Dear Overnight Camp,
When I first met you I was with my sister. I was going into fourth grade and she was going into sixth grade. I don't remember who first introduced us, actually, my mother recently told me that we got wait listed at another camp and that's how we ended up with you. A family friend first put your name into my mother's head, and then like a typical Jewish mother, her instinct told her to send her little girls away from home so they can meet nice Jewish girls and boys. And maybe we'd learn to like nature at the same time. I remember arriving at camp, getting my huge trunk yanked across a field up to the top floor of an old cabin. I remember meeting my two counselors and getting assigned a bunk bed. That's where I found a pretty girl sitting on the bottom bunk way, back in the summer of 1983. That same woman sat at a table at my wedding way back in October of 2012. Does that sum up how much you influenced me?
What if I told you that you the two months I spent with you every summer for the next ten summers not only shaped my personality, but gave me such rich experiences that I never thought of doing anything else? Our relationship superseded pretty much everything else that happened during the school year. That's how much you affected me. I learned about responsibilities, how to live with strangers and work as a team, how to water ski, canoe, tie a knot, horseback ride, etc. Did you know that I was one of the few people that was fine when my parents left me at my new college dorm? That I didn't look twice after they pulled away from the curb because I had no anxiety about separation? Camp, you even gave me a secret security blanket when I realized that a few of my older camp friends were already at that same school and welcomed me warmly to their parties.
I feel like I have to tread lightly when I talk about college. It's when we last saw each other, well, exclusively. I felt that after seven summers as a camper, one summer as a C.I.T, and two summers as a counselor, I needed a change. I wanted to go to summer school. Another summer I got an internship, my first 'real' office job. And things were never the same. I waited about three years before I went back for my first camp reunion and saw you in a completely different way, as an adult. You were still beautiful, but my view had already been harden by time and 'real world' living. It probably made it worse that I had spend three years living in Los Angeles before our first reunion. If any city can change your, that's the one. And now that I've been to a few reunions over the years I realize that I'd rather remember you for our special summers, the summers of my youth. You'll always be a part of me and my summer soul.
K.I.T (keep in touch)