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Comments and Correspondence 2001
John Mercer to Betty Pickett 08/21/2001 - How wonderful to hear your e-voice, Betty. You mention that, “My recollections, etc. really are related more to the food, cuts, bee stings, sunburn, etc”; why that’s the stuff I want! I seem to remember putting a nail through my foot up at the hot showers, choking on a chicken bone at the final banquet, and being stung four time simultaneously by white-faced hornets (how did I see their little faces?). In the latter case, my ears grew to enormous proportions, of which I was not the least ashamed.
In fact, as I start to remember my personal injuries, I wonder that there were not more injuries, illnesses, and the like. Hyde Bay Camp for Boys was, in many ways, an uncountable number of accidents waiting to happen. And most of them must have happened over the camp’s many years. And you must have had to deal with the results.
To our general health as campers and councilors, I can credit the fact that you were on site and ever ready for the worst, with a very few unguents, pills, and bandages but the very right attitude toward injury and illness. I–and I’m sure many others–attributed to you almost super-human powers of healing, some of those powers having to do with firmness of control. The place–by which I mean the Pickett attitude–took very few steps to prevent injury, at least compared to what would have to be taken today. . . Ah, well, I’m just babbling on like West Canada Creek in early June. I will probably go to my grave with questions about Picketts, the Otsego, and even Rum Hill.
Larry Pickett, Jr. 08/13/2001 - I do know the pig of my Dad’s era was Pearl Sus Crofa (the genus of the domesticated hog) Dad dressed it up and had a coming out party complete with ‘Uncles’ in theater tux’s. Dad also has a story about Pearl (I keep typing Perl – a computer language pronounced the same) knocking a state water inspector of some sort into the mud in the upper part of the camp and thereby preventing him from discovering that the cistern was not the total source of camp water. I believe he was dressed in a linen suit. (To which John Mercer feels compelled to ask, “The pig or the inspector?”)
John Mercer 08/11/2001 - Herb, Your idea to break the history into four eras is good; I see it somewhat like this.
1. The Founding and early years — 1920′s and 30′s
2. The War Years — 1940′s
3. Post War — 1950′s through 1965 (I think of these as ‘The Commodore Years’)
4. The Closing Years — 1965 on
I’d be inclined to write some of the Parts 3 and 4 if I thought I could remember anything. My own sense is that we all should add dated vignettes of whatever we can recall and in that way we’ll eventually get a rolling sort of history, the sort of history that might appear on the Hyde Bay stage on a Saturday evening, when all the youngsters were lavishly daubed with makeup applied by the Director, Kittie Mercer, or Shirly Garver. I still think the greatest trove of photos is in New York with Walter Lord. Rusty promises to send lots of stuff.
And by the way, all I remember of Capt Hartzell was my parents’ reference to being on “the Captain’s team,” meaning I think that in volleyball he was apt to try to make every play, no matter where it occurred on the court. And was there not a goat named Bumpo? And …? Well, once the memories start, the floodgates open, and that is why I believe we all should write and contribute to something like a chronological log of memories.
Perhaps “Who were Herbert and Emily Pickett?” would be appropriate as a click on our web site as well–if it is easily available to you. John Mercer
Herb Pickett 08/11/2001 - Hey, John: There is not much more I can contribute except photographs illustrating mostly what I have written. Historically, there are about three or maybe four phases. The war years. Then the ten or fifteen years until Rusty became UL. Then the years when your gang were active as councilors, etc. Then the closing years. Dr. Larry and especially Betty might have a lot of oral history to provide, if they were not up to writing. Who’s got the time to run all over with a tape recorder or camcorder, and then write and edit? You, Rusty, David, Larry Jr. etc. would have a lot of stories about phase three.
Incidentally, you may be interested in this. My chief volunteer activity is to serve as archivist in our local historical society. I was able to get in touch with the New York State Historical Society in Cooperstown, then sent them my history of Hyde Bay, which you have included. They said they were working up a history of camping on Otsego Lake and were glad to have this. I also sent them my previous, “Who were Herbert and Emily Pickett?” and my father’s reminiscences of his growing up in Worcester 1989 to 1905, when he went off to Andover.
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