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Hyde Bay Camp Memories - ULs (1942)

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by John Herndon, Gilman School '45

      Hyde Bay Camp for Boys was located on Lake Otsego near Cooperstown, New York and run by Herb Pickett, long-time Master at Gilman School in Baltimore. Boys from Baltimore and Gilman School made up the majority of the campers. (A girl's camp named Ethical Culture was also located on Lake Otsego, less than ┬╝mile to the South.)UL

      UL (equals Unskilled Labor) was the term used by Herb Pickett for campers to do daily chores around camp, such as dining room work, digging outhouse holes or churning the homemade ice cream. UL boys were compensated, I believe, by a credit to the camp tuition. Top of the Ladder prize, the most coveted UL job, was "Ice and Garbage;" and Tom Galvin and I held this coveted UL position during the summer of 1942.

      We were privileged and trusted to travel from camp to the large wooden icehouse where ice from Lake Otsego had been cut into large blocks during the winter and stored for summer usage at camp. We also collected the garbage each morning from our kitchen and transported it to a neighboring farm about a half a mile up a dirt road. We were free and unsupervised, and the pigs that received the garbage greeted us with grunts, squeals and oinks never heard before by two such city boys.

      Best of all was the transport---a real old-time wooden wagon drawn by Old George, the horse. Neither Tom nor I had any experience with such a contraption, but Old George knew the way and even put up with Tom trying to urge him to go faster. Never will I forget the bumpy ride over the narrow dirt road through the woods leading out to the main dirt road and the turn-off to the farm to feed the fat, squealing pigs. I wonder if the old icehouse still remains?

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