It is really pretty here this morning. A little overcast, about 77 degrees and the only sounds are the cicadas and crickets and lots of birdsongs. An occasional distant bark from a dog can be heard once in a while. Our neighbor dogs are quiet and probably napping.
It's going to be warm today. Shorts seemed to be the way to go in the wardrobe department. I put on a pair of navy blue shorts and a white shirt. Whenever I wear that combination it brings me right back to my Camp Kiwanee days. That was what we had to wear everyday and I remember the packing list: 5 white blouses and 5 pairs of navy blue shorts, two bathing suits, towel etc. Everything labeled with sewn in labels bearing my name written in permanent ink.
During my stay as an eleven year old, we did the typical camp crafts like making things out of gimp. But I also made this really cool silver bracelet that I wish I could find today. And I remember doing bead work on a loom. The gimp we wove into long useless ropes, but it was fun to do. I also learned how to make chains from folded gum wrappers there from a fellow camper. We had archery, which I loved because I was good at it. And swimming lessons and open swim were memorable. One day we were required to jump off the high dive. That was terrifying. Why do you suppose the swimming lessons were always first thing in the morning in the coldest lake water I have ever been in? I think the swim staff were all masochists.
The dining hall is still vivid in my memory with its long tables and benches covered in red oil cloth. We sat at the same table for every meal with our cabinmates. We had rotating assignments. One girl set the table, one person filled the breadbaskets and set them on the table. Two got the drinks and two more cleaned up afterwards. They had really good cornbread sometimes. The food was good, especially on spagetti nights. And we always said grace before we ate.
I remember going to the general store and getting mail and being so excited when there was a letter there for me. Dad and Mom had deposited the recommended spending money, probably $10, into my camp account. We didn't actually ever see the money. It paid for stamps and the occasional ice cream sandwich and of course packs of gum, primarily for the wrappers. I think I was there for 2 weeks but in that short period of time I remember that almost every day there was letter for me. I sent post cards and letters home every day, too. We did a lot of writing back then, and on into my college years. We didn't mind the delayed gratification from snail mail like we do now. The anticipation just added to the excitement of it all. I still have some of those letters sent to me at Camp Kiwanee. Messages from my younger sisters inserted in the envelope were really sweet. It's fun to look at them now and then.
I don't know where this nostalgia came from. Oh yeah, my blue and white outfit. There is something else about my Campfire Experience I remember well. The first thing we had to memorize as Bluebirds at the age of 7 was the Bluebird Wish. Here it is:
To have fun.
To learn to make beautiful things.
To remember to finish what I begin.
To want to keep my temper in.
And to go to every interesting place.
To learn about the beautiful trees, the flowers, the birds and things like these.
And make friends.