Kamp Kewanee
Kamp Kewanee

Jeff Small's Letters Home - 1958

Jeff Small presented these entertaining "letters home" at the 2019 Kamp Reunion.

Trip to Camp

4:30, June 26, 1958
Cool and around 66 degrees
Scattered Showers

Dear Mom and Pop:

    The airline trip was very good until Phili (city) when the pilot announced that the plane would go through a storm; then we started to hit air pockets and things got very bad (I felt like I was going to throw up).  We got here at 1:30 and took the Penn Turnpike to camp.

    My tentmates are Steve, J.P. Goldsmith and my counselor is Kirk Dunkle, a new counselor.

    I had a chance to pass my raft test but I held off and I will try next time.


Tents—Stephen got sick!

June 27, 1958

Dear Mom and Pop:  

    Here is a list of what tents I have been in:
    Year          Tent          Counsellor

    1956	  3 and 4	L. Pittler, J. Loftas
    1957	  4		J. Loftas
    1958	  9		C. Dunklee

    Last night I went to bed at the bugle call and then I could not fall asleep for about a half hour.  Then Stephen started coughing and vomited (just a little).  I yelled O. D.!!! and the O. D. came.  Stephen went to the bathroom and felt better and stayed in the tent.

    Today we started leagues and we started off with wrestling instruction. I tied 6-6.

    The plane ride was very bad and I wish you would pick me up.  One of the reasons I thought Stephen vomited was the plane ride but he said he was homesick and all the flaps were closed in the tent so it got stuffy.

    As you see this is a bad pen so SEND ME A NEW ONE!!! 

    Guess who?

Hot—Jumping in the tank

Wednesday, July 2, 1958
11:10 am
93 degrees

Dear Mom and Pop:

    We got out of activity (tennis) early because it is so hot.  Yesterday it got hot but not like this!  You’re too hot when you even walk a foot.  All the flaps are up so the breeze come in.  I have taken off only one point in inspection so far.

    Yesterday I passed my raft test and at swim I went out to the raft.  We had swimming instruction in the afternoon (I passed my raft test in the morning after swim) and John Gold was taking times of how fast we could swim the length of the tank and he said to dive in and I said I could not dive.  So, he said to jump and I did not want to but I thought “oh well just jump nothing could happen” so I jumped and now I like to jump in the tank and I do it all the time.  I haven’t tried to jump in the deep water yet.  I sat on the raft and just pushed myself off.

    Drawing of the inside of the tent.

Stomach Ache--Spaghetti

July 3, 1958

Dear Mom and Pop:

    No, my poison ivy is not bothering me.  The place where the big spots were are gone or just a little darker red than my skin and no I don’t have a big suntan.  I have had a big trouble at supper time (6:30) with tiredness and a stomach ache for the last two days.  I haven’t had an all-night sleep yet; my longest sleep was about 8 ½ hours.  My stomach ache started the day they had spaghetti and about one out of every four on the tent line had a stomach ache.  Sometimes I get homesick to my self but already 1/8th of the camping season is over.  

    Mosquitoes are bothering me the most of all.  One thing that has happened and has never happened before is after a swim my toes look like this (Drawing in Letter)

    Today I got two letters dated (30th of June) 1 of July and I hope you put some gum and cards (baseball) in.

    In answer to the questions, yes, Steve is in my league.  Yes, he likes camp.  You forgot to put a question mark after which one for the rubber balls and you can take any one you can find except the whiffle ball.   


Catching Butterflies

Monday July 7, 1958 6:00
(light showers)
The Barometer forecasts rain!!

Dear Mom and Pop:

    This afternoon we had nature and my friend; Andy Perkins caught a Baltimore Checkered.  Usually only one is caught a season and some seasons none.  We went farther down the road and into a field and I saw some butterflies and caught 4 and one I caught was a Baltimore Checkered!!

    Henry wanted to teach me how to dive but I did not want to try.

    My shop project is a glass holder.

    We are in second place in the league.

    The other 3 butterflies I caught were 2 Phirtileries (?) and one Golden Spotted Skipper.

    Love, Jeff

Passed Swim Test—Flipping Baseball Cards
July 10, 1958
Noon 86 degrees  
4:00PM 80 degrees

Dear Mom and Pop:

    The width was easier than I thought it would be.  Yes, I passed my width of the lake!  It wasn’t that hard.  Also, I started my intermediate and tell Jane I passed my beginners last year!  But what the heck I can pass it at the pool too.  Today I jumped in the deep water for the first time.

    I am going to send grandpa a receipt to sign for that $ 25.00 so I don’t get gypped.

    Don’t forget to send the BASEBALL CARDS becauset’ I am losing a lot.

    Chucky Whitehill won about 100 cards today flipping another camper and a lot of people have been flipping today.  One of the counsellors won 90 cards.

    Love, Jeff

6:00 Sunday (No date/mid-July, 1958?)
10:00   81 degrees
2:00 83 degrees
6:00 76 degrees 

Dear Mom and Pop:

    Today and yesterday we have had a baseball game with other teams and one of them I could have been in.  It was a game against a little league team with my age group players but we won 6-1 and today at the same time a day later we played a team (14-year olds vs. 14-year olds) and won 6-2.

     A story about the Nickelson Bridge was that a man fell in the cement when they were mixing it and is there now—buried in cement.

    Today was bucket day and we changed our beds around but not for long.  Kirk says we should move a bed to a better position (drawing in letter).

    I got your package with baseball cards.  I am second in the camp to get the 6th Series.

    Oodles of Love.  Jeff

Knocker was attached discussing the Senior Trip to West Point on July 9, 1958.

Rehearsal—counsellor’s news

Friday August 1, 1958
75 degrees HOT

Dear Mom and Pop:

There isn’t much to talk about today—it seems very hot since there is no breeze.

    Today at rest hour we rehearsed the play.  We did the whole show (K K’s version of West Side Story, all the words are changed and the whole plot too) when we had finished it there was a half hour left of rest hour and the show hadn’t been very good so we started it all over.  Then when we were about ¼ through someone said activity had rung we were all 10 minutes late for activity.

    Dave had his day off today so I could not find out about the soil kit.  The one you are talking about.  You must have to add liquid.  I’ll ask tomorrow.  

    There was a news bulletin that made one of our counsellors rush home.  They found his sister in law hanging from the rafters of the attic—dead.

    Now our record is 3-0 today we won baseball in the morning and basketball this afternoon.

    Love, Jeff

Account of my day—August 12, 1958

Tuesday, August 12, 1958
5:15pm Rain
PM 5:00—78 degrees
AM 8:00—60 degrees

Dear Mom and Pop: 

    I got up about 3 minutes after the bugle blew.  (We are allowed to stay in bed till first bell.)  Then I got dressed and first bell rang 10 minutes early.  I got in for breakfast and found out there was a camp meet.  H.C. told who was in what event.  And Steve was going too!  He is pretty fast so they put him in track in the four-man relay.  Then for activity I went to shop and nailed my top to the trunk together.  The sky got very overcast and a few drops fell during lunch.  For lunch we had Cole Slaw (1), peas (3) (The things like () mean how many helpings I had) macaroni and cheese (3).  For dessert we had bread pudding which I don’t like.  For activity that afternoon I had nature and caught an EASTERN!

    Love, Jeff

Personal Newspaper

August 13, 1958
High 77 1:30  
Low 58 8:00
(45 at 6:00AM)

Dear Mom and Pop:

    I got the package with the sports sections and comics.  That is what I wanted you to send so do it next week too.

    I wrote a newspaper on the back.

    Love, Jeff

Grove 12:00 August 13.

Bill Weil put out of many activities by his “big” temper--threw another temper tantrum today as he accused Chuck Whitehall of throwing stones at him and Chuck said Bill was kicking him.

Today we celebrate Senior Day again.  Today many seniors look like the councilors they take the place of and many don’t like this.

(See Drawings)


Trip to Washington Crossing Park
Friday, August 15, 1958
Dear Mom and Pop:

    Yes, the sunglasses fit.  I could not write because we went on an overnight hike.

               THE OVERNIGHT HIKE

    We got up, did the usual routine—dressed—washed and got out to line up.  I went in to breakfast and there HC announced that all the Pony and International Leagues were going on an overnight trip.  After breakfast we packed our duffels—there were no hiking slips (lists) so many people forgot things.  Then when I was packing my duffel, I looked toward the mess hall and caught a glimpse of a brand new (or almost) bus.  (See sketch in letter—J. Martz Coach) Then when I looked again it was parked in front of HC’s office.  It turned out that this was the bus that was going to take us to our destination.  Before in the mess hall Jimmy A. said “they are going to the Bucks County Playhouse” but everyone sneered at this remark.  We got on the bus which even had reclining seats.  We got underway and headed on the PA turnpike.  We turned off and started on all the odd side roads, then we passed a signpost and I saw we were going to New Hope.  Then we came to this cluster of houses and a big sign read Bucks County Playhouse turn right.  And, we turned right.  We passed the playhouse where we later saw the “Bagger Boy of Bagdad”.  We set camp in the Washington Crossing Park and saw the things I checked in the book. (See attached brochure--Washington Crossing Park.)  Meyer Abramson or Mr. Ellis (stage name) was Dick Levy’s uncle and owner of the playhouse took us backstage after the performance and showed us the props in the basement.  He was a former Kewaneeone and invited us to use his private swimming pool.  We went there and boy was it fun!!  We went around looking for clues until someone found the last clue and got the right to tape the captions (?)

    I got the soap dish that I lost from the supply canteen.

    Mayer Ellis Abrahamson is listed as a Kamper 1925-1928 and 1930-1934

    According to the Historian of the Bucks County Playhouse Michael Ellis was the BCP Producer from 1954-1964.

    The original of the painting “Washington Crossing the Delaware” is in the Metropolitan Museum, New York.  It has been there since 1897.

The Pirates of Penzance—Color War

Sunday, August 17, 1958 4:30pm
8:00 AM  67 degrees
Noon 81 degrees
4:20 PM  79 degrees

Dear Mom and Pop: 

    Last night the councilors presented their annual play.  This year for the first time since 1949 and about the 5th time in KK history they presented “The Pirates of Penzance”.  All the music sounded familiar and then I realized we have the records at home of it.  One of our councilors (Bob Stevens) is the head of the board of “good music” on a jazz station and on his hour show he told about KK and put the real songs on and said the KK names on the air.

    We were leading in Red and Black at lunch time but this afternoon I think we lost our 49-point lead.  This morning the activities went about even but this afternoon we lost a lot.  My (team?) had a swimming meet and one of our guys couldn’t swim so I was about equal so I swam twice: 2 and 1 (in the team relay). The 2 man who was swimming against me was a little faster.  It was tied when we started and then the other man came in a little ahead of me.  It was like a crack growing bigger and bigger.  By the time I swam again were losing by a length of the tank and we lost the meet.

    Love, Jeff
              That’s Me

Last Letter—1958; Color War

Wednesday, August 20, 1958 4:25pm
8:00AM  59 degrees
4:00PM  78 degrees


Dear Mom and Pop: 

    Last night the councilors lost to the Fleetville team (softball).  For most of the game I was playing behind the tents so I saw little of the game but there were so many cheers for our team that I thought we would win—but I was wrong.

    This morning we gained a little ground after losing 33 points on wrestling last night.  We would have won if the last match was won by us.  We were losing in points 3-0 and the other team’s wrestler had him down and almost pinned but he pulled the matt up to hold on, the ref didn’t see this so we lost (our man got pinned).  

    Now we are about 80 points behind.

    Love, Jeff