Now I understand the attraction people have. I get it. However this girl is a city mouse and I like it that way! I get creeped out when I go to friends who live to far down 610 in Stafford. Some people like sleeping in tents and cooking food over an open fire. I like hotels with room service.
My disdain for camping started when I was 11 the summer between 5th and 6th grade. I had a best friend in 5th grade. She was a total bookworm and had freckles and red hair. We got along well. We always had slumber parties, sat next to each other on the bus and even used the same shampoo. Strawberry scented Suave.
As it turned out she was a Girl Scout. I had been a Brownie in first grade for like 3 months. Then started talking about going on a camp out and I asked my Mom if I could drop out.
It was getting to be the end of the year and Becca started talking about this Girl Scout camp she was going to go to for a week during the summer. At this time I was really into American Dolls and had just read the Molly summer book where she goes to an away camp and I thought...That sounds like fun. So I asked my parents and they said I could go.
I was so excited! I was going to camp with my best friend! It was going to be awesome. We ordered a whole bunch of summer clothes from JC Penney. I had to get a physical before I could go. The next thing I knew it was summer and time for me to go.
We drove somewhere out in the middle of nowhere Virginia and I was so excited. I see Becca and we start running around checking out everything. Before I knew it my parents had left and all of a sudden it dawned on me. I'm in the middle of nowhere without my family. And so the crying began.
Before I get into that let me describe where I was sleeping. First of all we were in the woods. Gross! Second of all the "cabins" I thought we would be sleeping in were not cabins. No, they were tents. Tents with the flaps rolled up and beds with mosquito netting over them. Oh and there was a rule. You couldn't kill anything. Found that out the first night when a wolf spider decided to share our tent and the counselor just swept it out. It was hot and humid and I was miserable.
When my parents left I started to cry. I cried through dinner. I cried in the shower. I cried and cried and cried. I was that girl. I guess to try to help me get over the crying the counselors finally let me call home. I begged my Mom to let me come home. I said "I hate it hear and I want to come home!" My Mom said "I can't come pick you up. Get some sleep and I'm sure you will feel better. I call you tomorrow before I go to work." I hung up the phone and continued to cry. I cried all the way back to that tent and cried myself to sleep.
The next morning came and I ate breakfast and we started to break into our groups to do stupid arts and crafts. I looked at the clock and it was like 10. My Mom had promised to call me. So I started asking the counselor if she knew if my Mom had called. Finally some older woman told me "Oh she called but we thought it would make you more upset if you spoke to her." I responded with "HOW DARE YOU!!!" I was a theater nerd who had an obsession with movies from the 40's and watched General Hospital so yes that is how I spoke when I was 11.
As you can guess...I started to cry again. So to shut me up once again they took me to call my Mom. Once again I begged to come home. My Mom told me she couldn't because she had to work. My father at the time was stationed all the way down in Norfolk and my brother couldn't be bothered to pick me up. She reminded me that it was Monday and that I would be home Saturday. So I was going to have to tough it out until then. So I hung up the phone and cried.
I had no choice but to suffer through it. The stupid arts and crafts, the childish "theater" classes, and the awful humidity and bugs.
Then I found out that on Wednesday we were going to come all the way down to Fredericksburg to watch a performance of "The Music Man." I saw it as my opportunity out of this hell hole! So I asked if I could bring my stuff and have my Mom pick me up. They said "No." How could they tell me no? To be honest I had been crying and complaining so much I'm surprised they didn't want to just get rid of me.
So there I was in Fredericksburg watching "The Music Man" with a lot of people I knew from having been involved with local community theater groups. I thought about begging someone to give me a ride home. I knew no one could do it. So we got back on the bus and I cried because I was so so so close to home.
Remember when I mentioned my Dad was stationed in Norfolk at the time? He came home every weekend, yep drove two hours every Friday just to be home for the weekend. That Friday he added an extra 3 hours to his commute just to pick me up. One day early.
I was never so happy to see my Dad. I jumped into the truck and never looked back. We went out to my favorite restaurant that night (Golden Corral) and I told them everything that happened. Oh something really embarrassing, I was so homesick that when I opened up my suitcase I found a dryer sheet. I kept it under my pillow because it smelled like home.
My Mom reminded me a few years ago about the letters I had written to her while I was away. They all said the same thing. "I hate it here and I want to come home."
About a week later I called Becca to apologize for being such a wet blanket and asked her how the last night at camp was. She said it was fun and that they had a sing along around a bonfire. I asked if she wanted to come over and go swimming and she said she couldn't. And that was the last time I talked to Becca on the phone. I saw her in the hallway at school and would wave but we were never friends like that again.
I've been camping a few times since then but I still hate it. In Okinawa we went to a smaller island to camp called Iheya Island. They had feral cats that sounded like mountain lions, bathrooms that looked like they belonged in a Stephen King novel, & no American style toilets in said bathroom. Also I got attacked by a folding chaise lounge. It totally swallowed me whole.
So there's my adventure in camping. I don't like it. If our next baby is a girl I won't make her go. Just do yourself a favor...if you have a daughter who is a little princess save yourself the headache and don't send her to camp. Unless it's a day camp.