In the summer of my sixth-grade year I traveled by train from Mississippi to an all-girls camp at Tallulah Falls Georgia. The price of food on the train was a shock, but the rest of the visit provided a new and inspiring experience. The formal tennis lessons were easy and fun, as were the canoe instructions. Riding horses ‘English’ style was new, and I can still recall the owner chuckling when I – the barrel racer – asked if we could ‘lope.’
A new friend Sally and I cherished our free time, and we often explored the wilder areas, scrambling up the cascading streams and picking wild blueberries. I remember the letters from home – and chuckle that my mother said that my somewhat new horse had thrown my brother-in-law when he tried to ride her bareback. Her letters almost always had interesting news, and I still recall those stories with a wistful smile.
Art projects were fun, as were the campfires and group singing. Although I could swim pretty well, I appreciated the formal lessons to master the American Crawl, the Butterfly and the Sidestroke. I don’t remember one thing about diving lessons, but perhaps I blocked that experience out because of a backwards-flip accident in my past! The ability to tread water and lifesaving exercises were greatly appreciated.
The experience that still burns strongest was “Parents’ Weekend.” My parents lived far away, but Sally’s parents drove up from Florida. The camp instructors selected Sally and me to display tennis skills. They also selected me to participate in synchronized swimming. We trained for the latter event, and I thought that I might drown during those practice sessions!
On Parents’ Day, I did not drown but suspect that everyone spotted the lone swimmer who struggled from start to finish! Transport her to the horse arena, por favor – English tack and all!
Holding to that swimming-performance memory, I share a video that my friend Dady shared with me. You will understand why I am reminiscing about my time at summer camp!
So calming, and in these times we need a lot of ‘calm.