My friend Mo sent me this hilarious piece about letters home from camp, courtesy of Rock Center.
As a 3-year veteran of Girl Scout camp, these tales of woe hit rather close to home. I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but … camp happens outside. I was expected to be outside, like, all the time. And we had latrines. Instead of real bathrooms.
It was problematic.
I don’t vividly remember any of the letters I sent home, with the exception of one detailing the giant wood spider that was living in our tent. My tent mates and I thought it was a tarantula, and were seriously terrified. We named it Henry, except I didn’t know how to spell Henry, so my letter home referred to our cabin mascot as “Henerery.” Maybe I was thinking about Peter Noone’s cockney accent in “I’m Henry the VIII, I Am.”
I do remember crying when I received a letter from my mom at my first camp go-round. I was horribly homesick and had diarrhea the entire 4 days I was at camp. Luckily, we’d chosen a short camp session, so I didn’t get all dehydrated and have to be hospitalized or anything.
Two years later, I was an old camp pro. My brother’s letter to me was the most hilARious thing I’d ever read. He’d dictated it to my mom, and asked if I was living in a house or a teapot. I’m pretty sure he meant tepee, but teapot is a valid option – I mean, if they expect you to go to the bathroom outside, who’s to say what else might be normal at camp?
To me, camp falls solidly in the category of “Super Great in Retrospect.” As an adult, I’m glad I had that experience. At the time, it was not what I would classify as “fun” – yet I wanted to go back each year. So, there had to be something in it that felt fun or redeeming. Plus, I would play camp counselor the other 51 weeks of the year, making up rosters of campers and painstakingly assigning them to pretend tents – no teapots. I thought being a camp counselor would be the most exotic, awesome job ever – a belief for which I blame Michael J. Fox and Nancy McKeon.
At camp, I learned that I am allergic to hay. I learned a ton of camp songs, and the proper way to fold a flag. I also learned that if you have to take a bite of a food you hate, you can hold your nose and not taste much of anything – kudos to the counselor who taught us that one.
Did you go to camp? What did you write home about, and what have you carried with you to adulthood?