Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer Camp: A Matter of Perspective

When I was six years old I went to summer camp for the first time. A few weeks prior to going, my mother, the queen of organization, began the process of getting me “ready” for camp.  Even though I’d only be gone for a week, my mother dutifully ironed name tags on every article of clothing. I marveled that “getting ready” took longer than the week I’d actually be at camp. The inside of my new footlocker reminded me of our grocery’s neatly stacked produce department— filled with neat rows of pressed jeans, shorts, tee shirts, socks, PJs and white cotton undies.  Mother’s words “nice and neat” floated around the designated packing area like butterflies looking for a way out.

The day before I was to leave, my dad surprised me with a Brownie camera. He loaded the film and gave me instructions on how to use it.  I only had film for twenty four pictures so I had to make each one count.    

Camp was everything I’d hoped it would be. I was part of a large, loud and happy band of little girls who rode, swam, made leather tooled
billfolds and hair clips and ate homemade ice cream, we’d hand cranked ourselves. 

After three days of taking pictures, my film was used up so I carefully put the camera back into its box and tucked it neatly into the corner of my trunk; my mother’s reminder to “keep things nice and neat” lingered in my brain.

End of camp came too soon but my parents assured me that I could come again next year. When we arrived back home my dad carried my trunk into the laundry room. Minutes later my mother called me, sounding none too pleased.   

“What is this?” she frowned, looking at my orderly, virtually untouched clothes. “What on earth did you wear all week? Everything is still in here just the way I packed it.”
“Every day I put on clean undies,” I explained, “but my favorite jeans and tee shirt never got dirty so I kept wearing them. Didn’t I do a good job keeping everything nice and neat?”

I still remember her, hands on hips, indignantly staring down at me.  “I told you to be nice and neat. I wanted YOU to put on clean clothes every day.” To myself, I thought she should have been a little more specific but I kept it to my six year old self.
A few days later my dad came home with my camp photos.  Excited, I spread them out on the kitchen table.  When he saw my photos of a horse’s eye, a whiskered muzzle, part of a head but no body and not one single person, he asked me where the people were.  I told him I could see people anywhere, but not horses.  Then he asked me why I didn’t have a picture of a whole horse.  I explained that I was a lot shorter than a grown up and had to look “up” at practically everything and take what I could get.  He chuckled and gave me a hug. “I guess we have different perspectives.”

In the other room, my mother muttered, “Tell me about it!”


Anonymous said...

Very funny. Loved the photos.

Amara Cudney said...

I've seen this before Christy, and I love it. Ialso love " "prime plus". Lookin' good.

Margo Dill said...

Hi Christy:
I see you've got the comments fixed now and that you moved things around on your sidebar. Looks good! Just thought I would stop by to see how things are going!

Beth Berndt said...

I love this! I think your photos of the horses are beautiful and I like the different ways they are shown. It makes them interesting. Great post!

Christy McKee said...

Beth, thank you so much. Sorry to be slow responding. We've been in Alaska and just returned home.