Sunday, October 12, 2008
days gone by

Judy, from IMAGINE, has inspired me, along with Dianne from FORKS OFF THE MOMENT to post some old "vintage" pictures, once again.....This is the summer of either 1941 or 1942....Camp Swatona in Pennsylvania.....I don't remember our bunk having that many girls but we did, because in actuality, it was divided into two sections....Those of us standing were the section to the left in the bunk! And, that is me, standing right next to our Counselor, Buddy.....way over there on the right.....The expression "Not A Happy Camper" is kind of perfect if you take a closer look at me....OY!I wonder whatever became of all those other 10 and 11 year olds? I actually used to know all their names 'back in the day'....but, I don't remember any of them now......I really hated Camp and I really was incredibly unhappy there. That was the year my parents had separated and we all were sent to camp that summer. It was only the second time I was ever in Summer Camp. The first time, I was Four Years Old! How stupid was that? Sleep away Camp for the entire Summer, at Four Years Old?? Talk about unhappy! I wet the bed! I don't know what my parents were thinking....All I know is, that that first summer camp experience pretty much traumatized me in certain ways that affected my whole life.....And it affected how I felt the second time I went to camp at Camp Swatona..... Here, above, is a picture from that first camp experience. This young man was a counselor, but I honestly couldn't tell you his name if my life depended on it....! And below, another picture from that first camp, Camp Merriwood. That is my dear brother Gordon next to me and another unknown counselor....I don't have a lot of memories of this camp, except that I had trouble sleeping and sometimes had bad dreams....I was scared of something and unhappy about being there. No wonder I wet the bed. And here above, Gordon and me and that same nice looking young man counselor from that first picture.....I never realized Gordon had such skinny legs....! I mean, look at the difference in our legs....Mine are kind of fleshy and chunky and his are as thin has sticks! (lol)...... This picture above was probably a year later, like 1936....And this was the backyard of the North Bay Road House in Miami Beach. I love seeing the wash hanging out on the line. Yup. That's the way we used to do it in the old days.....! Back then, my sister Gene and my brother Gordon and I, shared a bedroom in that Florida house. My oldest sister Robin, shared a room with MaaMaw, our dear Grandmother....... That is the back of the house on North Bay Road.....again, it's 1936, I believe. Here is a closer look at Maamaw and Robin....... One of the most wonderful things about Robin and Maamaw is that they both loved people unconditionally.....At least, that was my experience of each of them.....Maamaw died in 1970 when she was 99 and 1/3---outliving, her daughter---my mother---'Jen The Hen', by four years....(she was only 67 years old when she died.....) Maamaw's life was an amazingly long one. My dear sister Robin died in February of 2005. She would have turned 82 in September of that year. I miss them both, still, very very much. It's not that I think of them all the time...it's just that when I do, I so wish I could hug each of them, just one more time..... I have no idea what that funny face was all about, but there is dear dear Robin, accepting me no matter what I did....! Now that is the unconditional love showing from an older sister who hasn't forgotten what it is to be silly when you are eight years younger than her.......!




More To Come.......














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30 Comments:
had this to say:

Although many people cannot fathom sending a four year old child to camp, I can, because it happened to me too. In your case, you had older siblings which is surprising because in those days, older children took care of the younger ones in summertime.

In my case, I was the oldest child and it was a situation of parents who had 3 children in less than 30 months and didn't know what to do with them. The song "The Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe" was sung in jest alot in our house.

How wonderful that you had your grandmother for so many years. My Gran lived to be 95 years old (died in 1985), so I was fortunate too.

I have to start digging out my old photos and share them on my blog. I haven't touched them in over 30 years and I don't think I am quite ready yet to face all the devils and demons that hide behind their facades.

Loved seeing your lovely photos and looking forward to you sharing more soon. Anne

Sunday, October 12, 2008 at 3:56:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Naomi, thanks so much for posting your life!! These pix are great to see, even if you had a less than stellar time at camp. I can't believe you were sent to camp at age 4. I went the first time when I was 6 and that was too young also!

Sunday, October 12, 2008 at 4:23:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Naomi, these photos are priceless! If you could give me the address of your place on N. Bay Road, I could pop over there and photograph it today...but you probably don't remember after all these years. :( If there was a landmark you could think of...let me know.

Hearing about your camping experience, especially when you were only FOUR YEARS OLD, broke my heart. I know it was the thing to do with kids in the summertime, but why?? Did they honestly believe you were going to have more fun away from the people you know and love for three whole months?? If they would've sent you away at 16, it might've been more enjoyable for you...especially around cute guy counselors like the one in the photos. ;)

Thanks for sharing this part of your life. I love the old pictures!

Sunday, October 12, 2008 at 6:24:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

what a great idea to post these. I love older photos.

the nice looking camp counselor guy reminded me of Harry Connick Jr. Would have been more fun to have him as a teen eh?

thanks for always sharing so much from your amazing life.

you were as adorable then as you are now :)

Sunday, October 12, 2008 at 8:16:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Thanks for this, Naomi.

Reading it, especially the year, caused me to remember my parents stories about that time. My dad was in is late twenties and worried about the war. My mom was 12 and worried that Nazis and Japanese were going to invade St. Louis.

I need to write those stories down.

Cheers, dear.

Sunday, October 12, 2008 at 11:15:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Thanks dear Naomi for sharing this memorable days and everything in your life in it.

To read about those days for a Norwegian makes me think of how close we are after all. A lot of immigrants came from Norway you know.

Have a wonderful Sunday and a lovely week ahead.

Sunday, October 12, 2008 at 1:57:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Naomi, thanks for telling me it was hard to read my new template. I have lightened the color and darkened the print. Come and see if it is readable now, please?!

Sunday, October 12, 2008 at 4:23:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I certainly never tire of seeing the photos from your past and reading the commentary you provide.
My favorite pics from this post are the one of you with the laundry hanging behind you, and that last pic of you making a goofy face.
Robin has not been gone very long, and I'm sure you really do miss her so much whenever she comes to your mind.
I order you to live LONGER than your MeeMaw.
I fully expect you to be blogging on your 100th birthday, okay?? Okay!!
I always had chunky legs as a kid too, as well, and Jason had stick legs like Gordon's until Jason reached a chubby stage for a couple of years.

Sunday, October 12, 2008 at 6:22:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

4 years old! Wow! My father in law and his sister were sent to boarding school when they were 6 and 4 years old respectively. They weren't allowed to see each other except on Sunday afternoons. Their parents were too busy for them. It blows my mind.

I spent 12 summmers at camp...6 as a camper, and 6 as a counsellor. I remember one summer evening when I was on "night patrol" for the girls tentline. My role was to make sure they all settled down and went to sleep. The night I'm thinking of was after Visitors Day, which was usually a tough one to get the girls to settle because visitor's day was always disrupting. Anyways, one night two sisters were obviously upset....crying in the beds in separate tents. I got them both up and took them down to the docks to find out what was causing such angst....thinking perhaps it was homesickness. It turned out that their mother in her wisdom arrived for visitors day to inform them that she and their father were separating! Can you imagine?? I was furious that a parent could be so self absorbed and unaware of how this news would impact her own daughters. So, there I was at age 17 soothing the tears and the sorrow of two little ones who felt abandoned.

The long winded end of the story.....that night brought the three of us closer and we're still in touch after all these years.

Sunday, October 12, 2008 at 9:18:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Wow! That wasn't yesterday!

I only spent a week at camp ... YMCA and it was day camp.

Sunday, October 12, 2008 at 9:56:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Wow - how wonderful are those photos? Thanks for posting them - its nice to remember that once we were all small children weren't we? I can't believe your folks sent you away to camp when you were only 4. I wonder what they were thinking too... But you did go with older siblings so maybe that was their reasonings - that you'd be looked after by them.

Sunday, October 12, 2008 at 11:13:00 PM PDT 

OpenID Mar
had this to say:

I can't imagine sending a 4 year old to camp, but then again, it seems your parents thought it was the best place for you at that moment in life, when they were dealing with a divorce...
Love seeing pictures of your childhood, how wonderful you have kept them. Are they in an album? they are hard to scan when they are.

Monday, October 13, 2008 at 12:37:00 AM PDT 

Blogger PI
had this to say:

Summer camp is a very American thing I think and sending you away at four seems quite heartless but then we have public schools and prep schools where very young children can be boarded. Sometimes one wonders why the parents had children in the first place when their upbringing is left to nannies and teachers.
BTW I still hang my washing out:)

Monday, October 13, 2008 at 3:53:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Naomi, sorry you had such sad times at camp. Four years old is so young to go off to camp.

I was never sent away to camp. My parents were too poor to "send us away". I wanted to camp so much that I joined the Girl Scouts so that I could go to camp. I absolutely loved camping. One year we had Dad's day and all of the dad's could come up and do things with their kids. My dad, along with three other dads, came up and helped us cook over the fire, played games with us and hiked the trails with us. So many of the other dads did not show up, so my dad was popular with the girls. I was almost jealous of all the attention he was giving to them, but then I remember that the other girls were lonely and loved the attention....I felt lucky to have a dad that would take his time and come to camp. To this day, I love camping.

After my mother died, at age 57, we would take dad camping with us and he treasured every moment.
Check out this blog I wrote several years ago about my dad and camping. http://lucysfrugalliving.blogspot.com/2005/06/vacation-close-to-home.html

Check this one out to see a picture of our family and my dad. http://lucysfrugalliving.blogspot.com/2005/05/he-stole-my-blog.html

Sorry I took up so much space, but you get me the thinking back.

Monday, October 13, 2008 at 5:33:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I loved your old pictures. You had such a cheeky face when you were younger :)

We don't have camps as such here in the UK but I can understand why being separated from your parents for a whole summer would be distressing at such a tender young age. It must have been awful so thank goodness you had your brother there with you.

Monday, October 13, 2008 at 7:49:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Love seeing your photos, Naomi! All photos are priceless. I never went to camp when I was a child...and I think that with age four is to young to go to camp...

Thanks dear Naomi for sharing your memories with us.
Many hugs.

Monday, October 13, 2008 at 8:55:00 AM PDT 

Anonymous Anonymous
had this to say:

Naomi, Thank you once again for sharing your stories, and your photo's. They remind me a lot of photo's that were my grandma's. I had a lot of hers, every now and again I do pull them out, and remember. My grandma was special to me, but for what ever reason, she and my mom did not get along. Nor did she reach out to my siblings, and do not know why. So there are things that were shared with myself, and none of my sisters. Old photo's are a very special thing regardless whose they are.

Monday, October 13, 2008 at 10:09:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I can't even imagine sending a 4 year old off to camp for the summer. My goodness!

Monday, October 13, 2008 at 10:21:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Wonderful memories. Thank you for sharing. I have been away from your site so long, I have lots to catch up on.

Monday, October 13, 2008 at 11:49:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Four years old and at camp all summer? I can see where that would be hard to take. I remember when my sister was 9 or so and went to camp for a week - my parents had to get her 4 days in because she was homesick!

Monday, October 13, 2008 at 12:24:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Hey these photos are a treasure for a long long time to come and I am so glad you shared this with me. I have enjoyed it so much :D

Now I must look for my parents' old photos heheheh..

Monday, October 13, 2008 at 4:38:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

My mother also was not a happy camper. She gave me a picture from that time, most notable for her bunkmate, Beverly Sills! (then Bubbles Silverman)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/32951339@N00/728664441/

Monday, October 13, 2008 at 9:53:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I love those pictures! Thanks for posting them. I've been playing with one of your hummingbird pics from your last post and may post them on a future "fun with Photoshop" if you don't mind.

Monday, October 13, 2008 at 10:20:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I just love it when you post vintage photos. It is interesting to see how crisp and clean even the camp clothes were. Now everyone would be in ratty tees and gym shorts.

I didn't like camp until I was a teenager. Then I enjoyed the experience but I didn't like leaving home as a child.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008 at 7:37:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I love the photo's Naomi ! You are so lucky to have so many.. I don't have many from my young days..

I went to camp but not at such a young age! I was old enough to actually enjoy it somewhat lol

Tuesday, October 14, 2008 at 11:26:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

These are wonderful photos! I can't imagine sending my children to camp at 4. It must have been so difficult for you. Thanks for posting his story.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008 at 7:23:00 PM PDT 

Anonymous Anonymous
had this to say:

As you know, I'm back from France and it's so nice to be back here visiting you again.
This was such a great blog, Naomi. I always love it when you share your photos and stories from years ago.
I can't even think about sending a 4 yr. old off to camp for the entire summer! You were so darn cute! How on earth could they part with you. I was an only child and my mom was a bit over-protective, so I never went to camp.
I love the photo of you and Robin. 8 years is a big age difference, yet she looks so enchanted with being with you. As an only child, I really relate to sibling stuff like that.
Terri
http://www.islandwriter.net

Wednesday, October 15, 2008 at 12:26:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I love "old photos." Thx for sharing w/us.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008 at 10:46:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I sure enjoy seeing your old photos Naomi!! We have very few pictures from when we were little. I wish we had more.

Going to camp at 4 years old? No wonder you were traumatized!! I would have died at that age and the way I felt about my parents. I don't think I could have done it! Talk about homesick and crying and peeing my pants! I would have probably had a stroke or something!!

I love that lounge chair with the bonnet/shade thing over it! Don't think I've ever saw one of those before!

Loved reading this!!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008 at 2:02:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Very sweet.
~S

Wednesday, October 29, 2008 at 11:09:00 AM PDT 

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