The Best Pals are the Old Pals

The people who knew you when you were young are the best ones. You don’t have to work hard to impress them. They know you; they know you from the back.

I spent last Sunday with 13 people I had gone to camp with, talk about an old notion. These days if kids go to camp at all they go for a week or two, and it’s a specialty camp, like for basketball or cheerleading or weight loss. Oh there are still the fine old camps that are fully subscribed every season but their number is dwindling.

Back when I was a kid, parents thought nothing of packing their kids off to eight full weeks of camp. (Everything was cheaper then, and that sure helped.) We all went to camp for eight full weeks as girls. It was the only way we could go. And we didn’t just go in that classic latency age before the hormones hit. We went to camp for six, or nine or eleven summers and then came back as counselors.

Four of the people I saw last Sunday were sisters. There are five of them all together and didn’t the camp photographer love to line them up for a picture! We had five Creaghs, four McSweeneys and on and on.  Here is one of the sisters pictures below.

fernwood sisters

I was in pre-school when some of these former campers met me. My mom and aunt ran the camp is why I was there at such a young age. We lived there. So all these years later in spite of the changes in my face they say they would know me anywhere.

No doubt many remember the time as flag bearer during “colors” my underpants started to sag below my little-girl camp shorts as I marched hup-two-three toward the flagpole. They were touching my knees before I got there.

The people who have seen your underpants fall down and like you in spite of this social gaffe are the people who know you. One camper who wasn’t present at Sunday’s gathering might remember the summer I was so full of myself there was no living with me. She was my counselor for three years so she really saw my faults – and she called me on them.

You can really relax around people who know you that well. This is the camp play I was in during which  what relaxed were my bladder muscles. I wet my maroon  crepe paper beet costume just moments before the curtain went  up I remember. I wept with shame after my scene and ran to my mother sitting in the back of the theatre. She didn’t care about my wet pants. She pulled me into her lap and comforted me

the time i was a beet

You guys, who read this blog, know me. If you’ve been reading it for a while you know about the time my big sister Nan and I peed in the upstairs hall during our naps and left the puddles there on the hall rug,  each with a small corsage of t.p. in its midst, something we did for the sheer naughty fun of it. I think we must have  sensed that there was some sort of frisky fun associated with what resides in a person’s pants and pee was the closest we could come to imagining what it was.

Well enough on THIS theme! I’ll sum up here by only saying that we might like people to look upon us as some new Mother Theresa, some new Dalai Lama, but the truth is we’re more comfortable with people who have really got our number.

What fun I had with my old friends Sunday! And that’s without even singing the great old camp songs like John Jacob Jingle Heimerschmidt! 🙂

9 thoughts on “The Best Pals are the Old Pals

  1. camp was such a blessed experience! i went to day camp for years and years with my sister because my mom had to work and i wouldn’t trade those days and memories for anything. i just wish i stayed on longer. now the camp is gone and the land has been sold. i took a ride there some years back to show my kids and all those familiar roads were transformed with huge houses taking the place of the acres and acres of beauty that used to be.
    i loved reading this post, it brought back so many great memories, t. xoxoxo
    happy new year!

    1. Should have known you were a ‘camp’ girl Nic! It’s so sad when they knock down and erase the things we love isn’t it? Our place in NH stands next to what were once the grounds of one of the fine old camps from the 1920s.. Even though I have no connection with that camp, I can tell where the flagpole stood, and where the main building was. I can FEEL it, the way General Patton in Africa said he felt the legendary ancient sacking of Carthage……
      Happy New Year to you too dearie!

      1. boy, do i wish the camp was still there. it was a truly remarkable place that now only lives on in pictures (a not many) and vivid memories! i would have loved to show my kids. xo

  2. I can only imagine the wonderful time you had on Sunday. Wish I could have been there with you!
    Perhaps another time & in better weather – we had 28 inches of snow here in Maine – no one went any where on Sunday! Thanks for “John, Jacob,…” My dog thinks I’ve gone over the edge! as I sang it to him! Peace & love to all, Percey

  3. Terry, Sheil, Carolyn, Eleanor, Marylou, Ina, Ann, Mary, Kathy B, Karen, Adele, Brenda, Ellen. Where they all there? Did I miss anyone?!
    Best summers of my childhood! Love em all!

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