Monday, July 13, 2009

'Twas the Summer of '59

The first and last time that I attended summer camp was in June 1959. I was eleven years old and it was also the first time that I had been away from home for any length of time. The camp was affiliated with the Girl Scouts. Two of my friends, classmates and troop mates, Susan and Joanne, were there too, so it wasn't like I didn't know anyone. It sounds like I had lots of fun. Too bad I don't really remember specific events, though I do remember attending. Hopefully, my spelling and grammar have improved somewhat over the years...

Dear Mom,

I am fine, How are you, Jack, Doug, and Terry. Do you know that you have to pay 15¢ a car, 15¢ for parents, 15¢ for children under 12 years of age.

My consulers are Micky, & Watona. I am having a good time, I'm just a little home sick, not very much.

Do you know what a hopper is it is a person or more that helps set tables and get food on the tables. a hopper doesn't have to do his own dishes but she has to do the tables dishes.

I have written a letter to grandma to.

sincerely yours
Beckie W.

Dear Mom,

I told you about a hopper. I'm a hopper Sat. Lunch.

Can you guess who my cabin mates are? They are Susan Howell and Joann, Suzanne, Pamella, and Diane.

Monday night we had a lot of trouble Susan was crying for her dog, and Dianne triped and hurt her eye, and we made a clothsline and I forgot where we put it and ran thurgh it and got a rope burn, Suzanne was home sick.

I got your letter and was a little home sick. I am going to save $1.00, 5¢ a day for the Mermaid-Festival. Don't tell anybody else.

I lost grandmas address will you send me the address.

Sunday we had hotdogs, potatoe chips, milk, water, Bread & butter.

I am having loads of fun I will write to you & the family almost every day.

There is one letter that Mom sent me. I'm sure she wrote more but this is the only one that got kept...

June 15, 1959

Dear Becky -

Well how is the weather. It's raining here and I've got the furnace turned on - this is always the kind of weather you get when you go to camp. What time did you get to Pottawatamie. I'll bet you were hungry when supper time came - What did you have that was good to eat. Who have you got for a cabin mate. Even if it is raining I'll bet you have fun - We are watching T. V. It's the first its been on in the morning for 2 weeks. I've got some more strawberries that have to be picked. I was over at Pat's yesterday and we are going to have to start picking peas.

Ruth and Gene Stutzman are on vacation this week too - I hope you can read this - I'm trying to get done before the mail man gets here - Terry was looking for you last night & wanted to know when we were going to get you - Bill & Sue were here yesterday and Doug started yelling for you to come & play - He stopped as soon as he got "Bec" out.

= = =

There was one more page in her letter that listed the addresses of people that I was supposed to write to. She signed the letter "Mommy".

Pat is Mom's sister. Pat and her family lived on a farm and always planted a large garden. Bill and Sue are Mom's brother and his wife. Jack, Doug, and Terry were my brothers and sister. It's nice to know that my siblings missed me ;-)

I'm pretty sure that Camp Pottawatamie was located on or near the Tippecanoe River, which was the same river that flowed through the fields less than a mile from our house. I also think the camp is now part of the Tippecanoe River State Park. The town of Winamac is located on State Road 14, in Pulaski County, about a two hour drive from where we lived at the time. Not that far, but I'm sure it seemed further.

This post was written for and contributed to the 76th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy :: How I spent my summer vacation…


Janet Iles said...

How wonderful it is that you have copies of letters from your time at camp. It helps with remembering that time in your life. I have several photos from the two times I went to camp but no letters that I have found.

Thanks for sharing these with us.

Apple said...

I went to Girl Scout camp several times and I have neither letters nor pictures. It's wonderful that you saved these.

Virginia Travis said...

I'm with Apple, it is wonderful that you've saved the letters! My daughter attended camp for the first time this year, but I received only one letter from her. She and I have both written protected journal entries featuring her time at camp.

What great memories. Excellent writing skills for one so young!

Greta Koehl said...

Sounds like you had a better time at your summer camp than I remember having at mine (all I can remember is a terrible sunburn).

Bill West said...

Hi Becky!
I had the camping experience from the viewpoint
of being a counselor for three summers. It was fun, but I never wrote letters home because I could use the main office telephone to call home.

I wish now I'd written. It's great that you have those letters!