A Week in the Nature Program

The following comes from the desk of Larry Davis, now in his 48th summer of overseeing Pemi’s nationally-renowned Nature Program

Nature is one of four program areas at Pemi (the others are Athletics, Trips, and Music and the Arts). But what exactly do we do? Well, of course there is formal instruction that takes place during morning occupations, but there is much, much more. In fact, we operate from Reveille in the morning until, sometimes, after taps at night. Here’s a look at a typical week (week 3 of summer 2017) in the nature program.

Occupations

Occupations are the heart of our teaching program. Each week we offer 14-16 different ones. Over the course of a summer, we might offer as many as 35 or so. Some, such as Beginning Butterflies and Moths, might appear every week, others, such as Aquatic Insects, might occur only once. During Week 3, we had a visiting professional, Chase Gagne, join our nature staff for the week. Chase is an insect expert and so we were able to take advantage of his being here and offer Aquatic Insects, along with an Insect Ecology occupation that looked at some of the research questions that he is working on in his graduate program at the University of Maine. Here are brief descriptions of Week 3’s offerings. Last year’s (2016) nature newsletter has more detailed discussions of some of these.

Beginning Butterflies and Moths

What is an insect? What are the differences between butterflies and moths? Basic butterfly and moth life history and ecology. How to capture, pin and preserve butterflies and moths. We asked visiting professional Chase Gagne to teach this so the boys in the occupation could be exposed to the way an entomologist “operates.”

Insect Ecology

Role of insects in the overall ecosystem. Different “lifestyles” of insects. Invasive insects and the problems that they cause. Techniques for conducting insect ecology research. Taught by visiting professional Chase Gagne. We included two members of our full-time nature staff in this occupation and in the one that follows so that they could learn too and then include the information in their own teaching later in the summer.

Aquatic Insects

Types of aquatic insects, their life histories and ecology. Techniques for capturing and preserving aquatic insects. Insects that spend their entire life in the water and ones that only spend part of their life cycle there. Taught by visiting professional Chase Gagne.

Ponds and Streams

Lakes and streams and their inhabitants. Fish, bottom dwellers, insects, etc. Life history of a lake. Exploration of our streams, our lake, and our marsh.

Beginning Rocks and Minerals

An introduction to geology. Rock types, rocks and minerals, mineral identification, rock identification, assembling and labeling a collection. Minerals used in our daily lives. Pemi geology, New Hampshire geology, plate tectonics.

Advanced Rocks and Minerals

Rock cycle, mineral hardness and toothpaste ingredients (they actually make some toothpaste). Iron extraction from Total® cereal. Analysis of sand from around the world, rock stratigraphy, concrete “recipe” experiments, North American geology.

Nature Poetry

This was a brand new occupation for us. It was created and taught by nature staff members Scout Brink and Will Raduziner. Campers read some famous poems about nature including ones by Walt Whitman such as A Noiseless, Patient Spider and A Clear Midnight. Later in the week they tried their hand at writing their own.

Trees, trees with green leaves
Tall and small, both will fall.
But when they stand in a forest,
They create a canopy

-Henry Ravanesi

Mosses, Lichens, Fungi

This is an advanced occupation designed to introduce older campers to these fascinating, non-flowering plants, although fungi, as we find out, are not really plants, nor are lichens, which are combinations of algae and fungi. Most of the occupation takes place in the field, with hand lenses. Mosses, especially, are everywhere that is even a little bit wet and campers can observe whole “forests” of them both in camp and on trips.

Moss “Garden” - This one is in New Zealand but we have ones like it here.

Moss “Garden” – This one is in New Zealand but we have ones like it here. Photo by Larry Davis

 

Environmental Sculpture

Scottish sculptor, Andy Goldsworthy popularized this form of art. We have all his books in the nature library and campers really enjoy looking at his amazing creations. In this occupation, they get to use their imaginations to create their own environmental sculptures. It is a quiet activity that rewards both observation and creativity. It is a good example, along with nature photography, nature poetry, and nature drawing, of a hybrid activity that fuses nature and the arts.

Environmental Sculpture at Pemi

Environmental Sculpture at Pemi

Junior Nature Book

A plant book for juniors and candidates for the Brave and Chief awards. It includes 55 plants that are common in our area. We collect leaves, nuts, bits of bark, and so on. Juniors must complete the book as part of the Junior Brave award. For the Brave and Chief awards, candidates must be able to recognize and identify all 55 plants in the field.

Nature Drawing

Drawing and sketching of “natural” scenes: landscapes, plants, animals.

Drawing by Ben Lorenz

Drawing by Ben Lorenz

 

Drawing by Augie Tanzosh

Drawing by Augie Tanzosh

Plant Survivors

Photosynthesis, the “plumbing” of a tree, plant adaptations for: obtaining food, water, gasses; defense; pollination processes; seed dispersal.

Wild Foods

Wild plants and animals that may be used as regular and emergency food sources. Identification, collection and preparation (including jams and jellies from wild fruits).

Advanced Nature Photography

We teach both digital and darkroom nature photography at Pemi. This advanced occupation included campers who had already taken the beginning versions of either of these. During the week, the focus was on taking photographs in nature in a wide variety of settings. These are described (along with samples of the results) in the next section of the newsletter.

Photographers Taking Pictures Inside the Ely Copper Mine (Deb Kure)

Photographers Taking Pictures Inside the Ely Copper Mine (Deb Kure) 

“Regular” Trips

During the course of a week, we take out frequent afternoon trips. Some are one-hour affairs to collect insects. Some, such as those to local mines, may last a couple of hours, and others might last through supper. Here are the trips that we took during week 3.

Palermo Mine

We are very fortunate that the owner of this world-famous mine allows us to visit and collect whenever we want. We even have a key to the gate. There are over 120 different minerals here, including 10-12 that occur nowhere else in the world. We generally visit once a week.

Campers Collecting Minerals at the Palermo Mine (Will Ackerman)

Campers Collecting Minerals at the Palermo Mine (Will Ackerman) 

Advanced Nature Photography

During the week we took special, afternoon-long trips to several locations which offered our campers a variety of features and settings to photograph. These locations included:

Rumney Cliffs Boulders – This is a well-known rock climbing locality. During glacial times, the intense physical weathering caused huge boulders to tumble to the bottom of the cliffs. Not only are these scenic, but this is also an historical site as the Town of Rumney kept its colonial era animal pound here amongst them.

Overview of Boulder Area (Will Ackerman)

Overview of Boulder Area (Will Ackerman)

Boulders Close Up (Will Ackerman)

Boulders Close Up (Will Ackerman)

Between the Boulders (Will Ackerman)

Between the Boulders (Will Ackerman)

Decaying Fly Amanita Mushroom (Will Ackerman)

Decaying Fly Amanita Mushroom (Will Ackerman)

“Inside Looking Out” Boulder Field (Will Ackerman)

“Inside Looking Out” Boulder Field (Will Ackerman)

Ely Mine– This old copper mine (closed in 1905) is one of our mineral localities. However, it is also an excellent subject for photography. There is easy access to the old mine entrance, which presents the opportunity for “inside looking out” images; there are also old workings, ruins, and other interesting subjects to photograph.

Entrance to Ely Copper Mine (Will Ackerman)

Entrance to Ely Copper Mine (Will Ackerman)

Inside of Ely Copper Mine (Will Ackerman)

Inside of Ely Copper Mine (Will Ackerman)

Acid Mine Drainage at Ely Mine (Will Ackerman)

Acid Mine Drainage at Ely Mine (Will Ackerman)

Inside of Mine Looking Out (Will Ackerman)

Inside of Mine Looking Out (Will Ackerman)

Schwaegler Property-The Schwaegler family (which includes alum Andy and current camper Paul) has kindly granted us permission to visit their land around Indian Pond. There are meadows, grasses, animal evidence (especially of small mammals), birds, insects, and grand landscapes here. All of these offer wonderful subjects for photography.

Landscape at Schwaegler Property (Will Ackerman)

Landscape at Schwaegler Property (Will Ackerman)

Geometer (Inchworm) Caterpillar on a Black-eyed Susan (Will Ackerman)

Geometer (Inchworm) Caterpillar on a Black-eyed Susan (Will Ackerman)

Spies Property – This is a location that we call “the two hundred”. It is 200+ acres of forest, brooks, waterfalls, meadows, and ancient sugar maples (150+ years old). The running water and waterfalls present our campers the opportunity to experiment with shutter speeds and depth of field. The forests, with their dappled light and shadow, present challenges for exposure. We are grateful to the Spies for granting us access.

Oyster Mushrooms (Will Ackerman)

Oyster Mushrooms (Will Ackerman)

American Toad Camouflaged Amongst the Dead Leaves (Will Ackerman)

American Toad Camouflaged Amongst the Dead Leaves (Will Ackerman)

Waterfall on the Spies Property (Will Ackerman)

Waterfall on the Spies Property (Will Ackerman)

Ancient Sugar Maples (150+ years old) Lining Drive to Spies House

Ancient Sugar Maples (150+ years old) Lining Drive to Spies House

Scouting Trip for New Insect Collecting Localities

We are always looking for new places where we can view, photograph, and collect insects, wildflowers, and other plants. Recently, we were told about several areas that were new to us. Of course, before taking lots of campers there, we need to scout them out. So, Deb Kure and Nick Gordon (Staff) took three expert bug collectors, Will Ackerman, Luke Larabie, and Quinn Markham to check out a possible new locality. They got a good look at it and agreed that it would be perfect for 1-2 hour afternoon trips. Hurrah! We will take our first “official” trip this week.

Special Trips

Pemi has been taking caving trips (note: it’s “caving” and NOT “spelunking”) for almost 30 years. This area of geology is my research specialty and there are wonderful wild caves to visit about 4 hours away southwest of Albany, NY. On Tuesday and Wednesday of week 3, I left with nine senior campers along with staff members Will Raduziner (he went as a camper) and Charlie Malcolm (I’ve been trying to get him to go for years). We did one cave on Tuesday afternoon, enjoyed a delicious chicken teriyaki dinner at my sister and brother-in-law’s home in Schoharie, NY (where we always stay) followed by a nice campfire with s’mores and stories. On Wednesday, we did two more caves before heading home. We stopped for our traditional dinner at the Royal Chelsea Diner in West Brattleboro, VT-highly recommended, before arriving home at about 10:30 PM.

Special Events

Twice a summer we participate in on-going scientific surveys. Both of these are annual censuses that provide valuable information on changing in bird and insect populations. These are crucial to our understanding of climate change effects, the effects of land use change, and the impacts of human activity.

The first of these is the annual “Fourth of July North American Butterfly Association Annual Butterfly Count”. This was our 13th consecutive year of participation. Ours is the only circuit in New Hampshire and our data has already been used by a researcher at Carleton University in Ottawa to document the northward movement of several species of butterflies that, until recently, have not normally been seen in our area. We conduct the survey with a group of scientists from the Smithsonian Institution, Plymouth State University, and local conservation organizations. This year, we had 8 campers and 5 staff members participating. Our final “tally rally” takes place at the Moose Scoops ice cream parlor in Warren and it is a chance for our campers to meet and talk with professionals in the field (and enjoy some wonderful ice cream).

Will Ackerman With a Tiny Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar on His Thumb (Deb Kure)

Will Ackerman With a Tiny Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar on His Thumb (Deb Kure)

The Butterfly Count “Tally Rally” at the Moose Scoops Ice Cream Shop (Deb Kure)

The Butterfly Count “Tally Rally” at the Moose Scoops Ice Cream Shop (Deb Kure)

The annual New Hampshire Loon count is in its 35th year. We have participated in all of them. On the 3rd Saturday in July between 8 and 9 in the morning, hundreds of volunteers are out on almost every lake in the state looking for loons and recording the numbers that are seen. As usual, we covered both Upper and Lower Baker Ponds. We spotted 2 loons on Upper Baker and none on Lower Baker. While this was disappointing, from a scientific standpoint, a count of “0” is just as important as a count of “10”. For most of the summer, we have had 1 or 2 on our lake, but they weren’t there during the crucial hour, so, we don’t count them.

Clouds Over Mt. Cube and former Bischoff House Taken from Upper Baker Pond (Will Ackerman)

Clouds Over Mt. Cube and former Bischoff House Taken from Upper Baker Pond (Will Ackerman)

Great Blue Heron Flying Over Upper Baker Pond (Will Ackerman)

Great Blue Heron Flying Over Upper Baker Pond (Will Ackerman)

Common Loon, One of Two Seen on Upper Baker Pond During the Annual Loon Count (Will Ackerman)

Common Loon, One of Two Seen on Upper Baker Pond During the Annual Loon Count (Will Ackerman)

Defining Photos of 2016

Each fall, photos from the previous summer are compiled to create a picture book for prospective campers, current families, and alumni. Below are a few favorites that are worth sharing, enjoy!

Aerial Shot - Drone!

Thanks to Alumnus Ted Orben for capturing this image via drone!

A beautiful Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

A beautiful Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. Butterflies and Moths continues to be a popular occupation at Pemi and relatively new to the schedule, the equally popular Digital Photography occupation.

Learning how to control the wakeboard with a picturesque backdrop.

Wakeboarding with a picturesque backdrop.

Hydration above tree line

Hydration above tree line

A Weird Science creation, the Nature Lodge always up to something.

A Weird Science creation

15 & Under Baseball shaking hands with Camp Tecumseh after their annual game.

15 & Under Baseball shaking hands with Camp Tecumseh after their annual game.

A spectacular image from Pemi West.

A spectacular image from Pemi West. Click here to see another favorite!

Slalom skier with good spray rounding the outer buoy.

Slalom skier finishing the course with good spray.

Mabel leading the Chorus of Wards in 2016's Pirates of Penzance.

Mabel leading the Chorus of Wards in 2016’s Pirates of Penzance.

...and finally drops in the West.

…and finally drops in the West.

Bean Soup Special Edition – May 2016

Greetings one and all for a special, spring serving of Bean Soup, sponsored by the Pemi Archives. We found a remarkable photograph capturing four boys outside of a Junior Cabin who are clearly witnessing something unique. We have no official documentation on file, so, in true Bean Soup fashion, we asked members of the Pemi community to create their own back-story. Here, now, are some inventive responses from our Alumni and current campers. Feel free to respond in the comments with your own version of the story. And, as they say…on with the Soup!

Bean Soup Prompt

 

Campers look on from the shores of Lower Baker Pond during Tecumseh Day 1975 as athletes competed in the first and last “cinder block lake walk” competition used to break the day’s 10-10 tie.  As the expression on the boy second from the right shows, this photo captures the precise moment the competitors hit the water after stepping off the Junior float.
–Alumnus Brad Saffer

These boys are probably looking at something interesting and out of no-where; maybe a rare bird, or possibly even a moose in the distance. Or they could possibly be mesmerized by an ice cream truck pulling into camp, with a sign that says free ice-cream, and candy!
–Camper Ollie O.

Based on historical research, Pemi is now giving considerable thought to bringing back long forgotten occupations.  First hour “Dead Man’s Hill Monitoring” was, in its day, absolutely thrilling.
–Alumnus Karl See

Five boys are walking to their cabin… Just then they notice a strange glow and one of the boys: Bill (who is not in the picture) gets sucked up into the air by aliens! Then the aliens fly away in their saucer, leaving the boys endlessly staring at the sky wondering if the aliens will come back for more.
–Camper Teddy S.

In 1946 the bikini was invented. Unfortunately, it was still 1941 and the most exciting thing around was the Velcro on camp’s life-jackets. Bikinis did find their way to the shores of Lower Baker several years later during a G & S production of “The Pirates of Penzance,” but much to the boys’ dismay, it was donned by a hairy-chested counselor.
–Current Bean Soup Editor Ben Walsh

They see a Sasquatch waterskiing across the lake being chased by the Loch Ness Monster.
–Camper Tom N.

“Man, I wish you all wouldn’t have put superglue on my binoculars” Billy said, trying to pry them from his eyeballs.
“Relax Billy, its only temporary. 72 hours tops.” Will said, as he nudged him, “And keep your voice down. It’ll hear us…”
“Guys, what is that thing? And why did it have to eat my shoes? Those were my favorite pair of shoes…” Henry whispered out.
“I don’t know Henry” said Will, “But if it tries to eat my shoes, it’ll be sorry. My shoes smell funnnnnn-keeeeee.”
–Alumnus Dwight Dunston

Four campers find themselves mesmerized on the shore of junior camp. Across the lake they see some sort of dolphin-like fish cruising through the distance swim path. The boy on the left says, “No, it couldn’t be…Robert Cecil!” exclaims the Junior on the right. They nod still staring and come to agreement that yes, indeed it is Robert Cecil flying through Lower Baker.
–Camper Mac H.

That moment when a young Charlie Malcolm, a younger Danny Kerr, a blonde Ron Weasley, and Jack Bierwirth discovered they could see Merriwood from their back porch. #closerthanrussia #youdontknowjack #instasoup
–Alumnus Conor Shaw

Four Pemi campers are playing a game of tag and are looking out for the ‘tager’. They don’t realize that he is sneaking up from behind them. One, unlucky one of them, will have to be it!
–Camper Henry S.

Finding the decent in indecent exposure on the Public Beach.
–Alumnus Sky Fauver

Bean Soup Prompt

The four campers stared in awe as two wild animals were jumping about in the night. One the pagoda panda. Two A WILD ROSIE. They were shocked because they did not know what was happening.
–Camper Jamie A

And that’s why the Lowers are sent away on Lochearn Day.
–Alumnus Tip Apter

People often ask me “hey Ben, what were the 70s like?” “Ha ha,” I reply, “very funny: you know I’m not nearly old enough to remember. Now get off my lawn.”
I
am old enough, unfortunately, to remember the actual origins of this photo. No funny, made-up backstory for you here, just straight, sobering truth I’m afraid. Still, as disturbing as it may be, I firmly believe it’s better to remember the terrors of the past than forget, lest we be doomed to relive them.
     I bet, as you gaze into the faces of these four slack-jawed boys, each looking half-horrified, half-fascinated by the sight of their own impending demise arriving from across Lower Baker, you’re probably asking yourself “oh no! What is about to befall these four Juniors or perhaps Lower-Lowers?”
     No, friends: the boys pictured were Assistant Counselors at the time. Please do not judge their unmanly appearance though, as Lochearn Day was hard on us all. I saw better men than me reduced to nothing in a flash. Let’s continue to keep Pemi safe for our ACs’ egos and promise each other we’ll never again repeat these terrible mistakes of our past.
–Alumnus Ben Olding

They’re looking at the Merriwood dance.
–Camper Weston D.

A young Donald Trump, Lower 4-Pemi 1957 (fiction), looks on with his fellow cabin mates at the 25 metre high fence they had built to keep Mexicans out from Lower Baker pond.
–Alumnus Justin Thompson-Glover

Campers look on as contestants gather at the public beach for Wentworth’s annual “Garbage man’s Daughter” contest, later purchased and franchised by Donald Trump.
–Alumnus Brad Saffer Part Duex

The four boys suddenly turned their heads. “Oh my gosh…” one said, his jaw almost to the ground. One pulled out his binoculars and said, “It can’t be!…” The other two just looked out in amazement. What they saw was the man himself, Mr. Tom Reed Jr., water skiing. The boys were taken aback. They couldn’t believe that TRJR was actually up on the skies and succeeding. They couldn’t wait to go back to tell their friends what they had seen.
–Camper Grady B.

This photo shows a trio of junior campers in the summer of 1968, watching a rare event involving the three then-directors, J. H. Nichols, Al Fauver, and Tom Reed, attempting a “human triangle” behind the ski boat. Unfortunately, Doc Nick, who insisted on being the top man, kept letting go of his rope in order to, as he said, “make the trick worth doing.” He repeatedly tumbled backwards off Al and Tom’s shoulders, necessitating attempt after attempt. On one of these, Nick’s bouncing handle stuck Al Fauver in the mouth, knocking out the diamond studded gold tooth that used to be a main feature of Al’s smile. On another, the handle struck Tom in the knee, leading him to say “Damme” and totally lose the respect of that year’s staff. Eventually, Nick’s place was taken by the One-Armed Brakeman, who managed to stay on Al and Tom’s shoulders all the way around the lake. At that point he fell and was last seen swimming lustily in a large circle, owing to his physical handicap. At what particular portion of the debacle the boys are looking, we don’t know. The boy on the right, with the binoculars, is the young Stephen Hawking, who was never a camper but was with us for a weekend scouting for Larry Davis, who was contemplating taking a job at Pemi.
–Alumnus Tom Reed

The boys are looking into the distance because they were looking at a hawk that was flying above Lower Baker Pond. The hawk flew right over them and around a few of the cabins on Intermediate Camp. This caught the attention of a kid reading on the porch (who then called his friends to have a look at it with binoculars).
–Miles S.

This picture is from the 1970’s. These Upper Intermediate camp residents are conducting a “bird-watching” survey, as evidenced by the scout with the binoculars, and his colleagues are in various states of awe and curiosity as they receive detailed information from their technologist-friend. The occasion is the seasonal return of the maidens from Camp Ogontz, or perhaps Camp Quinnibeck, to the shores of Lower Baker for the summer’s exchange of co-educational hospitality for the Senior Cabin stalwarts. The day included friendly athletic contests, such as mixed doubles on the tennis courts, nature study on the “Tree Walk”, supper, and finally, an abbreviated session of dancing on the disco floor of the Senior Lodge. This photo captures the fascination of young teens as they study their elders’ efforts, in this case maybe a boy and his assigned “date” paddling a canoe on the lake, in the frenzied attempt to compress the urges accumulated during eight weeks of social isolation into eight hours of accelerated romance. A challenge indeed!
–Alumnus Jack Price

They’re looking at Mikado!
–Camper Lucas B.

Campers line the shores of Lower Baker in 1975 to witness the filming of the “Happy Days” episode where Fonzi “jumps the shark.” For authenticity purposes, the show had a live great white shark placed into Lower Baker.  This photo captures the precise first (and unsuccessful) take where Henry Winkler missed the ramp and ended up in the water.  He later made the jump successfully after the production crew welded on his prosthetic legs.
–Alumnus Brad Saffer Part III!

Special Bean Soup patches to the above authors for their renditions, and remember, you can always turn in a Bean Soup article to be included in the printed (and then digitally saved) version. We welcome your version in the comments section! 

Bean Soup Special Edition

Greetings one and all for a special, limited-release serving of Bean Soup, sponsored by the Pemi Archives, where the discovery of a vintage photograph depicting what must have been a very special event—but for which we have no documentation—inspired us, in true Bean Soup fashion, to forego fact in favor of fabrication. So we asked the Pemi community to create their own back-story, aiming to give reason for such elaborate fanfare. Here, now, are a few inventive responses from some Bean Soup editors of the past. Please feel free to respond in the comments with your own version of the story, and as they say…on with the Soup!

? 1

The pomp and circumstance of the event suggests the honoring of the transported figure wearing a suit. The semi-militaristic uniforms of the counselors and campers gives the scene a feeling of a victory celebration. So after a major inter-camp sporting victory, let’s say that on this day in 1924, Director Dudley Reed is being transported from Lower Baker Pond on up to the mess hall for a coronation of sorts, all the while being serenaded by Pemi-ites singing:
                             “And when the battle’s over, he shall wear a crown
                              He shall wear a crown,
                              He shall wear a crown!
                              And, when the battle’s over, he shall wear a crown
                              In the New Jerusalem!”
—Jack Price

The Direct Dock Procession, or, noissecorP kcoD tceriD ehT

Ah, yes! The lost PEMI tradition of The Direct Dock Procession, forerunner of Backwards Day — both of which have been lost to the sands of time and reasonable water safety standards. During the seasons of 1915 to 1929, one of the directors would be selected to ride on a hoisted litter from the Mess Hall down to the beach where the current Counselor’s Memorial Library stands. Backwards. The procession processed completely backwards, including all walking and music-making. The occasion was accompanied by pomp and fanfare from the Silver Cornet Band and the Sailor’s Sceptre-Making occupation (which, in the year this photo was taken, had only one participant, a barrel-chested 15-and-under named Ulysses S. S. Granthformer). And as you can see from the photo, this year’s procession honoree was Doc Reed.

The Direct Dock Procession began in the 1915 season, after a particularly unintelligible series of announcements from the directors. In order to calm the fury and incredulity of the campers, who felt they had journeyed far enough and paid far too much to be shouted at in gibberish, the Direct Dock Procession was organized to praise the enlightened qualities of “nonsense speech.” During Carnival Week of summer 1915, after a hasty construction of a canopied litter, the Silver Cornet Band was given the task of learning Ippolitov-Ivanov’s, “Procession of the Sardar” in retrograde in a modified wind band arrangement, which of course sounded incredible and not at all cacophonous in any way. The litter-carriers were selected from the Intermediates, and the rifle-bearers were chosen from the Seniors who could successfully fire over their shoulders without burns or whiplash. A flag (obscured in this photo) was painted with the words “TTESSAWEGIMEP PMAC,” and the dock was inspected for load-bearing safety (“It’s probably sturdy enough…”). Once the director was carried backwards to the middle of the dock, the Silver Cornet Band stopped playing at the soonest appropriate downbeat and a 10-gun salute was fired backwards. And then: the director would give a majestic, backwards speech. The rise and fall of the inverse cadence was rousing, and every so often one could make out a single word or short phrase, but it was otherwise complete balderdash, ending with a soft and crisp backwards greeting to the assembled spectators. Finally, the director was carried to the edge of the dock and tipped backwards into Lower Baker Pond, so that, indeed, if recorded on a modern video camera and played back in reverse, he would be seen to emerge mythically from the very depths of the water!

In this photo from the summer of 1924, one of the Fauver twins can be seen waiting in a rowboat (over Granthformer’s right shoulder) ready to assist Doc Reed, should he have needed rescue swimming back to shore in his heavy three-piece tweed suit. Additionally, Doc Reed can be seen covering his nose with his right hand, owing to a low water level and the ensuing rash of dead fish washed ashore. The litter-bearers can also be seen alternately laughing and grimacing from the terrible stench. As a result, Doc Reed spontaneously shortened his speech and hurried his drop into the water with the phrase, “Ydaerla em pmud tsuj!!” to the relief of all. And although the annual Direct Dock Procession has been abandoned, the grand tradition of non-sensical directorial oratory continues even today!

— I.R.A.

? 1

“Our backs hurt!” thought the campers carrying the counselor down the dock. Still, they were all smiling, and the marching band played happy music, because Pemi was celebrating the successful completion of the very first polar bear! Way back in the 1920s, when the world was still in black and white, things at Pemi were still quite prehistoric. Little icebergs and tiny swimming dinosaurs filled Lower Baker Pond. Instead of cabins, everyone lived in caves, and instead of soccer balls and basketballs, athletes had to use big round rocks, which Charlie Malcolm had the hardest time fishing out of the swamp. Instead of butterflies and moths, the Nature Lodge was filled with pinned pterodactyls, and camp director Reilly McCue rode around the grounds on his very own wooly mammoth named Tecumseh.

But we digress. Because the lake was so cold, most people who tried to take a polar bear were flash frozen in cubes of ice, and had to be slowly thawed out by the campfire. But one day, an especially brave counselor proved he could handle the cold. He jumped off the end of the dock, fought off several small dinos, took a quick soap bath, and then jumped back to safety! The campers and counselors traded their animals skins in for more modern clothing, and decided to honor him with a complete honor guard, marching band, and procession up to the mess hall, where the cook threw some dinosaur meat on the grill for Sunday barbecue.

—Rob Verger

Doc Reed returning from the 1922 Country Music Awards, having won Top Honors in the Confessional Pop category for his plaintive lyric, “I Kissed the One-Armed Brakeman — and I Liked It.” The song, part of a musical comedy featuring the summer adventures of a Wentworth milkmaid, has unfortunately been lost to Pemi — the result of an attempt by J.H.Nichols to suppress stories that might scare Junior campers. An early recording by Billie Holiday allegedly survives amidst Camp Tecumseh’s infamous “Blackmail Files.”

—Tom Reed, Jr.

Special Bean Soup patches to the above authors for their renditions, and remember, you can always turn in a Bean Soup article to be included in the printed (and then digitally saved) version. We welcome your version in the comments section!

September at Camp Pemigewassett

September was a spectacular month at Camp Pemigewassett; blanketing morning fog that eventually gave way to clear warm afternoons, and the leaves turning towards their powerful autumn glow.   Pemi as a physical place has never looked better and should be enjoyed by all.  Please enjoy a walk through camp with our first photo blog. Stay tuned for further updates this fall, winter and spring!

Crossing the bridge into Pemi

Crossing the bridge into Camp Pemigewassett

 

Down the lower lake from the Camp Pemigewassett bridge

Down the lower lake from the bridge

 

The morning view of the pond from the campfire cirlce

Morning view of the pond from the campfire circle

 

The fog rises from the athletic fields

Fog rising from the athletic fields

 

The view of Senior Beach from the Senior Lodge

View of Senior Beach from the Senior Lodge

 

The rest of Lower Baker Pond

Lower Baker Pond

The Senior Cabins

Senior Camp

 

From the bottom of the Mess Hall steps, towards Mt. Carr

From the bottom of the Mess Hall steps with Mt. Carr hidden in the morning fog

 

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Intermediate Hill

 

One remaining sunfish in Lower Baker

One remaining sunfish in Lower Baker

 

A yellow canopy forms over the road past Upper 4

A yellow canopy forms over the road by Upper 4

 

The Junior Point with Mt Piermont looming in the background

Junior Point with Mt. Piermont looming in the background

 

Junior 6 basking in the afternoon sun

Junior 6 basking in the afternoon sun

 

The view of Camp Pemigewassett from the Public Beach

View of Camp Pemigewassett from the Public Beach