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08-14-18 John McDaniel to John Mercer:

Mr. Mercer -
That is a very nice website you put together for Hyde Bay Camp.

I have a few tangent relations to it.  My grandfather, Washington Platt, somehow struck up a friendship with Mr. Pickett.  I suspect it was through Gilman School -- Grandfather was in the Class of 1908, but didn't graduate from there.  I am pretty sure that was before Mr. Pickett started at Gilman.  Grandfather's nephew, Charles Chauncey Hall, was raised by Grandfather's mother after Charles' parents died.  He was at Gilman when Mr. Pickett was there, and I suspect that is how things got going -- Charles went to Hyde Bay Camp - probably along with many other Gilman students.  Grandfather lived in Syracuse, New York and sent his son, Lucian Platt down to Hyde Bay in the 1940s.  Uncle Lucian's comments about the camp are about the way it is described on the website -- a fun place without much structure -- in other words, great!

Grandfather's friendship with Mr. Pickett continued up until Mr. Pickett died.  They had a debate about which era at Gilman was better -- Grandfather's Heroic Age or Mr. Pickett's Golden Age.  Grandfather argued that his age set the tone for the rest of time -- people sent their kids there ever since because of the stature of people in his era.  Mr. Pickett argued that Gilman really hit its stride when people such as he and Mr. Pine were there.  It was a great, good-humored debate that only ended when Mr. Pickett died.

A Gilman teacher of mine gave me another connection -- he and his family always went up to Cooperstown for summer vacations.  He has good memories of the area, but he was not affiliated with the camp.  The teacher's name is David (Lance) Bendann.

If I can find it, I will send you a PDF file with some recollections Mr. Pickett had of Gilman.  His tale of catching scarlet fever, and the response of the Gilman community, will make you laugh out loud.

All the best,- John McDaniel, Baltimore, Maryland.


08-15-18 John Mercer to John McDaniel:

Dear Mr. McDaniel -

Thank you for the interesting e-mail. I did indeed start the Hyde Bay website, but it didn't achieve its current pleasant form and organization until Steve Cunningham took over and reordered my rough work. (So I have put him on copy here, not just to compliment him, but also to make him aware of your good information).

You're right that the camp was always dominated by boys and men from Baltimore, most of them from Gilman, but I come from one of the lesser strains in the genealogy, Governor Dummer Academy in South Byfield, Massachusetts, (now Governor's Academy) where my father worked as head for the English Department for forty years. His introduction to the Camp's as laborer at the Hyde Bay tutoring school came in the 1930s and was brought about by a fellow faculty member Ed Dunning. Once that relationship was made, there was a fairly steady trickle of folks from South Byfield to Hyde Bay. One of the most interesting was George Heberton Evans ("Heb"), who came with his brother to Camp probably through the Gilman connection, but through Camp was connected to his life-time tenure as math teacher and wrestling and lacrosse coach at Governor Dummer. There were several other such cross-pollinations in Hyde Bay history.

Yes, please do send along the PDF of The Director's recollections of Gilman, if you can find the document.

Thank you for writing.


John S. Mercer
The Dayman


08-16-18 John McDaniel to John Mercer:

John and Steve,

I knew I could find this!  I laugh every time I read it, and I am very happy to know others will read it.  I imagine the pleasure it must have brought all of Mr. Pickett's students when it was first published in the late 1950s in the Gilman Bulletin -- I imagine Mr. Pickett was very well liked.

Do either of you still go to or live in Cooperstown?  My understanding is that the Susquehanna River starts there.  Grandfather and one of his Syracuse friends somehow got what must have been a couple of weeks off from work to take what my mother described as a "folding boat" all the way down the river to the Chesapeake Bay.  It must have been wonderful to go the entire length through various towns.  Mom said that the trip almost ended before it started -- Grandfather's friend, John Ogg, was standing on the bridge when it was struck by lightning.  If you could, please give me a description of the river up there -- about how wide, whether it is smooth or rapids, that sort of thing.

All the best,
- John McDaniel.

PDF file - Golden Age of Gilman


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