Clarifications from Tillie's sisterby Ann Showalter, Newton, Kan.
Tillie Yoder Nauraine (May) was my oldest sister. I agree that she was a person of "courage and persistence" in her vision and development of what became Camp Ebenezer.
However, the opening background in the article deserves some clarification. Tillie grew up near Kokomo, Ind., until she was 21. At that time she left home and moved to Harrisonburg, Va., where she later joined the Mennonite church. Except for four summers that Camp Ebenezer was open, she spent little time in Ohio.
It is true that discipline in our home was harsh and even abusive at times. To suggest that her abuse was "perhaps one of the reasons she took compassion on young children" is speculation.
Tillie had four younger siblings and assisted in their care at a very young age. In many ways she was my surrogate mother. In addition, our parents were friends with various African Americans in Kokomo as we were growing up. Our mom and dad were open and accepting of anyone who crossed our threshold.
During the years Tillie spent in the Harrisonburg area, she worked to support herself, took Bible courses at Eastern Mennonite College and attended a small African-American "mission" church. Peggy Webb’s mother was a good friend to Tillie. She wanted Peggy to attend a Mennonite college. Since Peggy could not go to EMC, Tillie agreed to go with Peggy to Hesston (Kan.) College. Tillie also taught summer Bible school with the Larks in Chicago. I think these were the reasons she was interested in a summer camp.
Associated Issue: Tillie Yoder Nauraine's courage and persistence - May 2012
Associated Article: Tillie Nauraine Yoder: Courage and persistence
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