Tuesday, July 7, 2009


One of the wonderful things about camp yet could also be one of the worst, was that we had little communication with the outside world. There were no TVs, newspapers or radios. Cell phones had not been invented. There was a land line phone but it was basically for family communication and service was iffy.

With no daily news, we did not know what was going on in politics, war, entertainment, the economy, crime, or world events. The only laws we knew and obeyed were camp laws. We were an insular community that was by its very nature, quite stress free. Ignorance is bliss.

We did have a NOAA radios for weather information that were erratic at best. It was a new concept and at that point, reception was not too reliable. That day, NOAA was on the fritz but the sky was clear and beautiful. Had we known what was coming, no one would have left camp.

We had two out-of-camp, trips planned that day. Bob and his wife were taking a hiking party on an overnight mountain trek while I was taking an over night canoe trip to an island several miles from camp in the middle of the lake. Everyone scheduled to go was excited to be getting away from camp. I adored camping so was as excited as the campers. Another crew stayed in camp to entertain those too young to go.

We had four canoes, three campers in each plus camping supplies. I had two other counselor with me so off we went. My girls were looking forward to campfires, marshmallows, sing alongs and hoped, with a little luck, maybe a stray group of boys from the boy's camp several miles below the island might show up to share a fire.

The trip was uneventful and with easy paddling, we made it in an hour and a half. It was a nice little island with a sandy beach and level area to set up tents. Many tall trees surrounding the clearing, gave us a feeling of being totally isolated. The night was pleasant and everything the girls had wanted except that the boys didn't find us. A steady breeze kept the bugs at bay.

Morning brought a different type of day. The slapping of tent flaps in a strong wind woke us all up. I got everyone to hurriedly break camp and pack up the canoes. We would have to paddle into the wind and I was really getting uneasy. All my kids were excellent swimmers and had life vests so what worried me was if it developed into a thunder storm.

NOAA radio was pure static so we did not know what was coming. Now my inexperience which had been laughable at times and worked around, became a serious liability. I had lives at stake here. The girls, still confident in me, were not alarmed as I struggled to show a false, calm demeanor.

The wind would made it a hard paddle back to camp. I was getting ready to send my two strongest paddlers for help and the power boat. That was when Ruthie let out a yell. Ruthie had a bee sting allergy and always carried a bee sting kit with her that contained an adrenaline shot. She had been a camper for 4 years and now she had gotten her first sting. Couldn't believe it was on my watch.

No one saw the bee so we didn't even know if that is what got her. All we knew was that something had. I just knew we had to give her a shot and quickly. One of the counselors had a diabetic mother and volunteered to administer the shot. Ruthie was the only one not sweaty with fear....

OK, I said this would not be a cliff hanger post but it has stretched into one more day. Gadsooks, I have got to learn brevity. Pinky swear, tomorrow is it.


  1. No, don't cut short on our account - what you write is too interesting to have it cut short!! If you have to spread it out - so be it.

    What a life you've had!!

  2. I love multi-part posts.

    We are up and dressed, fat and fed, ready for the new doctor.

  3. Some of your expressions brings back lots of memories.

    I just posted one on "Gobsmacks" about Lye Soap like my mom used to make and how it makes you feel Squeaky Clean -- and the new bar my daughter got me still makes me feel squeaky clean. Young again. LOL

  4. Thanks for leaving me hanging by my fingernails until tomorrow!

    Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow.

  5. Oh this cliffhanger is very, very good. A storm blowing in and a bee sting that requires a shot of adrenaline. Well, it sounds like there was plenty of adrenaline to go around!

  6. Don't apologize, Patti... I love reading about all of your experiences, especially the cliff-hangers.

    Peggy's blog today about camping made me think of something we used to do. Did you ever take your campers on a Snipe Hunt?????? I'll bet you did.

    Hurry back with MORE... (Love your 'pinky swear'... Haven't heard that in forever!)

  7. kenju
    Thank you. What a relief for I am not sure I could do brevity. Apperciate your patience.

    Thank you also for not being put off. Let me know how the new doc turned out Hope he is a dandy.

    We are pretty much from the same gerneration. Will check out Gobsmacks.

    Sorry about the stress on your manicure. Promise tomorrow is the end.

    Oh yeah, the adrenaline was really pumping. Think I could have lifted a Buick that day.

    4th sister,
    Thanks for hanging in. You know Altoids are good for bated breath. So sorry,I just couldn't help that.

    What is a snipe?? Tee hee. Heard of them all my life but never saw one. Actually some of the male counselors brought a hunt up but it never happened. Little girls are too delicate.

  8. It is a cliff hanger, Patti! Without doubt! You are a great author! Everybody will agree with me!!

  9. Thank you so much Wil. You are very kind.