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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 29 Jun 2012 13:13:30 -0700
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Having returned from my camping with Returned Peace Corps Volunteers up in
the Lake Tahoe area, I'm happy to report that I was able to attend the
Great Debate on the question:  WHERE did Mark Twain camp on the shore of
the Lake back in 1861.  I'm interested because he dramatically described a
fire he started  there and I keep thinking there still might be signs that
would identify the site.

 Held outside the museum in Tahoe City, bolstered by a no host bar, the
contest began.  It was a pleasure to hear the debaters speak to the major
points of their views.  They each had fifteen minutes to state their case
followed by
a brief five minutes of questions.  Each had their presentation precisely
timed.  Both also had slides to compliment what they had to say.  Neither
seriously challenged the other in the time allotted at the end.  David
Antonucci believes the site was in California and Rob Stewart is confident
it is in Nevada.  My position is that I think
each site should have a sign saying, "Sam Clemens Cove Contender" with a
small extra plaque mentioning the other location.

The North Lake Tahoe Historical Society, sponsor of the event, invites
people to vote on the issue on their site sometime in July.  I think a vote
is inappropriate.  Certainly this hour long presentation, interesting as it
was, was not sufficient to fully probe the differences between their views
in order to be sure of any answer.  There were over forty people in the
audience who enjoyed the so-called debate, but I doubt their vote could be
considered definitive.

 The civil exchange was enhanced by the appearance of Sam Clemens who chose
not to reveal the truth of it all, as conveyed by mcAvoy Layne, helpful
friend of both men.

It was a great pleasure to meeting these two fellows in person.  My hope is
there another opportunity for them to specifically discuss their
differences and how they speak to the questions each others positions
raise.  But, I'll admit, I wouldn't mind both states continuing to state
their claims with fervor and without resolution.  Based on
his love for the lake, I believe Mark Twain would completely support
each state with a tourist destination there.  He also would probably be
by stirring up controversy.

Glad I was there
Arianne Laidlaw

Arianne Laidlaw A '58