I told Marthe last night that I really hated camp and was always ready to go home and Marthe loved it so I feel kind of bad for being so harsh. Everyone would cry at the end of camp, it was expected, and I just couldn’t do it. I was so cold and homesick for my bedroom. I then backtracked as I realized I just wasn’t really a very good camper. My first words are so often harsher than what I really mean.
This is what I think about camp from my letters.
- I put a sleeping bag underneath the wool blankets in my bed. When I woke up in the morning, I could see my breath in the mirror. I’m still a wimp and it’s why I run or do athletic things outside in the winter.
- It rained quite a bit. Also experienced this a whole summer in Paris. Drier climate now, I’d kill for rain.
- “The girl on the bunk on top of me is leaving because she is homesick and threw up in the dining room. This is her 2nd year here and the same thing happened to her last year.” I don’t remember feeling this way at all. All the new people and a new place were way too exciting.
- I described many meals in my letters, as seen after 4 years at camp. Once a week we would weigh-in at the nurse’s cabin. Everyone would lose weight with camp activity but I always gained, I’d never eaten so well and three meals a day. Maybe won the horsingogle’s for the extra mint hot fudge sundae too often.
- “For lunch we had meat loaf, carrots, cottage cheese, potatoes and soupy jello 1-2-3 (loved this stuff when made properly, so pretty and intrigued by the 3 layer separating design).
- “We had gooey rolls last night and I had 1-1/2”. These were made by Blanche Simmons who retired at 85 and started on wood stove.
- “We had chocolate malts and popcorn”.
- Some negativity at first “I hate Jr. Life! It’s okay though.” We had to tread water for what seemed like hours with our hands above the water in that frigid lake water that would knock your breath out when you jumped in. “The water is freezing.” I complain almost every letter but by the end I love it.
- Water Sports: not cut out for the more technical ones. Great at water ballet and 3 mile swim in 50 meter pool for lifeguard training, the artful and the meditative long distance. I never passed sailing after 4 years and let go of the main Halyard, a big gaff so after 4th yr. I still didn’t get a patch. Trimmed a mean jib. Never understood physics of sailing at that time not being science or nature person and pre-architectural engineering classes.
- Large motor skills and fast twitch tissue: even the games at night gave me trepidation. At camp we played capture the flag. I’m so fearful of being caught but not fast enough to dodge person or confident enough to grab the flag so it’s just a matter of waiting for the inevitable failure (see why I run).
- Canoeing, yes. Not kayaks by playaks. Not tortuous like rapids in Rocky Mountans, we were just by boathouse. Loved the canoe trips across the lake for a night or two, camp, and food over the fire. A goal, adventure of covering so much water, sense of accomplishment like hiking.
- This was a project for a beaded ring off a little loom. I actually re-visited this craft when I first moved to the ranch and made a bracelet, it’s very tedious could never see now.
- Store is when you could go in and buy a pop or candy or Sherwood stuff. We always had to pay cash at the Prairie Village Pool with no paraphernalia to buy, so this was great because the tab went on the camp bill. I didn’t abuse (the Adams children bought some of their finest fleece at Cheley but always kind of “ask-mentioned” in a letter post-purchase) and we always did the same thing to our parents, justified any clothing purchase as necessity with weather or a camping need.
- Loved, loved arts and crafts and chose this for camp picture.
- Wasn’t like stuff with my mom which was so expressive but things like lanyards made of “gimp”, flat plastic like linquini in neon colors. Also learned how to fold the wrigley’s gum wrappers and thread them together in those long stairstep chains.
My father was in the marine corps and I was a Camp LeJeune baby so I’ll give him credit for the fact that I passed my Marksman immediately and a very good shot.
- Loved drama. Wrote a whole two-page tedious letter about an updated version of Julius Caesar’s death, “Rinse the Blood off my Toga.”
- herbal essence shampoo; one night a week we would shampoo our hair in the lake within a big enclosed dock area, it’s amazing all the human chemicals and waste a lake can handle.
- Johnson’s baby lotion and Marthe’s baby powder, I’d never used powder on my body before.
- little buckets we carried to bathroom and lake with newly purchased toiletries
- really nice bathrooms but at night you had to take a counselor and a flashlight
- the Dreher sisters didn’t think you should shave your legs until Jr. High (I did, probably like in 4th when Gina did and I think Marthe started after we met). Before disposable razors, I’d forgotten mine so I ask for it in a letter to my parents. They also didn’t believe you should diet until high school (I did probably in 6th with a little maternal-grandmotherly encouragement). Having all this great advice with different philosophies from Marthe’s sisters was like having 3 extra mothers and I loved it.
- Julie Samuels of Emporia played an incredible Classical Gas on the piano. Julie is Mary Stauffer Brownback’s (our new first lady of Kansas) cousin. I think I originally heard this song played by Mason Williams on Ed Sullivan.
The camp and counselor skits performed in the lodge.
- Seeing other people’s parents visit that weren’t from Johnson County and places like Florida.
The letter 4 days before I arrive home with 17 exclamation points! It’s almost over and we have about 45 minutes to shop in the Minneapolis airport. Our parents all sent us between $10 and $20 dollars for this big event. And, back home to mom, home food, and my bed.