Hubby and I are still on the cruise, so I wrote this post before we left. I'm all about honesty and all. I didn't want you to think I was slaving over this hot laptop, when I'm probably drinking a girl-type drink with an umbrella in it.
Some of my fondest childhood memories came from attending "Y" camp.
I had a friend who went to this same camp, and looking back I don't know how my mother afforded it. We weren't nearly in the same league with this friend, who lived in a nice house across the road and up the hill from the trailer park where we lived.
In reality I was only about 5 miles from home, but it felt like a cross-country experience. We had no contact with the outside world for the two-week session, except for the U.S. mail. Because I was only about 5 miles from home, I didn't get many letters and packages.
I loved the cabin names: Left Edweda, Center Edweda, Right Edweda (these three "cabins" were actually apartments of a much larger cabin), Jenny V, Hillside, Dew Drop, Sunshine, Crow's Nest, and Upper Lodge to name just a few. Crow's Nest was the ultimate in camping cabin experiences; it was built up on stilts, and it's where the oldest campers stayed for camp. Upper Lodge was the next best. It was above the Lodge, a large structure where we had assemblies, church services, and some camp classes. I was ecstatic the year I arrived at camp and discovered I had been assigned to Upper Lodge. Katydid's ex-husband, however, was NOT thrilled, since he had to lug my foot locker up the narrow, steep stairway that led to Upper Lodge.
We were assigned specific chores to keep the cabins clean, and inspection occurred every morning while we were at breakfast. We waited anxiously to see if our cabin would be on the list of those with the best scores. I don't remember that the designation was for a good cabin. It may have been a "10," or it may have been something more mundane.
There were classes in art, choir, camping skills, sports, and other activities through which we rotated just like class periods during the day. After lunch was a mandatory rest period, during which I could rarely sleep because I was so excited about free swim, which immediately followed. Then came the Store, where we could pick out candy and drinks, and it was deducted from the amount our parents had deposited at the beginning of camp. Every year with the exception of one (I think), my mother had to pay additional money at the end of camp. I was particularly fond of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. We could also buy stamps and postcards. I remember that stamps were five cents. No joke.
I remember the list of clothes and items I had brought to camp. It was taped to the inside of the lid of my trunk (I don't remember if that was a requirement of the camp, or just my mother's rule). We were required to bring two outfits that consisted of white top and white shorts to wear on the two Sundays we were there.
I must have complained about never receiving mail at camp, because one time a package arrived for me, wrapped in plain brown paper. Mail call was a happy time, right behind free swim and Store. I probably reached my chubby little fingers out and flexed them like a baby reaching for a cookie, all awiggle with anticipation of receiving a package. Would I get some cool stationery? (Snacks were against the rules, so I knew not to hope for a personal supply of Reese's.) New sneakers? Pens? Pencils? Crayons and a coloring book?
My mother had sent me panties. I was the laughingstock of my cabin.
The camp is not there anymore, the victim (as so many things are) of development. Katydid and I rode our bicycles over there once several years ago, riding up into the camp around the chain strung across the driveway designed to keep cars out. But surely they didn't mean former campers weren't allowed?
The tennis courts were still there, overgrown but plainly visible. The precious swimming pool was empty and covered with graffiti, but I could swear I could still hear splashing and laughing.
When the camp was finally demolished completely, someone offered the cabins for sale to the public. Mom almost bought one for me (probably in an attempt to compensate for sending panties to camp, I'm thinking), but at that time I had no place to put it.
I couldn't have had Upper Lodge, and if it wasn't Crow's Nest, why bother?