When I was six, my parents sent me to Cliffside summer camp run by Union Carbide for the children of employees. I had never been away from home before and I was so homesick that I cried myself to sleep every night. That is, when I could have enough quiet and stillness to get to sleep. I had an impediment to that, in the name of Jeanette B.
Jeanette had the bottom bunk and I was unlucky enough to get the top bunk. She was a mean-spirited little kid and every night, just as I was about to go to sleep, she would raise her legs up and kick the springs on my bunk and wake me. She kicked me so hard I was really afraid I'd fall off the bed, so I clung to the side closest to the wall and hoped she'd soon tire of the game.
Don't ask me why I didn't wallop the crap out of her. I should have, but I was not a fighter, and all I could do was tearfully ask her why she picked on me. She just laughed. I was the perfect pawn for her mean ways.
At the end of the first week our parents came to visiting day, and when mine arrived, I cried buckets of tears and begged them to take me home. I don't remember if I told them why, and I also don't remember if I ever told the counselor about Jeanette, but I should have. I know my mom and dad were thinking of the money they had paid for the camp (although minimal) that they'd never get back. I gave them no choice, and they (however reluctantly) took me home with them. I never looked back.
The following year, I was ready to go back to camp, and luckily I attended every year though age 12 and never had another girl like Jeanette in my cabin. The rest of my camp experiences were fun and rewarding, and taught me many life-lessons.
This morning, I checked the obituaries in my home town paper, and there was a name I recognized. Jeanette's 97 year old dad passed away, and there in the obit, was her name. At that instant, I became six again, and relived that week of sleepless nights and tears. I suppose she accomplished one thing with all her kicks: she is the only girl I remember from those camp days so many years ago.