Don Whitney - In His Own Words

Summer Camp- "Organized Fun"

"About the time I was preparing to move from Grammar School to Junior High, Mother and Dad got the idea I would benefit from summer camp. It's hard to imagine how they came by this ill-fated decision, but in later years I was told that my two maternal Aunts had felt it would help me become a real boy. I clearly remember when the camp director appeared on our doorstep one early Spring evening carrying a movie projector. We were treated to a silent film on the fun and games which went on at Camp Kabeyun on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. I don't remember being overly impressed, but apparently my folks were, because I was signed up for the whole Summer. It was a relatively expensive camp for the times, and it took all the money Mother and Dad had set aside in a savings account in my name, originally intended to pay for college tuition. I was all right on the way up, but the minute Mother and Dad left I suffered a severe attack of homesickness. When I learned the ritual I was expected to follow in the ensuing weeks, things didn't get any better. To add to my joy, I was subjected to hazing, in the form of a snipe hunting excursion. All I could think of was that this was my school vacation; I was supposed to be having fun. Well, this was organized fun, and that was no fun at all. I promptly began writing letters home, pleading to be let out of the miserable environment, and after about ten days I found myself back home where I belonged.

One would think that this experience would have taught us all a lesson, but the following year I found myself back at camp, this time at the Newton YMCA camp on South Pond in Brookfield, Mass. Two of my neighborhood friends were also going, and my folks seemed to believe, and I was talked into believing, that this would make the difference. It didn't. I was back home within the week. I don't remember for sure, but I think I escaped camp in time to make the Oak Bluffs trip on at least one and perhaps both of these ill-fated years."

Other Excerpts:
Notes from his Dad
Being sent to Camp
Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard
Glenn Miller
Asbury Park
Harvard Days / Remembering Jack Lemmon
The Totem Pole
Engagement to Jan
Starting at AO as an Apprentice Lens Designer
Why Dick was once named David



Full Autobiography:
Download Complete Autobiography (Zip file of 360 k, in PDF format)

Updated on July 9, 2008

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