Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Last Camp Post, I Promise. . .

This post is mainly for any readers not familiar with the Wilds (although there are some good memories at the end for old-timers).  I've been affiliated with it in one way or another for over 30 years.  I counseled there, and worked as receptionist, for three summers in the early 80s, and also worked many weekends in the office and the craft shop during my single days.  The grounds are lovely and also so is the atmosphere of the place.  It's a great place for spiritual recharging.

View from the bridge near the girls' cabins.  

 My cabin this past week.  "Cabin" is really a rough word for the duplexes where we stayed, at least compared to the "birdhouse" accommodations from the days when I counseled.  These duplexes, while a little rustic inside, are like living in a castle compared to back then.

There would be nights, living in a birdhouse, when somebody in the cabin would have to go to the bathroom, or be sick, or whatever.  Of course those nights were when rain was pouring, and the counselor (that would be me or many others over the years) would have to get the camper to the bathhouse in the dark.  Talk about learning lessons of servanthood. . .

Also in the birdhouse days, we'd take the girls down to the creek behind the cabins (now the opposite side of camp) and wash our hair in the cold mountain stream.  Nothing like feeling a trout swim past your feet while rinsing your hair!  But the pure, soft water was great for conditioning.

The fireplace room where our services were held.  The moose has presided over services there for forty years.

The beautiful lodge, as taken from down the hill.  (I claimed this picture off the internet.)

Looking down the hill from the lodge/fireplace room to the lower level where the cabins and ballfields are located.  100+ steps down.

I have many memories of those days.  I remember, during the receptionist years when a couple of strong guys were needed to help carry something or other, calling out over the intercom system, "Would any available men please come to the office."  Guys appeared from everywhere - "I'm available!!"  Somebody working on the roof hung over the office window announcing his availability.  The lifeguards even called in from the lake.  I took a lot of ribbing for that.

I got my camp nickname from there, "OfficeAnn," and the old-timers still remember it.  In those days things in the office were still a little rustic.  There was a system to call most locations over the campsite, but it was an old-fashioned contraption called the "CampCom."  (The drawback was that if anyone anywhere on the system left their phone off the hook, it wouldn't work at all.  At which time somebody had to go all over the campsite to see which phone was left off the hook.)  Anyway, being the receptionist, sometimes things were so crazy that there was little time to think, much less be overly polite.  So, when the CampCom would ring, I'd grab it up and answer as fast as possible, "Office, Ann!" Both words ran together - so "OfficeAnn" I became.  And still use it for my eBay handle.  Other than those two occurrences, that nickname has faded into oblivion.

One year we had a "pig pickin'" for the staff instead of the usual annual "cow-kill" dinner.  So on Thursday night, any of us who were free went up to the maintenance area to help butcher.  Somewhere I have pictures of myself holding various parts as they were removed from the sacrificial pig.  Somehow the next night, during the dinner, it was a little hard for me to eat any of that pork.  I prefer to think of meat as coming off of plastic trays from the grocery store.

Wilds memories are some of the most special of my early post-college years.  I'm so thankful for what I learned there.


Ada said...

Haven't checked your blog for awhile. This was very interesting and reminded me of my 4-H camp MANY years ago!

Barbara H. said...

Believe it or not, all the time we lived in SC, I never made it to the Wilds. All my kids did, and my husband did a couple of times. I don't think I could navigate the place, especially the stairs, with my knees and ankles.

rk2 said...

One summer a young girl was staying with the Hays and worked at the craft shop in the mornings. We teased her that someone climbed up in the moose head and watched to see if people were sleeping or not paying attention at staff meetings and services. That weekend at staff meeting Dr. Hay announced, "Only some will know what this means, but moose duty this week is assigned to Rhoda and Gay." Needless to say he had our attention!