I’d like to take a hot bath

And wash away the summer-camp cheer I’ve been immersed in over the last few days. I put on my shiny salesman shoes and visited more than a dozen camps nearby to see if they needed tree work before the season started. What magnificent places! Ballfields and climbing walls, zip lines and a pool and little bungalows where kids go to rest.

I did not see any children, of course, they show up at the end of June.

But I could imagine them having the time of their lives. These pics are from various websites.

I went to sleepaway camp myself, at a YMCA joint in the Berkshires. We also swam, and ate s’mores. We lived in canvas tents that I loved – I thought it was so magical to roll up the sides and let the breeze flow through. Eight to a tent. I was 10 or 11.

Something was eating at my mind as I drove from camp to camp and thought about the privileged kids that went to them. There was always something underneath the surface. I remembered that one girl was African American. She tried to befriend the other girls but had little luck. She was sort of heavy and when she made her way down the trail to the washhouse before curfew, some campers snickered behind her back that she used a whole bar of soap every time she showered.

Racist prigs –at this wholesome, family-style summer camp, where everyone was friends with everyone else, belting out the camp anthem and all that. I look back now and see it as so sad. Now attitudes have changed, supposedly, and intolerance is out of style. But I’d like to know what goes on behind the climbing wall at some of the camps I saw today.

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