Saturday, September 18, 2010

THOSE WERE THE DAYS, MY FRIENDS




Next to the bestest thing in my life, which was going away to college, was going to Church Camp, Once a year this great event occurred in my life when I was but a wee teenager. It lasted for a whole week and was the most fun. I even had my first boyfriend there. He was a missionary doctor's son and had lived in China most of his life. Kind of cute. huh?

We stayed in a sort of dormitory, usually with your own group from your own church and sometimes others, as there were four two decker double beds in each room. At eight every morning we got up and gathered at the back balcony to brush our teeth and spit over the railing. (Not a pretty picture, huh?) After washing and dressing, we met by the flagpole for morning devotions (which were very short) and then to the dining hall for breakfast.

Then we had some time to go back and make up our beds and then we went to our first Bible lesson of the day. That usually lasted until 11 and we were free until the evening service. We could go swimming, boating-one boat for all-(this is important as you will see later) or try out our dating skills with the opposite sex, Lunch at 12. Afternoons were spent with baseball games, swimming and boating, and just hanging out. Then we had dinner and the evening service.

The Ironwood group was always noted for being trouble makers and we usually got into trouble in the dorm for short sheeting other groups , putting dead animals in their beds, talking and not going to sleep when we were supposed to. One night the pastor who was the head executive of the camp that year came to our room and reamed us out royally And the room got very quiet. Then, as an afterthought, he left with a mighty “AND MAY THE LORD BLESS YOU!” This engendered a torrent of giggles throughout the whole dorm which irritated the poor man even more. He added a few choice words and then left helpless to stop the pandemonium.

The boat was always in demand and so one day I pretended I had a headache and asked my mother (yes, she was there that year with my dad) who stayed in the executive house if I could stay in her room during the morning session and have Donna, my friend stay with me so I wouldn’t be all alone. I forgot to mention that the oars were always kept in the executive house in the front office. Do you see where this is going? We hid the oars under my mom and dad’s bed and when it was time for lunch we went to the dining hall as usual and took our time eating. We had two guys lined up to go with us. Many hurried through the meal to get to the oars first for the boat and we ate very leisurely listening to them looking all over hell and gone for them knowing they were safe and sound right under my mother’s bed.

Well, we crept down to the lake after the to-do had subsided and got into the boat and took off. We were enjoying our boat ride very much when it seemed that all of a sudden a big wind came up and a big storm was brewing. The boat was small and not suited to be on a big lake in bad weather. Both of the two guys rowed and decided to head for the island as we were closer to it than back to camp. After a lot of strenuous rowing with we girls praying and scared to death, we made it to the island. We were stranded there all day. There was a transient camp on the lake and some men came and wanted to help us but we were afraid of them and stayed away from them.

Finally, a large sheriff’s boat came with my father in it and we were rescued and brought back to camp. The whole camp was on the dock waiting for us and my mom cried she had been so worried. , Strangely enough, we were not punished in any way. They figured the scare we had of almost drowning and being stranded on the island all day was enough punishment, I guess.

The night we had baked beans for supper, teens made the usual jokes about the flatulescence which occurs and this old grizzled white haired guest preacher took offense at it. At the service that night he held his big old Bible over his heart as he always did and castigated all of us for acting that way at dinner. He said he could not preach to people who had sinned so terribly and that we had to come up to the front and apologize to all the directors of the camp one by one. My mom had to go up there for goodness sake and when I came to my dad (who was one of the directors) he could not look at me nor I at him because we both knew we would burst out laughing.
Church camp was a lot of fun. Those were the days, my friends.

20 comments:

Von said...

A Bernie!Memories and weren't you a stunner?!

June said...

Oh! I love the pictures. You're pretty as the day is long and the missionary doctor's son looks quite taken with you.
...and, in the second picture, those outfits! Beautiful. Beautiful.

In The Wind Adventures of William and Mary Ann said...

Hahahahaha!!! Loved this story. Reminded me of similar times in my past. Thank you for sharing Bernie.
- Mary Ann :-)

Wanda..... said...

Bernie, it doesn't surprise me one bit, how vibrantly beautiful you were, because you still are. Your family is so lucky to have you and your wonderful story telling ability. You so remind me of my mother in that way. I have her voice on tape telling a few of hers. Love and appreciation for you...Wanda

California Girl said...

I went to Camp Fire Girls camp one year. I was young, probably 10. I know I didn't like it but cannot remember why. Your camp sounds like alot of fun...except for the dead animals.

yaya said...

I'll tell you was a cutie...that would be you! So pretty! I laughed at your story, just picturing your parents face every time you got in trouble. Sounds like your Dad was pretty fun too and had a good sense of humor. Fun story Bernie!

Cheryl said...

I've been away for a couple of months Bernie and I've missed your stories. What a stunner you are - then and now! There I was thinking a church camp might be a bit starched and boring, but not a bit of it. I hope you're turning this blog into a book for your family - the generations to come will adore it! Also love the black cat and the fact it purrs when it is stroked - wow!

Claire said...

Hilarious story! You were so pretty [and still are!] I'd love to see more pictures from your youth.

becky said...

LOVE the pics, Bernie... and great stories!

Frank said...

What beautiful, fun memories! Thank you for sharing them.

Anita said...

Another one of your stories that lets us know you were a little bit of a "bad" girl - in a good way, of course.

Loved it, and the pictures too. :)

Pat said...

You look like a young Katherine Hepburn in that photo! You are gorgeous! I truly enjoyed your story! I could sit and listen to you for hours!

Ladybird World Mother said...

Arent memories the most precious things... I loved this... such a picture you have painted with words. What fun it must have been... indeed, those were the days! xx

Nezzy said...

What great memories, ya sure stirred up a few of mine. I just loved the pictures. Yep, your right...those were the days!!!

God bless ya and have the most incredible day sweetie!!!

Jewel said...

Wonderful story. It reminded me of my own church camp days, although I wasn't as adventuresome back then.

Deb Shucka said...

I love your stories, and your spunk! You look like Katherine Hepburn in those pictures. Beautiful!

Imovies said...

nice,,

Bernie said...

I could read stories of your past forever......not only were you beautiful but full of fun and even a bit risky.......your poor parents they must of been so happy when you married Bill and settled down.
Sorry I am late getting here but my reader is not showing me who has posted, I missed a couple of my dear friend Wanda's as well until reading them today. I'll have to check on all my favorites when it has been a while.
Keeping you in my heart and prayers always sweetie, sending big hugs from Canada.....:-)

Brenda Lee said...

Ms Bernie, I love reading your blog! I am partial to your postings about times past. I love to hear stories about "the good old days".
I recently started blogging. If you have a chance please check out my blog at hisgatekeeper.blogspot.com I would love feed back from a veteran blogger!

Anonymous said...

To James

I'm putting together some old bulletins, etc. from the Bethany Swedish Mission Covenant Church after reading the article from May 2012 Daily Globe.

momgabert@gmail.com Janet (Dahlin) Gabert

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