As we move closer to the start of camp, we’ll be looking back on some great moments from the last few years. This week, we’ll take dive into the Chippewa Archives, and dust off the origins of one of Camp’s Favorite Activities. Counselor Hunt may seem like a simple game of hide and seek, but there’s always a deeper story up at camp.
Cecil Endres, the absolute middlest of J.P.’s era of Endres, was born shortly after the dawn of time, (which by the way marked J.P’s 5thbirthday), and slightly before the advent of the wheel (which by the way marked the moment when Cap and Mom mercifully gave up their quest to populate Northern Minnesota with Endres and Endres alone). As sometimes happens in the Endres family, Cecil was born with a full set of adult teeth… but this doesn’t really have anything to do with my story. I just think it is an interesting aside. Anyway, it was apparent from early on that young Cecil was, in keeping with familial tradition, a bright boy, but nonetheless a boy with some peculiar habits. He would, from time to time during the normal course of a day, disappear for hours on end. From the time he could crawl Mom had her hands full. Early on it was relatively easy to find the boy, as there were but three buildings in camp- the dining hall, Kamaji cabin and the Icehouse (Hudson Bay Trading Post). Most often he was in the icehouse sucking the cool moisture from the sawdust used to insulate the melting ice. Mom would find him, scold him lovingly and vow to keep a better eye on him in the future. He later enjoyed carving giant blocks of cheddar cheese into highly detailed civil war battle scenes… but this doesn’t really have anything to do with my story. I just think it an interesting aside.
Anyway, Cecil’s frequent disappearances eventually resulted in the creation of an Endres family game- Cecil Hunt. This game was played, largely out of necessity, until Cecil left for college. His three years at the Earthen Clothing Institute of the Americas were a magical time. ‘The Institute’ as Cecil calls it, toiled ceaselessly to bring dirt textile to a place of prominence in Depression era America.
Cotton was unaffordable, silk could not be shipped due to the war and Polyester and Nylon, the eventual fabrics of choice for any smart dressed Endres, hadn’t yet been invented. Cecil worked hard to perfect dirt pants until his somewhat predictable disappearance in 1943. The Institute continued toiling Cecillessly until 1947 when a bumper crop of cotton once again placed the ‘easily washed’ fabric high atop the textile industries “Best Of” list. Dirt was done.
Cecil popped up again in 1952, after a time in the merchant marines, where he served as a ship-in-a-bottle builder. He was a counselor here at Chippewa from ’52 to ’67, disappeared again for a time, and then came back from ’72 to ’83. He never lost his habit of disappearing, and one of our favorite games evolved from the constant necessity of having to hunt for counselor, middlest brother, sawdust sucker, cheese carver, dirt pant maker, ship-in-bottle builder and general all around good guy- Cecil Endres.