Read It To Believe It

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Phoning Home

There were only two phones in the whole camp. The official camp phone (whose number I still remember: 614W2–it was a party line), which rang in the camp office, to which we were summoned if a parent called, and the phone booth out on the office porch (the number was 8109M–another party line), the phone we were to use if we wanted to call home.

Placing a long distance call was a major production in those days. Not only was there no direct distance dialing (as it was called when it was first introduced), but if the long distance operator didn’t know how to route the call, she first had to call an operator known as “Routes and Rates” to get the routing of the call before she could place it. This took precious time.

My mother, wanting to make it easier for me, made it her business to learn the routing and instructed me that when calling home I was to tell the operator I wanted, “Woodmere, Long Island, New York, Franklin 4-2089, going through Garden City.”

It really saved oodles of time that might better be spent in some fun activity in camp instead of waiting for some poky, old operator!

–Cynthia MacGregor (nee Aronson)

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Twin Trouble

My twin sister and I finally pestered our parents sufficiently about going to camp when we were 9 years old that they found the funds and sent us off. We were so excited to go on an adventure with just the two of us–that is, without our three other siblings.

Once we got there, we were told we would be separated “for our own good.” Whoa! That was not our plan!

So my main memory of camp was figuring out ways to sneak around the head counselor so my sister and I could have camp adventures together. She was a bit of a mouthy rebel, so we did not fly under the radar too well, and kept getting busted for hanging out with each other.

We got so mad about this stupid rule–which we still don’t quite get–that I wet my bed the last night there. I told the head counselor it was because I was scared not having my twin with me, but really I was mad.

Word to camp counselors–let twins be together, or else!

–Kymberly Williams-Evans

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The Memories Just Keep Coming

Oh, I loved camp! I went to day camp, Girl Scout resident camp (first for two weeks, then a month at a time), and then a coed resident camp (a month at a time).

Here are some things I remember:

• Hating the cold water, hating the swim lessons, but then being extremely proud each time I earned a new Red Cross card. I later became a lifeguard, which helped pay for college.

• Camp songs and camp fires, of course.

• Sailing (or, more accurately, sitting there while my counselor did all the work, but to me, I was “sailing”).

• Knots and lanyard tying. The lanyards were cool because then I carried the camp experience home, to my non-camp friends, and to school.

• Gathering firewood.

• Canoeing.

• Camp dances! At the coed camp, it was all about the bi-weekly dance.

• Archery.

• Riflery.

• The chore wheel … this was a spinning disc that assigned different chores to different people.

• Having secret snack stashes. Pringles were my contraband of choice.

• Rules–tying hair back to work with the fire, using only fallen wood for fires, wearing the PFD (personal flotation device), walking with a “buddy,” etc.

The loudest, zaniest counselors are the ones I vaguely remember, but I don’t necessarily think they were the ones I liked best. I do remember that the Girl Scout counselors all had camp nicknames, and we never knew their “real” names. Summer, Sky, Rabbit … stuff like that.

–Karen Zachery

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Consoling Mom

I had the best time at summer camp. It was a weeklong stay and the first time I had been away from home. This was in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

I loved sleeping in a top bunk, the “mess hall,” crafts, swimming, softball and all the other kids.

I remember calling my mom from a phone booth to talk to her. She wanted to talk and talk because she missed me–not the other way around. I would say, “I gotta go, we are going to get ice cream.”

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