Coincidences “Hurry Taylor, we’re late sweetie.” “But Mom, I’ve gotta make sure I have everything!” Taylor screams in a whiny voice. The day I’ve been dreading has finally arrived. My oldest daughter is leaving for the summer to work as a camp counselor. She’s working at the same camp that I worked at when I was 16. “Mom!! I can’t find my adidas, HELP ME.” Yells Taylor, sounding like she’s in a state of emergency.
“Sweetie, they’re already in the van, you packed them this morning.” I replied. “Dad! Are you coming? We’re leaving in five minutes.” Taylor screams in excitement. Dressed in faded overalls, with her hair pulled up and tied back with a bright yellow ribbon, she looks so grown up — so mature. I’ve never been more nervous. What am I going to do without my baby all summer? Who’s going to keep my fashion sense in line? Who’s going to watch Felicity with me? Ahh! She can’t leave me! “Ya know mom, I’m gonna miss being home this summer, I’ll come home during the five week break and I’ll call you as much as I can.” Taylor looks at me with true sincerity. Tears are filling my eyes, I can’t show her my weakness.
I quickly change the subject. There’s the sign, “YMCA CAMP WEWA, 5 MILES.” “Jamie, look at this place. Nothing has changed. It seems like we were just here yesterday.” Jake mentions as he rolls his window down. Taylor quickly perks up in her seat; her eyes open wide with excitement. She’s been going to this camp since she was eight years old. This will be her first year as a counselor.
I can remember my first year. Summer of 1969, the best summer of all. It was the summer I met my husband. I was the counselor of the Washoe cabin, and he kept the boys of the Witchita cabin in line. I can remember those sparkling days like they were yesterday. ——————- June 6, 1969 ..
I’m finally here. The cabin is desolate now, but in about an hour it’s going to resemble a can of sardines. Thirteen girls each bringing two or more bags and seven bunk beads all shoved into a small wooden cabin. What a mess it will be. It’s noon, the first set of camper’s drive up to the cabin. The butterflies begin to flutter in my stomach.
It’s my first time being a camp counselor; I can feel my hands begin to shake as I greet the first set of parents. After a five-minute game of eeny-meanie-miney-mo, they’ve all chosen their beds for the week. A message comes over the loud speaker; “ALL CABINS ARE TO MEET IN THE MESS HALL IN 15 MINUTES.” The girls begin to scatter. It’s 6:00, and we’re already five minutes late to getting to the Mess Hall because we had to pick up Keri’s medicine. We manage to make it in record time.
“Welcome to Camp Wewa, I remember most of your smiling faces from last year, but I see many new faces that I hope to meet this week,” says our eccentric but admired Camp Director, Greg, as we walk through the main doors of the mess hall. At this point hunger has our stomachs talking for themselves. The night ends with a roaring campfire. We fall sleep quickly from excitement mixed with exhaustion. The next morning the sun pries my eyelids open.
Flies are circling my head and my shirt is sticking to my skin. Ah, the joys of being a camp counselor. It’s Monday morning and time to go swimming. After swimming and breakfast we all are off to activities. Finally I get a chance to relax.
I grab my Walkman and some tapes and head for the lake. Here come the Witchita boys. My heart skips a beat. Jake, the counselor of the boys, is walking towards me. He’s only the most gorgeous counselor at camp.
My heart is going to jump out of my chest. I’m short of breath. “Hey Jamie” he says as he smiles. “My boys have a bet going around the cabin. They don’t believe that I’ll ask you to the dance on Thursday.
I get five dollars if I ask you and you say yes. Come on help a poor man out. Go with me?” He begs. “Sure Jake, I think I can handle hanging out with you for the night.” I say with a flirtatious wink. He flashes me a gorgeous, heart-wrenching smile then walks off with his boys, receiving dozens of hi-fives.
I hear one of the older boys say, “Go get her Jake.” A couple of days have passed. It’s now Thursday morning. Today is the big day. My “date” with Jake. I can’t wait! This is my one chance to be with Jake — his dimples, his green eyes and all. “Ah, love at first sight!” I whisper to myself in excitement.
I just hope I can get through the day. It’s 6:00pm. The dance starts in an hour. Keri is dressed in Capri pants and a small multi-colored mid-drift like most of the girls in the cabin. I am struggling to find the “perfect outfit.” One that will catch Jake’s eye would be ideal. I choose a small sundress that goes down to about mid-thigh, showing off my “best assets.” “This is sure to catch his attention,” I think to myself. “Hurry girls, we’ve gotta start heading over there.
Girls, lets go!” I yell We’ve finally made it to the dance. Jake must not be here yet. My heart feels like it’s going to collapse its beating so fast. I find myself with sweaty palms and shaky fingers. “Calm down” I think to myself. “It’s just a silly dance, you’ve done this dozens of times before.” I try to convince myself I’m okay The Witchita boys make their grand entrance. There’s Jake.
He walks up to me, wastes no time and gently takes my hand and says, “Hello miss, may I have this dance?” My heart melted into his hands at that moment in time. I couldn’t help but stare into his gorgeous green eyes. The first song we danced to was “Earth Angel.” He had his arms around my waist, as I rested my head on his shoulder. His cheap aftershave smelled better than it should have. We were together, slowly swaying to the music.
I could feel his breath on my neck making the small hairs on my neck stand up. We talked and danced the night away. We never seemed to run out of things to say. I had an enduring smile on my face the entire night. I never left Jake’s side.
The dance has ended; my girls have all gone back to the cabin for showers. Jake offered to walk me back to girl’s camp. “You know you have the most amazing smile, it’s so big.” He says as he gently brushes the hair out of my face. I begin to blush and say “Thank you.” “I’m not joking, whenever you smile, your whole face lights up. You really are beautiful. Let me kiss you? Jake says.
No one has ever said anything like that to me before. I smile at him, as he leans in and passionately kisses my lips. Just then, time stood still. With his lips pressed to mine, every inch of my body felt warm. It felt so right.
I knew he was my soul mate. “Goodnight Jamie.” He whispered then kissed my forehead and walked back to camp. What a beautiful day. Life is great. Jake is great. I’m in love and no one can tell me otherwise.
Can’t you just see it? Me. Jake. Married with children. We’ll have a huge house on a lake. A dog. I have to have a big kitchen.
Oh the thoughts running through my mind. “Jamie’s got a boyfriend, Jamie’s got a boyfriend.” Keri chants The entire cabin begins to fill with laughter, but I’m so engrossed in thoughts that I don’t even respond. Maybe I’ll have kids with him. I want a girl, no I want two girls. Oh the things that could happen.——– “Mom – mom are you listening? Mom!!! What’s today’s date?” Taylor asks.
“June 6th.” I reply. Jake and I walked to the old mess hall and quickly reminisce of the years past. “Honey, I can’t believe our daughter is working at the same place we met.” I say. “I know, who would’ve ever thought?” Jake replies. “Welcome to Camp Wewa, we’re excited about the 2000 staff.” Yelled one of the camp staff. The expression on Taylor’s face was striking.
She looked so thrilled to be here. Memories of the past kept flooding my mind. Camp looked exactly the same. Only the huge oaks were bigger. “Mom, Dad let’s go meet the directors” Taylor urgently tugged at my purse.
The three of us walk up to the young blonde. She looked so familiar. Where had I seen her before? It was killing me. She begins to introduce herself, “Hi, my name is Keri, I’m the new camp director. Nice to meet you” Engineering Reports.