Due to a heat index exceeding 90 degrees, the Millennium Trail and Elm Lick Trail will remain closed until further notice.

My Bernheim Story #2: Cele Beckner

By Jenny Zeller

Lake Nevin picnic area 1956. Photo property of Bernheim, taken by John E. Theirman.

Mom’s determination

When my mom became aware of Bernheim Forest she made sure our family would have several picnic adventures there. Mom lived as a child in a small farming town 30 miles southwest of Topeka, Kansas. I think the forest reminded mom of her upbringing and the picnics got her away from the suburban environment.  One time mom gathered my two younger sisters, mom’s three oldest grandchildren and a friend for each into her 1971 Ford LDT.  No seat belt laws then and I don’t know if the car even had seat belts, but everyone fit so off they go.  Now when mom goes on picnics it is usually spur of the moment. The tradition of food was stopping at a nearby deli and buying Rainbo bread, old fashion bologna, potato chips, cookies and Pepsi.

After enjoying a day of eating, the Nature Center and a hike, everyone piles back into the LDT. On Hwy. 245, mom sees lights flashing and a signal to pull over. It was a state trooper. “Madam, you have too many people in this car.” Mom’s reply was they all wanted to have a picnic and decided to spend a day at Bernheim.  With that the trooper looked at the youngsters and asked if they had fun. In unison, everyone hollered YES!  The trooper said he would let mom off with a warning but would still need to see her license. Mom politely told the trooper that her purse was in the trunk because there was no room for in the passenger part of the car.

Click here to read part 1 of Cele’s story.

Click here to read part 3 of Cele’s story.

~Cele Beckner, Shepherdsville, KY


In honor of Bernheim’s 90th anniversary in 2019, we are making a conscious effort to collect stories and memories of Bernheim. In addition to your stories, both old and new, we are seeking any photographs, video footage and historical information you may have about Bernheim from the past 90 years.  Please let us know if you or someone you know has a great Bernheim story to share by contacting us at mystory@bernheim.org.

Please note: Any information provided to mystory@bernheim.org grants Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest the permission to reuse this information in print and/or digital formats, as well as other public display for the promotion of its 90th anniversary in 2019 and beyond, to further the efforts of our mission in connecting people with nature.

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