|My dad and a couple of stylish gals at Camp Don Bosco, late 1940s-early 1950s.|
My parents sent me to summer camp in the mountains of Colorado when I was 12. This was a somewhat traumatic experience for me. It was the first time I was away from home for more than a night or two.
|Recycled journal by StoriesDivinations on Etsy.|
I was very homesick. And when my parents sent me a box with my favorite stuffed animal in it, it made it worse!
|1970s plaid-trimmed camp blouse, by simplicityisbliss on Etsy.|
I did not know anyone at camp other than my sister, who was with the other nine-year-olds. I was shy, gawky, and still somewhat tomboy-ish at age 12. The other 12-year-old girls showed up at camp with lip gloss and hair dryers with which to blow dry their feathered 'dos. They all seemed to know each other already. And then I got my period. It wasn't my first period, but I wasn't prepared for it.
|Poison Ivy lip balm by ForStrangeWomen.|
|My grandmother, Edna, and my dad, camping in a teepee, 1940s.|
There were horses at camp, but I seemed to be the single girl who did not harbor a fascination for these beasts. I was terrified of falling off. And if you're not already thinking "future sociopath," guess what camp activities I enjoyed and excelled at? Yep. Archery and rifle range.
|Vintage Dinah Sheridan photo via|
But all my camping experiences were not miserable. I had lots of fun times camping with my dad and friends in our Indian Princess/Trailmates groups. (For those unfamiliar, this is a YMCA-sponsored father/daughter quality time program, a la the Girl Scouts. Only lots more fun and with an unfortunate appropriation of Native American culture, though it looks like the Y is getting with the times and is now calling the program Adventure Guides and Princesses.) Growing up in Colorado meant amazing camping opportunities in the world's most beautiful places, from the Rocky Mountains to the Great Sand Dunes.
|Cute little German cabins/cottages from MademoiselleChipotte.|
After I moved to New York, camping trips meant escapes from the city with a large group of friends, sitting around the fire all night, drinking beer, and narrowly missing getting kicked out of the campsite for being too loud. Oh, and there was also a spring break trip to New Orleans where we camped at a site within the city and heard gunshots. This didn't phase us though. We lived and went to school in the Bronx.
|Vintage kerosene lantern, from calloohcallay.|
I haven't camped since leaving New York, which is kind of odd, considering I live in Michigan--basically an outdoor wonderland. The closest I've come is staying in a cabin at Legs Inn after a night of beer and Polish food! And really, that's kind of my style of camping after all, I think.