Wednesday, July 12, 2006

More Summer Camp Stories



My mom and dad sent me to camp for the first time when I was six. It was a camp for the children of employees of Union Carbide, in WV. We had cabins with bunk beds, ten to a cabin, with a counselor for each.

I think six is too young to be away for two weeks, especially if you have no siblings there with you. At the end of the first week is parent's visitation. I talked my parents into letting me come home with them because of a very mean cabin-mate I had named J__. I had to sleep in a top bunk, and she was under me. She would wait until I had been quiet for a few minutes and then she would hike up her legs, place her feet on the underside of my bunk and kick with all her might. I was nearly knocked off the bed, and at the least, my sleep was disturbed. I had never encountered someone who practiced being mean just for the fun of it before ( that came later in childhood...LOL) - and I hated being the brunt of her rage. Because of her, my first camp experience was cut short. Too bad I didn't have the cojones to swing down off the bed and plant one foot squarely on her nose!
ITop photo: I am third from the left. Bottom photo: I am under the check mark, third photo down on the right.)

17 comments:

Sandra said...

Hi Kenju! I'm very new to this! A very dear person got me to start a blog. We'll see how it goes. I just wanted to say that I shared a similar experience but in college. I was crying and crying and just wanted my parents to come and pick me up. It was my very first dorm life experience and first time living away from home experience. Thanks for the story. I presently have a 6 year old boy. Poor thing he is always with me. I am a teacher and off for the summer and I can't seem to let him go off to do anything with anyone else or anywhere else. I know I'm being a little too overprotective. Thanks again!

Fran aka Redondowriter said...

Six is very young for a two week camp, but it didn't help that you had a bitch for a roomie. I was probably about 12 when I went for the first time--to Pt. Fermin in San Pedro and I was so achingly homesick I thought I would die. I did not do well being away from home when I was young. Liked your surprise visitor, by the way.

ET said...

My sons used to go to weekend weebelos camp about that age, maybe a year or so older, then Cub Scouts, then Boy Scouts for a week. It is like they worked their way into it.

srp said...

Six does seem a bit too young and at camp I doubt an older sibling would have wanted the embarrassment of looking out for a younger one. Nyssa didn't do any real spend-the-night parties until five or six. As independent as she was and still is, she probably would have taken care of that bully and eventually made her a friend. Still can't figure out where she got that talent.

It looks like girls have ALWAYS tried to look cool and grown-up far above their actual age, doesn't it. :)

Jennifer said...

I never went to summer camp. Well, except basketball camps, nearly three a summer. But they don't count because my dad and brother were always there, too! I always had such romantic ideas about what being "sent to camp" would be like.

Jamie Dawn said...

Your pool looks so sparkling and refreshing!!!
------------

I wish you would have gotten that mean girl back. You were only six, and it is so sad that she ruined your camp experience. I wonder if she always stayed a bully or if she learned to behave like a normal person?
I wish she had a blog now, and I knew where it was.
I'd go over there and leave her a string of curse words.
THAT would show her!! :)

Sandra said...

Hi Kenju! It's me again! Just wanted to say thank you so much for your visit and your comments to my brand new teeny tiny blog. Thank you so much for the story you shared with me also. I'm soo glad you are here to share your thoughts with us. You are sooo super sweet! Take care! By the way, my kids love Harry Potter, too! I have a 6 year old and a 2 year old. Bye!

OldHorsetailSnake said...

I reckon you're not scarred for life, but it wouldn't have amazed me.

Carolyn said...

Oh, so sorry that happened to you! I never went to camp. I was extremely shy as a child. There was a girl like that in 8 & 9th grade in my class though. She targeted me a few times. Pushed me down the stairs at school once and I was so stunned I couldn't get up. People like that are a good reason for birth control, lol!!

Carmi said...

I'm sure the J-girl went on to a life of delinquency and sadness. Nasty kids always do.

You, on the other hand, used it as a learning experience. And continue to teach others the value of goodness to this day.

mar said...

you didn't have the "cojones", lol, do you really use that expression in the US??
What a mean girl, too bad there are still some J-'s around...Have a happy day!

Mother of Invention said...

Hi! From Michele's. I went to Pioneer Camp (bible, but I don't remember a thing about reading it!) at age 7 for 2 weeks. It was a little young but I had my sister and a friend there. We slept in tent cabins and I grew to love summer camp. Went for 8 summers until I became diabetic in '67, then went and/or worked at Diabetic camp for 7 summers...best thing I've done in life!! Met friends I ended up living with and still keep in touch with at age 52!! And it helped me become a teacher! I'll read more of yours later!

Terri said...

I never went to camp and can't say I missed it. Six seems so young to send a child off for two weeks. I agree with Carmi...She's probably as miserable now as she was then.

PI said...

One of my grand-sons returns from cub camp with his sponge bag immaculate.

Mother of Invention said...

We went on covered wagon trips too!

Anonymous said...

Kenju! OMG I went to that camp as well - Cliffside! I also hated it. Do you know there are entire websites devoted to how much fun people had at those camps? I was MISERABLE. Was about seven when I went (1960 or 1961 I think) and only stayed a week. It rained the entire time. There were flash floods in the area. I was covered with ticks. I hated my swimming "buddy". Could not make a damned pot holder for love or money. And a lanyard? Forget it! Tried it a second time - Camp Carlisle that time - at about age 14 at the urging of a friend. A second disaster. Just not a camp kid I guess. Thanks for your memories. Thought there was something wrong with me!
Joanne

kenju said...

Joanne (anonymous),

Thanks for the visit and the comment. I went on to several more years of Carbide Camps, and I had good experiences, for the most part. I don't understand all the people who go to camp reunions, though. I can't even remember anyone from camp, let alone go to a reunion with them....LOL