August 12, 2011 in songs



Use the comment section to share your memories of Camp Blaisdell.

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6 responses to Memories


    On an ordinary day at Blaisdell, the schedule usually went as follows:

    7:30 a.m. Reveille , usually blown by Miss June, and later Miss Hoppy
    8:00 — Soupie, and breakfast
    After breakfast, return to cabins to make beds, clean, and change clothes for the 3 morning periods.
    9:15, return to the hilltop in front of the mess hall for assembly and announcements.

    After assembly, the activity schedule, which was divided into about 45 minute sessions, from
    9:45 to 10:30
    10:30 to 11:15
    11:15 to 12:00
    Period changes were announced by Miss Lee’s whistle.
    One of the required periods every morning was swim instruction. Other activities included boating, canoeing, sailing , tennis, badminton, archery, camp skills, water skiing, arts and crafts, dramatics.
    Usually the oldest groups had swim instruction in the first period, and the youngest in the 3rd morning period.

    12:30 soupie blew, and we lined up for noon dinner. the team with the straightest line got 1 point.

    From about 1:15 to 2:15 a relatively strict rest hour — required to stay on bed, and try to sleep.

    After rest hour, two more activity periods, followed by General Swim at about 4 p.m.

    Soupie blew again for supper at 5:30

    at around 7 or 7:30 there could be an evening activity, such as a masquerade, a treasure hunt, a scavenger hunt, a movie, a play, or other activity such as badminton or pingpong.

    9:00 taps and lights out for all.


    On Sundays the camp schedule was different:

    Reveille at 8 a.m.
    Breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, canned grapefruit.
    After breakfast, cleanup
    Catholics dressed for church in New London — about a 30 minute drive away
    about 11:15 Inner circle, there was camp church service — each week a different cabin would plan the service, and the choir would sing.

    On Sundays, we dressed in our green & white camp uniform (and counsellors & cit’s in white), rather than regular clothes.

    General Swim before dinner.

    Dinner at 1 p.m., of turkey, stuffing, peas or beans, mashed potatoes and gravy. Grey House ice cream for dessert — The cabin who won the cleanup scores got double dip ice cream.

    Rest hour 2-3 p.m.

    Free period to do what activities were desired 3-4 p.m.

    4:00 General Swim

    5:30 supper — prepared by counsellors — hot dogs, beans, sticky bun, watermelon, served outside the mess hall.

    7:30 or so, walk in lines to Inner Circle for evening campfire service, which consisted of the Call of the Fire, the Firelighter speech before lighting the fire, and the 4 lamps (candles lit from the fire– and a speech for each one. As I recall they were Faith, Hope, Love and Fortitude. Miss Lee would give a reading, usually selections from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. Then those campers found by the counselors to be exceptional were chosen for Inner Circle, each one escorted by a counselor, and a speech given. Several campfire songs were sung, then Now the Day is Over nd ‘taps, and walk quietly back to cabins. those campers not invited to Inns=er Circle, were usually told why by cabin counselor.

    Many have mixed memories of Inner Circle — but it was a way to exhort each girl to do better.


    When rain pattered on the cabin roof, we knew the schedule would be different.

    The flag would not be raised in the rain.

    Reveille at 8 a.m.

    Breakfast at 8:30, then cleanup and assembly held either in the center of the mess hall or in the rec hall.

    Then rainy day activities would be assigned: one cabin would walk to town for the mail. Others would be assigned to bail boats. Some would go to crafts, would play pingpong, do dramatics, or other indoor activities.

    Sometimes there would be a movie.

    I liked to look for salamanders in the rain.


    All campers and counsellors ate meals together in the Mess Hall, which was located at the top of the hill, off the road at the entrance to Camp.

    The Mess Hall consisted of a large inner room, with a relatively small kitchen at the end, and large screened-in porches formed an L on two sides, overlooking the hill down to the lake and down toward the small glen where the drinking water pump was. There were about 8 tables painted dark green arranged on the porches, with a small table for Miss Lee and Miss Char at the corner of the L.

    Usually Breakfast was at 8 a.m.. We entered the Mess Hall and sat with our cabin mates at the table assigned to each cabin. The tables had benches on 4 sides — the campers sat on the side benches, and a cabin counselor sat at each end. We stood at the tables until Grace was sung, then sat down. The counselors had come early to set the tables. We were required to have good table manners and to eat at least some of everything served at every meal. At breakfast there was a small glass of juice and a half-glass of water that we had to drink. Everyone was required to attend meals, unless one was sick in the infirmary,which was rare.


    Breakfast was a choice of cold cereals with milk, juice and toast with butter and jelly. On cold mornings we would have cocoa, too. Once or twice a week we had hot cereal — oatmeal or cream of wheat and brown sugar. Counsellors had coffee. Sometimes Mr. Ayres would come early and make doughnuts for us to have instead of toast. They were delicious!

    Occasionally some campers had picked blueberries, and the cooks would come in and make blueberry muffins for us. Whenever the Ayres or later, other cooks, made such special efforts, we would express our thanks with a big sung cheer (“We will cheer for The Ayres…”)

    Our food was good and wholesome, and predictable. The menus rarely changed from week to week over the years i attended camp. But the food was good, so I enjoyed it.

  5. Songs–

    We had songs for every occasion. Our songs were learned by rote — we did not have song sheets, though Miss Char typed up many of the lyrics during the winter. But we learned the songs by repetition and teaching by rote. We sang every day at assembly, and old songs were taught to new campers one song at a time.

    At meals we sang grace usually started by the song leader. On Sundays Miss Lee led the grace Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow. I still think of her every time this is sung.

    At meals we also sang while we waited for announcements — If Miss Lee or Miss Char had had her hair done, we also noticed and sang to them. Sometimes the songs were to tease or annoy elders– We are table number 1— Where is number 3, etc.

  6. Thank you so much for preparing this site!! Denise and Meg especially. Miss Lee and Miss Char were the physical education teachers (at least Miss Lee was) at my elementary school in Westfield, New Jersey, which of course encouraged a number of us Westfielders to go to Camp Blaisdell. I went for two months for two summers in a row in the late 1940s, very soon after the Camp first opened. I think I was about 7 1/2 and 8 1/2 those summers. I remember asking Miss Hull (Miss Lee) to come to my house to present the camp information and then put on a relentless press to my parents to let me go! Finally they did (perhaps because my mother was pregnant with my brother, who was the only one I was homesick for that first summer). Parents came for a visit half-way through, which was nice, and I was lucky that my father had a professional conference nearby, so he visited at another time too. To get to camp, we met at Grand Central Station in NYC to take the train, and seeing the outfits from the photos in the 1950s, and maybe even 1950s, brought back memories of those white shirts and dark green shorts. This was an era before there were after-school and summer activities, so Camp Blaisdell was heaven. I learned tennis (I still play), archery, sailing, swimming, canoeing, including portaging, arts and crafts, and so, so many other things there. I remember particularly fondly the Sunday night circles around the campfire, singing and having people called out who had exhibited exemplary behavior or a special action that week. It was always a thrill to be named! And I also remember the older counselors who would put little notes and goodies under our cabin pillows now and then. I’m sorry the Camp isn’t there any longer, but nearly 30 years is a good long time. Thanks again for making this lovely website. I’m going to pass along the link to my friends. Oh and one more thing — when my granddaughter in Seattle first went to camp, and learned “Hi-lo-minnie-minnie…….”,she was TOTALLY astonished that it totally tripped off the tongue of her grandma!! It was a fun “connection”!! Thanks again for this great site!!

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