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Letters fom camp, 1977
Bar Harbor
alexx_kay
In 1977, my parents sent me to a summer camp in New Hampshire for most of July. I wrote them letters or postcards almost every day, and they saved them. I've transcribed these rather than scanned them, as no one else should be subjected to my handwriting (or the cutesy 70's kid stationery). I myself had trouble with it, but have attempted to leave the incorrect spelling and punctuation intact. Dates are mostly extrapolated guesses from postmarks, and may well be inaccurate. Commentary from the present in [brackets].

7/2/77
Dear Mom + Dad,
Everything is fine at camp. Last night I couldn't get to sleep until about 1:00. Today I had arts + crafts I leaned some origami and made a monster who turned into a boat. I have 4 roomates whose names are Ceppy (pronounced Seppy), Sorren, Murphy and Jeffery
Your Loving Son,
Alex
P.S. Last night we read comic books.
P.S. I found a LEECH today swimming

7/3/77
Dear Mom + Dad,
Today I did some arts and crafts. I did tie dyeing. I'm going to do some more tomorrow. I have been having a good time at camp last night We had a play contest. We had to make up a play "The Pen Who Couldn't Write" (we didn't win) Tomorrow is my birthday. I am looking forward to it.
Love, Alex
P.S. Tonight we had the camp meeting and will soon finish the
P.S. Cont. Mr. Magoo movie we started Friday. [I have a vague memory suggesting that this was Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol.]

7/4/77
Dear Mom + Dad,
Well, today is my birthday. It's the worset one Ive ever had. For a morning present my classmates gave me 10 punches and 1 for good luck, a pinch to grow an inch, a kick not to get sick, a slap not to stay back, and a punch not to choke on lunch. Also throughout the day 20 assorted punches ect. And at Mr. Mouldauer joked about my present and wouldn't give it to me. Total: 40 punches, kicks, ect. Mom! Take me home!
Love,
Alex
P.S. This is all true. [So, *was* that all true? Idunno. On the one hand, I don't remember that stuff. On the other hand, I was frequently subjected to bullying in my youth, and (according to mom) blocked out a lot of memories from around that time. Also note the first indication that, despite the salutation, I really thought of these as letters to mom, specifically.]

7/5/77
Dear mom + dad,
I want to tell you about the bonfire we had last night. Because it was my birthday, I got to make it! I caught 2 fireflies last night. If you get an envelope in the mail, it is all the postcards I have written Some of them aren't for you. Please send them on. Heard you got to Boothbay. Hope you have a good time. [Were they vacationing in Maine?] By-the-way cancel that "take me home"
Love,
Alex
P.S. I saw 3 GIANT frogs today, and I had a giant mosquitoe bite size is indicated in paw [There was a bear picture in the background of the stationery. I had drawn inside its paw an oval about 1 x 1 1/2 inches.]

7/6/77
Dear Mom + Dad,
I am having a great time at camp! Today I played bad-miton, and I'm good at it! (There were Small, O, Strawberries near there.) [Was I waxing poetic there? Idunno. But my love of fresh-picked berries goes WAY back. Random memory: yellow-jackets in the berry fields getting tangled in my hair.] Today I also went canoe-ing, and I got a chance to paddle! When I played Frisbee today, I almost broke some fingers with it.
Love,
Alex
P.S. Got both your letters (The
P.S. cont. Wednesday one was funny.).
P.S. I did the back float today!
[Random memory: The wife of the camp owner was rather stout, and had a one-piece bathing suit. Some camp-mates referred to it, crassly but memorably, as an "over-the-shoulder boulder holder".]

7/8/77
Dear Mom + Dad,
I had some more badminton today. It was very fun. It is 8 or 9 days until visiting day. I am looking forward to it. Today we had a new kind of drama (I don't know why they call it different). At first we pretended we were blind. We closed our eyes, hung onto each other, and were led by our open-eyed leader. Then we guessed were we were. Also we played a game where two counselers were hunters, and the rest of us were rabbits, The hunters tried to hit us with the ball. Then we became hunters. The last rabbit won. See you soon
Love,
Alex
P.S. I won once.

7/9/77
Dear Mom + Dad,
Thanks a lot for the moccasins. They look nice, though they're a bit big. I am glad your finger is better. I hope you find out what dads allergy is, and I'm sure he's going to wear protective clothing. I'm glad grampa was only suffering from too much asprin. [Nice that I paid attention to family goings-on at the time, but I now have NO memory of what any of that was about.] Today I played some ping-pong. (not very well). Only 7 or 8 days till visiting day. See you soon. **Tonight we saw a movie about, pollution, and part I of Macbeth [This was the Polanski version. I vividly remember it as an early media-studies learning experience. In discussing the film afterward, I talked about how gross it was that they showed an actual beheading at the end. The head of the camp informed me that they *hadn't*; they had just suggested it strongly enough that I *thought* I had seen it. Speaking of Shakespeare, I have a vague memory that one of the counselers claimed to be some sort of Danish Prince, doing odd jobs (such as camp counseler) to travel and see the world.] See you soon
Love,
Alex
P.S. I think bright purple or blue would be a nice color. [For? No idea.]

7/10/77
Dear Mom + Dad,
I would like to tell you about what we did last night. We went on a campout. It was fun There was a cliff just perfect for climbing. It had mica all over it and I got a whole pocketful! I saw a cliff mouse. He could run down the cliff! I got to sleep about 4:00 that time. Got both your postcards. They were very nice. See you soon.
Love,
Alex

7/11/77
Dear Mom and Dad,
Today is mixed-up Monday. For breakfast we had: juice, milk, french toast, and cereal. That may not sound strange, but consider the juice was ice cream, The milk was orange soda, the french toast was in strips, and the cereal was 7 kinds mixed. Today I climbed Mt. Cardigan (2,120 ft.). There were a billion blueberries. [We were supposed to share all the berries we picked. Me and my roommates hid some in our water canteens. And then forgot about them until they had fermented...] I had a terrible day today. Take me home for good.
Love,
Alex
P.S. Don't cancel it. [Presumably referring to the continued pleas of "take me home", see 7/5.]

7/12/77
Dear Mom + Dad,
I am glad you got an A on your course! Congratulations! I hope you remembered to bring my oz books to Bill and Kathy. [Bill and Kathy were family friends. Not sure why I wanted my Oz books at their place. Maybe I was going to visit them after camp?] Today I went on a 3 1/2 mile round trip to a covered bridge. Boy! were my feet relieved to feel that cool water. While I am writing this I am watching TEN MILLION bugs over me. I have to move now. See you soon.
Love,
Alex
P.S. I got a blister today.

7/15/77
Dear Mom + dad,
Things are better here. I am glad we're going to "blueberry island" when I get home. [Mt. Desert Island, in Maine, a favored family vacation spot, with many blueberries.] I'm looking forward to seeing Kerrie [Dad's youngest sister] + Vinnie [her husband] + cousin Pauley, and I'm counting the days until visiting day. See you soon.
Love,
Alex
P.S. I still want
P.S. (cont.) to go home

7/16/77
Dear Mom + Dad,
Last night we saw a movie about Russian song + dance. It was boring. Not much is happening here. I want to go home definitely.
Love,
Alex
P.S. What day are you coming

7/17/77
Dear Mom + Dad,
I haven't much to write about things are pretty boring down here The wheather is very hot. Visiting day is tomorrow + the next day. Which one are you coming.
Love,
Alex
P.S. please Take me home then. Will ya?

7/20/77
Dear Mom and Dad,
A while ago I tie dyed all my shirts. Soon there is going to be a carnival at camp. Everyone makes the games and we all play them. See you soon,
Love,
Alex

7/21/77
Dear Mom + Dad
I am having fun today. We get to do any activity we want. Last night we saw a neat movie. It was about a bunch of packages that got mixed in the mail. It was called the wrong box. [That's a … pretty shallow description of a very funny movie, one of Marian's favorites.] See you soon.
Love,
Alex

7/22/77
Dear Mom + Dad,
It was great talking to you last night. Our play came along good. Our drama counseler sneaked us: jellybeans, tic-tacs, and gum! By the way, I got the gum you sent. [Snacks like this were forbidden at camp, but my folks smuggled me a few slices of Juicyfruit gum taped to the bottom of their letters. Until they got caught!] For the carnival we are having a duck hunt moving target game (using tennis balls). Things are going good here. See you soon.
Love,
Alex
P.S. The gum tastes good.

7/25/77
Dear Mom + Dad,
So much is happening that I haven't had a chance to write lately. 2 days ago we had our carnival, and I got 1 lollipop, and 3 reeses peanut butter caps. Yesterday we went on a sleepout on Cardigan. The sunrise was spectacular! (It was also from 4:45 to 5:15 and freezing cold.) [I do remember both the view, and my annoyance at the early hour and temperature.] The blueberries and cocoa were good. Be seeing you soon.
Love,
Alex

So, that was the documented part of summer camp. Somewhere in there, a girl kissed me for the first time. I didn't write it down at the time, but couldn't help but boast about it after I got home. She and I corresponded for a little while after camp ended, but not long. I didn't save those letters.

Dad had (and I often played) Allan Sherman's LP My Son, the Nut, so I certainly would have been familiar with Hello Muddah Hello Faddah, but I don't recall consciously imitating it. It was a funny song partially because it captured Truth.

This was my longest summer camp experience. A few times, my folks sent me to camp for shorter periods. I did eventually convince them that it would be cheaper, and everybody would be happier, if they just gave me a book budget and left me alone for the summer :-)
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(There were Small, O, Strawberries near there.) [Was I waxing poetic there? Idunno. But my love of fresh-picked berries goes WAY back.]

Could the "O" be the size of the berries?

[Random memory: The wife of the camp owner was rather stout, and had a one-piece bathing suit. Some camp-mates referred to it, crassly but memorably, as an "over-the-shoulder boulder holder".]

I remember that phrase, from about the same era. I heard it as a description of a bra.

Plausible theory on the strawberries.

Yeah, I was definitely hearing Allan Sherman's voice as I was reading this.

Today I climbed Mt. Cardigan

Now *that* brings back memories -- I'm fairly sure that Cardigan was where Fenmere went camping one of those college years. (Although I honestly don't remember whether Jane was along, so I'm not sure which year it was...)

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