I'm the "Jerry" Handspicker Joe refers to in his memories. I well remember the summer of 1948 because it was the first time I was a camp counselor. I had been one at "Camp Stay-as-Home" in Malden, where Mr. Hannum had been director. I came to Clark as a junior counselor that year.
I remember there was a huge snapping turtle in the lake and we worried about its attacking kids while swimming. We got it out of the water then the archery counselor (whose name I can't remember) shot it in the neck with an arrow, and then someone proceeded to chop off its head. Then we buried it. The next morning we found it had dug part way out of the grave before it finally died.
Two memorable events from that summer. First, my senior counselor who I think was crafts counselor, hit a kid in our cabin (the kid was a was a real pain0 and Mr. Hannum fired him. This left me in charge of kids only a year or two younger than me (I was 15 at the time). I had to wrestle with one kid to establish authority--afte than things went well.
The other event happend during an overnight on the shore of the lake. About midnight some of us woke up to the noise of birds and frogs--it was light out! Overhead was the most glorious display of northern lights. We woke up the kids so they could exdperience it as well.
Clark was my introduction to summer camp life as a counselor. I went on to Camp Frank A. Day, the Newton YMCA camp for two summers,two summers at Camp Medomak in Maine as a college students, and finally I directed Camp Claire in Hamburg, CT fro three summmers when I ws in graduate school. But it all started at Camp Clark.
M. B. (Jerry( Handspickeer
January 13, 2011 9:25 PM
Great to hear from you, Jerry. Hope that life has been good to you and your brother, who was another Clark camper. (1) I also remember the snapping turtle event. As I recall, the archery counselor was named Eddie Popelnicki, an outgoing guy with a great sense of humor. During the week after camp - when the counselors brought in the pier and the boat, closed up the cabins for the winter, etc. - most of us, including Eddie, slept in Ted Babbit cabin. Tired after a day of heavy work closing up things, Eddie told everyone to quiet down or he would shoot out the light ( a single bulb in the center of the cabin's ceiling). Everyone ignored Eddie pretty much and were very surprised when he put arrow to bow and just missed hitting the bulb, the arrow bouncing around in the rafters. Ted Babbit became very quiet after that.
Eddie's brother Ted, a likeable but much more laid-back guy, was senior counselor in Rotary cabin the one year that the Popelnicki brothers attended. I believe that the brothers operated a auto repair shop in New Bedford for a number of years.
(2)The hitting of a camper - the only such event that anyone can recall - involved a lazy counselor named Charles M. and a kind of smart-alec camper named Balinger (spell?). Anyway, Charles M. was sent packing before the sun set that day and luckily the camp was not sued. It would interesting to find out whatever happened to Charlie M.
Note from Wayne: I edited out the last name of Charles M. to avoid legal issues.
These two comments were originally added to this original post.