told me that it was a bit scandalous at the time, as young as she was. The web of names kept coming and bits of storytelling for each one. I listened to Ann weave the narrative with the assistance of her daughters until, finally, it seemed we had come to the end at last.
|Jonathan Barrett and Ann Wendlandt. |
Photo: Wendy Wendlandt.