Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Summer Camp memories

Today I had a little trip down memory lane that made me think of summer camp. I drove to Deering, NH, about an hour away from my house, to do a home visit for a potential adopter of a dog. I went to summer camp in Deering, so that got me remembering. Then on my way home, I drove through Bennington, and I drove right by the entrance to another camp I went to. So that got me to really remembering!

Quanset Sailing Camp on Cape Cod was the first camp I went to. I was 10 and it was the summer of 1974. I had an awful time there for the most part. I was less mature than girls my own age and I was also very very shy and always had the feeling that people didn't like me, so this was a bad mix. I remember one incident that happened when peoples' things in my bunk house started to go missing. I wasn't missing anything, and of course, my bunkmates suspected me so they locked me out of the bunkhouse and went through the stuff in my trunk. They laughed at my undershirts. It was so traumatic that I remember it to this day.

I don't want to say that it was all awful, but a lot of it was. I did learn swear words. I also found out what a tick is, which I hadn't known up until that point. We saw movies every Friday. I remember seeing "Brian's Song" "Bless the Beasts and Children" and "Brighty of the Grand Canyon" there. We did learn to sail, but I've forgotten how now. These were the boats that we learned on.

I did get to ride horses there and that was fun. The camp closed in 1976.

The next summer I went to Sutherland's Riding Camp in Deering. I googled it but was unable to find any pictures or references to it. This was my favorite camp of the three. It was horse-intensive. I went for two weeks and each week we were "given" a horse and a pony to take care of for that whole week. We were primarily responsible for the well-being of those animals, and had to feed them every morning and evening, muck stalls, brush them, etc. The ponies were across the street and weren't for riding, just for caring-for. The horse we were responsible for was the horse we rode for instruction. I just loved being there. My sisters hated it and one of them even left early, she hated it that much.

The next summer - 1976 - I wanted to go back to Sutherland's, but my parents didn't want to send me there; I think because my sisters hated it. So instead, my sisters and I went to Winamac in Bennington. Like I said, I drove by the entrance today, marked by a tiny sign still. The driveway looked unmaintained, so as much as I wanted to drive down it, I did not. This was not a good experience either, as the maturity gap between kids my age and me was by now even greater than when I was 10. I was 12 and the other girls were shaving their legs, talking about smoking and boys and I was still in the horse-crazed preadolescent phase. It scared me and I was extremely uncomfortable there. I hated my bunk house so much, I moved into my sister's bunk with kids 2 years younger than me.

The camp closed a few years ago after the death of the owner. There is a facebook page devoted to it as well as a memorial website at Winamac.com. I don't have too many memories of it but I do remember a beautiful appaloosa names Mantis, spending the Bicentennial 4th of July in downtown Greenfield, NH, and sleeping on the top of Pack Monadnock on the ground.

That's it for my camp experiences. The next 3 summers, my family rented a house at the beach for a month instead of us kids going away. Those days were much more fun.

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