Twin Fir Camp for Girls was built by Jean’s mother, my grandmother, Catherine (Kathleen) Dunlop, very similar to Echo Camp on Raquette Lake. Twin Fir was near the Village of Ste Lucie de Doncaster, north of Montreal in the Laurentian Mountains.
It was so exciting taking the train to camp by myself when I was seven – all the way from Buffalo to Montreal. I felt so grown-up! Dad gave me half a bag of Canadian jelly beans to keep me company, the conductor was told to keep his eye on me and Grandma met me at the station to change trains for Ste Agathe.
Jean worked there almost every summer from 1930 until 1951 when we moved to Wilmington, DE. My cousin Carol and I attended as campers from 1941 on with John, Ricky, David et les deux fils de M. Porrier allowed as honorary campers.
The original camp was a small cottage across the lake with two tall fir trees on the property, hence the name. That first summer the cook did not show up on opening day. Grandma turned to Mother, who had just turned 17, and said, “You can cook for 25, can’t you?” Mother says she never thought of refusing!
Grandma Dunlop was an early health food advocate, insisting on brown bread, oatmeal every morning – and only 1/2 a candy bar per week. She loved carrot juice – for herself, not the whole camp! There was no electricity, water was carried from one pump and we campers all did our own laundry on scrub boards on the shore of Lac Sarrazin.
Twin Fir had 10 cabins for 60 campers, one for Grandma and Mother, and one for Auntie Kay and Uncle Vaughan. There was a large dining hall, an arts and crafts center/library called the “Wigwam,” the counselors’ house and the Rec that burned down in the middle of the night my last summer – I think 1950 – along with all the costumes for our plays.
The final three years, 1951 to 1953, my aunt and uncle owned the camp. Now much of the property is overgrown once again, as in 1930.
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