It’s always nice when you come across a story in the archives that shows you how human nature doesn’t change despite the passing of the years. When we came across this tale of teenage humiliation recently, it felt like it could have happened yesterday. A letter from Gordon Cameron outlines his moment of shame, brought on by that eternal bringer of teenage blushes – his mother.
The venue of the incident was the Alta Lake Hotel. This establishment was burnt down in an accidental fire in 1933, but before that time it was situated on the southwest shore of Alta Lake.
When the Cameron family stayed at the Alta Lake Hotel it had seen better days. Gordon writes: “every time you slammed the door to your room, there was a cloud of moths that flew all over the room”. Despite the run-down conditions and despite being out the middle of the backwoods (as Whistler was in those days), Gordon’s mother wished her son to be smartly dressed on his vacation. I will leave Gordon to describe what happened next in his own words. “Nothing would do but be attired in white shirt, white pants, white socks and white tennis shoes. Now, the picture was simply this: here was almost everyone else attired in anything that did not find itself into the rag bag, and out of nowhere arrives this veritable vision in white.” Gordon’s entrance into the dining room was met with gales of laughter from everyone present. One of the other guests acted out a “stage-door swoon” much to the amusement of all but poor Gordon, who was naturally mortified. “I was so embarrassed that I scuttled back into the room, and donned some rough-and-tumbles. When I arrived back on the scene, the hooting was louder, my mother glowered at me all through dinner; my dad has a smirk that would not wipe off.”
Poor Gordon! At least he could laugh about it decades later when he wrote to the Whistler Museum. It certainly goes to show that when it comes to teenagers being embarrassed by their parents, some things never change!