Oh, I don’ wanna how I wanna leave Wikway-ay-a!

Yes, Jane, yer big sis Pooh and I went to Campfire Girl camp! It was called Camp Wikweia and we went when you were a baby. And yes, I totally agree that the cabin is the best camp and who would ever want to go away to camp if they had the cabin?

I was a Campfire Girl and The Commander was the leader of our troop or tribe or whatever it was called. I think I was pretty bratty a lot of the time but that would be a whole ‘nother story. The camp was one week long and served troop/tribes all over Da Yoop and I think G2 conspired to send both Pooh and me out there, maybe because you were a baby and also because I’m not sure I was all that happy about going. “She needs to be socialized, don’tcha know.”

It wasn’t really all that bad a camp. We had campfires and sleepouts and we could buy candy and make braided lanyards out of gimp and do other crafts. There was archery, which I am pretty sure I sucked at. We sang plenty of silly songs like the ones that Pooh seems to be dredging up with wild abandon. (And no, we didn’t sing about plastic Jesus dashboard statues.) The swimming was okay except that it was a mucky lake and they roped off sections for kids of different levels. At that age, I had delusions of grandeur of swinging up through the ranks of the swimming levels to Swimmer and Advanced Swimmer and beyond. Alas, in my life, I have become a serviceable swimmer but nothing spectacular. And that’s okay. But here I was, swimming in this mucky lake and I missed the cold, clear water and the sand bottom and the sandbar system that kept us from straying too far out at the Moominbeach.

I only remember one truly horrible incident and I don’t think that happened the year that Pooh went. And yes, I did go a couple other years. One of those years, they had a control freak nincompoop running the camp. She had a one bite rule. I could eat one bite of just about anything, or at least anything they had at that camp. I could not for the life of me choke down one bite of cottage cheese. Why? Because, when I was about five and had scarlet fever or whatever it was that gave me fevers high enough that I can still remember the hallucinations, The Engineer, who was around two, stuck his blue ‘gar (aka cigar) into my bowl of cottage cheese. Nothing like a chewed up blue crayon in your cottage cheese to turn your stomach. I hadn’t recovered from that incident by then. Actually, I still haven’t. (It’s okay ol’ boy, I forgive you for that.) Unfortunately, this illustrious person had graced my camp cabin’s table with her presence that night. What? You won’t eat cottage cheese? Why not? I couldn’t explain what the problem was and she wouldn’t let me (or anyone else at the table) leave until I had eaten cottage cheese. Way to guilt-trip a kid. Somehow, I finally managed to choke just, well, one small bite down. She made a big fuss about her little victory at the table and then she just couldn’t leave it alone. Every time she saw me after that for the whole rest of the week, she would call me her “Cottage Cheese Girl”. (If you know me at all, you know I was thinking, “where did I put my flame-thrower?”)

Still, it was a pretty good camp and a lot of people loved it there. My cousin “Susie Swim” (who *did* swing up through the ranks of Swimmer and Advanced Swimmer and beyond, with aplomb) worked the waterfront there for years. My mom’s friend/my friend Helen’s mom Ginny was the camp nurse for a long time. That horrible director was only there one year. Many of my school friends loved going to camp there. They made life-long friends there and remember it with great fondness. Me? Not so much. I am not a group activity type person from the get-go and even then, I wanted to be back at the Moominbeach running around with my cousins like wild Indians. I never cried publicly about it or told a counselor or anyone and I wasn’t UNfriendly. I sucked it up. But I can still remember standing outside the dining hall while everyone else was singing “Here we stand like birds in the wilderness, waiting for our food”, watching the water sparkle in the sun and thinking about my own beach with tears in my eyes.

I guess it couldda been worse. I couldda been one o’ those others, you know, those others who are not girls. I couldda smuggled a smoke bomb or two or three into boy scout camp and then been ordered into slave labor, cutting grass with a scythe. Roight.

15 Responses to “Oh, I don’ wanna how I wanna leave Wikway-ay-a!”

  1. Jan Miller Says:

    Anne, Sandy felt the same way that you did. Susie and I loved it and we both went back as counselors. That is how I met Pete. He and his parents brought his sister Penny there for camp and she was in my cabin.

  2. Paulette Says:

    What a PHO-TO! Absolutely love it. Three kids in enameled wash pans near a warm fire for Saturday night bath time, maybe? Hey, I have some of those pans if you ever would like to recreate the experience! I cannot wait to hear Pooh and her songs. I hope she obliges….perhaps some whine will loosen those vocal chords!

  3. Kathy Farnell Says:

    The camp I went to was like a Hotel. We slept in beds in semi private bedrooms. We had archery, pony rides, games, songs, arts and crafts, and we swam in a pool. There wasn’t a lake just a river in Kalamazoo. I had a great time but I sometimes wonder how they called it a camp, because it was like staying a a resort. It was a Catholic Convent house, I think, and they used it for a camp in the summer. I was a very lucky kid to go to such a nice place.

  4. Marquis Says:

    Disclaimer: I have permission to say this! Well, we’ll see …

    About the picture, Pooh said that, Bubs said that the reason that Pooh got the biggest pot was because she had the biggest butt. Lo these many years, you can almost feel sorry for poor Aimee having the tiniest of pots.

    Aimee, please consider this crack (no pun intended) my early birthday gift to you.

  5. Jay Says:

    What about Camp Michigamme? I remember getting sent there one summer with Kathie & Kevin & Jim. But I think Kathie had been there before, and had all sorts of friends already. I was a bit a fish out of water, except when we were in the water. I don’t think I was much of a joiner up front, more watch and figure it out. By the time I was ready to dive in fully, the camp was over. [I remember Interlochen better, but that really was a different sort of thing.]

  6. pooh Says:

    I remember that my score for archery was 15 points for the whole week. One day our cabin actually made it early to archery and got a place in the center of the line. I got 10 points that day. So maybe we weren’t really as bad at archery as we thought, just stuck way off at the edges of the line.

    p.s. Mark has taken your picture and it is now our wallpaper picture. At least I’m smiling!

  7. jane Says:

    Paulette – I’m pretty sure we still have two of the three pots still in the old cabin. I’m pretty sure Aimee’s is what I use to wash my feet when there’s too much pine sap stuck on my feet.

  8. kayak woman Says:

    You guys, I don’t know if anyone ever returns to read comments but, if you do, I love you!

  9. Paulette Says:

    Jane- That is funny. How many years have those pots seen? I know I have a few of them left from Ruth and Walt S. I cannot believe it has been 23 years since we have moved here! We are so fortunate to be part of the Birch Point beach.

  10. jane Says:

    Paulette – I’ll be up the weekend of 7/10 — stop down and we can inspect the pots with some whine! and marvel at how small a tush Aimee had. 😉

  11. Kathy Farnell Says:

    I would be proud to be known as the one who used the smallest pot. And I do return to read the comments.

  12. Jay Says:

    A day late, so no one may read, but you must remember the Piedmont/McNaughton discussions of small butts v big butts because their 3-holer had one small hole.

  13. pooh Says:

    KW worried about the vampires, but that discussion of big and little outhouse openings had me freaked out. What if I fell in? How would I get out?

  14. kayak woman Says:

    It’s probably a good thing we didn’t still have an outhouse when Lizard Breath was a baby. She sort of fell into the Blue Toilet once (NOT a very scary toilet) and for weeks after that said, “I don’t fall in” before she used it. And then there was the time the GG and the Marquis took Liz and Danny on the boat tour. There was some kind of incident involving the boat toilet (I think she p**d herself just a bit) and she talked in her sleep about that! “I don’t go the boat!” Actually, I totally understand. The tour boat toilet (unless they’ve changed it) is pretty strange.

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