Saturday, July 25, 2015

Olympic Circle and "the rec hall" in the 1960s

This photo was taken in the 1960s. I'm going to guess it's 1968 or 1969. The Olympic Circle was ornamented with flags on 1"x1"posts, pounded into the ground, five times each summer. Flags ringed the circled on every check-out and check-in weekend, and of course during the Olympics, which took place during second session and sometimes during third. These flags were stored in the attic of the Ad Office (the Forstmann calf barn now called the Welcome Center). I can remember, as Program Director in the '70s, going through them each summer. Some of them were old - had been brought from the Old Wawayanda in 1958 and perhaps the trunk of flags was itself quite old. I would pick out the nations to be represented for the summer. Brazil. Israel. Iran. West Germany (never East). Mexico. And so on. These were displayed as parents dropped children off and picked them up and they also formed that summer's Olympic teams.

In the background you see a big barn. That was "the Rec Hall." It was pretty much our only rainy-day space. It was where all-camp evening programs were held, such as Challenge Night and Kangaroo Court and Beat the Clock. On the "second floor" was a hayloft. For some years the LITs lived there, and the kitchen stewards. By the time I came of age to be a CIT and LIT, Halbe Brown with help from the Hayden Foundation and the Knudson Family had renovated the garage into Hayden Lodge, and the CITs and LITs lived there. So I never got to live in the Rec Hall hayloft. Too bad. That would have been something.

Of course the Rec Hall, which served many many uses, eventually gave way to Margetts Lodge. "Got a little bit older / and so did that Rec Hall. / All them pies in the face / They made me a man. / Then Chuck White came / with the world's largest shovel / And knocked it all down / For the "progress" of camp."