At Silver Bay

Mt Holyoke

“Silver Bay’s the place to go
To make the friendships rare,
Jolly times and laughter chimes
And girls from everywhere.
Glad, oh be glad, and sadly sail away,
Only don’t forget to sail
Back to Silver Bay.”

“The hammock on the back piazza bobbed volcanically as Helen popped up on one elbow to listen to the strains of ‘Sail, baby, sail,’ as they floated in from a distance. She followed the music to the end inserting the familiar Silver Bay words and then her mind went at a gallop ‘back to Silver Bay.’

“She thought of the place and its beauties, of the talks and the walks, the naps and uproarious times, but in every instance the element of personality seemed uppermost and the keynote of the experiences, as the song implied, was ‘friendship.’

“What a good time she had had with that new friend, the University-of-Maine girl! Helen had just returned from spending the day with her at a nearby summer resort. She had been so good to let Helen run on about her hobby of Extension Work and had seemed so interested. She had promised to visit Helen next summer, so the acquaintance had only just begun.

“Then there was the preparatory school girl who had so kindly cleared up the haze that had always been in Helen’s mind about the doings and workings of preparatory schools. She and Helen had gone together to hear Mr. Speer and she had been temperamentally fitted to glory equally in his stirring, manly call to the life of perseverance.

“Oh, then there were all the tennis friends, those who played and those who watched. It was worth going a long distance to meet such girls who took victory or defeat in such a charming fashion. The basketball girls were no less interesting. Such jolly, exciting times as those games were when Helen’s college team battled against some worthy rival. Then some thoughtful partisan or non-partisan endeared herself by bringing around lemons and ice water for the players.

“Helen recalled with glee that jolly Adelphi girl with whom she had ‘bantered’ on the piazza. The funny stories and the good-natured raillery had added much to the favorable impression that hotel piazza had left. It seemed rather lonesome now not to see and hear the girls.

“And then those secretaries! Helen felt a ‘thrill’ at remembering that she had even promenaded along the same piazza with some of those wonderful speakers who seemed to know girls so well and seemed also to have found the secret of living. Helen had mustered up courage to have a delightful little chat with two celebrities in spite of Margaret’s teasing about ‘tete-a-tete conferences.’ It wasn’t an ordeal at all!

“How much nearer the girls of her own college seemed after knowing them at Silver Bay. With one girl she found a bond of sympathy in the difficulties and the subsequent clearing up that came in the Bible Study Class. Another girl had kindly shared notes and ideas of a Mission Study Course which she was taking. The fervor of cheering on her college in the intercollegiate contests had counted. Then the desire that others at college might get the right idea of Silver Bay and that they might take the opportunity of going, furnished a thought that bound together those who were going back in the fall. And so it went–that inexplicable yet very real something that seemed to unite the Silver Bay girls.”

— “At Silver Bay” by Harriet L. Boutelle in The Mount Holyoke (1908); photo of the Mount Holyoke delegation of 1914.

“Mr. Speer” is most probably Robert E. Speer of the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions; Harriet Lang Boutelle, the author of this piece, went on to serve as a missionary teacher in Canton, Kiukiang and Shanghai from 1915 to 1950. In 1918, she married George Carleton Lacy, a Methodist missionary, who in 1941 became the Bishop of the China Central Conference. Soon after, he was forced to flee from the invading Japanese. After the war, he was detained by the new Communist regime, and died of a heart ailment in 1951. Buried in the Foochow Mission Cemetery, his remains were exhumed by Communist zealots and paraded through the streets in 1956. Harriet survived him, and died in 1966.

Below, Harriet, George and their infant son, Creighton Boutelle “Corky” Lacy, are shown in the back row, to the right, at a 1920 Lacy family reunion in Shanghai; George’s father and three brothers were all missionaries in China.



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