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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Camp Comstock - 1960 - Buccaneer Unit

  1960 was an interesting and life-changing year for me at Camp Comstock. It's going to take 3 days to tell the story, and tonight there aren't even good pictures to go with it.

First of all, I want you to know that it cost $40 to go to a 2-week session of camp. That was a lot of money, and I had saved that amount the previous year. I think my mom would have come up with the cash, but I was determined to pay my own way. I had a mechanical dime bank that locked when you put the first dime in and wouldn't open until you had $10. That was perfect. I wasn't tempted to sneak any money out of my camp fund. I'd show you a picture, but the bank was stolen a long time ago by one of our foster kids.

I'd always gone to third session at Comstock. However, I really, really (using junior high vocabulary there) wanted to go to two sessions. There were two ladies at church, unmarried sisters who lived on their family farm. It was a big property with a lovely house and a white board fence that encircled the estate-sized lawn. I just spent an hour looking for a picture of that yard, because I'm sure I have one. But I can't find it either. Anyway, they said they would pay me $40 to scrape and paint that fence. And, just like that, I had the money to go to two sessions. I suppose Mom had to drive me out to their house every day until the job was done. It was 5 or 6 miles away which seemed like a long distance at the time.

Also that year, Comstock decided to start a brand-new unit called Pioneer-Primitive. It was going to be carved out of the forest by campers. There was a clearing and a small pavilion with a concrete floor, but girl power was going to do everything else. I signed up.

However, when I arrived at camp at the beginning of the second session, I learned that I had been assigned to Buccaneer because I was so young (a year younger than other kids in my grade) . That unit had Adirondack shelters- very similar to this one (which is on the North Country Trail). There weren't bunks, just floors. Adirondack shelter

The Buccaneer song was: "B-U-C, B-U-C, B-U-C-C-A-N-E, B-U-C-C-A-N-E-E-R-S spells Buccaneers. Buccaneers, Buccaneers, been in Scouting many years. Sailing o'er the lakes of blue, wait and it will soon be you."

But, I simply could not believe this was happening to me. I'm not saying that I couldn't be manipulative when I wanted to be, but my reaction was absolute heartbreak. Campers arrived on Sunday afternoons, and I think I began to cry pretty soon after we got our unit assignments, and I know I cried all night. I think my mother was called, although that memory might be hazy.

Is there any grief greater than that of a 12-year old whose dreams have just been dashed? For today, I will leave you at the scene with me sobbing in my bedroll.

In other news: I did a little bit on every one of my projects today. I wonder how long I can keep this up. So far, the house hasn't self-destructed back into the appearance of the aftermath of a hurricane. I'm never sure that it won't do that without provocation. Houses seem quite skittish.

See Merrymen Unit


Unknown said...

I have seen you mention Camp Comstock and Bailiwick a couple of times. Did you grow up in Ithaca or nearby? I grew up in Ithaca. I then moved all around the country, and in 1993 I moved back to Ithaca where I continue to live. I look forward to continue keeping up with your thru hike. Such an amazing journey.

Ann said...

At 12 everything is very dramatic.

Sharkbytes said...

Unknown- yes, follow the link back to see the whole thread about the camps.

Ann- you got that right.

The Oceanside Animals said...

Lulu: "Oh, yeah, our Dada says he remembers seeing shelters like that one out in the woods and trails in the Adirondacks. It doesn't sound like he was ever tempted to sleep in one. I would do it, though!"