Every year or so since I…
Every year or so since I was 7, My aunt shipped as many of us as she could to relatives or summer camp. I’ve been through some interesting summer camps in my lifetime. I thought it cool to reminisce about parent-paid, state-funded, obligatory, or otherwise summer camp fiascos or great times spent away from your city. Because as you know,wherever you go, you take a little piece of Brooklyn with you.
My very first summer camp experience was spending an entire summer (which started out as only two weeks) with a family of Quakers in Pennsylvania, through Fresh Air Fund. My mom became very ill and the family offered to keep me longer. I was the oldest of their children(two daughters) and had to do the more serious work.
Being from Brooklyn, waking up at 5:00 in the morning to board a tractor with the father and cruise along much more than 75 acres of land, stopping along the way to milk cows, get eggs from their huge poultry farm, pick strawberrys for our excellent crepe and fresh milk with fresh honey breakfasts, was an amazing experience. I was in pain for the first few weeks. Although I could play any kid under the table, this was work, and it felt totally different. By all standards this family wasn’t poor land-wise. This was kind of like the “South Fork” of Quarker-owned land where all work was peformed through hand-labor.
Many of their ways were exactly the same as my family’s. Like once, we were riding in the horse-drawn buggy and the little girl was nagging her mom trying to climb into the front seat, when her mom back-slapped her to the back. It reminded me of my grandmother and her nervous lightning speed back-slaps…. kind of made me feel right at home.
We went to sunday school every day. Sang “Yes Jesus Loves Me” constantly, were very hard working and mindful of one another. I stuck out like a sore thumb, yet the kids hung with me and we had a great time.
The family bought me my first brand new bike, and we all cried profusely when parting. That summer my mom and the young father of that family passed and we had each other to lean on.
There’s so many summers to talk about, let’s start a summer camp discussion, let each other know what unsuspecting societies Brooklyn unleashed it’s children on, back “in the day”.