Sepia Saturday 241 – Writing and Letters

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August 16, 2014 by auntkatefirmin

Camp FIre Girls at Camp Sealth in 1926.

Camp FIre Girls at Camp Sealth in 1926.

Today’s Sepia Saturday prompt is “writing and letters,” so I’m spoiled for choice since this entire blog enterprise grew out of the correspondence with the English cousins. But just for variety, I’ll go for the 1920’s instead.

The photograph shows Camp Fire Girls at summer camp in 1926, Camp Sealth on Vashon Island in particular. The arrow points to Rhoda Firmin, Aunt Kate’s niece.

The girls look posed to me and my guess is that they are demonstrating how they tidy their cots for a clean tent award. The tent would be swept, tidied up and, in order to get the coveted clean tent distinction, any striped or plaid blankets had to square up with the sides of the cot. I think this happened every day in the morning and the story is that the inspectors had very high standards.

After lunch there were two rest periods, each one hour long. In the first hour the girls were only allowed to rest or nap. In the second hour quiet activities were allowed, including writing letters. It was also a camp custom to keep a notebook with poems, and during rest hour I suspect they composed, copied and memorized poems and songs. Around the evening campfire the girls would play a game called “Magic Ring” where the object was to go around the circle reciting poems on a given topic.

The last I heard, the campers at Sealth still keep “Magic Ring” notebooks with more songs now than poems, and sing at evening campfires although the poetry games stopped some time ago. The council published a book, Magic Ring: A Collection of Verse, that included favorite poems recited at camp.

Here’s an example of one of the camp songs, written by a camper to be sung to the tune of the chorus of “I’ve Got Rings on My Fingers”:

We’re out at Camp Sealth,
The camp of our dreams,
Where the ocean just ripples and sparkles and gleams.
Oh, come out and join us,
For we are never blue.
Be a member of our happy laughing crew, you too.

At night round our camp fire
We laugh and we sing,
Give a cheer for Camp Sealth that’ll make the echoes ring.
We’ll cheer for our leaders, our counselors good scouts too –
We’ll cheer for you and you and you, we do.

I hope that campers still write old-fashioned letters home – and every now and then write new camp songs of their own.

Check out more Sepia Saturday responses.

 

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13 thoughts on “Sepia Saturday 241 – Writing and Letters

  1. kristin says:

    2 hours of quiet time is amazingly long. Glad they made good use of it. They must have been very active the rest of the time.

  2. Little Nell says:

    That sounds like my sort of camping – especially the poems bit!

  3. postcardy says:

    Two hours of resting does sound like a lot. Writing letters home is a camp tradition, but I wonder whether it is still done.

  4. Wendy says:

    What lovely traditions at the camp. I would have fit in well there, I think.

  5. Karen S. says:

    Absolutely, oh a camping we will go!

  6. La Nightingail says:

    What a great tradition – encouraging the girls to write poems & songs & in so doing, challenging their imaginations. Bravo to camp management!

  7. Deb Gould says:

    I never thought of letters from summer camp — good choice! I, too, had a rest period after lunch, but we were actually supposed to sleep during it. Letter-writing was a planned activity that happened in the main cabin!

  8. luvviealex says:

    I like the idea of writing poetry at camp. Yes 2 hours does seem a lot of rest time!

  9. Sharon says:

    Reminds me of Primary School. We had “rest time” and all had to lie on mats on the floor. Many of the kids would go to sleep but I hated it. Never been a person to just sit and rest…always have to be doing something. This is my rest…………..sitting on the computer!

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