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HYDE BAY HOME LETTER Volume XX 1946 No. 8
WEATHER: The broken weather of last week has continued into this. However, we have had some perfectly beautiful days to atone for ones when it has rained. My recollection is that the sunshine has outweighed the rain by a considerable margin. The nights have been uniformly cold, with most of the days hot, It has been a windy week, which has been a boon to the sailors.
HEALTH: The infirmary was quite clear for a few days until Pat Mundy decided that it was time that he put on his version of the measles. His spots have already appeared, which are the harbingers of an early recovery. Tommy Howell is his companion, between temperature and spots. We have used up almost all our first—class measle material, but may be able to scare up one or two more candidates before the camp closes.
INVITATION: It has always been our custom to have a special banquet on the last night of camp. This is followed by a huge bonfire whose abundant light is used by the Head Councilor to scan the list of prizes. Our few simple awards are made at that time. We have always been fortunate enough to have a few parents with us at that time. This year, with the enthusiasm born of the newly-restored privilege of driving, we hope that many of you will be with us. You are very cordially invited.
POST CARD ENCLOSED: I am going to enclose a post card for two purposes; one to get your acceptances or regrets on the final banquet invitation. The other is to confirm your arrangements for getting your son home. Please return the cards to me with the requested information.
PLANS FOR RETURN: While I don’t like to talk of such dismal things so far in advance; bitter experience has taught me that many parents are extremely foresighted and will presently begin to ask me about plans for boys returning home. The New York Central System has informed me, and I quote – “Tuesday, August 27: Ample, coach accommodations, NYC No. 142 -- leave Fort Plain 9:50A.M., arrive Albany 11:50A.M., leave Albany NYC No. 22, 12:15 P.M., Arrive New York 3:15 P.M. Previously we have been able to have a fast train stepped earlier in the morning, but as long as peace continues to rage, I suppose there will be exceptions to such rules. THE TIMES GIVEN ARE STANDARD time.
LEEWAY: We are very glad to allow parents a day or two leeway at the end of camp as we did at the start. We shall be here with councilors tearing the camp to pieces and can keep a boy or two for two or three days if that helps parents’ plans, BUT PLEASE DON’T TAKE YOUR SON AWAY BEFORE THE FINAL BANQUET AND BONFIRE.
MARITIME CASUALTY DEPARTMENT: Saturday set a record, with Dave Fitzelle and the famous Evans brothers upsetting three sailboats. Intra-camp races were hold with skippers Elliman, Harkness, Firor and Hoblitzell distinguishing themselves, or being defeated as the case may be.
DOWN THE RIVER: On Tuesday Bob Pickett, assisted by Ed Maxson and Ollie Thomson took five canoe—loads down the Susquehanna to a point just below its confluence with historic Cherry Valley Creek. The last trip went on to Goodyear Lake, but voted the lower placid reaches of the stream too dull. The trip was reported a success, although the voyagers spent the night in a pouring rain.
ALSO WET: On that same night Tent 6 was on Gravelly Point, while the heretofore—mentioned Evans boys with their tents and ringers, Scofield and George Ruestow, endured the elements on Lookout Mountain. The next day the lodge was turned into a Finnish steam bath. The sheet-iron stove was loaded to capacity with wood. All windows and doors were shut tightly and a relay of wet blankets went through this gigantic oven to come out warm and dry for the boys that night. This was Chiefy Chandlee’s 99-cent idea.
CINEMA: On Wednesday night we showed “The Keys of the Kingdom” which appealed to this spectator as somewhat above the heads of our clientele.
BIG EVENT: On Thursday we provided one of the most famous of Hyde Bay traditions — the rip to Trenton Falls. This lovely spot is fifty-three miles from camp. It is a gorge some two hundred feet deep, through which flows a lovely stream of water over two splendid waterfalls. The routine of this trip is worth describing: Bob Pickett with Rob, Palmy, Micky, and a carefully selected list of campers who had been longest at Hyde Bay set out quite early on Thursday morning. They arrived at the camp ground in time to cook a steak dinner on the broad area of flat rocks which flanks the dam and falls. A prelude to the meal was swimming over the falls. The drop of four feet into a foaming pool is real adventure! They then climbed down into the gorge and swam towering waterfalls and crawled behind cataracts -- then on to Prospect for all the ice cream a human could consume -- then back to the camp spot for overnight where Herb Pickett jointed them to renew his youth with one more trip down the West Canada Creek. This was accomplished safely, and all hands returned in good season on Friday, reporting another glorious Trenton Fails trip. It is the only thing, I suppose, which no other camp can hope to copy.
FRIDAY: We had some tennis matches, some boys went bean—picking, the nature-hunt winners were taken to the movies.
THE DRAMA: The plays, programs of which are enclosed herewith, met with great favor on Saturday night. They concluded the remarkable series of tent plays put on by councilors and boys under the erudite direction of our Hyde Bay Belasco, James M. Barriskill.
UNIQUE EXPEDITION: Cooperstown is fortunate to have community sings on Sunday afternoon. Some four or five thousand people gather every week on a beautiful promontory overlooking the lake on the edge of the village. Here all join in singing familiar songs and hymns. This week, we took two station wagons and a motor beat full of boys. The setting and singing combine to make it a most inspiring experience. If any of you parents can get up for the closing days of camp by 3:30 on Sunday afternoon, you will be richly rewarded by attending the famous Cooperstown sings.
PING PONG: A new ping-pong table has been installed in the theatre and has been in almost constant use.
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