Kay Withrow Thomson, July 18, 1943–January 16, 2014

Kay Withrow Thomson

Kay Withrow Thomson

It is with a great sense of loss that we pass along word that Kay Withrow Thomson has died.  Kay was a uniquely vibrant member of our summer community from 1978 through 1992, as the wife of Music Director Scott Withrow and the mother of Grant Wilkinson and Nikki Wilkinson Tropeano. Kay’s contributions to the spirit and welfare of Pemi were legion. They were highlighted not only by her stellar vocal performances at Sunday meetings and in our Gilbert and Sullivan operettas but also, just as irreplaceably, by a buoyant, witty, and energetic disposition that brightened the day for everyone she encountered. If the Pemi Kid were to have a grown-up female counterpart – cheerful, tireless, always functioning at top speed, bringing heart, generosity, and commitment to every activity from belting out the camp songs to cheering on the boys out on the soccer pitch – it would be Kay.

Kay’s professional accomplishments are too many to enumerate here, but her resume gives ample testimony that she brought to her “off-seasons” the same dynamism and engagement she brought to her summers with us. Given Pemi’s long and vital association with Oberlin College, it is significant to note that, following Scott Withrow’s death and Kay’s subsequent marriage to Haskell Thomson, Kay joined the Oberlin administration, ultimately serving as Vice President for Development and Alumni Affairs. In retirement, Kay and Haskell moved to Massachusetts, but Kay’s lifelong commitment to education and service led to her becoming a founding Trustee of Antioch University New England.

Kay was born in Derby, England, on July 18, 1943. Those of us who are Anglophiles are, among all the things that endeared Kay to us, particularly delighted that she never lost her charming native accent – that or the irrepressible spirit that brought her country through the global conflict she was born into the midst of. She left us on January 16, 2014, after a prolonged illness, at home and surrounded by her family. Memorial contributions are welcome and should be mailed to VNA Hospice, 434 Route 134, Suite D-3, South Dennis, MA 02660 OR memorials to St. Christopher’s Church, 625 Main Street, Chatham, MA 02633.

To draw on the words of an old Pemigewassett salute, often alluded to at times such as this, Kay’s battle is over; may she wear her much-deserved crown with all of the dignity, beauty, graciousness, and verve that she brought to every day of her life.

~ Tom Reed, Jr.


What’s YOUR Comfort Food?

Comfort foods. We all seem to have them and we all seem quick to characterize them, too. Try asking a group at your next gathering. You’re bound to hear: “Something warm!” “No, cold!” It’s gotta be salty!” or sweet…smooth…crunchytangy…whatever that magical something is that manages to make us feel soothed. Like we’re safe, secure, and at home.

Such is the anticipated sensation when word gets out that Stacey’s meatloaf is to be served in the messhall. Vegetarians aside (who’ll have their own yummy version), most carnivores among us respond like Pavlov’s favorite subjects when the bugler blows “first call.”

MeatloafBlogSMAnd so, during these winter months when perhaps a little comfort food is called for, Stacey offers her tricks of the trade to bring some smiles to the table. Perhaps it’ll make you feel right at home, just like you’re back in the messhall at Pemi.

And now, in Stacey’s own words…

Meatloaf is an iconic American recipe that people either love or hate, with generally no in between. Since meatloaf is versatile and can be prepared in many ways, those who love it seem to have found their “perfect” recipe. As always, I stress the importance of each family’s taste profile and preferences. Use only the ingredients that they will love.

This recipe is similar to the one served at camp. The only difference is that I have pared it down considerably. We use 120 pounds of ground beef at camp for one meal!


3 pounds of ground beef. (I like ground chuck)
4 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
4 cups bread crumbs
2 TBS olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 peppers, red or green or both, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup dried parsley
1 TBS Kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups ketchup, divided
1/2 cup brown sugar

• Preheat oven to 375.

• Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Sauté onions, peppers and celery until golden, add garlic and sauté until garlic is fragment and lightly colored. Set aside to cool.

• Mix ground meat, eggs, bread crumbs, milk, parsley, 1 cup of ketchup, salt and pepper. Add the cooled vegetables. It’s easiest to mix with your hands. A bit messy but you can control the mixing so much easier.

• Mold the meat mixture on a baking pan. A long, flat loaf will cook faster and more uniformly. Bake for about 45 minutes until the meatloaf reaches an internal temperature of at least 155. Time may vary due to your oven. At this point, remove it from the oven and pour off any fat from the baking dish.

• Mix the remaining ketchup and brown sugar and brush on the top of the meatloaf. Return to the oven for about 15 minutes.

• Remove from oven and let sit for about 10 minutes before cutting.

Meatloaf can be created from many different ingredients. Experiment and create a recipe that will please you and your family! The ground meat can be any of the following, alone, or mixed with the ground beef: ground pork, ground turkey, Italian sausage and even ground venison (if you do use venison, add a bit of pork for the fat content because venison is very lean.)

Seasonings can vary, too. Are you planning a thematic meatloaf? Once again, choose those ingredients that your family will enjoy!

Likewise with vegetables. Choose the ones that you will enjoy. The only rule is use fresh and cut into small pieces. Always sauté them. The heat will bring out the flavor and color. This is also a great sneaky way to feed those fussy eaters some veggies!

Binder is important to the meatloaf, essential for holding it all together. I use breadcrumbs. My mother used oatmeal. Some people use crushed cracker crumbs, some use whole bread or croutons. It’s your choice entirely. Just remember to even out the ratio between bread and liquid.

Enjoy experimenting. Perhaps you, too, will create that “perfect” family recipe in the process!

~ Chef Stacey