Friday, June 24, 2011

Memory Lane Friday - 7th Grade

*Note: Here I am with today's Memory Lane Friday post. Due to some computer/internet issues, I wasn't able to post earlier. But here it is, finally!*

This week, our Memory Lane Friday theme is "7th Grade." I don't remember any specific thing about 7th grade, other than really enjoying and doing well in my English class, sorta-kinda enjoying math and science, and taking piano and riding lessons after school.

What I do remember in detail, though, is the summer after 7th grade. This was my second summer at Culver's Upper Camp. This is where I ended up going to high school, but they have various camps during the summer, and they kept us kids super busy all the time. For those of us in Upper Camps (ages 13-17), it was 6-weeks, where we had 4 class periods in the morning and a couple in the afternoon. Then we had various activities in the afternoon and evening.

My second summer there (between 7th and 8th grades) was a blast! I ended up having my horsemanship classes in the morning - 2 back-to-back (each horsemanship class being 2 class periods each). Then in the afternoon, I had a photography class (also a 2-period class).

Looking back on it, this was an awesome set-up, and not just because I got to do two of my favorite hobbies. I'd ride in the morning, all morning, basically, and wrap up just as it was getting super hot. Then I'd head back to my dorm, shower, then head to lunch with my "deck" mates (we girls were set up in "decks" - each deck occupying a particular dorm - and had a whole leadership system, similar to the boys' military system). Then I'd spend the afternoon learning a bit about photography (back in the days of actual film), then heading out taking photos. The best part of taking my photography class in the afternoon? I'd spend the hottest part of the day in the cool, dark darkroom developing film and creating prints.

Anyway, I remember that my instructor for my second block of riding was CSM John "Sarge" Hudson (who was also there during the regular school year). He was an Army vet, and great horseman. While he was hard on the troopers (the boys in the troop, which is the cavalry unit), he was pretty lenient with me.

As soon as we all assembled in the office, Sarge would give us our horse assignments. If he sensed I didn't particularly agree with my horse assignment, he'd ask me who I wanted to ride (usually a horse named Black Lightning), and typically agreed to let me ride that horse instead of my original assignment.

Sometimes we'd ride in the ring. Other times, we'd head out to the pasture where there were cross-country jumps and we'd ride around. Usually, if we were out in the pasture, he'd let me go off and jump whatever I wanted to jump, while he taught the troopers basic horsemanship. (He'd keep an eye on me, though, and sometimes call me over to demonstrate one thing or another to the less experienced riders in the class.) And once in a while, he'd take us on a trail ride - sometimes through the woods, but occasionally ending up at the Dairy Queen in town. Half of us would dismount while the other half would stay mounted and hold horses. The dismounted half of the class would head into the DQ and get ice cream for all of us, then we'd all stand around on the grass, enjoying our ice cream.

I remember a specific day when it started pouring as we were putting our horses away after class. I didn't have an umbrella, rain jacket, poncho, or anything that would keep me dry as I walked across campus to my dorm. Sarge came up to me as I stood in the doorway looking out at the sheets of rain pouring down. He told me to follow him to the office, which I did. He got a big, black, plastic trash bag out of the utility closet (one that hadn't been used, obviously). He cut a head-sized hole in the bottom, a hole in each side, and slipped it over my head. Voila! A poncho! And just like that, he sent me on my way.

And for photography later that afternoon? Since it was still raining on and off throughout the day, my instructor sent me to the gym so I could take some indoor "action" photos of an intramural basketball game. I spent most of the time taking photos, and then about 45 minutes in the darkroom.By the way, I had an old Nikon camera that my dad had given me, something similar to this.

The Riding Hall at Culver, circa May 2009. I took this during my last "Alumni Weekend," which was my 20-year reunion.

Detail of the Riding Hall, circa 1988-89 school year. Note the crest, which is the BHT (or Black Horse Troop) crest.

This is Black Lightning, one of my favorite Culver horses, circa 1988-89 school year. Sarge said he was an Appaloosa. He had a spot on his belly, and one near the base of his tail, plus the face markings.

So there you have it. Not specifically from 7th grade, but during the summer immediately following 7th grade. I think that's close enough.

Memory Lane Friday is hosted by Lisa at Two Bears Farm. Please click on the button below to read her entry, as well as other contributors' posts:

4 comments:

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

What a way to spend summer days! I would've loved that camp!

Jill said...

Wow! That sounds like an amazing place to have been. I'm your newest follower.

Randy said...

Interesting post and the photograph of the horse is so beautiful.

Kim @ Stuff could... said...

This sounds like you had a fun summer with horses too. Nice place to remember

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