Monday, July 17, 2017

A crumb from summer camp

Back in the 1960's, I was counselor for the youngest boys (ages six and seven) at Camp Elektor in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Our cabin is shown below, on the left. Since nobody had email, each camper was required to write a letter home once-a-week. The letter was an "admission ticket" for supper on Sunday evening. My campers would spend half-an-hour carefully printing, DEAR MOM AND DAD, I AM HAVING FUN. LOVE. It wasn't easy for them to print this, laying on their bunks during rest hour, and it didn't seem fair for their parents to receive so little information.

One of the things I brought to camp that summer was a Smith-Corona portable. You can Google it to find out what is is. After seeing their cryptic messages for a few weeks, I offered to be their "secretary." They could come into my part of the cabin during rest hour and dictate a letter home. At first, most had no idea what to say. But when reminded of their swimming test or hike, they became VERY talkative and I typed everything they said until we had a full page, single spaced. Parents were ecstatic to receive such a long letter in their son's very own words. At Elektor, counselors were not supposed to accept tips at the end of summer, but I made some exceptions that summer, since my campers' parents insisted on giving tokens of gratitude for these letters.

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