Sunday School Picnic Time was one of the most awaited events of the year back when I was a child. This was one of the highlights of the summer.
The church would get a bus to take those who didn't have cars (not all families had cars in the 40s and early 50s) and even those who had cars allowed their children to ride the bus. Some of the dads would take their cars to the site in case the children tired and wanted to get home earlier.
The picnics were usually held at one of the lakes in the "lake region" of South Jersey. I know we went to Lake Oberst for a few years, and then we went to lake Paletine for several years. I know we went to a third lake in my teen years, but as much as I've tried to think of the name of that lake, I just can't.
The picnics always had grills where mom would cook hot dogs for lunch and then hamburgers for an early dinner. The bus left at 7 p.m. (I think). I know by the time the bus did leave the lake to take us home, we were wiped out and slept very well after our Saturday night bath.
The hosts and hostesses of the events (they changed from year to year) had games for the children -- the best of which was the candy toss.
One thing about the S. Jersey lakes -- they are for the most part cedar lakes. That means that there are cedar trees in the deepest parts of the lakes, and they are surrounded by these trees. You cannot see your feet if you are standing in one foot of water. And you do not want to wear a new bathing suit in one of these lakes, unless it is black or brown, because the suit will be darkened because of the pigment in the water (cedar?). I learned that the hard way.
I bought myself a new bathing suit -- I wanted a NEW one, and not someone else's hand-me-down -- for a change, and it was a really cute suit -- pink gingham, one-piece. Well, it was brown when I got home, so I washed it right away. It was still brownish. It just looked dirty. I bleached it. It didn't help. So I had this mauve and muddy colored bathing suit which I wore for several years.
The last Sunday School picnic I attended at Mt. Calvary was when I was in my late 40s. We were home for a short vacation, and it was SS picnic time, only this time it was held at someone's home. Sunday school had dropped quite bit in attendance since the 50s. I remember this day because I helped mom get ready for the picnic and we went in our car. Mom was carrying the potato salad which I made. When we got out of the car to go into the very large yard where the picnic was being held, mom would not let go of the bowl. She said it was helping her keep her balance.
I never knew what she meant by that until this past year. I have had severe balance problems, and I fine if I am holding something with both hands I can walk steadier. Who knew?
One final note: I find that out here in the Midwest they don't refer to these picnics as Sunday School picnics, but church picnics.
My brother reminded me that we went to Centerton Lake a couple of years and I think that's what I have pictures of in one of my many albums, and we also went to Cedar Lake. I loved swimming there until one day I saw a bunch of fecal matter in the lake. That was the end of it for me. Sorry, Mark.