Saturday, May 25, 2013

Summer Camping and Girls' Camp

Cheyenne, Wyoming - Summer, 1965
The following two letters are written by Marian and Linda to the family from Girls' Camp. Prior to going to camp, the family had taken a long camping trip from California, through Utah and Wyoming, to Illinois. For many years, Gene had wanted to visit her aunts from the Fast family who were still living in the old farm house where her father Emmett was raised. During this trip she was able to realize her dream.

September 1, 1965

Dear Mom,

You just don't know how good it was to get a letter from you. I just about fell off my bench when I heard them call my name (which is "Wisp" by the way). I have a real cute cabin group. They're second-year Beehives and so far I've had no problems. They all get along fine and need no babysitting. At times they're very helpful especially when it comes to doing kitchen duty. They practically did everything by themselves.

Oh! I have to tell you about our cabin. It's the worst in camp except for one other. It's condemned. The roof is just sheets of metal laid side by side with one-inch cracks in between. I hope it doesn't rain. We have lots and lots of windows, without glass. The cracks in the walls keep it well-ventalated and the floor hasn't fallen in yet. But what we like best is the mice! They run up and down Jan's guitar and keep us awake at night.

It's been very cold at night and, needless to say, I have a cold. But despite all the hardships, I'm having a pretty good time. I'm not kidding about any of this about our cabin. It's all this and more. Wish Dale a happy birthday and ask him if he liked his shirts. Love, Marian

Setting up camp
September 2, 1965 (9:30 am)

Dear Mom, Dad and Siblings,

Everything is going along smashingly. The nights aren't too cold and the days are perfect. We're going on a hike today and we are cooking our own meal with tinfoil. I'll learn some new tricks for our next camping trip--things like reflector ovens and such.

Thanks for you letter Mom. Chris and Crissy say "hi." Got Eric's letters last night. Thanks for sending them. Marian is having a pretty good time. I thought I'd tell you just in case she hasn't already.

Now kiddies, be sure to mind your mommy and daddy and be good little peeps. I trust that Harriet and Renee are doing my dishes without any trouble--like temper tantrums and fits. Dale or Jan, I do hope you will or have cleaned out that car by now. Have a good family night and remember us poor campers in your prayers. Bye now, Linda

[After reading this rather bossy letter that I wrote 48 years ago, I'm reminded of the rhetorical question my mother sometimes posed to me: "Who died and left you in charge?"

Getting water for the evening meal
October 28th, '65 (Thursday)

Dear Mother,

Received your second letter this week. I don't deserve so much attention as I am such a poor correspondent. Sorry, Mother, to be so slow writing. You have been our lifesaver so many times over the years. Perry's paychecks have been very slow coming to him this fall and we owe so many people. Bills! His new seminary job has only paid him one check so far. But we have to wait patiently. But, Mother, we will pay you back the $200 just as soon and as fast as we can. I know you feel more secure when it's safe in your bank account!

We've had several colds here since the hot weather hit us and I am suffering my second one already--sore throat and coughing too. Linda and Marian had to give up their jobs when school started--too many pressures and demands made upon them with regards to school work--study and homework. I'm paying for the piano lessons again.

I'm glad you can get away for awhile this weekend. It will be a nice change for you. Do hope you have a nice visit with Flossie too. Tell her I said hello. And do hope she has a lovely trip to Idaho and finds good weather while traveling.

Guess I'd better write a letter to Aunt Minnie. Hope I have her address. We never wrote to her about our trip because I did not think we'd have time or money to go on to Paris [Illinois] for a visit with them and did not want to disappoint her. You must have let it slip out in one of your letters to her. I'll tell her I would love to have seen her and her family but just couldn't afford that extensive a trip. It would have taken us a few more days and another $100 or more. I'm glad she has your twin sister again. Wish we could help out financially and maybe I'll have this privilege someday. I really hope so.

A Boston publisher still has Perry's manuscript about Columbus under consideration. We have been praying each day that they will accept it and publish it soon. Must mail this to you now. Hope you get it tomorrow. More later. Love, Gene

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