This past weekend I went to a reunion at the camp I worked at in my 20s. I turned 21 my first summer there… at a large lake in New Hampshire. I was fresh! 10 days! from my year abroad in Scotland, when I arrived for the first time.
Before marriage was even thought of. Before kids could possibly be mine. I was there on and off for 4 years, 4 summers. I even spent a summer as Assistant Director.
I can’t tell you, really, what the place means to me… and the memories… and the people.
Walking on the camp road. Those sounds…. its so beautiful there, guys.
My boys rode horses for the first time, they went tubing on the Lake. My girl and I went kayaking, and I was filled with thrill to give and get hugs from people i truly love, even if i haven’t seen them for 20 years.
There is just something about camp people. Hilarity, youth, exuberance, care-taking, youth-guiding… summer people who stay that way on the inside, no matter where they winter.
I had booked the kids and I into the motel in town that we counselors stayed at as kids… on our really fairly-wild nights off… its a dump now… i actually thought about putting a chair in front of the door in case a drunken vacationer thought they had the right door…
i flitted around the camp , i floated… i had my kids to roughly maintain… i lost my boy’s glasses and had a backup pair in the car. I gave hugs, I nuzzled new babies. I recognized and didn’t recognize.
and then I ghosted.
after dinner, the kids were restless for tv and we ran. no singing in the dining hall, no photo ops, and no more conversations. no singing of songs around the campfire. no drinking.
and i feel like i ‘should’ feel bad. and in some senses, i do. i would have liked more time with some people, to find out more about where they are and their lives, and i’m bummed that it will have to be virtual now, instead of in person.
but really, its not shyness, i don’t feel bad and while i may have some regret right now, as i write, at the time, i was 100% on target with what i wanted to do, for me. and i even checked myself, knowing what i might miss.
in the morning, i took the kids out to town, to my breakfast place of yore… and took a spin through the town and noticed how it has aged and changed, like i have…
and the drive home was a breeze. . . the kids read, i hummed…
there is always more, and i’m glad i’m 44, and know myself more now …