Posted by: campkehonka | May 1, 2011

“Emily Post Improved Upon”

from the August 7, 1945 edition of Goose Quills:

Mrs. George Wightman, famous tennis star, advised Kehonka campers to play with their elbows high and their arms swinging loosely. Well-known bard asks: “Why not apply the same principle to other camp activities, eating and manners, for example?

“Drink that glass of orange juice
With elbow high and arm hung loose
Never mind your neighbour’s eye;
Simply keep that elbow high.
Swing your arm with fork at angle
Just forget the nerves that jangle
Hoping that your swinging hand
With that food may safely land.
See how quickly soup’s consumed,
Like a shot in tennis boomed
O’er the net at lightning pace
Down the groove and in your face.
And for poise and savoi faire
Keep your elbow in the air,
For that gently swinging arm
Lends an air of gracious charm.
All through life such form, you bet
Will help you win both game and set.”

Tennis great Hazel Wightman did indeed visit camp. Below is an account of her day on property:

“Ever since the beginning of camp we had been hearing rumours that the Mrs. Wightman of the tennis world was coming to visit Kehonka. At first most of us, not know who Mrs. Wightman was, weren’t particularly excited, but as the day of her visit approached, we began to hear about this wonder woman of tennis.

“Mrs. Wightman has been the winner of thirty-six national tournaments, which include singles, doubles, and mixed doubles, holding one championship for five years in a row. It was she who originated the Wightman Cup and encouraged matches between England and the United States. She is a great teacher and now has a group of little children to whom she teaches her method of tennis. There are also books written about the Wightman Method Tennis. It has been said that as an individual she has done more for the game of tennis than anyone else.

“By the time we heard all this we were most interested to see Mrs. Wightman in person. For a time we thought we might be disappointed, for when the appointed day dawned we discovered with scowls that it was raining. The visit was postponed  but the weather made it difficult to decide the exact day by being alternately sunny and rainy. Finally she set Tuesday as the day, and Monday evening was spent in teaching scoring.

“Tuesday dawned beautiful and Mrs. Wightman arrived in the morning, bringing with her ten-year-old Betsy Lyons, an alleged whiz at tennis.

“After lunch, Mrs. Wightman instructed the councelors [sic] while we rested for the strenuous afternoon ahead. Immediately after rest hour the campers trooped to the bang board. We spent awhile trying to learn her method hitting the ball against the board. Then we went to court and attempted to return her net shots. This continued all afternoon, and when we finally crawled into be that night, we felt as if we had really learned something about tennis, and seen a wonderful player, too.”


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