Fifty years ago this month, I hopped on a bus in New York City and headed, with a bunch of other 14-year-olds, to Lakeville, Connecticut, to a most unusual summer camp–one with French counselors, guitar lessons, and lots of free time.
Few boys, dreadful food, and gleepy green scum at the bottom of the lake--but the swimming, waterskiing, and guitar playing more than made up for it.
Given my strong resistance to regimentation, which had become evident during three disastrous years in day camp (where I finally went on strike after having to weave one too many potholders), I was amazed when my parents proposed Children’s Colony, a sleep-away camp. The description intrigued me–clearly a 60s vibe, with small cabins instead of large dorms, a lake, and plenty of opportunities to speak French.
Each cabin at the camp housed four people, two per room, and had its own indoor bathroom. No hiking to primitive outdoor facilities required (what were we supposed to learn from that anyway?). The three other girls in my cabin and I were in the advanced French group (I’d had French classes for four years), so we had the counselor who spoke the least English. We thought she was very elegant. Our French improved greatly.
There were some drawbacks: few boys, dreadful food, and gleepy green scum at the bottom of the lake–but the swimming, water skiing, and guitar playing made up for it. Most of all, the ambiance was relaxed. No color wars, silly competitions, or lining up. We swam across the lake and learned to water ski. I got up the first time. I read several books. It was wonderful to be able to do what I was good at and enjoyed. Well, I wasn’t good at the guitar, but enjoyed it nonetheless.
Given that it was the Summer of Love, we heard a lot of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club band, and went on a “far-out” day trip to Provincetown on Cape Cod. But those details will have to wait for the Summer of Love prompt.
I have recently retired from a marketing and technical writing and editing career and am thoroughly enjoying writing for myself and others.