Gather 'round the (Virtual) Campfire:
Stories from Camp Read's Past
July 11, 2020
The Buddy System & Other Stories
My buddy, Jim Finneran, and I left for my first and only camp experience in July or August of, I believe, 1957. I was just shy of 11 years old. This was probably my first adventure away without family. We took the bus from the County Center in WP.
Strangely enough, one of the things I recall, is that I had recently discovered Orange Crush Soda and really liked it. I filled my canteen with it for the long trip north. Somehow, Crush from a canteen was not the same; I do not believe I ever drank it again.
So after a day on the bus, we arrived at Camp Read, where Jim and I shared a tent. We were put in the Green Snake platoon; “don’t tread on us”.
It was summer, hot and sunny, so at the first opportunity Jim and I headed for the lake to go swimming. I ran, dove off the dock and swam about half way to the raft before I noticed Jim was not with me. I looked back to see two life guards pulling him back onto the dock with a lot of coughing and sputtering. I did not realize that he was not a strong swimmer and he did not realize he was jumping in over his head. Excitement, but no damage done, other than ego and embarrassment.
Each day we had inspection of our tent in our uniforms. Prior to the first inspection I noticed that my shoes needed polish. Not having time to polish them, I waited until the inspector was close, wet my thumb with spit and rubbed the dry, unpolished portions enough to make them look brown. Every day I promised myself I would get them properly polished. Never happened.
The other event I vaguely remember, is that near the last night of our stay there was to be an evening meeting out in a field, for a bonfire (campfire?) and ghost stories etc. Jim and I got there with our platoon and sat down in the field... on top of a ground bee hive. They found us quickly and did what ground bees do. I was suddenly being stung in multiple places as was Jim. We were told to hurry to the infirmary which was quite a distance away.
As we ran to the infirmary, we killed several more bees that were still in our clothing. I expect all the stingers were still in us, pumping their pain.
All in all, I loved Camp Read, especially the rugged mountains and lakes. Unfortunately, it was my one and only camp experience but I live in the mountains now, in Townshend VT, near Stratton Mtn. Ski Area. I still find them stimulating.
Jim Finneran shared two brief recollections.
1. He denies getting stung on Pawnee Field at a Council Fire.
2. He will never forget the sheer abundance of blueberries on Mt Stevens.
About the Scout:
Mike Adrian was a Scout in Troop 14, St John’s Elementary School, White Plains, NY. Don Papcy was the regular Scoutmaster; Chris Fearon was the Scoutmaster at camp.
For generations, summer after summer, scouts have been making memories at Camp Read. In 2020, the pandemic may have forced regular activities to pause, but campers from years gone by are sharing their stories here in an effort to fill in the gap. Read on to get your fix of Camp Read hijinks until we can safely fill a parade ground once more!
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