A Blast from the Past
POSTED 11.29.18 Blog

A Blast from the Past

This fall we received an email from Don, the son of alumnae Hilma Forslund. Don was reaching out to share some photos that his mother had saved from camp decades earlier. Hilma had preserved many photos from her life including about forty or so of ones taken at Fleur de Lis. Little did we know some of these photos would be from the very first summer of Fleur de Lis (1929). We asked Don to share a bit about his mother and her time at FDL, which you can read below…

About 75 years ago, when my twin brother and I were just kids, our mother, Hilma Forslund, brought us up to Camp Fleur de Lis for short camping visits when the camp was active. When my mother was young, she was a camper in FDL and perhaps another local camp.

While organizing my mother’s many photos I thought about the reasons she did take each picture and the meaning each now has today. As for Fleur de Lis (FDL), it is obvious that her experience as a young camper shaped by the camp such that she made many good friends that she kept contact with, that when married with a family still wanted to experience being at the camp and to introduce her children to that experience (indeed, I went to cub scout, boy scout and YMCA camps, as a camper and a junior counselor). The photos show the kindness or maturity of FDL campers, counselors, etc. toward two young boys at a girls’ facility.

At the time that I was organizing her pictures, she was in the nursing home and her memories were slowing fading and I could not rely on her providing names of people I never met or never really introduced to. I was uncertain about which tents belonged to which camp but one photo’s backside notes August 1, 1929 that a FDL banner was attached to that tent. So all look-a-like tents must be at FDL camp! 

My mother did not notate the photos very often and because I think the photos are of my brother and I show us to be about 5 years old and we were born in April 1938, so the photos are around 1943.  One of the photos shows a mature woman who is labelled as the camp director; I might suggest that you look in your camp photo history log (if you have one) for a picture of the management in or around 1943 and see if there is a resemblance with the directors.  Same with the male workers.

The other camp pictures shows a bus/truck with the camp name of Camp Lincoln Hill (which may be the one in Foxboro, Mass.).  My mother did not talk much about camps but let my brother and I to just experience it.  The older pictures (before I was born) seemingly shows my mother and her camp mates living in tents.  I don’t know if that camp was FDL, Lincoln Hill or another.

I forget how often and how long I was at FDL, but I do remember distinctly two things that happened at FDL.  One time I was bitten by a wood-tick (first time for that!) and my mother took me to the nurse’s station to have it removed.  The nurse thought my mother was tongue-tied and saying “wood-STICK” at first.  The other was watching how your leaders were disciplining one of your campers who went climbing over the fragile toilets and broke one of them.  At my age I thought “girls don’t do those things, only boys do!”, now what will happen to her?  They were very good about teaching her a lesson, so good that I still remember it today.

Here is a selection of the photos that Don so kindly shared with us. You can see all the photos he sent to camp out at 120 Howeville Road this summer.

If the history of FDL intrigues you or you love looking through old photos of years gone by at camp. Please reach out to Lexy Heatley (lexyheatley@comcast.net). She has been working tirelessly on a picture project for this summer and could use your help. You can read more about that project in the latest Laurel Leaves issue.