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90-016 Glen Bernard tape transcription

September 29th, Grandview Inn

We are just leaving for Sundridge where I am going to show Dory Glen Bernard camp which I first went to in 1922, 59 years ago.  She has never seen it so I’m telling her about it.

Okay, we’ve just entered Sundridge and have stopped, can see a bit of Lake Bernard ahead of us and have passed the sign to ???.  And I was telling you that that was the boys’ camp run by Stan Watson and Ed Belier(?) was the counsellor there and we had sailing races against the boys’ camp.  The boys in one set of boats and us in another,  then you went back to tea.  And Flora got deathly ill in one of the sailing races and didn’t enjoy her tea at all.  And I told you about the outlet, that was where we went on early canoe trips down this messy little river filled with leeches.  Mally and Maria and Laura Mills and me were on one and you could hardly wade through the mud.  And it ran into the Magnetawan where we went on steamer trips in the very early days.  We left camp at six in the morning and drove down in Model T’s, got the boat and went down through the river to Magnetawan where there was an ice cream parlor.  And then on down to Lakes ??? and Ahmic and back on the steamer.  Or sometimes we stayed at people’s farm overnight and came back the next day.  That’s where I came second in a rowboat race that was put on at one of the hotels. 

Now you can …… M’hm … and anyway, this road to our right or the next one, you turn down the west side of Lake Bernard to High Rock which Miss Edgar gave as a park for the Sundridge people and we saw slides of it the other night, do you remember?  Karen and ??? [oh yes] … well that was down there.  Here you can see right across to the camp and on this side of the lake was where all Miss Edgar’s family had their cottages, the Gilchrists and the ???, down one of these roads right on the beach.  And sometimes, well I guess the first trip I ever was on was in a rowboat where we rowed across to the family cottages for overnight.  That was our first overnight, stopped over at Sundridge station and this was where camp began.  It took from about nine in the morning ‘til four in the afternoon for the train to come up here.  And the very first time I came up to camp, I’d had the mumps so I was five days late and went up with another girl called ??? and my cousin whom you’ll remember, Len ???  Okay, it seemed to take forever and ever to get here and when we arrived, Miss Edgar’s father met us at the Sundridge station and he had a general store in town but he was also in the lumbering business and he became MPP for Parry Sound district.  So he drove us over to the camp.  I’ll show you this, Dory, in just a minute.

Dory:  Well tell me now, when the camp all arrived, there would be a lot of young gals around here.  How did they take you from Sundridge to the camp … from the station to the camp?

In cars, their cars, everybody who had a car loaned it to Miss Edgar or rented it and you went over in all these cars.  I guess they put about five kids into a car.

Dory:  And what did they do with the baggage?

Well Hugo … well I’m not sure if he was there the first year but he was pretty early.  I think the first man was called Mr. McCabe and you always addressed him as Mr. McCabe and he ran a truck and did odd jobs but I never knew his first name.  He was one of those people, you know, that you address as Mister.  And there was a great big huge fat man with a mustache and down-turned mouth but really very pleasant.  That was the first fellow.  And of course, everybody came up in suits and dresses, none of this travelling about in slacks, and hats.

Dory:  Oh.  Where did you put those in your cabin ‘til you went down again?

Well, there was a place up in the top of the lodge where you could hang all your city clothes.  Now I think mine were always on the floor, nevertheless.  But it was a long time before you travelled up and down in slacks………has Sundridge changed much.  This was the general culture.  Now that hotel we passed, Caswell’s, was the old Sundridge Hotel to begin with, it was there in the beginning but it was just a small country hotel.  And of course, there weren’t factories like this around.  There certainly weren’t cars lined up but I don’t suppose it changed per se.

Dory:  How often were you allowed to come in to Sundridge?

Very seldom, but our great aim was to get into Sundridge and all kinds of devious plans were made to get into Sundridge.  I remember telling the camp nurse, Maria and me telling the camp nurse that we really had to have new shoes so we had to go to Sundridge but she didn’t fall for that.  Eventually, we persuaded her to drive us in to the outskirts of Sundridge … I’ll show you the spot … and leave us there while she went on her errands but we never got to Sundridge.

Dory:  Where did you buy your ice cream cones?

Oh, there was an ice cream parlor but I don’t remember the name of it.  You could get sundaes there and you’ll remember the tale I’ve often told of Maria and me walking into Sundridge.  We each had 35 cents that we’d saved from our tuck and when we drive over, you’ll see it.  It’s 4 ½ miles in and 4 ½ miles back and we wouldn’t take Mally with us but she suspected that we were going and we took our hymn books from Sunday service so if the counsellors came along in their car, we’d say “Oh we just came out to the woods to sing hymns.”  And then we walked all the way back after our ice cream and then as soon as we got home we found there was to be a basketball game that we were to play in.

Dory:  Were ya missed?

No.  It … you walked home without being missed.  Nobody in the early days supervised what you were doing, it was great!  There were no cabin counsellors.  This is why we liked it, you could do what you wanted.  I suppose if we’d stayed away hours and hours, somebody would have come.

Dory:  It would take quite a while to walk nine miles.

Well it did!  About three hours.

Dory:  Turn it off now.

This is the old Edgar general store, now called Lang’s and Mary S. Edgar and her sisters were all born in the rooms above the store.  That was their house and there was a lovely veranda along there with potted plants that old Mrs. Edgar grew.  And you remember Miss Edgar moved to 77 St. Clair ??? and she said “I was born above a store and I’ll die above a store.”

St. Paul’s Church where Miss Edgar and some of her family attended and where she had her final funeral service.  There’s one in the city and one up here.  And the church was being restored … it was one of the first requests in the trust was to contribute to it.  Jack Wilson wouldn’t let us.  He said if it was another church, you wouldn’t do it.  You’re only doing it out of sentimentality.  So I sent Miss Edgar some money myself.  And then their brand new church … the restored church burned down … and they built this colony of cottages of people who knew each other.  And there was the Algee(?) family and Mr. Algee played the trumpet and he used to come in a rowboat sometimes of an evening down the lake and play the trumpet from the lake for the girls.  His daughter went to the camp.  And James Edmond Jones, who wrote the nature books and was a judge, and who wrote the music for Miss Edgar’s camp hymn.  Their family was up this end of the lake but it was nothing like this, you know.

Now, that was Mr. Haggart’s farm and it was a very run-down farm and they had about ten children, not a cent, and they said they’d been buying the cream and milk and then when Eva McDonald was the camp doctor, she put a stop to all that because the milk wasn’t pasteurized and when Mr. Haggart was told we couldn’t have his milk, he said my pasture’s as good as any. 

And we used to have to send Christmas presents to these poor people in the neighbourhood, including the Haggart’s, but then, as time went on, I guess he sold the property down by the lake and probably made a fortune.

This is the centre of the camp in one sense.  This is where the dining room always was but it was a very little dining room.  John and Barb Gilchrist built this and over there was the tuck shop where you went to buy your 5-cent candy three times a week.  And then, up that way was all the junior camp.  That first building’s the infirmary and that was, of course, Dottie James’ haunt.  And later Marg Davis and Eva McDonald were the camp doctors.  And this is the point where, after breakfast, everybody came out and sat around and somebody gave a nice little morning talk.

Dory:  Oh yes, the prayers.

And a prayer.  You read one that Flora had written.

Dory:  Yes, that’s right, and the flag went up.

And the flag went up ….

Dory:  And here’s where we start to walk down to the water?

Yes, but not this way.  I must show you what’s here and you’ll see why it’s called Glen Bernard.  It’s called Glen and the lake’s Bernard and that’s where council ring was held every Saturday night with the council fire in the middle and the high chiefs sitting on the high benches and the scrolls being read out from each tribe. 

Dory:  Can I go down?

If you like, sure.  And then at the closing council ring, Miss Edgar had us all light bulrushes from the campfire and wind up this trail, this one that you’re on, through the woods with the lighted bulrushes and when we became counsellors and more worried, worrisome, we used to worry that the whole place would burn down.  So after awhile, we persuaded Miss Edgar to let them go out with their bulrushes right to the lakeshore.  But she loved the council ring.  I mean it was real to her.  You had to walk up for all your meals.  Seems to me it was steeper then than it is now and there were no trees, just bright, bright sun.  And that was the counsellors cabin where the counsellors could gather and ?? Walker lived in there for many years and that’s where you went for counsellors meetings, food at night for counsellors.  I wonder if that’s still … yeah, it’s still ???.

All different people.  Down that way was the intermediate camp, the younger seniors, and these were intermediate cabins.  I think the people usually named them who were the first people to live in it. 

Dory:  What was it for?

Fun and games, dramatics, arts and crafts up above, story hours by the fire, Sunday service when it rained, musical program Sunday night.

Dory:  Oh I see, that wasn’t up at the dining room.

No.  There, you can look in that crack, there’s a picture of [flaw in tape] …… Too shady a camp now from being too bright.  There …

Dory:  Do your handcrafts there.

Yeah, I never did, either as a camper or ???, you didn’t have to.

Dory:  You didn’t have to join the camp craft groups.

No.  I told you, didn’t I, when we first arrived at camp, we slept in a dormitory and then we were moved to a cabin that was right there but it only had a wall up about as high as your hip and then a tent roof.  And I don’t know … Maria and I named it Wahwena which we said meant a beautiful cabin by a beautiful stream with beautiful people inside.  And Wahwena, that’s where I lived all my life as a camper was in Wahwena.  It was a very famous cabin and it certainly had big old windows with mosquito netting and a veranda along the front and I slept on the veranda.  Called Wahwena {yes}, alright, well that’s what it means, a beautiful cabin by a beautiful stream with beautiful people inside.  But it was very rough and that’s where Mally, Maria and I lived for four or five years, with Ev Booth and Ruth Martin for one year.  I think they gave up after one year.

Dory:  I’m going to see if I can peek in the window.

Well of course it isn’t the same cabin at all.  And this stream ….. this stream is ice-cold.  It flows from a spring back there and it changes it’s way out as the winds change.  Sometimes it goes down there, sometimes it goes up there.  And I don’t suppose I should put this on tape but Maria and I wanted very much to go on a long canoe trip to Algonquin and we both thought that it was about the time we’d be under the weather and Maria’s sister, a nurse, told us if we sat in cold water it would postpone it.  So we’d go down every morning and sit in this stream that’s as icy as can be.

…. It was much prettier, it had a railing over it and many stories written about it.  About a great water accident of Maude falling into the stream and got Maude stuck about with her legs sticking out and Dr. Dahee and ??? came and rescued … it’s a whole story. 

When we were counsellors is where this is now.  They’ve taken the cabin down obviously.  It was called the Argosy because we were great sailors … I was.  And it was a dear little cabin with a fireplace.  Why they took it down, I guess it wore out.  It was lovely having your cabins by the water.  The water’s very high.  There used to be a very wide beach and I guess there would be ???.  But you see you were like … and you could run if you wanted to get one end to the other up the beach but you always had to jump that stream from which we supervised from this cabin, the Argosy.  All these cabins, all these girls.

Dory:   M’hmm.  Senior camp was at the far end.

Yes.  Walwahtasee(?), uh, Ann Duncan lived in that and Kay Taylor.  They were the Walwahtasee girls.  And down here is the farthest one and one of the earliest.  It was called Azumiah(?) and Jannie Van Every lived there in the first year.  And at night, you see, you could see the lights of Sundridge and there weren’t many when we first came up ‘cause I guess most people just had gas and oil lamps.  But you know how lights that you see, you think it’s a great big place and so we told Ev Booth that you could only see part of it and that was the junction and the city of Sundridge was behind the hill.  She believed it.

We walked all over the camp, having met up with Jim Smitt who showed us all the new buildings that amazed us and we told him old stories of the early days which amazed him.  And now we’re on our way back, just stopped outside Hilltop where Mrs. Scott, Ann Duncan’s mother, was the hostess for several years and the guests were allowed to bring their bottle and drink at the Hilltop.  [Well, well]  Now up that way was where we used to go to the old chapel and I must say the old chapel was much more in the woods but you could see out over the lake and more protected and of course I’ll always have a very deep feeling for it.

Dory:  Did you preach there on occasion?

I sure did preach excellent sermons!  Some of which shocked Miss Edgar.

Dory:  For instance …

For instance, they had statues to all … there’s a story that there were statues to all the saints and in one niche there was a great big question mark and whoever was showing these tourists around this cathedral said ‘What is that for?' and the man answered that he’s moved on, the question mark.  Miss Edgar didn’t like that and I think I made quite a point …somebody, you know, would have all the sermons typed up.  They’ll go to the archives.  It was a lovely little chapel, outdoors.  My parents gave the chimes for it and they played as you were walking up the hill.

After we did the senior and intermediate camp, we met up with Jim Smitt who took us all around what used to be the ??? camp and showed us with great pride the new showers and the new chapel and I did not have the tape on while we were talking with him.  He seemed to be as interested in what things were like in the very early years.  In fact, he was really amazed to hear we had wood stoves in the kitchen.  Well, he was as interested in that as we were in the new things he was showing us.  So that is the reason there wasn’t anything more taped while we were walking around.  And we came back to Grandview, arriving about three o’clock and intend to do some taping sitting still of reminisences which have all come back, of course, having seen the place.

But on the whole, it seemed to me like two pictures, one superimposed on the other.  Glen Bernard at the fields and very simple cabins and marshes and mosquitos and this new beautifully constructed place with lawns that take ten gallons of gasoline to cut and the trees shading the place.  It is quite different.

Now really I’m covering about 17 years because I first went to camp in 1922 as a little girl and ended up in 1939 being the program director.  I suppose I’d missed two or three years during that period but it’s very hard to sort out exactly what came when, so I think I’d better go back to the Sundridge station I was telling you about, Dory, and our trip in with Mr. Edgar, Mary Edgar’s father, where I’m sure I asked him every half mile ‘are we almost there?’, hardly able to contain myself to get there.  Now as I remember, we arrived just before suppertime which would have been half-past five or six and we were greeted outside the dining room and taken in, and I remember thinking it was a huge, huge crowd of people.  I suppose there were 30 campers and maybe 8-10 counsellors but I’d never eaten except with the family and it just seemed overwhelming.  And the main thing I remember about supper was these great bowls of fresh strawberries and cream.  And after dinner, Miss Edgar took me out and introduced me to some of the girls and she said, ‘And this is Maria McCallum and she is just your age and will be a friend of yours.’  And I decided right at the moment that she would never be a friend of mine because I thought Maria was a very funny name!  So Maria kindly said, ‘Would you like to go out in a rowboat’ and I said no and that’s all I remember of my introduction to Glen Bernard.

Dory:  Well I remember you told me you all used to dash for the best beds.

Oh, that was much later.

Dory:  Oh, what was that all about?

Well, when we settled that first night, as I think I’ve told you, we were all put to sleep up in the dormitory above the old lodge.  There were about six of us along in cots because our cabin wasn’t built for us and that is where we slept for several nights.  And our clothes were hung in a big, oh, cupboard.  All our best clothes were hung up there off this lodge attic.

Dory:  You mean you wore skirts going up.

Oh certainly!  Certainly, we wore proper city clothes.

Dory:  And you didn’t wear them again until you went home.

Yes we did.  We always wore them on … we always wore dresses on Sunday.

Dory:  Oh, to go to church?

Well, the first year, and this is still 1922, on Sundays Miss Edgar had visiting parsons over, clergy from the local Sundridge neighbourhood churches or from cottages where ministers stayed, and we all had to dress in our white dresses and the service was held on the veranda of the lodge with one of these young men, usually young men, coming in to give the sermon.  You know, we sang a hymn and had a prayer and had the sermon and wearing our white dresses.  And as I remember, we were in our white dresses for all day that first year.

Dory:  Were you allowed to go swimming on Sundays?

No, but you were allowed to go canoeing.  And this trick was that the girls, not me, the girls around me could go canoeing and there were some very old rickety canoes and you could dump the canoe and get in for a swim.  But those were the older girls.

Dory:  Those were the tricks you learned later on.

Those were the tricks they learned, yes.  Will I go on with the first year [okay].  Well, as I recall, um, when we woke up the next morning, we all went in to the water for a dip and I don’t think I’d ever done a morning dip before.  It was a perfectly beautiful warm day and I thought that was great.  But you see the camp had opened five days before or so, before we got there after my mumps, and Miss Edgar had arranged that we would all go by foot to what was called the Heartfelt picnic.  Now Heartfelt and ??? were two townships back to the east of the camp.  And so I went along and we walked back that road that you drove in and then we turned off through a cut, over fields, through woods, miles and miles, to this local country Heartfelt picnic where there were tables laden with the local food.  And I think we each had to pay, like 25 cents to join in.  And after the uh … there were swings … and after the lunch or the meal, then the minister gave a talk and then a comic man, Hank, did a comic recitation and there was singing and hymns and country songs and we had a great time and then we had to walk back.  It must have been about a 5-mile walk each way!  And this was the first day I was at the camp.

Dory:  And there were all kinds of local people there.

They were all local people except what they called Mamie Edgar’s girls, because you see she’d been brought up in Sundridge and her father, as I told you, was an MPP for Parry Sound.  Everybody knew the Edgar’s and we were Mamie Edgar’s girls.  So I’m not sure if that first year we had to get up and sing a song but we certainly did.  We went to the Heartfelt picnic for years and years after.  Um, it became more elaborate and half of us maybe would walk one way and ride the horses back or truck one way and all that.  And later on, we certainly provided camp songs and that camp across the lake, ???, they began to come and they provided camp songs but it was still very simple.  Tables under the maple trees.  So that was our first day at camp.  

Okay, and I would think within a week our cabin so-called was built which was the one I showed you, Wahwena, which was a platform and sides and a tent roof.  And Maria and I were put down into it and I really can’t remember who else was with us.  Now Mally lived up at the end of all those cabins you saw, which was called Azumiah.  That is a Japanese name ‘cause Jannie and her Japanese friend Kotsu(?) lived in there and they were all about 17 and Mally was put in to be with her bigger sister.  And Mally was then about 12, as I was.  And Mally was very, very shy and retiring, blushed very easily and would like to have played with us but didn’t know how, but took a fancy to us in her humble way and every once in a while, we’d come down and give our cabin, Wahwena, a great big cleaning up ‘cause certainly Maria McCallum and I did no cleaning up and, as I say, I don’t remember who else was with us.  But as time went on, one girl that was put with us was called Marion Beatty and she brought chocolates which she had under her bed and would dole us out one chocolate a night.  But we knew they were under her bed and we thought this was very selfish and we didn’t like her much except for her chocolates.  And as her name was Marion Beatty, we called her BeattyM.  That’s how kind we were.

Dory:  Well, did you ever steal her chocolates?

I don’t think so.  No I don’t think so.  We did have some morals, you know.  I think we had some morals, but Mally Hallward … and you see Mally was supposed to stay all summer with her big sister and this group that she was quite an oddity with and we didn’t take her in much and she just left on her own at the end of the first month with the other campers and went home on the train with them.  How she got a ticket, I don’t know, you’ll have to ask her.  But when she got home, somehow she got in touch with her father and said she’d come home and he was batching it at home.  He was a distinguished lawyer, you know, and I’m sure he was just horrified to see this daughter arrive under his care.

It’s hard to remember, really, the first year …. I didn’t get that.

Dory:  You said the counsellors really didn’t plan very much for you, you did what you wanted.  What did you do with your time?  You said you were very busy.

Yes, I said the counsellors didn’t intrude.  There were no cabin counsellors as there came to be in later years, somebody to watch over you.  Uh, I can’t think day by day what we did do.  We went out in boats, rowboats, we passed swimming tests.  There was always something going on because Miss Edgar would just say to all of us, ‘Now this morning, we’re all going to take our little hatchets and make a trail down the lake to Altar Rock’ and we thought that was great fun.  Or another day, she’d say, ‘Today, we’re all going berry picking down at ??? farm’ and we’d all troop along and think this was just great!  But as for day by day, what did we do… I don’t know, we just played, I guess.  And there were no rules except to do with the water.  You couldn’t go swimming except under supervision and you couldn’t take a boat out without permission.  But there weren’t other rules.  I suppose she did what kids would have done in a cottage, just played.  And then there were … you see, there were these tribes and I showed you where the council ring was.  Well we were all in Indian tribes, three Indian tribes, ?????? and the Micmacs and I was in the ??? which was by far the best of course.  And Jannie Gibson, Mally’s older sister was the chief of it and I was elected the runner, which meant that you had to do all the errands the big girls told you to do.  I think I’m almost at the end of this …..

Now the tribes had competitions.  I can’t remember if we played basketball the first year but we played some land sports and it would be the ??? against the ??? or you had boat races, rowboat races and so on.  You know, great competition.

Dory:  So those tribes were made up of the old and the young.

Yeah, they were cross age.  And then on Saturday night, you had the council ring where you had the scrolls read out and you had all these contests between the tribes with Miss Edgar being the big chief.

Dory:  Well what were in the scrolls?

Beautiful things.  I was the scroll keeper later on and I wrote a great deal for the scroll.  Beautiful poems.  But not only that, I wrote other people’s poems for them, for them doing something for me that I couldn’t do very well.

Dory:  And then these were all read out.

These were read out by the scroll keepers.

Dory:  Each tribe had its own scroll?

Yeah, and its own scroll keeper and the book of the bound scrolls from … hmm I guess from about ‘22 on.  I had it bound years later and it’s now in the archives at Trent University so you can go and look up what kind of things we wrote.  And I was always a poet, you know, and a writer, and I suppose I’d write Mally’s scroll when she later came camping with us for her doing so many things, like my washing, for me.  Now as time went on, the days were always filled with interesting things because there were campfires at night and camp songs.  There were the very first canoe trips going out and coming back safely.  They went as far as the outlet and this was very, very exciting.  And there was our trip in rowboats across the lake to the Edgar family cottages and then the big girls put on a wonderful, wonderful drama.  Sort of a variety show, we weren’t allowed in it and I remember one of the songs was Swing high, Swing low, Swing me over the apple tree, Joe.  And there, you know, new songs to be made up, places to be explored.  Nobody questioned you about what you were doing at all.  And at the end of that first year, they had a …..[end of Side 1]

…. over the windows and they placed our jug of birchbark and gave some presentation to Miss Edgar and had toast lists and this was very exciting.  And I, being one of the youngest, was asked to make a toast and mine was to the kitchen staff and I gave a very fine toast indeed, I’m sure.  But I was embarassed as all get out because I’d forgotten at the end to say ‘Now let us all rise and drink to the kitchen staff’.  And I worried about that all night

Dory:  Do you think they didn’t know it was for the kitchen staff?

Oh certainly they did but I forgot to give the cue.  So that was our first year.  Very, very simple living.  And then I told you in the car about the goings on, about the lady Mrs. Beal(?) and her daughter and the swimming instructor, Miss Pepper, and Miss Pepper had kind of a crush on Mrs. Beal and her daughter had kind of a crush on Miss Pepper and they became a trinity, you know, they were always three together.  And the older girls objected to this.  We didn’t know what was going on.  Nothing really was going on but this offended them so there was a great, almost court case, about what should be done.  So it was my first experience in group living and with being with contemporaries and all your activities within the place were so exciting.  So that’s really all I remember about the first year.  Oh, there were never enough canoes to go around.  This is a thought I’ve carried for years.  Therefore everybody hurried after supper to get a canoe.  I mean it was a privilege, not something you must do, you see?

Dory:  Go out in the evening.

M’hm … the equipment was very, very simple.  Now maybe I’ll think of some more about the first year but that’s all I can remember.  Oh, when I got home … I stayed the full two months even that Mally left … that was her silly nonsense … I stayed the full two months and loved every bit of it.  Um, but when I got home, and being twelve, apparently I’d grown about two inches during the summer.  You know, kids spurt up and change from a little girl to a big girl and Miss Edgar always said that father wrote her and said how much they’d appreciated the camp but they were sorry that they’d sent the wrong child home.  [laughter]  But I’ve always felt that that began my life amongst my contemporaries, although I’d had school life amongst contemporaries, where the whole thing was bound within the narrow circumference of Sundridge, the camp, the activities there.  And of course, as there was no radio, no television, I suppose there were newspapers, we didn’t know what was going on elsewhere at all. 

Dory:  Do you know how much your parents paid for your two months?

Well I think it was $100 a month and $180 for the season ‘cause they were trying to encourage people to stay.  But that was a huge sum, you know, to send a child.

Dory:  It doesn’t seem so now, does it?

No it does not.  But as I was saying, I think Miss Edgar said that there were 32 campers enrolled but only really enrolled for the first month and then, dependent on whether they liked it, they would stay on.  And some did stay on, a good many stayed on for six weeks.  And I believe we finished up with 18, the total camp enrollment, and towards the end of the camp, all the counsellors and Miss Edgar and the 18 of us went on an overnight trip down to Pool Lake, the whole camp just pulled out.

Dory:  How … did you take tents?

Oh no, just slept under groundsheets.  You had enough sense to go on a night when it wasn’t going to rain.  So that was pretty exciting.

Now after the first year of camp, Mr. Edgar, who had given, um … had loaned Miss Edgar, I believe by hearsay, $5,000 to get the camp started.  And he died the following winter from something that he wouldn’t have died of these days, maybe an acute appendix.  I mean he was a young man, you know, sixty.  And in his will, he forgave Miss Edgar that debt and so she had the camp all started free from debt.  Oh, I should add the kitchen staff, the kitchen staff the first year was very much a part of the camp.  They participated in everything and you remember I was describing to the young man who took us around that it was a great wood stove in an un-air-conditioned kitchen with deep sinks, hot as all get out, and they made all our food.  Home-made cakes every night, all the food prepared there, nothing sent in.  And we would go, in turn, and help.  Now how much help some of us were, I don’t know, but we would dry the dishes and unset the table and if there was to be corn, we’d husk the corn, and those kind of things.  So there wasn’t a division between kitchen staff and camp staff, they were all over that.

Dory:  And did you have pretty nice meals?

Well I thought they were great and this was surprising ‘cause I think I had been a fussy eater.  But we’d have these home-made cakes and we had, I remember I told my mother, much better jam than we had at home.  And it was all brought in in these great big 5-pound tins, you know, commercially made jam.  But I don’t remember any problem up there about my fussy eating.  You ate up, everything was good.  I don’t suppose I drank milk but other than that, the meals were good.  Who planned them, I have no idea.  But I think it’s the simplicity of it all and the fact, you see, this was a long way from Toronto.  People had heard of Huntsville but not much of Sundridge and once you got there, you were there, you didn’t go anywhere else, that’s for sure.  All life centered in that mute spot.

Now you mentioned the counsellors, what were they like in the first year.  And I think what came to my mind, thinking about it, was that Miss Edgar herself was very much a part of the camp and took us on the hikes and told us stories and inspected the cabins.  And the other thing is that she was part of the Sundridge family and her family were over a good deal.  Like the person we called old Mrs. Edgar, she came over to the camp frequently and kept her eye on the housekeeping and was around.  So the leadership focussed in Miss Edgar with her family behind her and the few counsellors.  I mentioned the cook, Mrs. ??, well she was sort of a counsellor too and her daughter Kathleen was a counsellor, and Artie Dios(?) did arts and crafts, and the Beal contingent.  But the fact that Mrs. Edgar and the family were involved meant that, for instance, laundry we had to take up on a certain day, sheets, pillowcases, shirts, and these were sent out by Mrs. Edgar to various people in the vicinity who did our laundry, I suppose by hand.  You know, scrub board.  She looked after that.  And then one big event … oh, she wouldn’t let us throw out or not take care of things.  If we were leaving things lying around, she’d say, ‘Well now, the poor children out of Sundridge need these.  If you aren’t going to care for them, I’ll take them over.’ 

One event I remember of that first year was the Gilchrist 10th wedding anniversary.  It was held over at the camp.  Now Mrs. Gilchrist was the eldest of the Edgar daughters and George married her and of course their son and his wife took over the camp from Miss Edgar many years later.  But the wedding anniversary was held out on the point which you saw, with presents, and the three children were there, Barbara … I think it was Barbara, can’t remember … Betty, age about 10, Ann about 6 and the baby, John in his basket who was just a few months old.  And that made a whole day of entertainment for all of us.

Dory:  Now were there visitors from Sundridge as well?

Well I should think all her family would be there, her sister … I don’t … I think she was married then, and friends of the family and the campers.  So we were part of the community, part of the family life.

Dory:  Well now one thing you mentioned was that Miss Edgar would take the whole camp on a toot altogether in those days.

That’s right.

Dory:  You mentioned going out to sleep one night.

Towards the end of camp when it had dwindled to 18 campers, the whole lot of us went by canoe down to Pool Lake.  Everybody at the camp, and stayed out overnight.  So there you are.

Another thing you asked about was how the cabins were named.  Now I’ll tell you about some of them.  I think I mentioned Azumiah, a Japanese name ‘cause there was a Japanese girl.  I certainly mentioned it when we met, moved to the dormitory up to Wahwena.  But it got the name Wahwena and I’m sure we gave it to the place.  And then down the way, there was a tent called HankJimMikeBunk and those were the names of the girls who were in it.  Hank was a girl who came from Burks Falls and we thought that was intriguing that she lived in a small village up this way.  Jim was your old friend Gloria Moore, who was called Jimmy Moore.  Hank, Jim … Mike was Audrey Hastings whom we’ve run into later in social work.  And Bunk was Bunky Melvin(?), the sister of Scot Melvin, so that’s what they called their tent.  Now that name disappeared and then there was a girl, a French girl, and where they lived was called Chez Nous you see.  So that’s how the cabins got their name and many of them stuck for years.

And I should tell ya about Hank from Burks Falls.  The great thing I remember was … she was in her later teens … and she had boyfriends in Burks Falls and they drove up in their tin lizzy and Miss Edgar made some sort of rule that they could only call on Sunday afternoon but as we didn’t see a man ever, except old Mr. McCaig who drove the truck, it was very exciting to see these young, wild men in their car coming into the camp.  We thought she was pretty fast.

And you asked what we did all the time.  Well Miss Edgar had a system by which you acquired a badge with GBC on it and to acquire it, you had to keep a diary for ten days.  And I, by the way, still have that diary somewhere in the house…. fascinating.  You had to know the name of ten trees, ten flowers, ten birds and be able to light a fire with one match, and I suppose some other things.  And when … if you do all these things, you got a blue felt badge about the size of, oh, a dollar bill with GBC printed on it and you see, it was so simple, really, that everybody could earn one.

Dory:  And did you wear it?

Oh certainly we wore it and I learned that getting an award, it isn’t the value, the monetary value of the award, it’s the symbolism.  You were very proud when you got it.  Now I think you went on to other things, like a GBC headband.  I didn’t get to that though.  And then about the following year, Maria and I decided we didn’t much like this system so we made up our own and I made myself a great big headband with Mary on it and she made one with Maria on it.  And the naïve newcomers would ask us how we got these and we said well we had to swim to Sundridge and back and we made up a whole lot of nonsense.  I don’t think we took awards very seriously and they were not competitive.

Dory:  Well now, didn’t you tell me that you got somebody else to name the birds for you or something?

Probably, I don’t know.  I know I kept a diary ‘cause I still have it and I know I learned how to light a campfire.  And you see, one of the exciting things was that we did cookout meals and I’d never done this before in my life.  We’d had picnics but to cook things over a fire was a real new experience.

Dory:  Now did you do that in camp … your cookouts … or did you go out to cook?

Oh, we went down, let’s see, as far as Altar Rock and had a cookout there, maybe your cabin group or a small group.  Real camp craft didn’t come in ‘til later.  We did learn how to build fires properly and to cook very simple things.  What did you say?

Dory:  I said what kind of arty things did you do?

I have a feeling it was things like baskets but, as I say, I never got involved any more than I had to in arts and crafts.  Later, um, when Nancy Meek came up … this was several years later … arts and crafts became quite elaborate with silver work and all kinds of things but again, I was on the fringe of that. 

Now one event of the first summer that you could hardly believe … you see, we never had ice cream in camp because you didn’t ship ice cream in those days.  The only place you could get ice cream was to go to the ice cream parlour and Miss Edgar arranged that the man who owned the Sundridge ice cream parlour, in a big motor launch, came over with all his ice creams and sauces and we could all go out in canoes and buy sundaes from him.  Now that only happened once and how he kept the ice cream frozen, I don’t know.  That was another event!

Dory:  Oh my, that was an exciting event!

I think I should get on the record the sanitation, washing, etc.  Okay, the original toilets were outside, outhouses, and there were four compartments.  And this was placed just behind the lodge, so if you came from the cabins, you had quite a long way to go.  There was only one, but room for four people.  And how those were emptied, I never inquired and I don’t know.  And we called it the Pullman because it looked like a Pullman train with red curtains neatly down the front of each of these four spaces and walls up between.  Now there must have been, somewhere on the camp property, other outhouses, but everybody used the Pullman.  It was quite a social centre, you know, and as there were just the four spaces, and even the first year, 32 girls, it was rather crowded and I’m afraid it made for some bad practices because you certainly didn’t run from your cabin down to the Pullman at night.  I think you found the nearest tree.  As for washing, as far as I can remember, everybody washed in the lake.  You took your soap down, if you washed at all, and soaped yourself in the lake and dipped and that was your washing.  There must have been basins at the cabins, I don’t recollect those in the beginning.  We also washed our clothes in the lake … took your soap down and washed all along the edges of the lake.  And you know how sometimes in lakes, even way back then naturally, there was sort of a foamy appearance because of the wind.  Well of course we always said that was from the soap.  And I think this washing in the lake went on for several years.  In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was when Eva McDonald took charge that we stopped that.

Dory:  Did you wash your teeth in the lake?

Yes, you washed your teeth in the lake.  You washed your dirty socks in the lake.  But remember, it was a big lake and there were very few people on it.

Dory:  Well of course when I was in Muskoka as a child, we washed in the lake and we washed our teeth in the lake and spit in the lake and this was considered a very clean and sanitary thing to do.

And as I mentioned, the laundry that you didn’t do yourself did go out to good ladies in the neighbourhood and we were billed for that and they made a little money out of it.  So those are my reminiscences of the very first year and I was thinking last night when I changed to the second year, the great change came in me because we were then the superiors.  We had been there, we knew the place, so that’s when we began to become the authorities on the camp, as it were.  So that’s enough of that.

You asked about what time we got up in the morning.  A rising bell went, I suppose, at a quarter-past or half-past seven and then you could go and have your dip and wash and be up at the flagpole at eight.  And I don’t think we had a bell at the beginning, I think it was a bugle very badly blown, that aroused us.  Then you had morning prayers around the flagpole before breakfast with a nice thought for the day, and the flagpole was down in a field, not where you saw it.  And from time to time in the heat, some of the girls painted, so years … we let this go on for years, though, somebody painting … and then it was moved up to where you saw it by the dining room.  Then we had breakfast in the dining room …

Dory:  Now did the girls help serve breakfast, the meals?

Oh yes, m’hm.  The kitchen passed it through to the girls who took turns waiting on table and I can’t remember, you know, what we had, whether we had porridge or cereal.  But one thing I ran into for the very first time was Fr

ench toast and they’d make it on this old wood stove.  How they did it for 32 people.  I thought it was great.  And then everybody went to the Pullman and back to tidying their cabins and then I don’t know that there was any scheduled program.  There was swimming at certain hours but I can’t remember.  And I can’t remember what the lunches were except they were dinner.  That was the big meal and at night it was supper and I think we went to bed about 9 o’clock, having all gathered along the beach or along the large veranda to sing taps.  And then, whether this began the first year, I don’t know, but there were a good many pranks after bedtime, visiting from one cabin to another and finding out who had any food within the camp.

Dory:  Well, as you said, for a while Miss Edgar let it all come in.

Yes, but I don’t think that first year much came, I don’t know.

Dory:  And you were allowed to keep it and please yourself or share it?

With who you liked.

Dory:  Did you used to have skinny dips?

We had what you would call skinny dips but Miss Edgar did not like the name ‘skinny dips’.  She called them birthday dips or moonlight dips.  Now these were on hot nights that you went naked into the shallows of the lake and paddled around or swam around in the shallow waters.  Now she said everybody will go in their birthsuits and one little girl said, ‘I haven’t brought my birthday suit to camp.’  These were not really moonlight.  They were certainly at late dusk and, as would come into the story many times, later on, when we were counsellors and in charge, Flora particularly and her team of water people, tightened up on these evening dips and put strict rules that they must be much earlier while the sun had hardly set and there must be a number of rowboats that marked off how far out the children could go.  In fact, Miss Edgar said that the counsellors began to control and run her. 

Now I don’t know that I mentioned … I’ve mentioned it in articles … that the only reason I would capitulate and go to this camp was that I could take my dog pet with me and we did.  We brought him up in the baggage car and he remained all summer, this Boston Bull.  I don’t remember how he was fed.  I think the girls from the kitchen put out scraps and what the poor dog ate, I don’t know.  I certainly didn’t look after him but he followed us everywhere and he slept in the cabin with us and was a real part of the camp.

Another thing I can’t remember … I mentioned my cousin three years younger, Lynn Northway, came up on the train with us but I don’t know what happened to her when she got to camp.  She’d have been put in with a younger group and I have an idea she didn’t like it and went home but I’d have to check on that.

Now another thing that didn’t come out very clearly was this girl, Maria McCallum, who had asked me to go out in the rowboat the first night we were there and I refused and didn’t like her, when we were moved out of the dormitory and into Wahwena, we became, as it were, best friends which was a funny relationship but because it was mostly that we there first and kinda ganged up on the other kids that were put in the cabin.  Now Maria was extremely spoiled.  She was the youngest of six and I was extremely spoiled, being an only child, and our friendship consisted in violent fights and differences and then getting together against the other kids.  And then, through the years, five more years we were there as campers, Maria and I were always in the same cabin and between us more or less ruled it.  And I still am in contact with her remotely, being in the same fraternity and Christmas card acquaintance.

Dory:  But didn’t you say that the other campers had to look after the cabin to tidy it?  You and Maria didn’t.

I think you’re quite right.  I don’t imagine that we did much about it and we had a good time.  Now when the camp came to an end … I told you about the canoe trip we all went on … and when we came to go home, of course, we put on our city clothes as we’d done every Sunday at camp and went on a long train journey from Sundridge to Toronto and I don’t know if it was the first year, we arranged when we got to Toronto that a couple of days later, we’d all meet at the fountain at the Exhibition and spend the day together.  And that really ends the first year.  I may think of more things, of course, but what I thought I’d do was to see if I could get Mally to record some of her reminiscences and perhaps Maria and perhaps Mally’s older sister, Jannie, so that we could get a full picture.  And I think probably for this taping, I’ll concentrate on that first year because the big change came in my life in the second year.  We loved camp so much, we persuaded a lot of our friends to go.  They were just dying to go to this wonderful place, including your cousin, Ruth-Lyon Martin, and the camp went up to about 60 people but we’d been there before and knew our way about and became the know-it-all creatures with far more assumed authority than we really had.  So perhaps the first year, we’d better cut there and think of what happened later.  Okay?

Now after the first year, we thought of camp a great deal and we planned our cabin group and that is when the story I’ve often told … that the phone rang at home and a meek voice said, ‘This is Marion Gibson, I hope you remember me.  My mother told me to phone you to see if I could cabin with you this summer.’  And my curt answer was, ‘Well I’ll have to ask Maria.’  Well Maria and I let her in and then we turned from a twosome dictatorship to a threesome with Mally included.  And a letter from Miss Edgar, I think the end of the second summer, said that Marion had a great control over Maria’s mischieviousness and Mary’s imagination.

Now the tenth cabin, Wahwena, had been taken down and the cabin built just behind where Wahwena was situated, was called Linger Longer.  I think that was a popular song at that time and I believe in Linger Longer, we had Mally, Evelyn Booth, Ruth Lyon-Martin and I think Smaggie Lumbers who was a cousin of Maria’s.  There were six of us in a very small cabin.  And next to it was the cabin called Mosquito Mansions which Miss Edgar made them change the name after a while.  Now in that cabin, we’re in the second year of camp, we were organized into four tribes and I was appointed the scroll reader which I think I remained throughout the rest of the years I was a camper.  This meant reading it out in the council room, collecting the writings and so on.  We still had no cabin counsellors but there were a lot more counsellors than there had been the first year.  One person with prestige was Dinty Moore.  She was in charge of the swimming and sort of the main one of the counsellors.  And the other thing the second year was Miss Edgar developed what was a junior camp which was separate.  You and I walked through it at the far end.  And put in charge was a person who became most famous in the camp, Neemie(?) Ross, who had been a kindergarten teacher.  Now these juniors in this camp were called the Bunnies and they didn’t … some of them didn’t like being called Bunnies.  And in the lodge of the junior camp was a great big plastic model of a Wobasa Bunny.  Well I imagine things were more organized and that we did have some schedules to follow, but I don’t think it was too … too, too organized.  And we had lots of time to spend around Linger Longer and I’ll tell you a true story, often repeated.  Mrs. Gibson, Mally’s mother, came up to see us at the camp and, bless her heart, she brought a cooked chicken and we ate the chicken and threw out the bones and I believe Mally collected all the bones scattered on the grounds to make soup.

Dory:  Sounds like Mally.

Now the only thing we had to make soup in was the wash basin and I made the soup.  I don’t know why Mally didn’t.  I made the soup, I built a fire outside the cabin … no fireplace, you know … and put the bones in and the water in and let it brew and Mrs. Gibson said, ‘Oh that will be lovely and a very good thing to put into chicken soup is violet leaves.’  So we went and gathered violet leaves and put this in the soup and we ate that.  Now, the second year my parents came up, my Aunt Mary … it was a two-day journey … they stayed over at Orillia or Gravenhurst, somewhere … but they came to see us with lots and lots of food.  That was just great.  And the Sunday pattern has changed.  I don’t think we had to wear dresses and instead of having local ministers, Miss Edgar took the Sunday service on the veranda of the lodge.  And in the afternoon, we had to have Sunday school classes which Miss Edgar arranged, and different counsellors were in charge and these were extremely boring on a bright sunny afternoon. 

So anyhow, my mother that year sent up a cake each week to me by mail from the buy-a-cake shop and I would arrange to serve it at the beginning of the Sunday school class to all the girls and the leader and we really … with eating the cake and chatting … never got around to the bible study.  And I believe I told you that Sunday evenings, we began having concerts in the lodge.  Anybody who could play anything got up and performed and Miss Edgar read us long bits from her diary of her trip to Japan and letters from her sister, the nurse in India, and there again we’d be sitting around listening to all this and I’m sure they were very interesting but we all wanted to get out, you know, in the canoes and on the land and got rather fed up with it.  Now mind you, we were only 13 and I guess Sundays didn’t provide at that time enough activity for restless growing people.  And this was the year of the bloomer’s ink, a story that’s gone down in history.  We used to wear blue serge bloomers and after wearing them for several weeks, they got very dirty.  So the same as the chicken, I took to boiling them up over the fire outside Linger Longer and of course all the dye came out and they came out sort of dirty grey but the basin was filled with lovely, lovely ink-coloured water.  So I bottled it and I sold it for 15 cents a jar to anybody who would buy it and I still have a letter somewhere from Miss Edgar thanking me for this lovely ink, the like of which she’d never seen.  And that letter should go in the archives.

And another thing we did that year was … you see, we were rather lowly in these tribes … so Maria and I decided we’d found a tribe of our own and we gave it some grand name.  It was quite illegitimate but we invited some of the girls we liked to become members of this subversive tribe and one of the people we invited was Miss Edgar.  And she came up to a rock we’d found in the woods and went through a whole initiation ceremony that we’d devised that was somewhat knights where you hit the people on the shoulder, you know.  Well, you see what kind of person she was.  I mean some camp directors would have said you already have well-organized tribes but she went along and became a lowly member of the tribe of which we were the chiefs!  It soon died out, you know.

Well, about the clothes.  Bloomers and middies were the main thing.  Breeks too.  Now Jannie Gibson and one of the other girls came up in short sort of smocked dresses which were very comfortable and we thought these were great but I don’t think we ever had them.  As far as I can remember, it was the bloomers and middies.

Dory:  Were you told, did Miss Edgar have directions to the parents as to what should be brought?

Yes, there was a list and I’m sure parents checked it but I don’t think a camp uniform came in until later.  You had to wear white or decent clothes on Sunday but you could …you wore just what you’d be wearing at the cottage at the time. 

Now bathing suits … and here’s a story.  You remember we wore bathing suits that came well up around the neck and little short sleeves and down about to your knees?

Dory:  Yes

Okay.  The girls, some of them, thought they would like to get more sun on their backs so what they did was to cut the back of the bathing suit into a V, you see.  And some of them began tying a bandanna around their chest.  Well Miss Edgar’s brother-in-law, Mr. Gilchrist, amongst his business enterprises was linked up with some corset firm and it was he who devised nice Glen Bernard blue bras and that was the beginning of the new-fashioned bathing suit and getting out in the sun and getting sun on you respectfully, respectably.

Dory:  What we called halters?

Yes, that was the beginning of the halters.  Well then, in the second year of camp, um, ’23 this would be, was when boyish bobs were coming in and the camp going in for them.  And we got this Miss Duck(?) whom I mentioned to cut our hair.  Well what she did, or had somebody do for her, was to cut her hair short on each side and then she got, I was gonna say cold feet, and had the rest of it hanging down her back.  And several of the girls had their hair cut.  Now I don’t remember if mine had already been cut but I expect so.  But Edith McCallum, she … from Maria’s stories … had decided to come to the camp the second year and she had her hair all cut off, real boyish bob, and when we were going home she was so frightened of what her parents would say that she got a hat and made somebody put sort of straw curls hanging down under the hat so that the parents wouldn’t see this messy haircut!  [end of tape 1]

So, what do you want to know?

Jocelyn:  Well I don’t know ?????

Where should we start, John?  Why we set up the center?  Alright.  Let’s say the first stimulus was rather negative.  If you know the history of the universities, you’ll remember there was a great change in the ‘60’s.  I had been at the University of Toronto since the ‘30’s and was engaged in what I considered very important, at least important to me, research and at that time with the huge building and expansion plans and the fact that our director, Dr. Glocks(?) had died, it became less congenial to me personally and also very hard to continue the research because in small faculties, grant supports from the university were being cut.  Now I was getting close but not at retirement age and I thought, well why waste the rest of my active life in a place that I’m not too happy with, with all these things I want to do, and the sudden thought came to my colleague, Professor Millichamp and myself, why not do something else.  So that’s the negative side.  Now we both had grants from foundations for research and it became important that whatever we did, these grants could travel with us.  Therefore we couldn’t stay at home as private citizens because grants will not be given to a person who isn’t working in a recognized occupation.  Also we felt we needed the assistance, support, cooperation of people who were interested in our work and supportive of it.  So I guess in talking with you, Mr. Hudson, and with my cousin, Mr. Jack Wilson, decided that we’d better form a small organization which we did.  It was the ??? Center.

Jocelyn:  Why that particular name?

Alright, that summer we were in Scotland and we were up in Sutherland Shire at a small town called Brora from which my great grandparents had come in the 1820’s with the clearances, the highland clearances.  They were proctors and, as you probably know, the Duke of Sutherland cleared out the people, put in sheep and a number of them came over to Canada.  It suddenly occurred to us that here we are, we’re thinking about this organization, there’s a nice place, a nice simple word everybody can spell and nobody will know what it means ???.

Okay, we had four Indian tribes which was great.  I mean it divided the camp into four which is a better number for games and competition.

Dory:  Well Indians were a very important theme, weren’t they, in the early camp days?

Oh, Indians were … and particularly with Miss Edgar who romanticized the Indians, all the beautiful things about the Indians.  And the council ring was quite formalized.  The children paraded in blankets down those paths you saw to their respective section of the council ring and then the high council came in from the other side and Miss Edgar had a beautiful Indian suit…I believe the campers gave it to her in the early years of camp … which she wore and a headdress.  And it began with a council fire laid on the rock in the middle of the council ring which the hired man, Hugo, had dowsed in coal oil so it would be sure to light.  And Miss Edgar always knelt by it, lighting it, with a poem, ‘Kneel always when you light a fire, kneel reverently and gratefully for God’s unfailing charity and on the ascending flame inspire a little prayer that may up there for something of your thankfulness for this gift of heat and light.’  And we used to think that the little prayer might light up there Miss Edgar with the flame that came up.  Then the scrolls were read and you always had to address the big chief.  First, ‘Big chief, this is the scroll of the ???’s’ and then you read out the pieces that had been submitted.  After that were challenges when it would be “I, Mary Northway of the ???’s, challenge Marion Gibson of the MicMacs to a ?? contest.’  And then she’d have to get up and go through all the ‘I accept’ and so on.  And then we ended with a prayer and Miss Edgar usually told an Indian story or read bits from Hiawatha.

Now when we were at camp, Dory, I showed you that Miss Edgar at the final council ring had bulrushes in coal oil that everyone lit at the campfire and then wandered up that side trail, you know, underneath all those trees.  Well again, as time went on, Flora and I and some of the other counsellors didn’t veto this but we suggested strongly that they go out to the lakeshore and wouldn’t it make a pretty, pretty sight, all these beautiful bulrushes along … great flaming!  So the Indian thing went on for a long time.  I must say when we got to be counsellors, we sometimes thought it was rather silly, especially when I got into anthropology lectures.  But Miss Edgar could captivate you into these council rings; it was the highlight of the week.  I don’t think anybody else could.  I certainly never could have.  I’m sure when we were young, we took it all in but there was one tale that real Indians came over in their canoes from Sundridge to sell their baskets just as we were concluding this council ring with all the Indian goings-on.  And later in the Camping Association, and I’m talking about 15 years ago or so, there was great discussion about whether this wasn’t making fun of the Indians and whether it was supporting native people’s rights to have this Indian stuff in camp.  Taylor Statton also had a council ring founded on Ernest Thompson Seeton’s plans for council rings.  But that was the climax of the week, the council ring. 

I always took the attitude in these later discussions that nothing that was done about Indians gave us any feeling of resentment or not liking Indians.  We learned to love Indians and Indian lore but it really was storybook Indians.  They put us sociametrically positive with Indians although it was far from real.  Now I think it was the second year, or it may have been the third, that these GBC badges and headbands were substituted for feathers.  Everybody got a headband on arrival at the camp and then, for each activity as you accomplished so much, you got a red feather or a green feather.  Now a green feather was the land sports, blue feather was for water sports, yellow feather I expect was for arts and crafts which I never got one.  One was for camp craft and outdoor things and you had to accomplish so many things and then these feathers were given out.  And there were two extra feathers, one for in-camp spirit and one for out-of-camp spirit and these were not any requirement but counsellors’ judgments and you got an honour feather when you’d done more than the minimum and these were painted gold down the middle and handed out in council ring.  And when you accumulated five honour feathers, including the in-camp and out-camp, you got a feather pin which was a little gold pin.  Now I haven’t got one and I couldn’t find one in Flora’s things but these were treasures.  You wore them like you would a fraternity pin over your heart.

Dory:  Now did you wear your headband and feathers at council ring?

Yes, and so as you got more and more, your head got heavier and heavier.  Now I got the out-of-camp spirit because I was pretty good on canoe trips and that sort of thing but I didn’t get the in-camp spirit ‘til the very last year I was there as a camper and I think they felt they had to give it to me so I could be sent away after six years of camping with a feather pin.  Because in-camp, I didn’t do those good things Mally Gibson did like help to prepare trips or help sort out laundry or do all of those things.  Well you can imagine, I wouldn’t have wanted to do them.  But at the end, we got these feather pins which were very pretty.

Now just one more thing that I can identify in a second here.  We had a cabin group all made up and we didn’t have cabin counsellors.  Now the trick was, and I’m sure it was Maria, to see how many counsellors you could get to come in and say goodnight to and we used to go … I wasn’t very good at this, Maria was great … and say, and rolling her big eyes, ‘Dinty, won’t you come in and kiss us goodnight?’ and I don’t know if the counsellors were amused or flattered but we used to get as many as ten coming in.  You see, this would delay going to bed, that was a great idea.

Dory:  Well now, you keep saying ????????? ……..[volume of sound is very faded on this tape]

Oh yes, oh yes, we were very … by the second year, real canoe training came in but you learned proper strokes and learned how to manage the canoe and in those skills I spent all the required time and even more and the same with swimming and it was in that same year I got my bronze medal so we did participate in the camp things and I liked outdoor cooking and camp crafts, I thought that was great.  Nature study a bit, Norma Ford was up there in charge of nature study and I probably liked that, going out, but she only took a few girls at a time.  I mean the things that had to be done in the camp program as it emerged, we strongly participated in them, except for the arts and crafts which you didn’t have to do, or the ballet which you didn’t have to do.  The second year, Miss Ada McKenzie, a friend of Miss Edgar’s, was up and she put in a golf, a driving range, and we spent a lot of time with her ‘cause we thought she was quite wonderful ???????.  So that we were very much into all those things that had to be done but I’m quite right ‘cause I didn’t help, except for things I wanted to do.  Now I think it was the second year that we decided to build a roof garden; it may have been later.  But by golly, on the veranda of the cabin, we took up plants, put them on the roof, made like a window box but it was on the roof, filled it with soil, brought in plants and planted them on the top so that we had our own project as well as the camp projects.  And then there was the inter-tribal games, basketball, baseball, various canoe races when that came in and all that sort of stuff.

Now drama … I told you in the first year it was the big girls who put on this wonderful variety show.  The second year, we did get into drama.  I don’t know who was in charge but, just as I heard, there were no cabin counsellors.  Miss Edgar got the bright … or somebody got the bright idea that one of the senior girls would be moved into the younger girls’ cabins.  So she changed … all the cabin groups were changed around so now you’ve moved next door to Mosquito Mansion and ??? was put in as our senior girl and Edith … what was her name … McKay(?) was put in next door as their senior girl to kind of take charge of this group of girls.  But we also were in drama and I can’t remember what the play was we were to put on but Amy ???? was the heroine and I was supposed to be wooing ???? and I had to say, and it made me feel very silly, “Kate, Kate, I love you Kate.’  And I couldn’t get it out without laughing.  So out in front of Linger Longer there was this stump and I prepped the stump up and dressed it up to look like Amy and I practiced with this stump.  Now I don’t know ???????????.  I think I got more into performances when I was a counsellor, I can’t remember too much about those early plays ?????   And then of course, I told you, we made up ??? songs, we made up other camp songs and we did a lot of singing and I did get a group singing very well ??????????????? [volume faded out here]  ……….except for this one memory of making love to a stump.  So that didn’t come out very well in terms of volume ‘cause I guess I was using an old tape, but that shouldn’t really affect it.

Now, I don’t think she wants to hear these long lists of what we did year by year but as an outside independent centre without any hierarchy or bureaucracy, we got these ??? done.  And also, people could come in to talk with you on sort of neutral ground about their research.  We aren’t going to mark their papers or pass their thesis.  And I think that’s been one of our functions.  A number of graduate students writing papers, doing research, come in and talk about it, being interested in the earlier days and earlier camps.  So the material one has collected and dealt with is still in use by active people ???.

Now what would you say that were some of the more interesting things?  We did arrange several evening meetings, about two a year, on projects we were in.  It was an informality and no red tape about it.

Male voice(?):  I’m inviting people who had some interest in the field, a group of 40 or 50.  I’m not feeling very vigorous this morning but, uh, maybe I’ll warm up as we go along.  The, uh, ….the way I see it in memory as an outsider looking in.   You get to people now and then who have an idea, a concept, and they think it’s valuable and they want to test it.  They, uh … you put them into a university and they’re submerged in the already existing university routine.  I’m gonna have to go through it but I think I found it very difficult to change the direction of a department or a branch of the university.  But what they do, they sorta stew you in frustration.  You kinda go it alone and the headaches there are immeasurable.  You can’t get money for grants to support them and there’s no structure of secretarial help or people they can go to except on an informal basis.  That’s where ??? comes in …..

??:  Were you keeping him off the streets?

Male Voice(?):  That wasn’t …I’m talking about my thoughts and how I saw it, eh.  How it worked out, that’s another story.  Yes, you give them all the space, you give them a recognized structure to hold their money and make the payments required, look after the bookkeeping and the lights and telephone.  Then you give them one more thing … you give them a knowledgable board of directors they had to report to.  And that’s very good.  I think it’s the difference between an author who goes on his own trying to write a book and, uh, you are reporting ???? and he says, ‘What the hell’s happening’.  I’ve always assumed that most authors wrote books because they somehow got involved in a ??? with some publishers.  Publishers that have cracked the whip and kept them at their ???????????.

I don’t agree at all {laughter}.  If you have something that you must say and then you batter down, batter with the publisher who rarely would give you an advance for the academic types of things.  That would give you encouragement and we’ll say, well if this does sell, we might give you 10% royalty, but that’s a very minor part.  You’ve gotta get this out.  Even if it’s only to a small group of people that are interested in these things.  That’s our type of thing, not Pierre Berton’s.

Jocelyn(?):  You also provided a literature program and psychological guidance for children?

Yes and that is a … that’s Professor Millichamp’s, he’s always done that.  You see, he had the great advantage that we’d been tied up with university and community affairs for a very long time, 30-odd years and had all these contacts.  Therefore the number of parents who were having trouble with their children or children who were having trouble with their parents ???? and they would come up and discuss the matter with her.  Now that’s where we’d call in somebody extra, perhaps to put them through a battery of psychological tests.  That wouldn’t …. that person wouldn’t become a staff member but a camper employee doing this particular job.  And she carried a number of cases ????? limiting that program and there again, having been in the field so long, she had professional contacts.  Well let’s send this child to such-and-such a school, how about trying that.  Or how about seeing so-and-so at such-and-such a clinic that specializes in reading.  So, but I think we brought to it the background of wide contacts and being known within those circles.

Male Voice(?):  That just helps to explain why Brora was successful as far as you were concerned.

Yes, I don’t think you could start it … it would have been much more difficult to start with two people who just graduated from university as an active centre.

Jocelyn:  How did you put a time limit on it.  Like can you see there … did you have definite studies that you set out to do with the Brora Centre ???

Oh, did I have research?  Yes, I had 30 years of research behind me, some of the studies were in progress and got curtailed at the university because of the changes there.  Now we’ve concluded a good deal of those and published papers from them.  Um, let’s see what we did publish.  Well I gave you some of them …….. yeah, up to 1968, I had published those articles.  After we set up Brora, these were still to come out and so you have a page up to 1974 ???.  So there was all the research material that something had to be done with.  Now we haven’t changed everything, I don’t think we ever will, whoever does, but perhaps one of the most important things we did was this.  Um, at the Institute of Child Study at the University, there had been records kept since 1926 on the children who went there.  Um, in the ‘60’s, these studies … some of them weren’t finished but the records were still there and the advice, and the advice from the university archivist was that these are of no value, burn them all up, which was going to be done.  But Miss Millichamp and I said on no account can they be burned.  These are important records.

Male Voice:  I want to interject here.  It’s very interesting … there’s been tremendous change in research approach.  Uh, you were doing what you’d call what, longitudinal research [yeah] which means you take an individual at different points in time [that’s right] over the years and you see what has happened.  And then about, when… in the ‘60’s … the attitude was longitudinal research is for the birds.  It doesn’t achieve a thing.

That’s right, yeah, and here were these records from children who’d been through the institute nursery school, going back to 1926.  The university didn’t want them.  Okay, Miss Millichamp and I couldn’t believe that so we brought them all up here and they line these walls.  But in the ‘70’s, that had to change and the new archivist was writing, asking where these records were and could the university please have them.  And so I would say the last three years, a great deal of our time has been spent going through these files of records which are now transferred for safe-keeping for perpetuity to Rare Books and Special Collections in the Thomas Fisher Library of the University.  And they’re there for students of any time, now or in the future, to go back (a), to see what kind of research was being done in that period, (b), to follow children who started in 1926 on up through 1940-50 and are now adults in the community and middle-aged, and second generation.  And for instance, one particular study of a public school group of childen, maybe ’26 to ’30, a member of the university staff is now taking those old records and finding as many of the subjects as he can and has just produced a paper at a conference last week on what’s happened.  You see, the school recorded which were the good children, which were the bad, who had the most misdemeanors, who was good at academic subjects, who did as the teacher said, uh, who was a little hellion, etc. back in school days.  Well now, this young man has taken these and, using the modern methods of the computer, has put through the information of 1926 with the information of 1976, how they’ve turned out.  So this research is not lost, it’s there for other people and that took a great deal of time and a great deal of fussy effort, putting it all together, refiling in sequence, and getting keys for it.

Male Voice:  Until you get down to specifics, though, it sounds dull as hell.  You’re just accumulating papers with scratches on them.

Yes, I suppose that’s true.  But how do you know whether the bad children, the naughty children in your Grade 5, have turned out to be in the jails now or the Prime Minister.  Well, this long-term approach gives you the outcome.  And of course, when you say dull, research is dull, terribly dull, 90% of it is, fiddling with papers from little …. and unless you’re keen on what comes out of it, you can’t abide the fiddliness.  That’s why I always hope for good assistants to do a good bit of that for these.  And it always does … and I remember in lecturing to students, some of them would say how soon can we get into research, it must be so exciting.  And then they find they have to tabulate long lists of columns and criss-crosses and that was all and come out with one little tiny result.

Male Voice:  You wonder whether the result is helpful or ……..

Well, it’s factual.  It’s valid, it’s true, it’s as true as anything … any statement that can be made because your research checks and counter-balances … you can’t fantasize.  So what you say … that so many of the children with the most misdemeanors in school are now carrying on successfully in life.  And those ones that had none are not.  If you could, and he didn’t say that but it could.  You’d know that the statement was valid within limits of significant areas.

Jocelyn:  So most of your .. the results of your research .. are they back in the university or would they be back in the university … who would use these papers?  Students?

Who would use them?  We’re talking two things.  One’s the files of the original research and they’re down at the university and people have begun to use them, right?  This young man I was talking about, three of the professors with OISE are going back over some of these uncompleted things and with their use of computers are coming out with results.  Okay.  Who would read these papers?  Well, let me tell you I often wondered too.  But you take this little book which was put out in the ‘50’s ????.  Who reads it in Canada, I don’t know.  Some students do, some professors use it.  But it is translated into French, Portuguese, Hungarian, not German… Spanish, Italian.  And one of the exciting moments in my life was in Rome a few years ago, meeting with professors who translated it into Italian.  And sitting in their seminar, looking out on the hills of Rome, I’m hearing them in Italian translated ??? and they were using this in their schools.  Okay?  So who reads … people in Norway read it, people in Australia.  And once you get something, even if it’s a limited field of interest, it’s out.

Jocelyn:  But they would be mainly for the use of students.

Oh, that particular book is.  That yellow thing is mostly for the enlightenment of the Canadian Psychological Association.  Now a lot of this stuff in these ???? are said to be a special group, also comes out in …. well, for instance, Chatelaine ran articles on this in 1956.  I’m saying this because ??? last night, uh, you know this new book on Tom Thomson ???? … okay, I suddenly remembered that an artist friend of mine told me that the article in Chatelaine had been illustrated by Harold Town so last night I went and pulled it out of the files and there it was.  1956, Harold Town, a pretty little picture of a pretty little girl dancing around.  He’d hate to see it, Harold Town, but if you look down those lists of the patients from this basic material, then the ideas come out in ???? magazine and Chatelaine and various American magazines to get over to the public who want to read something while they’re waiting to have their hair done, you know.  That doesn’t interest me particularly.  They always distort, I feel, to make it readable, I suppose.

Male Voice:  The ???? of research is eventually you hope leading to a change of attitude and approach of people who haven’t studied the subject but they’re influenced by all these other ???

Yes, I don’t think it’s your primary incentive.  I think a research person is interested in what science, whether it’s in theology or psychology.  Then if people want to interpret it, splash it on the television, okay, but that is not important.  And I think that people on a continuum from the strict academic researcher at this end to the do-gooder on this end.  Now I’d say I was this side of the middle.  I’d like to get out research.  I hope it will be of some use to people but that isn’t my effort to make it of use to people.  For me, it’s to supply the research and Millechamp’s near the other end of the scale. ?????

Jocelyn:  Have you ….you haven’t completed all the studies that you wanted to do now or are you still ….

I don’t think anybody in their lifetime ever completes all of the research and studies that they had in mind but I think we’ve done more than some researchers by putting the material in a place where it’s available to other people.  After all, some of the best professors at the university put out very little themselves but their students pick it up.  I’m thinking of Bill Lyon here where people like Nick Laidlaw and others had taken up what he had a vision of … they carried on.

Male Voice:  Not research in general, not specifically ???

Yeah, yes. 

Jocelyn:  What is the reason for closing the Brora Centre?

What is the reason for closing the Brora Centre.  We’re getting old.  Okay, we set it up for five years, our board of directors …..[end of Side 1, Tape 2]

Male Voice:  …. well not really in with the concept.

Jocelyn:  Well, I’m here to get the context but as far as the Globe and Mail is concerned, ?????????

No, I don’t think so.  I don’t think the Globe and Mail would be in the least interested.  Can you see Thursday mornings, somebody reading about Brora.

Jocelyn:  Well, what we’re proposing is a story of the results from your research but that’s something that ??????????.

Sure, if somebody wants to go through all the research papers and write it up, I don’t think it would be the Globe and Mail.  I think it would have to come out as we intend in a final report from here, from which then the Globe and Mail might take off.  That would make some sense.  I think the only point of general interest really is this.  There are two ways of doing things.  One …. two usual ways of doing things.  One is in a big organization, big governments, big universities, of which the individual is a very small part.  The other is to work as an individual, like the author, or the old days, the medical doctor or the dentist, on your own.  And one thing we have demonstrated is that there is a place for small organizations in this big institutionalized world that an organization can speak and do more than the individual in his own private office. 

Male Voice:  Well let’s look at it a little differently.  In an organization designed for the individual and work ??? and can make the individual far more effective.  I think really that’s the secret but uh, and why you’re probably right in winding it up.

Jocelyn:  Well I have a theory that … I forgot to check ??????

No, well I don’t think you’ll find enough to put in your Globe and Mail now.  If you read those notes and we send you a final report, then you or somebody could take out bits that are of interest.

Jocelyn:  I think that’s a good idea, yeah.

Don’t you?  Much better than this ???? conversation.  You have an idea now and I would hope in six months we’d have out that report.  That means likely you ….

Jocelyn:  By next summer?  Or ….

Ha, I would hope.

Male Voice:  Everything takes twice as long …

Yeah, I would hope by next summer.

Male Voice:  Are you in the uh … are you in the charitable world in the sense of ???? Okay, uh, charitable organizations, charity giving and foundations …

Jocelyn:  I do a fair number of stories …

Male Voice:  Okay, that’s what I mean.  Are you in the … that world.

Jocelyn:  ????????????????  Okay, well we’ll do the ????? and when you do get ?????, I’d love to see it.  ?????????????? … um, wish I could remember.  I don’t know, I think it will probably be ten o’clock, I did it so long ago, but I know … I’m pretty sure I put the photo ????

So you don’t need a photo.

Jocelyn:  Well, I can’t stop it, it’s coming, it’s already on its way.  Sorry, I do a lot of assignments ?????

Well, my mother, bless her soul, always said you should never get into the newspapers except for births, marriages and deaths.  [laughter]  Well, it might put the RCMP off the page, eh?  Boy, I’m getting tired of that.

Jocelyn:  So am I.

They’re overdoing it, aren’t they.  Television, radio …

[Tape becomes garbled here, then fades off completely to end of Side 2]

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