A few weeks ago I picked up our copy of Town & Country, my haphazard magazine subscription.
I don't know a whole lot of rich people, especially not ones who wear seersucker suits. And this magazine is usually full of socialites I have never heard of, not to mention sordid tales of pampered pets of the rich and famous. The women within are beautiful and have nice clothes, but smile in photos like they are being tortured to do so. Their husbands don haircuts that suggest their names are "Thornton" or "Chip" and that they probably talk about municipal bonds over cocktails in gilded hundred year-old glasses.
I only subscribed to this rag sort of by accident a summer ago when I thought that T&C was a magazine more full of sunny places that I'd like to visit. I've feigned interest long enough to let the subscription lapse. Yet, they keep sending it to me, probably for the sake of their own laughs.
Nonetheless every once in a while, actually, the cover strikes me. Last month, the latest issue highlighted summer camps and the fact that camps --a great pillar of summer recreation-- are "back".
I grew up during the Reagan Years, and as a strident suburban-American kid I actually dreamed some odd tales that were hammered into my head from Rambo movies I snuck in. One day, when I knew my parents had enrolled me in Camp Cayuga in upstate PA, I surmised weird adventures like capturing a bear. Or, like Chuck Norris, I might meet and apprehend a bad guy --probably a spy from the Soviet Union-- and foil his plan to invade our country. I was hoping they had guns.
But in truth, summer camp isn't really so much about dangerous adventures or even the liberating escape from your suburban subdivision. Rather, the experience should be about one thing: having outrageous fun. The odd part about this is, that kids attend summercamp in their adolescent years, the waking dawn of their puberty. And puberty, for most, is probably the least fun and (ironically) most unpleasantly outrageous time of one's life.
In tribute to camp and its awkward oral history in the American experience, I thought it was fitting to spend a few weeks this summer showcasing various writers' accounts of their lives during summer and summer camp.
Starting this week this blog will cover all of the bases, from sports camps to scout camps. We'll hear stories about why some kids want to escape and just go home, and about breaking free from siblings. Plus we'll hear how some cope by pretending to be ewoks, soldiers, and other characters, and why diabetic camp kids are jerks just like the rest of them.
Most of us who went to summer camp didn't have a choice in the matter. But we all got at least a good story out of it.