Granny's Notes - the writing of Sue Gerard

Retired couple welcomed Harg 4-H campers in 1950

Midsummer was the time for the annual 4-H camp held at the Lake of the Ozarks, but only a few of our Harg Hustlers signed up to attend. There were conflicts galore: music lessons, ongoing dental work, grandparents’ visits, swimming lessons and other conflicts. Older boys had lucrative jobs - hauling baled hay from fields to storage in barns. Parents of younger 4-H members were hesitant about sending their children so far from home for several days.

The Harg Hustlers 4-H Club was one of the largest clubs in the county in 1950, and Frances Stice heard us discussing this at choir practice.

"Sue," she said, "you and I could run a camp at our lake in the back pasture. Fishing, boating, ball games ... "

I helped her finish her sentence, " ... crafts, outdoor cooking, water safety."

"I’ll take care of your Nancy" - a toddler - "while you run the camp," she said.

This was said in fun, but my phone rang a lot the next day. Parents were eager to have a Harg Hustlers 4-H camp near their homes so that all members could participate at least part of the time.

Several offered to help do lunch for campers and leaders for the three camp days. Some had chickens to fry, and almost every neighborhood garden had green beans, tomatoes and fresh sweet corn.

On the second day, we had an evening wiener roast with the trimmings.

After games and lunch, craft materials and teachers arrived. An older couple came to help with fishing and helped them hook a couple of big green bullfrogs, which, as with the fish, were returned to the lake.

We taught water safety skills when using small craft and demonstrated the safe way to get in and out of boats and canoes from shore, docks and from deep water. We floated a car’s spare tire and wheel and proved that several exhausted swimmers might be saved at the same time on one spare wheel.

We slept over on the second night; I coached the campers about getting upstairs to the big screened porch. The Stices really wanted us to do that because their five children had enjoyed it so much. However, they were all educated and away, and the wonderful upstairs screened porch was seldom used.

There were two convenient bathrooms. Our tired campers removed their shoes and tiptoed in sock feet, through the beautiful home, up the stairs and out to the sleeping porch. We unrolled our bedrolls, with boys on my right and girls on my left.

Weary from another busy day at our homemade camp, we were all soon asleep.

Breakfast at camp was followed by getting the boats and canoes out of the water to drain and finding lost socks, shirts and towels and getting them to the owners. Mothers and a few dads came bringing lunch and stayed to enjoy our final meeting. We handed out nonsense awards for several and Outstanding Camper recognitions for one girl and one fellow.

The general consensus of campers and parents was that we hoped to do a similar camp the next summer. We did that, with one big difference: Chub and I had our second baby, and the baby sitter brought little Walt down to the Stices’ camping spot at feeding times.

What wonderful memories I have as I reach another milestone!

Regular followers of "Granny’s Notes" know that the Stice place has recently been annexed and might become part of a proposed new golf course.

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