Medical Records for Camp Lewallen

It was serendipitous that I ran across my old Boy Scout Medical records in the same week I got my Moderna booster shot. We had to have a physical exam before we could attend Boy Scout Camp Lewallen.

My 1963 exam, when I was 16, noted that all my immunizations were up to date, including a polio booster 6/11/63. It showed that I had measles and chicken pox in 1953. 

I was amused to see that I was trying to imitate Dad’s beautiful signature’s long crossed “T,” but was falling way short. I learned to curse cursive.

1963 Side Two

The back side of the form checked off all my shots, said my vision was OK with glasses, and made no restrictions on physical activity.

The doctor at camp said to check for athlete’s foot daily. I don’t recall it ever being done. Maybe there had been an outbreak that year.

1959 Exam

Dad loved green. His typewriter ribbon was green, and he was prone to use green fountain pen ink, like here on my 1959 form.

Curious Page 2 entries

You have to understand that my pediatrician was the scary Dr. Charles T. Herbert. He was, as I pointed out in an earlier post, the reason I can’t eat popsicles to this day.

When he said there was “no abnormality of the genitalia,” he must have learned that just walking into that white tiny office across from St. Francis Hospital would produce normal shrinkage akin to jumping into the Capaha Park pool on a cloudy, windy May morning.

A note to the camp examining physician said that the boys should be stripped, and throat, skin and genitalia should be inspected.

I was prepared to say that I didn’t recall that happening, but then it dawned on me that we would hump our gear up the steep lanes to our campsites, pick a tent, then dress in our swimming trunks to trek down to get the camp physical.

I’m pretty sure it just consisted of taking an inventory of all our appendages, eyes, ears and nose, so that number could be compared with a similar inventory at the end of the week. If the numbers matched, all was well.

Actually, when I went back to look at a post I did about Troop 14 checking into camp, the physical was more intensive than I had remembered.

On to the swim test 

After the cursory physical exam, we’d be herded to the swimming pool (or river in the early days) to buddy up for our swim test.

It’s amazing what you can find in random boxes and envelopes.



7 Replies to “Medical Records for Camp Lewallen”

  1. Ken, unless Trinity Lutheran School demanded it (and I think never) the only time the Steinhoff kids were given medical exams were for entry to Camp Lewallen. We were not known for running to the Doctor unless the bleeding did not stop and then there was a wait and see period before piling into the car and heading to see Doctor Herbert. So my point is, we were not exceptional pioneer stock, but we got the shots we were suppose to get and we did common sense things to stay healthy to avoid an office visit with Dr. Herbert and his nurse. At Camp Lewallen I remember getting settled in as you mentioned and then heading down to the pool with towel and physical papers in hand before jumping in a very cold swimming pool. Good times, thanks for shaking the memory tree.

    1. Mother had an aversion to blood. She’d pass out at the sight of it, but she’d wait until the immediate crisis was over before fainting.

      I came back from Ohio to have four wisdom teeth pulled. It must have been a big enough deal that I had to go to St. Louis and have the teeth pulled under general anesthesia.

      Mother enlisted future Wife Lila as an attending nurse for the trip home in case there was any blood involved. How she determined that my girlfriend was made of any sturdier stock is an unknown.

  2. My first trip to CAmp Lewallen proceeded yours by a few years; it was 1947 when I was 12, The health lodge was a small shelter on the side of a hill, As we waited in line on the steps, the boys who had finished emerged and as they passed us the warned us of the shots with the huge needles, To our relief there were no shots but it was my introduction for the turn your head and cough routine. In those days there was no sinning pool, so as you said we walked down to the waterfront to take our sim test in the St, Francis River. I have a lot of memories of events at that first summer camp including putting a snake in someones bedroll and participating in my first protest. After a couple days of short breakfast rations delivered to our camp site, I joined several in our troop in a march on the main mess hall, banging on tin plates with spoons to demand more food from the camp director. Did they still sing the, “Gee Mom, I don’t want more CAmp Lewallen, when you were there? We we’re always adding verses and I still remember most of them.

    1. We were a less rowdy bunch, but I remember one guy who dropped a cherry bomb down the hole in the outhouse just before his buddy walked in.

      It didn’t go off.

      Disappointed, he looked down into the pit just as the fuse gave one final sputter and lit the bomb, with predictable results.

  3. Wow, I do remember the swim buttons we used in the St. Francis River. Unfortunately, on very first day of camp I picked up a canoe with a nail sticking out of the bottom of the bow and cut my stomach open. I was banned for swimming and most activities the whole week! This was particularly disappointing because I wanted to get several merit badges while at camp and swim the MILE! Bill Jackson had swam the mile in the river and set the record and I thought I could set a new one! But for me all week, no water merit badges or canoe or water anything the whole week… bummer. When I hiked the sweat ran down into the cut and hurt and I think I just ended up helping in the kitchen all week. There were no culinary merit badges in those days, sniff….

    1. I loved swimming and canoeing in the river much more than being in the pool.

      When I took lifesaving, one of the exercises was to take off your pants, tie a knot in the bottom of the legs, then fill them with air by swishing them through the air. That produced a rudimentary life preserver (if you didn’t drown doing the exercise).

      I decided it would work better if I used a brand-new pair of jeans that might be looser to get off than an older pair. They worked as a flotation device, but I inadvertently left them behind in the river.

      Two things happened:

      1. Mother was not happy that I had lost my new jeans.
      2. I had nightmares about my pants twisting and rolling in the depths of the St. Frances River forever.

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