Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Sunday Top 10: On Camp

This week's This American Life podcast, 1998's Notes on Camp, "tr[ies] to understand what is the cult-like, mystical connection some people feel with their summer camps." I could cop themes from TAL every week, but I somehow resist that temptation. There's a lot of thematic Top Ten temptations I resist every week, like a cokehead staring down a pure white line of heaven dancing across their desktop: Most Annoying Things Ever, Reasons I'm Too Busy To Call You Back, Things No One Should Ever Wear EVER, Best Blog Entries I've Already Written, Annoying People/Things at the Gym, etc.

But um I could not resist this particular temptation. It's summer! Snort up, kiddos!

If you've given birth to children and they are grown-ups now, perhaps you're sending them to summer camp. Perhaps you yourself went to camp, or perhaps you're a camp counselor, or perhaps you went to Fat Camp, like on the TV show "Fat Camp."

The New York Times Magazine featured ads for the real ritzy Summer Camps, like Camp LaJolla (fat camp) and my fantasy favorite Stagedoor Manor, which looked like a hotel for future Gaby Hoffmans and whomever played Little Orphan Annie.

Perhaps you think camp is for spoiled rich kids and the easily-placated middle class suburban brats. Perhaps it is. I remain undecided.

I attended Jewish Day Camp every summer til I turned 11. I hated it a lot. Then I overnight-camp-hopped for several years, 'cause I'm fast like that. Sometimes, I wished I was fat, so I coulda accomplished something concrete by going to camp.

So, TAL: Ira Glass shared some listener stories, including a Wisconsin woman recounting her Young Zionist Camp experience. I suspected immediately her camp belonged to the Habonim-Dror group, which owned the Zionist camp I attended in Michigan. There can't be that many Zionist camps in the U.S, 'cause there's not a huge market, I imagine, for kids who want to feed animals, paint houses, celebrate Shabbat, learn "Ivrit" and sleep in tents while their rich Jewish friends are chillin' in the Catskills in air conditioned cabins learning digital video editing and trapeze. But anyhow, here's the end of her story:

"....A bunch of us were sitting in the dining hall, and somebody said look out on the lawn! ... there was this large cross burning out on the lawn of the campgrounds, these people came in wearing white sheets and white things over their heads like pillowcases and they made us all go outside. And there was another guy in a white sheet and a white pillowcase riding up and down on a horse and they started to yell at us that they wanted the Jews out of Wisconsin and they didn't want any Jew-camps in Wisconsin, and they kept yelling at us, Don't bother trying to call the authorities 'cause in this neck of the woods we are the authorities, and everyone was just petrified and we all stood around just shakin' in our boots, and all of a sudden one of the counselors said, "I'm an American citizen and you can't treat me like this!" so two of the guys in sheets grabbed him by the arms and marched him away, and another counselor said the same thing ... and pretty soon all the counselors were being marched away and we were left there ... I went "I'm an American Citizen too!' and someone came over in a white sheet and took me down towards the beach and as he was waking me down to the beach and said to me "Edina, couldn't you have kept your big mouth shut?" And It was all a political lesson that we were supposed to be learning."
Then I knew: hands down totes for-sure the same camp I went to, per the re-enacting the fleeing-Germany-before-the-Holocaust story I shared in a previous blog.

Zionists don't mess around.


10.How to do Shakespeare ...
in fifteen minutes ...
on a cart.
You know, like for retarded people w/o taste. JK, I love retarded people, especially if you are retarded and reading this blog. I mean that proverbially. [Is that the right word? Proverbially? I'm retarded.]

Me @ Blue Lake. Yes, that's a chapstick necklace.

Someone's brilliant idea for the summer theater program's "big show" was performing 15-minute audience-participatory "adaptations" of Hamlet and Taming of the Shrew on 12x12 rolling carts, like minstrels at a really annoying fair or amusement park. As Ophelia, I delivered three stunning lines and as Rosencrantz, Gildenstern and I forewent lines in favor of a [we thought] very clever song, to the tune of "It's the Hard-Knock Life" from Annie: It's the hard-knock life for us, it's the hard knock life for us, Pertrucio used to be real nice, 'til he got this Shrewish wife, it's the hard knock life! Now he's bossing us around, kicking [I forget] on the ground, it's a hard knock life!

I can still hear it in my head.

9. Camp A----us, 1992
Before you go anywhere overnight and voluntarily sacrifice your rights/privileges to their authority,
get a personal reference. Or something.
Don't just go because it looked OK in the pamphlet.
Even overprotective mothers miss some things.

We're happy in this photo, 'cause we're about to go home.
We woulda gone home sooner, but they wouldn't let us call our parents.
The summer after 6th grade, my BFF Janelle and I, finally permitted by our mothers to attend overnight camp, found the only camp offering week-long sessions and signed up. It was, allegedly, Michigan's oldest bestest all-girls camp, but, upon arrival, things were not quite as advertised.

All that "camp" stuff? Making friends, forming teams, attending structured activities, kindness, etc.? The promised attempts to forge real or imaginary bonds between campers? Nada. It was like showing up at college mid-semester, sans orientation, and told to fend for yourself. Which's fine, but not when you're 11.

Also, speaking of "nada," we realized quickly that 75% of the campers were Mexican girls who stayed all summer, every summer, simply to be somewhere other than Mexico. Nothing against Mexicans, obvs/obvs!, but I mean ... weird, right? Camp A----- shoulda incorporated it into their advertising, like "Diverse Group of Campers!" or "Spanish-Language training!" or "Camp A---us: Better than Mexico City!"

Anyhow, they wouldn't let us call home, and my BFF's younger sister got sick mid-week and her counselor didn't believe her [she had appendicitis]. It got pretty bad. Like a sicko reality TV show. Rained a lot. I made friends and learned dirty sexy Mexican songs to sing to myself in the shower. JK . Not in the shower: I was afraid of it (group shower) and, literally, didn't shower all week. That's disgusting. Seriously, how the F did I get away with that?

The talent show featured almost exclusively cross-dressing kitchen staff lip syncing Englebert Humperdink and stripping. So weird.

Also, they served mystery meat, fo' rizzle, which I'd read about in Ramona Quimby. Obvs, I got sick.

8. Not Knowing How to Swim Indicates Deep, Unnerving, Ridicule-worthy Pathos

Swimming is the centerpiece of American camping. Apparently, most children not only enjoy a dip in the lake/pool, but look forward to it. Not only can these mini Summer Sanderses lap swim without drowning, many can perform complicated "dives" and "flips." Personally, I preferred my bathing suit for one location and one location only: the group showers.

[At 18, I took swimming lessons @ Sarah Lawrence. Can swim now. Heart my Speedo, totally no longer afraid of beaches or pools. Well: I am. But for different reasons now, like that there're lots of people there, in little-to-no clothing, enjoying activities that boggle me, like "drinking beer and eating potato chips in the daytime," "tanning," "grillin'"and "apparently absolutely nothing."]

But, camp: all afternoon, our little eyes'd sting from the chlorine, and our skin transformed from puckered to throbby white, then back to pita. At Zionist camp, the bottom of the pool was rough, like sandpaper. That's training for the Israeli army, I think.

7. Letter-Writing Skills
When mining my storage space in Michigan for memoir-gold, I came upon boxes and boxes of letters, many exchanged w/friends during respective weeks of summer camp. I realized how bizarre it'd be, now, to have no idea what was happening with my friends until I received written notice in the postal mail. Obvs, when I've got no clue what my friends're up to now, it's cause I've failed to call/email/etc., and we're a bit more predictable now. Back then, someone could come back from camp a totally different person and we might not be prepared for such things. I love letters: writing things you're hoping'll stay true for a few days, words you can't ever redact and which you'll not get a response to for a week or more. Like Permanent "Out of Office Reply."
6. Fleeing Germans for the Land of Milk and Honey is Very "Exhausting."

From my Diary, August 1st, 1994: "They woke us up at 5:15 A.M. to 'Escape Germany and found the state of Israel!' and we didn't get to be allowed to go back to sleep until 9:30. I was exhausted all day."

That "get to be allowed to" is ruining my life, but I can't edit my own pre-adolescent diary entry. So I'll just let it be, like y'all let my stylistic errors be, all the time.
5. The "Camp Relationship" Mentality

I never had a Camp Boyfriend.
This photo is of one of many reasons why.
At camp, relationships occur in light-speed. Not that I actually had one, but most of my friends did. It was perfectly acceptable to return from a three-week session w/steamy stories of a super-serious boyfriend/girlfriend you'd acquired on Cedar Lake. The intensity and round-the-clock time together afforded by summer camp provided for this relationship-on-light speed effect, and I still use "Camp Relationship" proverbially -- like how the [redacted] magazine article I was writing during the infancy of TB and I's relationship pushed it all into overdrive. I was like, "It's like we're Camp Girlfriends!" and she was like, "What?" This happens a lot with us, e.g., when I quote anything published after 1939, including teleplays. Or when she quotes anything published before 1925.

4. I am "a carpenter's dream: flat as a board and never been nailed."

This information was bestowed upon me and my Day Camp BFF Alex by a boy I'll call "Douchebag." Douchebag was fat and mean, but apparently'd received a beejer, which gave him self-bestowed Status to label the ripe young maidens of the lower grades. He got grosser and even less dateable in high school [being Day Camp, all kids were locals]. Alex, however, became smokin' hot, but in that effortless super-sweet faux-hippie FACT-beautiful kind of way. I realize in retrospect I probs had a crush on her, but also: so did everybody, I mean, her girl-clique called themselves "The Rainbow Girls." [Hidden message?] She has no memory of this incident, because she's not crazy. Anyhow, what Douchebag's clever line truly meant was: "You'll both have very perky **** later, and 'nailed' implies a violence uncomely to sexual descriptions."

3. Liberal Politics=Liberal Policies

Hippie Day at Hippie Camp.

Every camp I attended and all I'd heard of were strict about keeping the boys away from the girls, lest we all get preggers or acquire SARS. Obvs Zionist camp was an exception to this rule, because we were one big family, like a Kibbutz. Boys and girls tents co-existed side by side, and the boys'd often drop their towels on purpose en route to shower, and my Best Friend the Weirdo'd perform ten-minute orgasms after "bed time" 'til all the campers yelled and his counselor threatened to kill him with various sharp objects. We could have boys in our bed, sleepovers, whatevs, though usually Naomi slept in my bed. She had memorable breasts for a 13-year-old. Hmm. Nothing happened. It was just a small bed.
2. How to do Something, Right? How to Make Lanyards? Swim?

I must've learned some kind of concrete skill. I learned some Hebrew. I made a Dream Catcher once, at Camp Michigania, according to my diary. Michigania's family camp. I went with someone else's family, and they turned out to be even crazier than mine. Diary: Helen's having a hissy fit at Arts & Crafts 'cause the string on her dream catcher is too thick and she can't fit any beads on it. Her Mom got POed at me for the precious 30 minutes I was holding Helen's things hostage, she had my hat, and I ran out of things, and I was in the bathroom so I told her I was holding her Oxy and Deodorant [sic] hostage. Helen's Mom thought it was rude. The game ended.


1. I Am Not Good at Camp

TAL discussed one of the primary strategies of summer camp as a "business": by creating teams, traditions, and complicated systems of rank/seniority/legacies, camps ensure return "customers," a.k.a. campers. I knew that my yearly alienation, as I trekked each summer to a new camp, would never change if I never went anywhere more than once. Day Camp doesn't count, 'cause I was forced to go there.

'Cause as it was, I didn't dig camp so much, though my blind optimism that each year'd bring the boyfriends and memories my friends regaled from their adventures was inspiring. I got homesick fast, then, 'cause I missed my Dad and Kentucky Fried Chicken, which's why I avoided the longer camps, like Interlochen, where I ended up eventually shipping off for year-round school. I wanted the cliquey camaraderie the other girls had, the easy-breezy-beautiful songs and chants and requisite tearful goodbyes. Instead, I mostly just waited for it to be over, like making it to the end was something I needed to prove to myself.

At Blue Lake, the last camp I ever attended, the final night was marked by a four-hour concert dreaded all summer long--a chance to make paper cranes out of programs/enjoy orchestral music--and so my heart skipped all it's beats when, on the night of "The Blue Meanine" or whatevs it was called, on my way to the cafeteria in late summer rain, I spotted my father and brother underneath the awning. Dad was wearing a Bulls hat, I remember ... I actually thought I was hallucinating, which was possible, 'cause I spent more than one day in the infirmary crying about my homesickness at that place, and they kept feeding me Pepto ...

Dad: "Oh! Marie! What a surprise to see you here! We were just passing through ..."

Lewis: [giggle giggle] "Hi Marieeeee!"

Me: [melting, OMG!] "Can you take me off-campus? Now? Before the concert?"

Dad: "Well, we certainly didn't come out here to watch a bunch of amateurs toot their own horns for four hours."

The kids, finally, envied me. I still remember eating the Patty Melt [I don't know if this's a universally consumed heart-attack-on-a-plate or not; it's onions, a hamburger, melted cheese on toast] at Big Boys in Twin Lake. Just like heaven...

I suppose returning to any camp for another year woulda been like that "not joining any clubs that'd have me as a member" thing. Implicit in return was the acknowledgement I'd liked it the first time around, that I had particular expectations and that these expectations were resolutely optimistic, validating that last summer, I musta fit in and made friends.

Funny, then, that I eventually chose year-round "camp" for my last two years of high school [a.k.a. boarding school], though not until many of the causes of my perpetual homesickness were no longer relevant. Like, I think Kentucky Fried Chicken is really gross now.


Anonymous said...

i really liked that post. it brings back memories: i was always kind of alienated (?) in summer camp; some things (for example my communication skills - not in english) change for the better...

why does one woman (woman? i suppose so) in the last picture wear a t-shirt with a red star? was she someone superspecial?

i commented before on the blog as "anonymous", because i couldn't think of anything more original (must be the summer heat??). i saw you got "sitemeter" installed, so when you see 10 million clicks a day from austria, maybe it's me checking for new posts, because i don't like google reader (big-brother-is-watching-you-internet-paranoia).

thanks for your writing (and as someone commented before) i also think it improved: it went from pretty good to heaven-like (or so..summerheat, can't think of any better. sorry)

Bourbon said...

I would go crazy with anxiety if I was in that one camp where they don't let you call your parents - like INSANE. #6 made me lol, I cannot believe that they did that to you guys.

Jaime said...

(RK - you should check out bloglines. It's like crack, but in a good way.)

Riese, pardon the theatre dorkery, or just plain confusion, but Rosencranz and Guildenstern aren't in Taming of the Shrew - did you guys import them into Shrew from Hamlet? One summer, in college, doing an "acting apprenticeship" (theatre camp for college, I suppose), I played one of the suitors in Taming of the Shrew. I think that's the only time I ever got to do Shakespeare, which is sorta sad.

I went to lots of Jew-camp when I was little, which was a lot when you added it to the Jew-day-school. (It wasn't crazy Jew-camp, just the Riverdale Y or a JCC busing kids to a massive campground/park/forest in Pearl River. My day school was crazier.) But I kept going back to the same camp, and even, summer after third grade, had a camp boyfriend! But that was too early to do anything, and then just led into the drought of a million-teen years. That was fun.

I was a terribly homesick kid, at sleepovers and overnights, and never graduated to sleep-away camp. Which is sad - I might've loved it. Somehow the massive social agida I got myself into in school - teasing and ostracization that you get for being too smart and too aware of it and maybe also kinda fat - never happened at camp. It was just boating and rope bridges and sucking at sports, but I kinda liked it all. Huh. I miss that.

riese said...

I'll respond to everything ASAP,

but real quick ...


TOTES. Amazing, right? Isn't that FUN? Educational?

[Like ... wha?!!! ... as a precocious 8th grader who'd just played, at age 11, Antipholus of S. in a completely unabridged version of Comedy of Errors, this seemed almost like de-evolution, rather than anything that could be remotely considered "education." The parents loved it! Well, except mine. I told Mom & Dad what they'd done to Shakespeare, and that clearly attendance was totally optional. They opted out. I think we had a few songs. We just sang songs during all the plays. There was a third play, but I can't, for the life of me, remember what it was. It wasn't Shakespeare. Probs like, Angels in America.]

Actually, speaking of R&G, Stoppard wrote a 15-minute Hamlet. Probs was better than ours, which was penned by, I believe, the teacher.

riese said...

I'm sorry, corrections:

The Comedy of Errors.

the "teacher"

riese said...

rk: I had one red shirt. It was my prized possession, because red shirts were last-year-shirts. So the person in the red shirt is probs being like "I was here last year! Look at me!"

I actually haven't really figured out how to use my sitemeter. I mean--I check it to see the overall numbers and overall stats, but ... it's actually really hard to track individual users because there're a lot of readers. [Note: it's hard for me to write stuff like that, I just re-wrote it a lot of times trying not to sound bragging, then realized, I'm retarded and insecure and should stop being this way.] Not like, a MILLION readers, but enough that my little baby mind can't really handle it.

And thanks for the comment, re: my improvement! I agree...:--)

Razia: I know! That's my best anecdote, I use it all the time.

Jamie: I never thought about that, actually, that camp's a place to be freed from your academic reputation, the one that defines you at home. Re: theater, see above. I'm so jealous of your camp boyfriend. Hm.

DH said...

The Zionist camp experiences you write about are fascinating.

I got sent to Christian camp once, allegedly by mistake. I was picked on by ten year old fundamentalists who would condemn me because couldn't recite the Psalms. Then threaten that God would smite me.

ANI said...

This kinda makes me miss camp, in that S/M kind of way. I’ve been to summer camp every summer from 8 to 15 years old. Your top 10 is eerily similar to what I would consider to be my Top 10, the eerie part because I went to highly politicized camps in the Soviet Union. I guess the Zionist camp comes closest. My first camp relationship was in 1984. Pine cones make awesome gifts from 8-yr-old boys, since they are so unique. Major differences I can observe are:

1. Learning how to march in military formation and stand at attention for hours in mosquito-infested taiga is extremely useful for subsequent urban survival.
2. Ditto for learning to shoot a rifle.
3. Ditto for “Faster! Stronger! Further!” type athletic competitions designed to vent energy so the councilors could enjoy their time after lights-out.
4. Ditto for having a red kerchief tied with a square knot as a fashion accessory for EVERY outfit.
5. We had mandatory naps between 2-4 in the afternoon, followed by what the French call “Le goĆ»ter”, and the English “HighTea” – ever tried to put 13 year olds to bed at 2 in the afternoon?
6. Last camp I attended was actually a Summer School for Advanced Placement in Calculus and Physics in the woods (maybe a two hour drive from civilization.) We had class in the morning, and did fuck-all in the afternoon. Campers ranged in age from 14-17, and councilors were lower lever university students – 18-20. Basically no adult supervision and structure whatsoever and lots of raging hormones in the middle of Siberia for four weeks. Then we heard on the transistor radio there’s been a coup d’etat in Moscow, Yeltsin was on a tank, and the only teevee at camp was showing ballet on all channels. We though it might be WWIII or something, and for two days nobody slept or ate anything. Then the Soviet Union fell apart, and we all went back home.

I am sorry about a long comment. I think I need to write an entry about this. BTW, there’s a shoutout for you from lk on my blog (June 11th?)

The Spaz said...

Wow I totally can't top Ani's comment.

I never went to camp. I was always jealous but we were always poor. Then one year when I was in high school and the camp urge had passed, my three brothers and sister were all shipped off to some cheesy welfare camp (I mean camp for disadvantaged youth or somesuch) for seventeen days.

The first day or two was great, no little pests to babysit or argue with or try to avoid. Then I started missing them, the house was too quiet. So I started writing them letters, cheerful things like "We've rented out your bed." or "We gave the cat away." or "We're moving while you're at camp." and that made me feel so much better.

Clearly I am the worst big sister ever ;)

verde said...

"Camp A---us: Better than Mexico City!"...the only mexican girls i think of going to usa's summer camps are upper class girls.
truth is that we, mexicans, are "malinchistas", or maybe not that much malinchistas but it's like we think something is better or perfect just because it's gringo or foreign.
it's somehow funny how everyone here claims to be so open mind but nah, racism and classism predominates around here.
lol i can't stop imagining some of my rich girl classmates sharing dirty sexy mexican songs :P
i'd like to know what you remember of those spanish language lessons.

back on the summer camp thing, i remember watching summer camps themed movies or series or whatever and wanting to be there. the closest thing that i got was one week camps but i kept missing my bed, my family and my bathroom privacy.

i'd like to believe in the whole summercamp/lake swimming/ composingsongsforyourteam/spying boysbathroom/winningtherally/sharing scarystories and eating marshmallows while seating around a bonfire...but homesickness beat all those happy things for me.

Mercury said...

I never went to interlochen camp either... hmmm.. I did this camp called Trail Discovery a few years though, when we had the spare change. which wasn't often, I went like 3 years, when I was like 6 I did the day camp one where you go on little hikes and talk about how you can tell if trees are dead and if mushrooms are poisonous (the red ones w. white dots, avoid always) and then when I was, like, what? 13? I went conoeing for 3 days and kayaking and hiking in the tundra, and it was June, and we wore our rain gear and went and hiked up to where the snow was (yeah... snow) and sledded down on our rubber-clad butts. The sun never set, obvs, but it got pale grey, and we ate instant oatmeal for breakfast, and trekked around some more. All of these affairs were like 2 weeks total and I don't think I ever made any friends with any other 'campers', but I had major crushes on various camp counselors, so it was okay. (I remember when some of the boys stole one of their bras, and she just made fun of them for pronouncing it 'braw', and obvs made them return it. I was like, astounded/wowed/etc/w/e)

the camp where they don't let you call your parents reminds me of my dad, who went on a sort of meltdown spree and didnt let me call my mother or go for a walk or, after we flew 3,000 miles spur of hte moment, leave the hotel room. That sucked. that was spring break.

When I went to West we had a DDF team (stands for Drama, Debate & Forensics. I was Debate. which is obvs, the worst thing to be. OMG. sucked. so hard. anyway) and this guy, did a 10 minute hamlet, SOLO. It was fucking hilarious. He did a puppet show with his hands for the play. haha, it rocked.

excellent post, obvs, as always, hilarious, and keeping me up way too late. I'm going to sleep now.

my word ver is pronouncable: hiatay. Makes me think of hiatus, but it sounds hawaiian. To me, hte person who speaks no hawaiian whatsoever. Although I find that t-shirt everyone wore for a while, with a picture of a fish and its rediculously long hawaiian name on it, very amusing.

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riese said...

Crystal: There was a story like that on TAL! I love how camp lends itself to people interested in brainwashing small children. The isolation, etc.

ANI: Just realized, you aren't on my Google Reader! Waaa! This always happens. Something's off my Google Reader, and I totally miss it forevs. I need to catch up with your blog, and the shout out, etc. Anyhow, your Soviet camp stories are f'in amazing. You should blog about it! How hard core! Totally beats anything some Michigan Zionist camp could possibly come up with, fo' sure.

spaz: It's okay. My Dad used to send me letters with computer graphic drawings of my brother's rats smoking cigarettes. Most of the letters he sent me were, in fact, complete fabrications. I found one, while searching, written in German. It begins: Wie gents? Es geht hier gut. aber ich mochte dich schen! No clue. There'd be two little dots over that "o" if I knew how to do that on my keyboard.

...: Hey! Thanks for commenting. Obvs I just looked up malinchistas. Interesting word. It linked to a book by Octavio Paz. I feel like now I've learned something important today and can sit back now.

I don't remember any of the songs, but i had them in my diary, which I can't find from that year ... I actually could almost speak Spanish, then, because we had k-8 Spanish instruction at our weird smart kids school. Janelle knew Spanish too, but she was way better than me. Of course I know very little now, because I forget languages too fast, because I am dumb. What interested me was how they accessed that market to begin with, you know? Like, I wonder: did they advertise in Mexico? It was before the internet, so I almost forget how things worked then. That boggles me still to this day.

And yeah, homesickness obvs beat all those things for me, too. I believed each year'd be more and more like the movies I saw about summer camp, or like Salute Your Shorts or mostly like in YA novels when they'd go to summer camp. But it aways seemed more like when The Simpsons went to camp.

MERC: Returning to IAA for a second year was the closest thing I ever got to that camp feeling. The camp to school bleedover is ridic though, I felt really weird at first cuz it seemed like everyone already knew everyone from camp.

I always wanted to do Outward Bound.

God, bras used to be so exciting.

Re: your Dad/hotel room--
Your stories about this man never cease to amaze me. I mean, nothing will top the letter written in outline form, but holy shit, that is some crazy ass mean weirdo nonsense. That's what real kidnappers do. At least on the news.

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Anonymous said...

Re the "Chapstick" photo, you may very well haver been the cutest girl in the whole world.

Book Cannibal said...

Re: Camp being a way to brainwash children - I went to surf camp. It totally rocked. It was like, super rad!

I just read BOOT CAMP, a YA novel about those camps where they send drug addicted teens, or teens with authority issues. Y'all should read it, Todd Strasser. One of my friends got "kidnapped" in HS and sent to one in Utah or AZ. She was never the same.

stef said...

a few years ago we uncovered this gem of a letter that my father sent to my little brother while we were at sleepaway camp (paraphrased): dear little jerk, we are paying a lot of $$$ for camp and if you are not having fun that's your problem. i wish i could go to camp. instead i'm working all summer to pay for you to have a lousy time. deal with it. love dad.

Mercury said...

stef: your dad sounds charming like mine.

Riese: pssssssssst, you up? *shines flashlight in face*

verde said...

glad to introduce you to a new term, even if it implies my country's self denial roots...haha

hmmm, i can think of private schools supporting bilingual programs or something like that. and yup, it's intriguing. [in fact i've been spanish googling with no luck...] who knows...maybe they were just trying to teach you dirty mexican lyrics songs but discovered that with the white stripes icky thump video it's easier?

riese said...

MERC: I'm up now! Totes gonna pass you a note real soon.

Stef: Agreed, your Dad sounds like a first-rate asshole.

...: Hi again! It's called Camp Arbutus. Hopefully they won't like, google themselves. The camp people. Because they're weirdos.

BC: I am jealous. It was probs like blue crush. I know some people who went to those places they take you off to in the middle of the night. Sometimes they grow up to be Matty. Sometimes it all works out ok.

MoonKiller said...

I'm reading this while watching Friends. It's the one where Ross gets his new sofa. Proper comedy gold. Friends + Riese = Metaphorical urine running down my leg. That's a good thing, obvs.

We don't have summer camps over in the UK. Don't know whether I'm missing out or not.

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Lew said...

I saw a dad and his two kids eating KFC at the park on Thursday. Friday I got myself a 3-piece. It's still delicious, original recipe? c'mon now!

Anonymous said...

I am actually a repeat offender of the camp A-----s. I started in 1997 and learned my fair share of mexican songs and have been a counselor many times of the "mexican mob". The camp has since changed ownership, but not being allowed to call home is still a constant. I liked it as a camper, it was a way to get the heck away from my parents and their demands. The group shower is still a trip but they have built better bathrooms which have more privacy but you still look straight up into the trees. The place is a trip and I actually have lived in the cabin where your picture was taken.

Anonymous said...

Not trying to criticize anyone. But can someone explain to me why they fear showering nude in front of other girls?

It never bothered me to shower with the other girls at camp or in gym class at school. I think i was already in my 20's before I had ever heard another girl say that she hated showering nude in front of other girls. Until then I never realized that there are some females that are bothered by it.

Anonymous said...

The group showers were the best thing about camp.

Ah, the good old days.