James Laird - "Camping at Lark Ellen Home for Boys" - Page 1

One of the greatest highlights of my life during the 1930's was a two week camping trip on Catalina Island at the Crescent Bay Boy Scout Camp. I don't know who paid the fee of a dollar a day which was a lot of money at that time, but it was well spent from my point of view. Someone loaned me a duffel bag to hold all my stuff for the trip. Everyone who was going had been given a list of what to take. I was taken to a place in Santa Monica were we met a bunch of other boys who were going and driven from there to San Pedro Harbor. We were a bit early, and so a few of the boys went to a nearby Cafe to get some breakfast. Some of the boys who were knowledgeable about ocean travel, and had made the trip before advised them to eat lots of greasy bacon and eggs.

I was too excited about going on a boat to be hungry, and did not have very much money to spend anyway which is just as well as things turned out. Our transportation to the Island arrived just a few minutes late. It was the good ship "Betty 0," a ferryboat of moderate size. Everyone was happy and jolly as we put our gear aboard and took a seat. I started out sitting next to a window on the lower deck as we headed out of the harbor through the breakwater. Once outside things were not so peaceful as there was a wind blowing knocking the tops off the swells rolling in our direction.

As we plunged onward many of the boys became sick and headed for the windows while those not sick and next to the windows wanted to close them to keep the spray from flying in. Those who were sick on the open top deck were leaning over the upper rails to relieve themselves. The smell got so bad on the lower deck I headed for the upper deck and sat in the middle for the rest of the trip even though you were rolling around much more.