I was wondering if the camp I went to in 1960-1961 still existed. It was Camp Hillsboro in New Hampshire. I thought maybe it had been turned into an artists' colony, or a Christian retreat. One of the camp songs we sang (in the middle of the Cold War) was
"1-9-6-1 at Hillsboro Camp-
No other year the same-
Every girl a comrade true-
Ready to die or do-o-o-o-"
I think I threw out my camp photo album just this year. Then I learned somehow through Facebook, that though the camp is long closed, they stage a reunion for the old girls each year where they come back and stay in the original cabins- I remember mine was named "Nut House"-- and eat in the dining hall and sing the songs, including the one about the comrades. Then they paddle on the lake.
I went to the camp by myself, on the train, from New York City.
I even found an article about someone who went to one of the reunions. The Sally in the article isn't me.
It got me wondering about the camp my sister went to, which sounded grander, out in Easthampton, Long Island. She made two life long friends there. I was trying to remember the name. My mother said, "something about fire or fireplace". We laughed because it didn't sound quite right. But it was right. It was Fire Place Lodge. A little about it here. Condensed, here:
Fire Place Lodge became a girls' camp in 1936, when Adelaide Mershon Purcell, the proprietor of a private music school in Montclair, N.J., took over. Mrs. Purcell had a local connection through a grandfather, the Rev. Stephen L. Mershon, who was minister of the East Hampton Presbyterian Church in 1854.
"It is the aim of the Fire Place Lodge to combine with a full out-of-door camp life, a greater love of the artistic through music, pageantry, nature, and song," she told prospective parents.
Campers aged 5 to 20 came for eight-week sessions, which cost $275 in 1941, and local children from 2 to 4 years old were invited to attend "Little Miss Muffet's House," a kind of musical nursery school.
Instruction in "aesthetic dancing," pageantry ("dramatic interpretation of the lives of famous composers and their compositions"), crafts, and fine arts, including a visit to the East Hampton Art Gallery, was balanced with hikes along "old Indian trails," nature study at "The House of the Seven Dwarfs," sailing and navigation in "Davey Jones's Locker," astronomy, and instruction in signaling and semaphore, taught by Capt. W. Barnes of East Hampton, a former chief of the Georgica Coast Guard station.
William Woolnough, riding master at the East Hampton Riding Academy, where the young Jacqueline Bouvier learned to ride, gave lessons. Members of the "Isaac Walton club" went fishing, crabbing, and clamming. Cows and other livestock were cared for at the camp farm. Many local people were employed at the camp.
Along with "the music of nature as interpreted by the sea, the wind, the trees, and the songs of the birds," there were lessons in singing, piano, and woodwind and stringed instruments. Campers staged an operetta at the close of each summer session.
Sounds pretty nice, don't you think? Do you have good camp memories?