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Enjoyment of the whispering winds, the zephyrs, the airstreams of the Sierra Nevada and Great Basin areas of the United States in a recreational vehicle.

Helen in her Airstream at Palm Springs in 1956

Mrs. Airstream – Helen Byam Schwamborn

From notes and other information provided by Helen's son Dale (Pee Wee) Schwamborn

Editors Note: The new book, Wanderlust by Russ Banham, has done an excellent job in presenting Wally Byam and Airstream. The book has added historical facts and corrected misinformation. This website brings forth an additional chapter to this history, that of Helen Byam Schwamborn, Wally's first cousin. As you peruse this site you will learn more about the Airstream Story and how Helen made the WBCCI what it is today. (This is a work in progress. New and more detailed information will be added over time) editor

Wally Byam was born in 1896 and Helen Byam Schwamborn, Wally's first cousin was born in 1904 in Baker OR. Their fathers were brothers. Bert and Ray Byam. As children and young adults Wally and Helen had little contact. Little did either know that Wally would become Mr. Airstream and Helen would become Mrs. Wally Byam Caravan Club.

In going through family papers after my Mother’s death, I found personal items from Wally’s youth. Wally had a list of affirmations. They were made sometime near his graduation from high school. One of them is very interesting. Wally wrote, “Cease this easy go lucky stuff. Its Byamish.” When Wally was three years old his Mother Carrie Biswell Byam and Bertram Byam divorced. Carrie remarried Dave Davis. All indications that he had little, if any contact with the Byam side of his family. The conclusion from his affirmation shows a disdain for his Byam heritage.

In In 1927 Helen married Henry Schwamborn. In 1930 Helen and Henry moved to California. Things began to change. Wally, an acclimated Southern Californian by this time, took the Schwamborns under his wing. Helen spent many hours with her grandparents and knew that to be a Byam was something special. Wally and Helen's friendship developed through the 30’s, 40’s and early 50’s. During this time Wally learned more about his Byam heritage. It was an inside thing for Wally to remind my Mother that she was a Byam and a Byam can do it, or she would remind Wally that he was a Byam. This ongoing family affirmation meant something. To be a Byam was positive and full of the can do attitude to accomplish things. He always referred to Helen as his “little cousin.”

Helen was Wally's confident. She listened, she "had sage", Wally valued her, her opinions, her work ethics, and someone he could count on. It was fitting Wally Byam’s trailer number was #1, and Helen’s was #2.

The quote made at her Bakersfield Memorial Service, probably sums up whom she was.

"She never met a stranger!" Few of us can present this to people we have never met. My Mom was such a remarkable person. A Mother, a business lady, a friend, a confident to many people. Those that knew her loved her very much. She really was an asset to Airstream and the Club.”

I say this not just because she was my Mother, but was an extraordinary human being. - Pee Wee

See more photos, documents and other tidbits

Click on image for larger view

I like this pic. It shows her personality and wisdom. - Pee Wee

The documents provided and the pictures in these photo galleries have been used with permission of Dale Schwamborn. They are intended for personal viewing and enjoyment only and are not to be used in part or in full on other websites, for commercial purpose, or for any other use. For information on this material you can contact Dale at

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