Saturday, September 5, 2009

Top 10, Vol. 1- Quaker Lake Moments

In my 6 years as a full-time member of the Quaker Lake staff (1978-83) there were hundreds of moments that made me laugh. Here are ten of the most memorable (all names are maiden names, even the guys!):

10) There was no air conditioning at QLC, so floor fans and widow fans were very important, especially when you were trying to sleep. The girls' staff cabin, where the cooks and female lifeguards lived, was no exception. One particular nights we came into possession of a 50 pound bag of dried mashed potato flakes that some mice had gotten into, so they could not be used. We waited until the middle of the night, slid a window fan to the side, and started throwing flakes through the window! As they went in, the multitude of fans began to blow the flakes all over the cabin. They woke up the next morning buried under 50 pounds of potato flakes! Snow in July!

9) David Fields, as a 4th grade camper, singing Home On the Range. "Oh give me a................HOME!" Also his famous line at dinner: "This is not Del Monte corn. I taste Del Monte corn when I taste it!"

8) My cabin of guys snuck over to the girls cabins in the early morning hours to lock in the campers of Beth Grantham's cabin. Our usual plan consisted of locking them in and singing to them, thus waking them up and causing some of them to need to use the rest room, which was located OUTSIDE their cabin! As they woke up and began screaming at us, Beth said to one of my guys "You just wait until I tell Carl Jones you are out of your cabin!" I laughed and responded "Good morning, Beth!" She forgave me about a week later...

7) On Saturday mornings one particular summer Ronnie Osborne and a very young Doug Thomas would ride around in the classic old QLC truck and empty the garbage cans dressed as Trashman and Garbage Boy! It was such a hoot to watch the parents arriving to pick up their kids try to figure our what was going on...

6) Before we knew sun tanning was bad, people used to wear oil (SPF Negative 50!) to actually attract the sun. Susan McBane was using such an oil- until Carl Semmler (the king of pranks!) substituted bacon grease from breakfast in her oil bottle. It looked the same, and she rubbed it all over her, but after a few minutes the smell started to get to her. Her response: "Oh wow, I think this oil is cankered!" A classic moment.

5) A few us were walking by the guys outhouse one afternoon when we heard the familiar voice of Lindley Osborne singing The All Day Song while sitting on the toilet. Just as we passed the door we heard "and in the in between time when you feel the pressure coming..." And we lost it! We also once lost Lindley for hours when he took a nap on a third level bunk in the back of the lodge and didn't tell anyone. We searched everywhere...

4) Head Cook Denise May and her assistant spent hours hand writing a huge chart for the kitchen with a measurement list- things like 4 Quarts=1 Gallon. Hours after they posted it, two unnamed culprits came along and wrote on the bottom 2 Cooks=1 Disaster! Denise is still mad. (Bonus: Name the 2 culprits!)

3) Alan Brown and I had written a silly song about animals dying and we premiered it at camp. We dedicated it to fellow staffer Martha Ratledge, and then finished the song with this chorus:

Isn't it a sad day, when all the animals die

There ain't nothing to do

Isn't it a sad day, when all the animals die

Why can't you die too?

It was so off the wall and so unexpected, everyone just burst into laughter. A great moment! And as always (and quite often!) Martha forgave us.

2) One Senior High Camp we were divided into groups that would be our teams for Team Competition and our family groups for discussion. I was responsible for dividing the campers, so I gave myself and my co-leader Sabrina (Sis) Perry, my good friend who was volunteering that week, a great group but what we thought would be a lousy team. Jay Osborne, Marshall Ratledge, Kim Haynes, Laura Wheeler, Angie Swaim and the rest were a blast to be around, and since we expected to lose anyway, we stole the Bill Murray cheer from Meatballs and before every event would chant "It just doesn't matter!" Long story short, we were undefeated in Team Competition!!! And the rest of the staff hated me...but I still have a picture of that group in my room. So worth it...

1) I had a cabin of guys for a number of years who not only came to camp together but went to school together as well. They would spend the "off-season" planning for camp, and one year they came armed with elaborate paper shooters. They would fold bits of paper and fire them at each other, leaving marks whenever they hit. One night, it was late and we had been loud, and when Neal came by for cabin check he had told us no more noise. So as David Fields, David Hockett, Robert Osborne and the rest lay in their beds, all was quiet. Until I heard this-Zing!....POP....Owwww!!!!!!!! There would be snickers, more quiet, and then a repeat. Over and over again, until, to keep from laughing, I yelled at them "enough!" Quiet set in for a minute, and then I heard a loud thump, followed by the all-time classic line "Carl- David just hit me with his saxophone!" I lost it laughing! I loved those guys...

So there you have it. If you read these, I hope you get a feel for how special those years were to me. If you read this and were there for any of this, please add your memories in a comment.

Until tomorrow...


  1. I cannot believe that the top 10 did not include the so called innocent cabin drowning some guys with water balloons-Many great memories and I still have my leather belt after 30+ years. Keep up the great memories-Luv ya, Tammy

  2. The incident you mention, Tammy, will appear in a later post about Neal Thomas. And it was far from innocent! Love you too!

  3. Jay Wilkins9/07/2009

    For the bonus...I think that one of culprits was Mark Farlow.

  4. Jay, you are correct! And it is great to hear from you!

  5. Ah, yes. I clearly remember the moment when Alan Brown, (I think) Ronnie Osborne and yourself chimed in on harmony for the chorus. It easily ranks as one of the most embarrassing moments of my life.

    I also recall being carried and thrown fully clothed into the same bath-house shower (cold water, of course) after failing to bathe for several days. Hey, I was eight.

    As for the nap, I have no regrets. :)

  6. So many great memories originated at Quaker Lake. I have a few more I'd like to mention: I should probably begin with our first canoe trip down the New River when YOU caused our canoe (which carried our camping equipment and clothing) to overturn, sending me canoe-less into the class 10 (if i remember correctly) rapid.(I have an excellent memory)... the toes of my shoes burning off during the night because i placed them, evidently, a little too close to the fire to dry...Neal Thomas replacing the toes of those shoes with Duck Tape...My VW Beetle amazingly disappearing from the parking lot and showing up at the campfire site at the hands of Zoro...My shining the flashlight on another female staffer (I won't mention her name) while she was, umm, using the outdoor non-facilities during our canoe trip. I was trying to show Eric Farlow where he COULD go...Mark Farlow and Carl Semmler scaring us to death by crashing our tents one night during a camp-out. I never got over that one, and never slept a wink during another camp-out, even though Neal outlawed them. The memories go on and on. Thanks, Carl, for helping us with some of the greatest memories.

  7. Boom-Boom, you have your stories right but your facts very wrong! :) For the truth, you can read my posts about the canoe the flashlight right here on the blog. Always great to hear from you Susan! Those were some great times!

  8. Susan McBane Tuggle8/27/2010

    I should have posted my name as Susan McBane Tuggle - sorry!

  9. Susan McBane Tuggle8/27/2010

    I need a little guidance in finding YOUR version of the stories I shared. Will you help me? I haven't been called Boom-Boom in a LONG time...In fact, I haven't remembered that in a long time. Your blog is a joy to check out, Carl. I sure would love a QLC reunion, how about you? Oh, did you hear...I'm going to be a grandma! :0

  10. Susan, glad I could remind you of your Boom-Boom past! Marilyn sent a link to the OTJ Training post from August 2009 on Facebook; it was one of the very first stories I told. And as for you being a Grandma- not sure I can handle that!


Thanks for reading,and thanks for your comment!