RANDOM MEMORIES OF COUNTRY DAY CAMP
(in no particular order)
by James G. Goble (1957-59)
am writing primarily from a male perspective; girls did attend Country
Day Camp in about equal numbers with boys, but we were not yet at the
age where we found the opposite sex attractive.)
The woodsy area adjacent to the
tennis courts was held to be the remains of an Indian camp or
reservation. The long deceased chief’s name was
Pukuwattomie (sometimes spelled Pukuwhatifany) and his wife’s
name was Rhukupukas. (Was this based on an actual bit of KMI
history? Were prisoners from the Plains Indian wars of the
1870’s and 1880’s ever housed or quartered there?) We
frequently went looking for arrowheads, but the only one who ever found
any was Mr. Hughes, an elderly counselor. I always suspected that
he dropped them through a hole in his pocket and then picked them up.
The rarest specimen of animal
life at Country Day Camp was a Filly-lu bird. I’m not sure
what they were supposed to look like, but I remember that one got made
out of a broken badminton racket and some plastic streamers.
Other rare ornithological specimens were the Wouffle bird and the
Golfol bird; the latter laid eggs that looked suspiciously like
practice golf balls.
Since the barracks had open
balconies, a favorite prank (at least among the boys) was pushing an
unfortunate kid out onto the balcony area, naked. Whether the
girls ever did this remains undetermined.
Colonel Richmond had no part in
the running of the camp, at least not visibly. But he did
sometimes come by with hedge shears and offer haircuts to kids.
His daughter, Diane Richmond Simpson, and her husband, Captain William
T. Simpson, along with Captain Alec Hodgin, were the actual directors.
Transportation was included in
the camp fee, so we were all transported to camp on school buses or
private cars, depending on where we lived. The last bus in was
dubbed “Cow’s Tail” and serenaded by the entire camp.
In the dining hall, any kid who
was rude enough to ask for something without saying
“Please,” if Captain Simpson happened to hear it, could get
the requested item down his or her neck. (We quickly learned to
say “Please” when requesting ice water.)
Tomato soup was a favorite menu item. I didn’t like it then and I still don’t.
The levels of swimming
competency were Minnow, Low Fish, High Fish, and Whale. Only
Whales were permitted on the diving board. (Swimming was about
the one co-ed activity we had. But then seeing girls in their
bathing suits was no big thrill for us, or at least we wouldn’t
Todd Hollenbach, a swimming
instructor, later served as Jefferson County Judge/Executive. I
voted for him and wonder how many other kids who learned to swim at
Country Day Camp did also.
Harcourt Kemp taught basketball
and golf. We mostly practiced hitting practice balls; once a
bunch of us tried to play the course. We scored about 20 each on
a par-3 hole, but then what do you expect with practice balls? We
gave up after that hole.
If any old Country Day Campers want to write me, they can e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and should put "Country Day
Camp" or "CDC-KMI" in the subject line, so I don't accidentally delete the
message. If there's enough interest I'll get some sort of group started.