Church camp and swimming
Two things I really enjoyed as a kid were going to church camp and going to the Poteau swimming pool for a morning of fun. They weren’t very expensive but something I looked forward to every summer.
Church camp was in Talihina at the Kiamichi Baptist Assembly. There was a fee, but I'm sure it was nominal. Don’t remember exactly how long it lasted, but seems like it was a week -- Sunday or Monday through Friday. I went for about five straight summers.
First Baptist had a sizable cabin over there that we all stayed in. There were, I don’t know, maybe 40 or so kids, counting both boys and girls. We stayed in separate sides of the cabin, of course. Though we saw each other every day or so back in Heavener, it was always good to see everyone. Sorta like a reunion.
All ages, too.
Some were there to make something serious out if it, like
Oh, we had to go to classes every day and we’d all gather in the tabernacle every night for a church service, but it was mostly to have a good time and meet other kids from other churches. I don’t remember how many churches were represented, but kids came from Poteau, Stigler,
The cooks always prepared good meals for us – breakfast, lunch and dinner. We called it dinner and supper. Mrs. Dudley was always a cook and she could bake the best rolls, I remember. Barbara Mattison was always one of the cooks and had a dessert ready for us after the evening service.
Each boy and girl had separate bunk beds, like I said, on opposite sides of the cabin. The boys always tried to crawl in the rafters over to the girls’ side. Once, I remember a counselor woke up to find a bunch of boys in the rafters.
There were all kinds of activities for everyone. One was baseball or softball -- church against church
For some reason I remember playing ball against Jerry Heatherington of
Everybody tried to have a girlfriend from another church. I had a girlfriend from Stigler, Kathy Barnett, one or two years. Her parents actually brought her to Heavener to see me after camp ended. I saw her years later and we recalled our great times at church camp.
The other thing I looked forward to was going swimming at Poteau. We used to catch a school bus at
Parents would drop everyone off, because they knew the kids would be safe. No chaperones were necessary on the bus. I usually walked from home to the school, like I did every day during the school year. Sometimes I would get a ride with Mike Mattison’s mother or
It cost something like a dime to ride the bus. Then a soda pop was 10 cents and a candy bar just a nickel, so for a quarter you could go and have a big time.
I was never much of a swimmer – still not – but it was all in fun, anyway. It was always safe, with lifeguards and swimming instructors, and all. Again we usually saw everybody in Heavener during school, but it was always good to see them during the summer, too.
Yes, times were simpler and cheaper, but we still had fun.