Narratives are personal stories that help enrich the reader’s understanding of a time period, person, place, or event. These are first-person views of history taken from personal recollections, memoirs, diaries, and oral histories.

Information included in this section is not fact checked by the Encyclopedia staff. The author of the Narrative is entirely responsible for its content.

I was a Boy Scout living in Memphis, Tennessee. In 1953, my parents—desiring to go on a vacation by themselves—volunteered me to the confines of Camp Kia Kima for eight weeks. The camp was overflowing, and the cabins were all filled. I was among a number of scouts assigned to live, for the duration, in smelly canvas tents on a hillside near the main camp. The camp had a shortage of counselors, and a few sadistic young men were assigned to ride herd on us. We were trained like Marines at Paris Island, and any form of escape was clearly discouraged. We were trapped on the wrong side of the river, and any boats were securely locked up. Only guile and a pretense at religion enabled a number of us to attend church services in Hardy. I was too short on cash to purchase a train ticket. After convincing one of the counselor overlords that I wished to contribute to the church collection, I was loaned an extra quarter. If I failed to pay back the debt, I would become his gofer and lackey for my three remaining weeks. While all heads were bowed in humble submission, I silently slipped out of my pew and sneaked out the door. I made a quick dash to the train station and bought a ticket to Memphis. Careful planning ensured that the awaiting train was there. My greatest recollection is that of a red-faced counselor running along the station platform as I waved goodbye from the rear car. I can proudly say that I am probably the only thirteen year old who escaped intact from the confines of Camp Kia Kima. My vacation at home, without my parents, for the next four days was most enjoyable. I won’t describe the events that followed. I am truly grateful that Hardy was placed along the railroad. All scout camps should be placed near train tracks.

Joe McKinney
West St. Lucie, FL