The Drop-Off

For the fourth straight year, my friend Laura and I have driven our two eldest girls to camp very early on a Sunday morning, and the younger two now going for their second year.  Overnight camp at the YMCA, or where ever you choose to go, is such a rite of passage.  I wish that all kids had this opportunity.  They get to explore outside their town, their families, their boundaries and meet people from other cities, states, countries as their bunkmates, roommates, counselors, and friends.

So much of camp seems the same as when I went–horse back riding, boating, swimming, crafts, archery,  group songs, family style meals, woods, group bathrooms, chores, fun, fun.   The worst part for us is waiting for check-in, arriving early so the girls can secure a good bunk near each other,  the crowds pushing forward–every group wanting the same, the newbies wide-eyed.  It’s a bit crazy.

I remember when Lisa and I went to camp.  It was August of 1977, and we took an 8 hour (!!) bus drive to southern IL.  Yes, we had one freak in our room who told us she had heart medicine that we would all DIE if we took, pretended to talk in her sleep, and swore Lisa would go straight-to-hell for going up to communion as a non-Catholic, because as a 13-year old she was too embarrassed to stay in her seat, alone.

She joyfully broke the news to me that Elvis had died when she heard in a letter from home, knowing I was a huge Elvis fan. I was convinced she was lying, but wrote my mom just in case to save me all the headlines and newspapers—which I still have today in my yellowed Elvis scrapbook.

I remember our relay race–everyone in the cabin participated–with Lisa riding the horse (boy, was I jealous!) and I sprained my ankle tripping over a raised root in the path.  Then everyone else was jealous of me because I got to see the cute, friendly doctor as he wrapped my ankle, and he let me hold newborn kittens each visit.

I wonder what my girls will remember from their yearly camp visits, other than the great songs we learn from them (“there were 3 little muffins in the bakery shop…”), the friends they can keep in touch with online, and the 1000 types of friendship  bracelets they can make.  I hope they will remember their routine of driving with their moms, the bakery we stop at for lunch, waiting in lines,racing to cabins, and many quiet and loud moments that I am sadly not a part of.

Me, I will remember the 6-7 hours Laura and I get to listen to the girls’ giggle and talk and that we get to catch up, uninterrupted on the way home.  and maybe route 65 closed, while we are SO thankful to have the iphone GPS.

Camp.  Everyone should go! C


2 thoughts on “The Drop-Off

  1. Lisa Greenstein

    I definitely remember going to Camp Ondesonk. I also remember the freaky girl who was definitely crying out for attention. But I also remember the great spirit that was a strong part of the camp. We made up cheers for our cabin that we shared at dinner each night. We also made up a song that we sang before the relay race.
    That great feeling of being in nature and feeling that camp spirit was what motivated me to be a camp counselor during the summers of my college years.
    I am in the process of getting my son ready for camp since he leaves in eleven days. One thing that is very different than when Cindy and I went to camp is that I can check the website each night and see pictures of camp. Even in photographs, it is easy to see the amazing camp spirit as kids from all over the world are singing, eating, and hanging out with each other.
    I agree that there is no experience like camp!

    1. haveanopinion

      I couldn’t remember the name of the camp. Glad you did! I agree that I enjoy searching for my girls’ pictures online each morning. I thought of that after I finished the post last night. The girls also make up cabin cheers. Not too much has changed–especially since they can’t bring their phones, ipods, hair straighteners and curlers, Nintendo DS, etc..

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