Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives #PotLuck – Childhood and Summer, Then and Now by Jennie Fitzkee

Welcome to the series  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post:

Pre-school teacher of over 30 years, Jennie Fitzkee, has been a welcome guest here many times but this time, Jennie has let me loose in her archives… this will be fun.  In this post Jennie compares childhood and summer.. then and now.

Childhood and Summer, Then and Now

On summer evenings my greatest pleasure is sitting on the porch and reading. My porch has soft lighting and wood everywhere; bare wood and rough wood. The ceiling is the roughest wood of all, and my husband wants to paint it. Oh, no! That would be a travesty. I knew it would, but I didn’t know why… until I sat out on the porch this week.

I heard thunderstorms in the distance. I stopped reading to listen and just be in the moment. I was transported back to my childhood at summer camp, Camp Dekanawida in Salt Rock, WV. This was overnight camp. There were no day camps or sports camps. Camp was, well… real camp. We slept in a cabin, learned swimming and archery, sang songs every morning and evening. I remember the nighttime counselor hunt, the bonfires, and the hikes. To this day, I can still sing the camp song. Every word.

It’s been sixty years. Seems like yesterday.

My porch and all the rough wood, along with the thunderstorms, brought me back to my childhood and to summer camp. That’s why I didn’t want to paint or change the wood. It was a link to my best memories and to what shaped me as a child, and as an adult.

I love music. Today I sing with gusto, and pull children into songs from patriotic to fun. I introduce them to opera, and classical music. We sing,”Old MacDonald” in Italian. I am constantly humming and bringing music to children. I know this all started with Morning Sing at Camp Dekanawida.

I love stories; telling stories and reading aloud began at camp in the cabin, and around the campfire. No, it did not begin at home. Summer camp was full of stories. There was nothing else but each other and the big, wide world. So, stories and talking, and getting along were important. Ghost stories were scary, yet fun.

I learned to be brave. I mastered a jackknife dive. I went into the woods at night. I pitched a tent.

In the words of the classic book, Charlotte’s Web, “…where there would be no parents to guard them or guide them.” We had each other.

Fast forward to today at my school’s summer camp. Jackson is in my group. He is now seven (a big guy). Years ago he was in my preschool class and the champion of my chapter reading. It is wonderful to connect with a child again! We haven’t missed a beat.


So what happened here? We sat outside to talk and laugh. Then we fooled around inside. Bunny ears on the photo were perfect. Camp and the great outdoors will do that. I am giving Jackson and my other campers a small taste of camp in my childhood. Summer and camp brings all the important things to life: laughing and being silly, and discovering the wonders of the great outdoors.

It’s the best. I learned that sixty years ago.

©Jennie Fitzkee

About Jennie Fitzkee

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It’s the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That’s what I write about.

I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease’s bestselling book, “The Read-Aloud Handbook” because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.

Connect to Jennie


My thanks to Jennie for permitting me to share this post from her archives and there will be another one next Thursday..

37 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives #PotLuck – Childhood and Summer, Then and Now by Jennie Fitzkee

  1. Laughing and being silly, and discovering the wonders of life are some of the most important things in life, that’s for sure. I love the way you recapture your childhood and share it with your children to make their childhoods special too, Jennie.
    Great post to share, Sally. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for featuring Jennie, Sally. Always a delight to read her posts. We never had any ‘summer camp’ during my childhood in London, more’s the pity. But we did have family holidays at the coast, so different memories to treasure.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. What a great post! It brought back some wonderful memories of summer camp for me as well. I attended Bible camps and later CGIT camps (Canadian Girls in Training) We also stayed in rough wooden cabins (better than tents) in the woods and sang around campfires. It was so much fun. I love the pictures of you and Jackson.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A lovely memory of your childhood, Jennie. They don’t have camps here like they do in the US. I have read a lot about them. Have you read Lisa and Lottie by Erich Kästner? It features two girls who go to camp and discover they are twins. There was a movie about it too, but I can’t remember the name. It starred Hayley Mills.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – Solar Minimum, Jazz Guitar, Vitamin Deficiency, Italian Cookery and Mischief in the court of Charles II | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  6. Camps here in Ireland have become so structured, I didn’t realise this until I read the post and compared summers I spent as a child to todays experiences. Despite the lack of technology or rather because of this lack, we got the better deal.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There is a great deal of research into the benefits of children enjoying the freedom we did especially the stings of nettles and getting covered in dirt.. to building a robust immune system to a stronger mental and emotional approach to life. I still have scars of the scrapes on my knees that made me look more carefully when riding my bike! Thanks for commenting..


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