Devoted Spouse and I were taking another walk down memory lane and somehow we arrived at the subject of summer camp. He fondly remembers Boy Scout Camp. I, on the other hand, vividly remember one of the worst experiences of my young life — a week at the summer camp armpit of America; a place in rural Pennsylvania called Camp Nawakwa. It is forever seared in my memory.
I was a pre-teen at the time; a chubby, awkward, unattractive girl who really didn’t do well in social situations. I was tomboyish, spent most of my time reading, could ride a bike well, was a roller skating dynamo, but couldn’t swim. I imagine my father and stepmonster thought summer camp would be good for me — meet some other kids, learn how to macrame, perhaps find someone patient enough to supervise me flailing around in a pool, and just have a thoroughly wonderful experience.
It was unbearably hot. We were in a drought. There was no flipping water in the swimming pool. The food was horrid. I cried. I cried alot. There were 10 girls to a cabin with one counselor. Our counselor was about 16 or 17 years old and I recall she was very nice. But she was also “grown up” and we all were jealous. She wore a bra for goodness sake; something we all could only dream of at that point in our miserable pre-pubescent lives. My one good experience was, believe it or not, macrame. Apparently I had a knack for it. I made all types of useless macrame lanyards.
Well, I feel better now that I finally vented that repressed memory. I may never truly recover from the sense of being left there all alone. I really thought for the longest time that I had done something bad and was being punished.
And the camp? I Googled it and it still exists. It’s a Lutheran (well that explains alot) camp and it’s been in existence since the 1920’s. I can still smell those musty cabins…