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Freddie Hawkins and polocrosse

At the end of this blog entry will be a link to polocrosse!

My old friend Freddie Hawkins passed away the end of July. He and I were classmates at Tivy, and more importantly, his parents owned and directed The Heart when I was first a camper here. Later, after we bought The Heart, the Hawkins family purchased Rio Vista and established Sierra Vista, and Freddie and his brother Johnnie ran the camps with their parents. So we were colleagues in camping, too.

People may think that camps compete against each other for campers and staff, but the truth is, we are more like brothers and sisters. The success of one camp is the success of all, and the tragedies of one affect us all. We are competitive, but also friends who share and work together in many things.

Freddie, when he was a young man, was kicked by a horse and had to have a blood transfusion. He contracted hepatitis from some bad blood, and struggled with that for the rest of his life. It is what led to his early demise.

One of my favorite memories of Freddie was back when I was about a first-year Senior in what was then called Tepee 27 (now Cactus Flower Cottage). My best camp friend, Elaine Osmun, and I would sneak out of the cabin on tepee night (when the only scheduled activity was preparing our laundry). We’d go up to the dining hall where it was Freddie’s chore to sweep out from under the tables. Elaine and I would push the brooms, and Freddie would ply us with all the ice cream we could eat. Pretty great deal!

So here is the polocrosse link. Freddie was an active player in our area. After his death, his polocrosse buddies decided to establish a Freddie Hawkins Award, and the first one will be awarded tonight. The national polocrosse tournament is under way this weekend at Camp Waldemar; there are teams from as far away as Minnesota and Arizona. A belt buckle will be given to the player who most reminds everyone of Freddie in personality. After the local tournaments (at Camp Stewart and Camp Waldemar) in the spring, a handmade saddle will be given as the Freddie Hawkins Award. A polocrosse saddle is a special thing because it is neither “English” nor “western” but a cross between the two.

I’m attaching a photo.

Happy trails and hasta luego!

About the Author

Jane Ragsdale

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Jane Ragsdale (Mrs. Dick Howell) is the director of Heart O’ the Hills. She was a Heart camper and counselor, and served as program director from 1978-87. She has been one of the owners since 1976, and director since 1988.


  1. Wonderful Blog! Freddie was sucha blessing to everyone around. I love the story about you and Elaine!!!

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