By Vicki Lathom
In 1949, I was sent to Camp Otonka on the Indian River in Delaware. I think it probably is typical of nature-oriented camps in those days: a bit foreboding looking and situated amongst tall, dark pine trees on the bank of a languid bay.
Like most parents, mine wanted to get rid of me for a bit of the summer, since nine year olds on summer vacations are kind of a pain. I suffered an extreme case of home sickness and sent postcards almost daily, begging to go home. To no avail.
Activities were structured and included a much unappreciated wake-up time around dawn, followed by arts and crafts and swimming. For some reason, I’ll never forget the class where we made butterflies out of some bright, glue-y material that had a strong chemical smell.
Before bedtime, we did “plays,” little vignette’s that we made up and performed for everyone. My play called for my falling backwards onto the floor. I mean straight backwards, landing on my head, a stunt I’d seen in comic books. What I thought was audience approval was actually the audible gasp of the young counselors who thought I had just killed myself.
It appears that Camp Otonka may not have weathered the years. A trip by Google Earth reveals a stand of trees at the end of a cul-de-sac in Sandy Landing, Dagsboro.
Here are some resources Vicki has found:
1941 postcard from Camp Otonka http://delmardustpan.blogspot.com/2010/10/camp-otonka.html
current location of Otonka: https://mapcarta.com/20629182
photo gallery: https://www.flickr.com/search/?text=camp%20otonka
Vicki Allnutt Lathom would like to hear from other Camp Otonka alumni.
She can be reached at [email protected] or 410 266 6959.