Four Generations of Arcadia Love

Marie and Rudy by the Camp Arcadia ball field, circa 1944.

It was during the 1940’s war years that a love story began at Camp Arcadia. In August 1944 Marie Loesel, a farm girl from Frankenmuth, Michigan met Rudy Scherf, a dapper photographer from Detroit.

Marie had switched vacation time with someone to get that week at Arcadia. Rudy, the president of his church’s young people’s group of a different Lutheran synod, was interested in checking out how the Missouri synod ran their camp. Marie went up with a group of friends. Rudy hitchhiked to camp—traveling part way in a fish truck!

As Marie loved to retell it, “We were drawn together like two magnets.” They met at the box hockey game where Marie was quite a competitor!  Love bloomed between them, and despite the separation of 100 miles and gas rationing, Rudy gave Marie an engagement ring that Christmas and they were married the following year on September 22, 1945.

The marriage was blessed with a daughter, Carol [Blue], who came across one of her parent’s old photo albums one day featuring black and white photos of Arcadia—a place filled with natural beauty.  Looking at the photos, Carol was intrigued about this retreat from the workday world.  This intrigue lead Carol to bring her eventual husband Billy, and their two children Jenny and Leander, to Camp. The whole family, along with mother Marie, all have great memories of the summer weeks spent there.

[box type=”box” width=”200″ template=”drop-shadow lifted” align=”right” color=”blue”]”We were drawn together like two magnets.”[/box]As Carol’s children aged and reached adulthood, work schedules and life events became consuming and they were not able to visit Camp Arcadia. However, Jenny and Carol did attend the Women’s Retreat together in early 2000 for Jenny’s birthday.  What a gift!

A few years passed and Jenny met Rick Gordon, the man of her dreams. She had expressed to Rick her love for Arcadia and how she wanted to make attendance an annual event. Rick was intrigued by Carol’s description of this heavenly place, and wanted to visit it, too.

In 2006, Marie made this possible by paying the way for Rick and Jenny to attend Labor Day Family Weekend. Knowing how special Camp Arcadia was to Jenny, in early summer Rick began planning an Arcadia marriage proposal to Jenny.

During the Labor Day Weekend at Arcadia, Rick shared a room with Billy, Jenny’s father, and Jenny shared a room with her mother and grandmother.  Prior to breakfast, and with great nervousness, Rick had “the talk” with Jenny’s father.  When Billy and Carol next spoke in the hallway of the Inn and Billy told her about the proposal plans, Carol began to shriek but was quickly quieted by Rick who didn’t want his surprise proposal to be spoiled.

Rick decided, with much anxiety, a paled complexion, and nervous sweat, that he would ask Jenny to be his wife that night.  Near the end of the Arcadia square dance, Rick asked Jenny to go on a romantic walk at sunset along the beach southward. The sun was a vibrant egg yolk accompanied with a pink and purple sky with a mild ripple along Lake Michigan–nature and love filled the air. As they were walking, he needed an excuse to kneel down so he asked her to stop and look at a unique red stone found in the sand. Jenny went to see this stone and as she neared, he exchanged the red stone for a white box that contained the glimmering diamond ring. He asked her if she would marry him and due to the shock and excitement, she couldn’t speak.  He became a bit nervous of not hearing a response! Though it was difficult for her to speak, “Yes, yes” finally escaped her mouth with a large smile. Carol, Marie, and Billy were in the Trading Post eating some yummy ice cream when Jenny approached them with her hand extended yelling “I’m engaged!”

Rick and Jenny decided to ask Marie if they could share her wedding anniversary and get married on September 22, 2007.  Marie was speechless at the request, but of course was honored. Marie was very dear to Jenny’s heart.  Everything had come together so well and it seemed part of God’s plan that had begun in 1944.

The extended Scherf family in the Camp dining room – four generations enjoying Camp Arcadia together.

The following year, Rick and Jenny returned, three weeks prior to their wedding, with the same bunking arrangements.  It was their last opportunity to get away from the stress of wedding preparations.  On the trip home from that weekend, they discussed possible names of their future children.  They quickly agreed that if they were blessed with a baby girl, her name would be Arcadia Marie (Cadi for short).

On June 19, 2008, they were blessed with Arcadia Marie Gordon (whose first annual trip to her namesake was at 12 weeks of age).  Marie was honored to have her place of dreams become a priority for her family. Marie’s legacy continues on and they anticipate coming to Camp Arcadia every year. Just as Jenny and Leander fell in love with the Camp, so have Jenny and Rick’s children, Arcadia and William, and so it continues…

Rudy went home to be with his Savior in 1976 and Marie joined him July 12, 2012 at the age of 94. Despite health limitations, she enjoyed Camp Arcadia up to her last year.

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