I got an email from an old friend of mine a few weeks ago, essentially agreeing with me that this time of year always makes us think about the start of resident camp season, which happens about now.
And, of course, we both voiced the question, "How can they be doing it without us?" The answer could be that, as amazing as it is to realize, there have been many camp seasons since we were there in the beautiful mountains of New Hampshire, and by now we'd be too old to keep up with the real staff people. We were too young when we were on staff - and too busy - to realize how hard we worked. All the time.
Opening day was always fun-matching faces with names I'd worked with all winter, meeting some parents, getting started on another camp session.There was so much for this Midwestern girl to absorb about how Easterners do camp. For one thing, to be gone for a month one packed in a foot locker trunk rather than a suitcase. It was trunks that brought about one of my most memorable pre-camp experiences.
In the small sheaf of pre-camp materials that went to registered campers, we always included information about how to get your trunk to camp if you didn't plan to bring it with you. The best option was to ship your packed trunk via Railway Express. When it was dropped off the truck at a local railroad depot, camp staff was notified so someone could go retrieve it and the trunk would be waiting there when the camper arrived. No problem.
So we followed that practice the first winter I was there. The spring was progressing smoothly toward opening day when we accidentally found out that Railway Express was no longer in business in our remote part of New Hampshire. But families had already shipped their trunks because nobody told them or us that they were no longer being accepted at our end.
Then I was on the search trying to locate these trunks that by then, we figured, were simply riding along aimlessly on a big truck going nowhere. Or maybe they had been dropped off at a depot somewhere, sitting there because no one knew what to do about them.
One thing I did know was that a girl without her clothes and gear would be less than happy when she arrived at camp to stay for four weeks. And so would her parents.
After many frantic phone calls, it seems to me I finally dispatched the camp maintenance man with truck and instructions not to come home till he located all the trunks. Which he eventually did, and the summer proceeded in its usual manner.
But I always checked more thoroughly on such details after that.