Idaho StoryCorps: 50 Years After Summer Camp, Love At Second Sight

Aug 7, 2013

Marti Gudmundson married Nick Molenaar on May 18th of this year.
Credit Julian Jenkins

This is the time of year for summer camp.  This rite of passage is how many people learn to swim, hike, sing around a campfire and tell ghost stories. Marti Gudmundson remembers singing songs at summer camp, and admiring a handsome, older boy named Nick Molenaar.  Little did either of them know, that decades later, they would meet again and fall in love. They recently shared their love story at the StoryCorps booth in Boise. Gudmundson says it all began in the early 1960s. 

“There was this summer camp, Unitarian Summer Camp in Willmar, Minnesota, run by the Willmar Unitarian Church, and it was on Lake Florida, near Spicer, Minnesota," recalled Gudmundson. "It was run by a relative of yours.  We met at lake camp. Your whole family went; your mom was the nurse.”

“Was your dad there?” asked Molenaar.

“Yeah, my parents went," said Gudmundson. "My dad was the resident minister for at least one season. We’re not sure how many seasons he was there.”

Marti Gudmundson at Lake Camp in 1970. She was 14.
Credit Jorn Mork

“So were we friends there?” asked Molenaar.

“No. According to you, I was a snot-nosed kid.”

“Why was that?”

“Because I’m five years younger than you.  You and Peter were always the cute, older Molenaar boys.  I was not about to subject myself to being embarrassed with unrequited love,” said Gudmundson.

“We met each other then, but we weren’t friends.”

“I knew who you were, but you might have not known who I was.”

“How did we run into each other the second time?” asked Molenaar.

Both Marti Gudmundson and Nick Molenaar are in the picture from this article about church camp in their local paper in 1961.
Credit Marti Gudmundson

“I had posted some photos of Lake Camp days on Facebook two years ago in 2011.  So you contacted me over Facebook and wrote me this big long personal message on Facebook.  That was April 30.  The next day I was going to be homeless, without a place to live, with my dog who was aging and you just stuck with me. 

"I ended up in a homeless shelter for about five days in San Rafael, California.  I got to Skype with you.  The first time we saw each other was when I was in a homeless shelter in San Rafael.  A few days later I found a great place to live for Oscar and me.”

“So what was it that attracted you to me?”

“Well, that you were interested in me and that you remembered me," Gudmundson said. "I had seen you on Facebook and thought, 'Oh, he’ll never remember me.  He was the cute Molenaar guy.'  But you did remember me and you stuck with me.  You were not placing judgment on me for not having a place to live, for not having direction, for being emotional, you were just there. 

"One thing that you wrote to me was, ‘I feel so helpless, and I wish I could do something to help you.  I don’t know why I feel this connection to you, but I want to help you.’  You just stuck with me.  Then, a few months later I said, 'Well, how long after we starting talking on Skype did you realize you loved me.  And you said ‘two minutes.’”

“So here we are,” said Molenaar.

“Here we are, married and all.  I love you so much,” said Gudmundson.

“I love you, too,” said Molenaar.

“We make a good team.”

Marti Gudmundson married Nick Molenaar in May. At the wedding they sang songs from church camp, like White Coral Bells, with their guests.
Credit FAB

Marti Gudmundson married Nick Molenaar on May 18 of this year.  They sang some of the songs they remembered from summer camp at their wedding.  

StoryCorps is a national initiative to record and collect stories of everyday people. Excerpts were selected and produced by Boise State Public Radio.

Copyright 2013 Boise State Public Radio