Thank you so much to Marilyn Miller for this wonderful post!
I wanted to go to Girl Scout Camp. I am not really sure why. I was not a particularly good Girl Scout and none of my friends were going. Perhaps it was the idea of being on my own for two weeks. At 10 years old, I had never stayed away from my family for even one night. I was the oldest of six children, and perhaps I longed for peace and quiet.
My bunkmate was Barbara Glazer. She was, well, perfect. She was tall and thin, and she knew EVERYTHING about camping. She could light a campfire, use a compass, and she was a really good swimmer.
I, on the other hand , was chubby and clumsy. I really did not like the outdoors much, which again begs the question of why I volunteered for summer camp in the first place. I think I envisioned lazy days reading and dreaming while rocking in a hammock – where was the hammock?
On the second day of camp, a counselor came into our bunk to make sure we were keeping everything neat, per camp rules. Apparently I had not made my bed properly, and the counselor turned back the covers to show me the correct method. When she lifted the top sheets, my candy (strictly forbidden!) came tumbling out onto the floor.
The counselor did not fall for my, “Where did that come from?” excuse. Candy treasures confiscated. Demerits issued.
Meal times were often difficult. If you did not care for a certain item, camp policy held that you had to accept a “no thank you” helping, which was a bite or two of the offending food. I was a picky eater as a kid, and I endured a “no thank you” helping of some yucky institutionalized food at almost every meal. I was able to tolerate most of the new flavors until the dreaded day they served hot dogs (yay!) and sauerkraut (boo!). As I passed through the cafeteria line, I tried to skirt the sauerkraut lady, but she caught me, and I meekly asked for my tiny portion.
I took the tray back to my table, and because I was really hungry, devoured the franks and everything on my plate except that glistening little pile of fermented shredded cabbage. I summoned my courage to take the one bite that would fulfill my tasting obligation. Bravely, I lifted the fork to my lips, certain I could consume even this dreadful stuff.
But it was not to be. The smell overwhelmed my senses. I gagged, and in an instant, felt lonely and frightened, and terribly homesick. I missed my mother, and Barbara Glazer, who had not been tremendously kind to me, was instantly at my side, and suggested I tell the counselor that I was sick to my stomach and needed to go to the nurse. The plan worked, and I did not have to eat the sauerkraut. Bless you Barbara, where ever you are!
Imagine my surprise when I walked into the nurse’s office, and realized that Mrs. Damore, a family friend was the camp nurse. Immediately, I broke down and was able to cry a little bit and let go of the tension I had been carrying around for weeks. Mrs. Damore let me cry it out, and then offered me crackers and peanut butter which I enjoyed with a large glass of chocolate milk.
I still hate sauerkraut, and I still miss my mom sometimes, even though I get to see her pretty often. Like that day over 50 years ago, I still find kindness and comfort in the most unexpected places, and it still feels as good as did when I was 10.
We want to hear about YOUR camp experiences! Tell us on our Facebook page, on our Twitter feed or in our comments section below! Want to write a blog post for us? Email gaygasser at mirthinabox.com. Thank you!
Mirth in a Box has camp care packages to help ease your camper’s homesickness! Check out our wide variety of pre made camp care packages or create your own special package using our awesome selection of individual items.