Letter from DAVID FIELD, INTERN, MAJOR, ASSISTANT CAMP DIRECTOR, CAMP DIRECTOR, sent for the Reunion Round Robin of sharing Shady Trails memories, August 11, 2012

Dave Field wrote:

the letter that was read at the Shady Trails reunion was an extremely truncated version of what I originally wrote. Here's the original. I thought since all the attendees were adults they could stand to hear the truth as it actually happened. ;-) Here it is!


My Round Robin
By Mr. Field, Camp Director.

I'd like to begin by welcoming you all to this reunion of The Shady Trails staff and campers and to say how sorry we are that Mrs. Field, the camp mother and I can't be with you. A previously scheduled week-end trip that could not be rearranged got in the way. But, we send our best wishes for a wonderful evening of memories and reunions with old friends.

Now to my Round Robin.

Many of you former campers may not know this, but there was a sterling tradition at Camp Shady Trails called ten o'clock snack. Long after you all were tucked safely in your bunks the staff would gather in the lodge to review the day's activities, plan for the next day, flirt with other staff that interested them (wink) and relax. One of the favorite activities of the male staff was surreptitiously observing the eating habits of the hens. . . that is, the female staff . . . so named as they resided in the cabins called henplexes. The reason for these observations was to determine the winner of the prestigious Golden Shovel Award, given to the female staff member who had gained the most weight over the summer. But I digress. That is another Round Robin subject which I am sure Mr. Bishop or any of the former counseling staff in attendance would be happy to share.

One evening a group of us where sitting together discussing the upcoming movie we were to show that week end. It was a horror film. Can't now remember which one. Those included in the discussion were me, (Mr. Field. I was assistant director at the time) Miss Allen, Mr. "Shitomolto" Clark ( name to be explained by the former athletic director), Mr. Bishop, Mr. Carter, Miss Diana Morgan ( now Mrs. Carter) and Miss Sue Morgan, (now Mrs. Bishop) (By the way did you know that Miss Morgan and Miss Morgan were sisters? . . . Well, they're not.) Also present and participating was Mr. Fox.

Back to my story . . . We were discussing the extra bed checks that might be needed following the showing of a scary movie as some of the campers, especially those in the U-Club, might be a bit unnerved by the film. Once the decision was made to assign one counselor to each cabin to sooth the frazzled nerves of any camper who might be experiencing difficulty, the discussion turned to which horror films had especially affected us as we were growing up.

I related that The Curse of the Mummy was by far the most frightening of all to me. The memory of Old King Tut staggering stiff legged, wrapped from head to toe in rags, tracking down those who had violated his tomb and do them in still caused chills to run up and down my spine.

After a time the group dispersed. Miss Morgan (Now Mrs. Carter) went to meet with the staff of the Roost and plan for the next day's activities. Mr. Bishop and Miss Morgan (now Mrs. Bishop) left to go to the deaf classroom to study ways of communicating with your hands and lip reading. Mr. Fox and Mr. Carter departed to do bed check.

That left Mr. Clark, Miss Allen and myself. We sat for awhile chatting about this and that. When it was time to leave for bed I confessed that I was a wee bit nervous about walking home by myself. I requested that since Mr. Clark and Miss Allen were planning a little midnight stroll, would they mind walking me across the dark and scary athletic field with its tales of Injun Joe being buried there, and up the pitch black, winding and rutted sandy path to the staff cabins on the top of the hill where I was living at the time.

They happily agreed and we took off. We joked and laughed our way across the field to the hill, occasionally stopping and yelling "boo" at each other. We started our climb. As we reached the half way point, the path ahead was suddenly illuminated by a bright light and there at the top of the hill stood King Tut himself, wrapped in his mummy casings, looming over me his arms raised above his head and a strangled, gurgling death growl emitting from his bandage covered lips.

Screaming in terror I turned to try to escape, slipped on the sand covered path, tripped on a root, did a back flip and landed squarely on top of Miss Allen who was knocked backward landing on top of Mr. Clark who lay at the bottom of the heap muttering "Shit, Shit, Shit." Miss Allen grabbed me by the throat, shaking and choking me, she shouted, "You knew, you planned this, you planned this." I had indeed not planned it and tried to tell her so. However, all that came out of my mouth were whimpers of fear as I struggled to regain my footing and to flee. All I could manage was to lie there, my arms and legs spasmodically jerking, as I clawed at the sand.

Sounds of hysterical laughter then filled the night as Mr. Carter emerged from the bushes carrying a large flashlight, and Mr. Fox lurched down the path, his toilet paper mummy suit trailing behind him. The two scoundrels collapsed in a fit of uncontrolled hilarity. Miss Allen continued to try to do me bodily harm, still firmly convinced I had been in on the plot and Mr. Clark persisted in babbling "Shit, Shit, Shit" over and over.

For the rest of that summer and for all the years I lived on the hill before moving to the relative safety of the director's cabin, (I say relative because with friends like Mr. Carter and Mr. Fox one can never be too sure) All that time I was wary of that walk up the hill and the chance that I might once again encounter . . . THE MUMMY!

By the way, Mr. Clark and Miss Allen never again agreed to walk me home. Smile.


added March 23, 2012