Memories


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Posted by Bryan Henderson on July 07, 19100 at 10:26:28:

Bryan sent this to me, so I didn't want to lose it.

I went to Camp Loowit 2 years, when I was 9 and 10. Whenever I need to reconstruct the timeline of my early youth, I remember that as we assembled to get in the boats and go back across the lake at the end of my second session, someone announced that the President had resigned. I remember realizing how important that must be if they had to announce it at camp, where we were otherwise insulated from the real world for a week.
The next year, I switched to 4-H camp, but later decided it was a mistake; I wish I had gone back to Loowit a couple more years.
In those days, there was one pair of restrooms, called the Jack and the Jill, right where the map shows it. There was a shower stall in there, and I remembering wondering what the heck it was for.
I read in the history that there was a lot of new construction in the later years, and the map seems to reflect that. Otherwise, it seems quite accurate to me. In my years, Cabin 5 stood where the map shows Bear Lodge, and I think the camp director's cabin was much further east. I don't remember the swimming area being separate from the boat dock. The "old chapel" was there. But I don't have a very good memory for things like this.
Here are some random memories:
The overnight hikes were a highlight of the week. We had about 6 from which to choose. My first year, I took the easiest one, a short hike to Grizzly Lake. The second year, I was more ambitious and took the two-nighter way up the mountain. I was very small, even for my age, and kept falling behind. The counselors made a rule of putting the slowest person at the head of the line for this reason, but the other campers had a lot of trouble with that discipline and I always ended up at the rear of the pack anyway. Fortunately, they posted a counselor at the rear so I couldn't get lost.

I took a lot of flak from the other kids for having an air mattress with me on that hike. I wasn't actually that much of a pansy, but an air mattress just happened to be the most convenient thing my family had for a ground cloth. And this was back before the big backpacking technology boom where you could fit supplies for a week in a fanny pack and it would weigh 6 ounces. So a 2 pound ground cloth didn't seem like that big a deal. My pack frame was made of wood and canvas.
There was also a canoe trip option.
Remember icky sticky? It was the camp policing system whereby if you saw someone drop a candy wrapper on the ground, you could proclaim "icky sticky," arrest the person, and turn him in and he had to buy you one of the same candy. I remember people getting framed for icky sticky too. We definitely had some Lord of the Flies crap going on.
The swimming qualification system: There was a swimming test at the beginning of the session and you were awarded a white, red, or blue poker chip according to your swimming proficiency. I believe I had the red (middle). I could tread water for 10 minutes and swim four laps across the swimming area, but there were probably some diving sorts of things and advanced strokes that I couldn't do. Your chip determined what kind of aquatic activities you could do. The most demanding was sailing, which I think required two people, one with a blue chip, and one with at least a red. Something like that. Plus, you had to take a sailing class, one of the organized daily activities. I did and just loved it. I've liked sailing ever since.

The chips hung on the board at the head of the dock and you moved them to indicate what equipment you had checked out or activity you were doing.
I had one of those chips in my junk collection for years-I found it on the ground somewhere-but it's gone now.
Pumice was one of the great camp discoveries-the mountain was covered with huge rocks you could lift over your head. Rocks that floated! And the lake floor was also covered with less buoyant pumice.
The mountain was covered in blueberries. A cabin could gather them and Joretta would make them into a pie for the cabin. My cabin did that one year.
There was one of those campfire songs where you make the verses as you go-like Gee Mom I Wanna Go Home. And also an echo song like Bear In Tennis Shoes. This one was called "You Can't Get to Heaven," and I don't see it on the song page. The only verse I remember is, "Oh, you can't get to heaven in Bob Rosi's car; 'cause the gosh darn thing stops at every bar."
There were a variety of certificates given out on the last night. My second year, I wanted one, so I did Dippy Dippers. DAMN that was cold! I may still have that certificate in deep archive.
The session was $40. Plus, I think, $5 for the standard camp store allowance. I earned half of it doing jobs around the house, and my parents kicked in the matching funds. I didn't sell peanuts.
There was a big Capture the Flag game toward the end of the week. I didn't participate.
By the way, there is a song on the song page called "Day Is Done." The more common name for that is "Taps."



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