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Homeletter 1945 19th Season, No. 2

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HYDE BAY HOME LETTER           19th SEASON              Week of July 5 - 11, 1945

Introduction. This letter, as announced last week, will cover the events of the last two weeks because so much of the preceding letter was routine information.

Weather. The ancient saying, “if you do not like the weather, wait ten minutes.” has applied to our experience in camp so far. We have had windy days, warm days, cold days, sunny days, and rainy days. For the most part, this repertory has been included in each 24-hour period. At that, the atmospheric conditions are a considerable improvement over those of the preceding weeks.

Health. We have had a fair number of boys in the infirmary with colds and temperatures, but they have all speedily recovered, seldom spending more than one night in the sanatarium. Hoppy Damon had the misfortune to chip a bone in his ankle while playing on the Navy life raft. Billy Harkness broke a bone in his upper arm when he fell from Sue while out riding. This is far more than our usual quota of accidents, but we have learned to expect them when they come. Once more, we are grateful to the ministrations of the Bassett Hospital for prompt and efficient care.

Swimming. At the start of camp, 24 boys were unable to swim the 200 yards out around the diving tower. These are classed as non-swimmers. Already, several boys have removed themselves from this list. Recent boys who passed the D test are Danny Green, Tibor Sholnoky, Benny Egerton, and Henry Pope. Others are rapidly nearing such an accomplishment.

Arrivals. Old camper Blaise de Sibour, and new campers Tommy Howell, and George and Eddie Ruestow, have recently joined the camp. The latter trio were delayed by mumps or suspicion thereof.

Church. While a dozen or so have attended the Catholic Church in Cooperstown, the rest of the camp have met twice in the theatre, and once on the slope front of the Russellorum. Hymns were sung, a passage of scripture read; a prayer then closed the brief service. Following this, town meeting has been held where all hands have a chance to express their opinions. Some valuable suggestions have been made.

Government. The House has been organized, with one boy from each tent as members. Sandy Shreve was elected Speaker. The Assembly elected two councilors to the Senate. This latter body consists of Mr. Guerry as president, with four councilors, two elected by the House, and two by the Council. Their legislation is subject to the Director’s veto.

Activities. The Handicraft Salon has been set up in the shelter of a tent fly under the willows. Here, lanyards, knitted belts, and various creations in leather have emerged under the direction of Mr. Williams, assisted by Charles Lando and Bob Ramsay. Under the latter’s supervision, some creditable water color painting has been done by a number of the boys.

Drama. We have had two sessions of Saturday night plays. The first was a sort of amateur night which brought to light some histrionic ability in the council, as well as displaying the abilities of Jack Kitts as a magician. One particularly effective scene was a pantomime of an eventful motor trip. last Saturday, the first tent plays were given. Three tents participated, assisted by Buddy Gilpin as a lissome Indian maiden. The tent presided over by Graeme Menzies and Micky Stephenson presented a horrendous Indian drama. Another production dealt with life in a Nazi prison camp. The productions were tempestuously received. Once more, Mr. Barriskill is the voice offstage when the voices of the actors are mute. The plays appear under his direction.

Nature Hunt. Thirty-eight boys participated in the search for 50 specimens of the prodigality of Dame Nature, ranging from a live snake to a yellow butterfly, with turtles, wild iris, toads, and green blackberries thrown in for good measure. Peter Elliman won with the astonishing score of 260 out of a possible 300. Eight other fortunate young men were awarded the free movie trip to town.

Canoeing. Almost all the camp has already made the interesting circumnavigation of the lake. They have feasted at Fairy Springs, explored Natty Bumppo’s Cave, and returned in time for supper. For the first time in some years, a canoe upset, but Councilor Gilpin and his young charges were rescued by other members of the fleet. A considerable section of the camp has already paddled down to Little Gravelly to spend a night in the open.

Hikes. Boys have gone in rather heavily for hiking this year. Mr. Guerry led some 40 up over the bridle path and far down the range to Camp Chenango and back up the road to camp. Strawberry Mountain has been climbed many times, and some have even walked into East Springfield, a distance of nearly five miles.

Miscellaneous. The baseball league, with six teams, is in full swing. North-South game resulted in a score of 16 for the South to 5 for the North. Capture-the-Flag, volley ball, and other games are popular after supper. The S.T.37, as our Oldtown 12-foot outboard boat is known, has been in rather constant operation with a number of boys learning how to run the 5 hp motor. Considerable fishing has been done with the usual success. The tennis court is in operation, with many patrons. The shop has been running once more under Mr. Clapsaddle’s direction. All sorts of projects, hard to catalogue, have enriched the life of many campers. Shadow Brook has been the scene of many dauntless explorations.

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