I spent six glorious summers on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. If you have ever seen the movie On Golden Pond with Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn, the movie takes place on this lake (although it was actually filmed on the smaller nearby Squam Lake). During those long breaks between my college and graduate school years, I worked at a boy’s camp called Kabeyun, located on the upper east side of Alton Bay. The camp was founded in 1924 by a man named John Porter. By 1942, I assume it was business as usual, more or less. The camp caters to upper middle class and wealthy families, and it is exclusively male. Kabeyun used to have a sister camp for girls, but it no longer exists. In the early years, the only females involved with camp were the camp nurse, the laundress, the secretary and the director’s daughters. Over time, camp evolved. Eventually, the kitchen staff became mostly female and then as the director’s daughters grew up they became the swimming counselors. I spent my time working in the kitchen and helping out as a cabin Mom. In the 21st century, the staff has a diverse mix of male and female counselors although it still caters exclusively to boys.
When I was at camp, I lived in a small wooden cabin. There were screens on the windows and shutters I could close in case of torrential rains. I had many faithful wolf spiders which built their webs on the exterior of my cabin. One summer I even had a mother mouse and her litter living in my closet. Another summer I had the misfortune of discovering a dying bat in my lair. (But that’s a story for another day). I was also fortunate to have a bathroom in my cabin with a small shower. The shower had a five gallon water heater which sat above the stall. It was great to have a shower, especially after a long day of slinging food and dirty dishes. The shower was usually quick with minimal water pressure. I always enjoyed getting back to civilization at the end of the summer so I could take a proper shower.
After reading today’s letter, I feel pretty spoiled by my pathetic shower. My father says his family never went camping or picnicking when he was a child. I think we know why.
Mrs. R.S. Yegerlehner
Sept. 11, 1942
Tonight I’m writing by lantern light. We’ve really gone “ritzy”. It was candles up until today. One of the boys found a lantern so we are really modern. I just heard today that some of our other letters may not have gone thru. I think up to now I have written five-and of course I haven’t received any of yours since the 5 that were delivered when we arrived.
As near as I can figure this seems to be a temporary location but my impression may not be worth anything. Our living quarters as I have stated before aren’t anything to brag about but we can get along. We have had some rain and that means mud and it’s like the good old Illinois mud.
[page 2]I had my first real M.D. duty today. Was Junior Medical Officer had some skinned fingers to dress and a few other things that seemed most professional like after a rather lengthy vacation.
Next morning. I got tired writing by poor light. Weather clear and just a little cold. Breakfast over. Had scrambled eggs, applesauce and of course plenty of coffee. Yesterday A.M. we had a box of cereal with a heaping “pile” of baked beans of which I’m very fond[?] as you know.
In a previous letter I asked you to send some stamps and now I learn that possibly those letters didn’t go thru. If not send
[page 3] me about one doz. air mail stamps. We are supposed to have stamps here but as yet they haven’t appeared for sale.
We have a shower bath about ½ block away and the water is cold so you know what that means. One feels good after leaving the shower. I’ll have to do some laundry today and clean up a bit. This being Sat.
Hope things are going well at home. I can’t let myself think too much about conditions there or I’ll go bugs, but every body here is that way. So we just don’t think only that everything is good and going better. This is my last stamp so hope they get more right away.
Note: In 1942, September 11, 1942 was a Friday. Roscoe started the letter but continued it the next morning, Saturday, September 12th.