Daughters and their Moms Part Two

Mothers and daughters, man! When I was growing up my family ran Catholic girls camp, to which a number of wealthy Puerto Rican families sent their daughters. Winter in U.S. boarding school, summer at Came Fernwood in the Berkshires. We had Carmen, we had Isabel, we had Marisol and so on.

This last one, Marisol had a wide friendly face and, like all the girls, heavily accented English.

On Parents Weekend when all the families arrived for the festivities, the campers would be gathered on the porch of the dining hall waiting for the bugle call that would let everyone go inside for lunch. It was the perfect spot to watch for arriving parents.

My mom told the story about one such time, when on the parents of a number of these exotic Puerto Rican kids seemed to arrive all together, as they probably would have, having just checked in to the swanky Crane Inn in nearby Dalton.

In a phalanx now, the women were walking together, ahead of their men, eager to see their little girls. There were four of them, all in designer dresses and clinking with jewelry, chiffon head scarves protecting their perfectly coiffed hairdos. They almost looked like these ladies, only like 40 years ago.


Marisol with her little round cheeks stood beside my mom watching their approach.

“Which one is your mother, honey?” my Mom leaned down to ask.

Marisol regarded the four handsome women, three as tall and slender as those Berkshire birches all around us and the third ….much less tall.

She said something my mother couldn’t quite hear.

“Once again Marisol? I didn’t catch that.”

“My mohther,” Marisol said, her eyes on Mom Number Four. My mohther ees de leetle fat one.”

And there it is. Travel the world and you’ll see it. Far and wide at a certain age, all daughters give their moms the critical eye.

Now just for fun, here is a small segment of the cast of The King and I. Marisol is in here. See if you can guess which one she is. Gad! A dozen little girls in their bathrobes with Joan Crawford makeup! I’m in there too, I see.

in the mikado

And here’s another play featuring the drama geeks of Camp Fernwood. Marisol again I see. And Yours Truly too. (You don’t suppose the MOTHERS were embarrassed by the DAUGHTERS ever, do you?

drama geeks

10 thoughts on “Daughters and their Moms Part Two

  1. That’s MaryLou on the brink of laughter! Eleanor there too! Thanks Becky. My first reaction was Somebody should send that kid to her room with no supper .. In Sheil’s family they called that behavior LFA. Looking For Attention.. I sure did that !

  2. Those are the years I missed out on, Ter. Marylou shot past Eleanor in height, you clearly broke through your shyness, Nan went from a grasshopper to gorgeous. I met Meredith O for the first time at the 2010 reunion!

    1. you say it all here, the grasshopper, the growth, the emergence of hamminess to cover uncertainty on my part.. Wish we had had you at camp right until the end but you grew up yourself alas…

  3. I was lokking up Camp Fernwood on the web and, what a surprise!
    I was one of the Puerto Rican girsl who went to Fernwood, probably 1960-61. I cherish those summers as the best ones of my life. Carmen was my older sister and Marisol her best friend. Isabel was with me in “baby’s” Greylock? And tried to escape every night to be with the older girls. I still keep a lot of photos from those summers and have some of that same play- obviously, mothers were not that embarassed since they bought them!
    Carmen and Marisol passed away but all the others: Marife, Margarita, Aglaee… Still live in PR.
    What happened to Fernwood?

    1. Olga is that you? I am just seeing this now! I am so sorry to hear that about Carmen and Marisol but wait til I tell the others you found us! Pucci taught me what it was to be glamorous even at age 11.
      Fernwood was sold by my mother and aunt to a pair who then sold it to the wonderful Lein family who have been running it as Camp Emerson ever since.. My son went there for three years and just loved it .
      Remind me who was in your cabin. And … can you send me your email address so I can send you some pix and get refreshed about who I am looking at? Who were YOUR good friends?

      1. Hi, Terry — As I just wrote to Olga B, I was Cabin 1 counselor around 1960, when I was in college. I loved Camp Fernwood and Grace and Cal and all of you. This morning just by chance I googled “Camp Fernwood” — and there you were with your stories and pix. Of course I remember you and Nanny well. My very best to you both! Mary Purcell

      2. What joy to read this Mary – i picture you exactly right now .. Think i even have that Cabin One picture of you and your little campers .. (I was so young when I started camp i was in Greylock for seven years!) would love to learn more of you.. Im at terrymarotta in gmail world .. Blessings !

    2. Hi, Olga! I was the counselor in Cabin One (in 1960?) and I remember you well — and Marisol Freiria and her sister Margarita and many others of you lovely PR girls. The Carmen I remember was Carmen Alvarez (and her sister Mercedes) from Cuba. I don’t remember your sister Carmen. I’m sorry to hear that she and Marisol have passed away. You PR girls were so nice to me, trying to teach me a little Spanish. My very best wishes to you. Mary Purcell

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