Surely we’re all waking up? Aren’t we? I mean, do people still just sit there in front of the television, letting there brains turn to Smash? Does anybody drive up to McDonalds or Burger king of KFC and think… This is a really good idea? Do you remember when it was hard to find the answer to a question? When a mis-spelt word meant a mis-spent 20 minutes with your face in a dictionary? Do people really just let that go? Not know the answer and leave it open, like a big black hole? Or see that little red line under a word and think… Meh, that’ll do. Are there people who think Facebook is really connecting the world? That Victorian classrooms can teach the children of our impossible future? Do people still say “Till death do us part” or worse “to honour and obey”? Do women still obey anyone? Is there anybody who still believes in magic? Anybody who thinks to be intelligent may be the best idea they ever had. Has everybody forgotten the old movies? The dusty books? That breakfast does not come in a biscuit? Surely we’re all waking up, aren’t we? To all the things our grandparents taught us, that vegetables are important? That respect should be earnt? That working hard isn’t easy? That wars can be won, even the ones in your front room? That hand written letters are beautiful and that a thank you goes a long way. In a world where everythings changing, the most important things stay the same. Like love, happiness and home.
I am not 12, I am not American and I am not Jewish and for these three reasons it’s sort of unusual that I have ever had a “first day at camp” experience, never mind 6 of them. My first, first day at camp was probably one of the worst days of my life… Arriving in a bizzare land miles from any form of civilization. After a 9 hour plane ride via Boston and a 3 hour wait at Newark airport (hardly the most exciting of airports) we were finally collected by a pretty terrifying human being. This terrifying person called “Josh” went on to inform me and my fellow UK adventurers that the man who owned the camp where we would be spending the next three months of our lives was potentially one of the scariest men alive. Angry, a giant and eager to fire any excess staff in the first week we were all erm… well… Shitting our little English pants.
We arrive, finally, at 1am and were shown to our bunks… which I quickly learnt was American for shed. We were given the worlds thinnest bed sheets (even though it was about 2 degrees outside) and wished a goodnight. In 24 hours I had gone from an 18 year old girl from the “nice part” of Liverpool to frozen girl lying on the worlds thinnest mattress with the worlds thinnest sheets, in a shed called a bunk, in the freezing cold, on the other side of the world, in the middle of nowhere, in the dead of night. Brilliant.
Anyway six years later the thought of that “first day of camp” is what keeps me going on the dullest of English rainy days. Now the first day of camp means going back home. I have graduated from life in the “bunks” (thank god) and I now live with my friends in our own little corners of camp. I work as a full time teacher / director through the year and for the past few summers I have had to arrive at camp late. Those few weeks, knowing that everybody is together and seeing everybody’s photographs on facebook are some pretty tough times. However, arriving late does mean I get my very own arrival day and yeah… It’s the best feeling in the world.
The year before last I arrived during a meal, I just dropped my bags on the floor and hands shaking pulled open the doors to the dining room. It was like… Walking into your own funeral and I know that sounds like… the weirdest analogy ever but, at your funeral everyone thinks they’re never going to see you again and then you walk through the doors and… Everyone who was at your funeral knows you and loves you… And there you are, real again and everybody is just so happy because you’re there. They had to make an announcement for the kids to sit down because so many of them had rushed to the doors to see me. Hugging my best friends in the world after not seeing most of them for over a year, hug, after, hug, after hug. I can’t put into words how wonderful it is to feel that loved.
So… On the rainy days, I always think of that day, those days, my favourite day of the year. The day that just being me and being there is enough. The day that I get to see all my friends, all together, in one place and then we get to stay together, in one place for 9 weeks. In the sunshine, making theatre, eating ice cream, playing the guitar and forgetting everything that isn’t in our little bubble. It’s coming up, really soon. I CAN’T WAIT.
Apples, Breakfast, Camp, Daffodils, Eden Project, Frogs, Green, Home, Igloos, Jam Sandwiches, Karma, Love, Moomins, New York, Oddity, Pennys, Queens, Rainbows, Sweets, Tomorrow, Understatements, Victoria, West Kirby, Xylophone, Zoo.