1958 - Charlie Olson



Camp Truck Driver 1958 & 1959



I have thought about some of my memories and find that although I remember a great deal I am cloudy on petty details, that would make it a better narrative.
For example, changeover Saturdays:

Saturday: Will this crop of little wieners ever be gone?
What horrors will the new crop of little wieners bring?

Early morning (What time? 6:30 am I believe). Roll out and amble to the Ad Building kitchen, dressing while ambling. Greeted by Ma and Fern. Load up the usual Saturday breakfast. (What was the usual Saturday breakfast?) Fire up the little Dodge and head for the Service Lodge. Bob* and Ludie (Is that the right spelling?) were probably across the lake last night so the speed goes up a bit. Reasonable and prudent. Greeted at the loading dock by Rich Yager and Dale Martin.
* Bob Bryant was the camp ranger and Charlie's boss who kept an eye on Charlie's speeding. He was thinking Bob was out last night and wouldn't be up early.

Breakfast is served and staff eats and works simultaneously. As soon as all main kitchen items are washed and ready to go, back to the Ad Building. Slower rate of speed, with a hangover Bryant could be sadistically brutal. Assure Ma and Fern that their breakfast was “the best ever” and been totally consumed by a horde of appreciative gluttons.

Out of the kitchen, past the cage, down the stairs, past the incinerator and into Tom Wilson’s kingdom. Get the changeover day game plan and head for the boonies, Tom in his stake truck, me in the 6-by-6. Any pedestrians are greeted by squeeze-horn.

Lists in hand, go from site to site dropping off or picking up gear. Attempts are made to leave, at each site, the required gear for the incoming troop. If wet, the tents are allowed to stand and dry. If dry, they are picked up, but only after the departing occupants have been suitably advised of their total lack of tent folding aptitude. Cots are sorted, broken and unbroken. The departing campers are ruthlessly interrogated to give up the hiding places of the missing cot cross-bars.

Back to the Ad Building for reconciliation of equipment still needed at sites. Tom preforms his “torn tent, missing pole, broken cot, lost cross-bar” tirade/soliloquy
(Tirade, because it truly is a world-class tirade - Soliloquy, because after you’ve heard it once, you just let him perform it all by himself).

Site to site garbage run. No fire today. There’s no time to watch the pyrotechnics.* (Read Dick Fihn's 'Thoughts on Tomahawk' for more on Charlie and the BIG BANG)

The departing troops are now leaving while the new troops are arriving-chaos reigns. Adjustments in gear at the sites is an ongoing task for the rest of the day.

There were several waterfronts at TSR, and troops, during their week of camping, would normally use a waterfront near their site for their daily water activities. However, upon arrival at camp all campers were given a physical and a swim check. The swim check and physicals were done down at the main waterfront at the Service Lodge. The swim check was to ascertain the swimming skill of the individual camper. Most campers would hike to the main waterfront for their swim checks.

Provisional Camp was a different story. It was a site for scouts without an accompanying scoutmaster. Camp staff served as adult leadership for these scouts. Provisional had its own waterfront, but on Saturday, transportation was required to the other end of camp-for the necessary physical and swim check. The vehicle for this was the trusty 6-by-6.

Sounds simple. NOT!!!

A good number of these campers would arrive at camp via bus. During this bus trip they had gorged themselves on chocolate, sugar and caffeine-laden pop. They would generally arrive before 1 pm. By the time swim checks were scheduled, they were an unruly mob. Because of their number, two trips were generally required. After these trips were over, Saturday was all downhill.

Tom could do the remaining supply trips and it was relatively normal the rest of the day. Back to the food truck for the supper run, Service Lodge and/or Ad Building garbage run (if not done on Friday) and maybe a hurry up special trip. The weekly grind always seemed to settle into some kind of routine. But, staring us in the face was the next Saturday.

1958 - Charlie Olson