Wednesday, March 17, 2010

This one time, at band camp...

Okay, so it wasn't exactly BAND camp...but it was CAMP...sleep-away camp, to be specific.

The summer in between 6th and 7th grade, my parents sent my sister and I away for 4 weeks to a sleep-away camp out in Cleveland, GA. We lived in Florida at the time so going to an entirely different state without our parents struck fear in my heart.

At the time, it seemed like cruel and unusual punishment.

We pleaded with our parents, "But why do you want to send us away for an ENTIRE month?! What did we do wrong?", followed by empty promises like vowing to wash the dishes every single night without complaining, never talking smack to them again...whatever we could think of to get them to change their minds. Unsuccessfully, I might add.

They drove us out to Georgia that first summer away from home, which I suspected was their indirect way of saying, "Look, we love you enough to at least check the camp out with you in person".

I had asked, "So, if we don't like it, you'll let us come home with you?"

My mother howled hysterically while my father tried his best to stifle his laughter. He said, "No, you'll be staying, regardless. If you don't like it, you'll LEARN to like it. Besides, we already paid for it."

My sister and I looked at each other and frowned. If they had already paid for it, we knew there was no way in hell we could get out of going. My father didn't part easily with any of his hard-earned money so any time he wrote a big check, we knew it was a done deal.

What had our mother done to convince him this was in everyone's best interest?

I imagined that she had driven our easy-to-manipulate father out to some remote part of the Everglades one day, smiling cleverly as she revealed, "This is what our summer could be like with the kids gone".

He had probably asked, "What?! I don't hear anything. It's completely quiet."

"That's EXACTLY my point!" she had shouted, I envisioned, with such enthusiasm that even the alligators came out of the swampy sawgrass to see what all the fuss was about.

Then they probably just sat there, smiling like 2 sugar-starved kids who had found themselves locked inside a candy store after hours.

The next 3 summers after that they simply dropped us off at the airport with all the other kids whose parents didn't love them.

Oh, and I should probably mention that 2 of those summers, we were sent away for an entire 8 weeks. EIGHT freakin' WEEKS, people.

The camp counselors could've been ravenous cannibals feasting on young unsuspecting campers, for all they knew.

Our parents just wanted to be rid of two of their most important responsibilities...namely, my sister and I... in which they were burdened with after a couple of occasions of indulging in one too many alcoholic drinks and foolishly believing that drunken sperm couldn't successfully connect with an anxiously awaiting egg.

One summer in particular they pretty much screamed, "Tuck and roll..." as they pulled up to the curb outside the Delta airport terminal and opened the door barely enough for us to jump out before they sped off.

Anyway, so that first summer...we arrived at the camp and I immediately knew I was gonna hate the place. It reminded me of Camp Crystal Lake.

My dad must have been thinking the same thing because the first thing he said was, "Oh, look...they have a lake here. Kind of like the one in Friday the 13th. You probably better make sure you get the top bunk".

I could've sworn I saw a glimmer of evil wash over his face. This was the same father who stood outside my bedroom door repeating that creepy "sssshhhh-sssshhh-ha-ha-ha" sound after I had seen the Friday the 13th movie for the first time....ironically, about a month before we left for camp.

I wasn't above suspecting that he had planned it that way on purpose.

Once my sister and I were settled into our separate cabins, the procreators who casually referred to themselves as "our parents" left. They practically high-5'd each other and ran to their car before we could come chasing after them.

I thought they were absolutely sinister and silently prayed that they would end up with a couple of flat tires at some point during their drive back.

But as it turns out, I fell in love with the place. My fellow campers were amazing, some of them even becoming life-long friends of mine. The counselors turned out to be anything but hungry cannibals and the camp activities were more fun than I could have imagined.

And this, my friends, is where I experienced my first kiss...

His name was Marc and he was from Alabama...I just loved the way his sweet southern accent would roll of his tongue everytime he'd say, "Hey, ya'all". He had beautiful brown eyes and an adorable nose, which was spattered with a light dusting of freckles.

My tummy did flip-flops with excitement the first time he held my hand.

But holding hands can only last for so long, right? Soon enough, as we were walking back to our cabins after one of the night activities, he stopped and turned to face me.

"Oh dear God, he wants to kiss me," I thought, as my heart pounded with a little bit of anticipation and a whole lot of fear.

I had never kissed anyone before. Why hadn't I thought to ask any of my cabinmates how to kiss? Was he going to stick his tongue in my mouth?

The thought made me cringe. I mean, I liked him but not enough to exchange bodily fluids with him. Maybe it would be just a quick, simple kiss...for now, anyway.

I tried to engage him in nervous chatter, with the hopes that he'd get lost in conversation and forget all about the fact that he wanted to kiss me.

"So, the activity tonight was fun, didn't you think?" I asked.

He had shrugged his shoulders and said, "Yeah, I guess". He leaned towards me again, his eyes closed...his mouth partway open.

There was no way I could avoid it. I just had to do it and get it over with. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad, after all.

Finally, I leaned in towards him and closed my eyes. His lips met mine and his hands gently caressed my face. He pulled me closer to him, so close that I could feel his heart beating against mine.

Oh no...what was the boy doing?! He was trying to push his tongue into my mouth! I kept my lips sealed as tightly as possible, refusing to let him steal the innocence of my very first kiss.

After a few seconds, which felt like an eternity when holding your breath, we moved away from one another and without saying a word, he walked me back to my cabin. Once there, he gave me a quick peck on the cheek.

I stood outside the cabin, watching him as he walked away... until I could no longer see his reflection in the moonlight beaming down on him.

I'm sure Marc had suspected it had been my first kiss...how could he not? Everything about it had screamed "inexperienced", "disaster" and, let's not forget, "prude".

Could he feel me shaking as he pulled me closer to him? Did the sound of my pounding heart echo in his ears as loudly as it had in my own? Would he go back and report to his cabinmates how dreadful the experience had been?

I played the scene over and over in my head, fantasizing that it had been better than it actually was...when in reality, I had to accept that it had, more than likely, been an embarrassing disappointment for both of us.

That was the last summer I saw Marc. We didn't keep in touch once summer camp was over and we both had returned home.

I did have one picture of him which I had taken of him standing on the sand near the lake...the same lake in which my father had tried to convince me where Jason Voorhees was still lurking while maliciously planning his next bloody attack on some naive, prepubscent campers in the throws of heated passion.

The memory of that first kiss will always have a special place, deep in my heart...right above the spot where I suffer from horrible indigestion every time I recall that disconcerting and ill-fated moment in my life....just one of many moments, in fact.

Sigh....

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60 comments:

Rebecca said...

haha..."Tuck and roll..."

I hated my first kiss...thought it was disgusting and also kept my mouth clamped shut until his probing tongue forced its way in! Gross!

Lee the Hot Flash Queen said...

At least there were boys at your camp...I was sent away to Wisconsin every summer for 8 weeks with only girls...and duck and roll...every summer at the airport.

Theta Mom said...

First kisses are never what they are cracked up to be as kids!

HT said...

This is something that's still very new to me living in the US.....sending your kids to camp in the Summer time, I mean.

Growing up in South Africa it was not a common place thing to do. It's actually frowned upon to send your kids off to a camp, or anywhere else for that matter, without a parent or family member supervising them.

I will have to cross that bridge when I get to it and my kids start begging me to go on a camp!

Mimi and Tilly said...

My sister and I were sent off on holiday to a sports "camp" here in the UK but for just one week. I loved every minute of being away from my mum and dad and sulked for days after I got home that I couldn't stay for longer. The camp was full of foreign boys in sports gear. My school was an all girls convent, so I thought I'd died and gone to teenage boy heaven. I spent my time there being rubbish at tennis, trampolining, and volleyball, but laughing a lot!

singedwingangel said...

OH see I went to NO camps I begged and pleaded and no go.. sighs I was so deprived lol. No wait I did get out fo the house for a year one time and there were kids my age and activities.. no wait that wasn't camp that was the mental hospital.. my bad...well wait crap... that explains why we couldn't have scissors and only plastic knives.. she LIED to me ARRGHH j/k j/k

zookeeperjess said...

Is it bad that I don't even remember my first kiss?? LOL.

That was hilarious though. What evil parents!

Colton's Mommy said...

Great story!! I always wanted to go to summer camp actually, but never got to. I still remember that first kiss as well, though I have to say the experience was better than your apparently.

Tina... said...

I swear I too was so tramatized by my first kiss...I mean gross, he managed to push past my pierced lips...EJ McVoy standing in front of the town day care center...don't ask.
And I've read this post to about ten coworkers who are now thinking about their first kiss.

Creative Junkie said...

ewww - I hate the memory of my first kiss. Yuck. Blech. I wish I had some memory bleach.

The Boob Nazi said...

A French kiss on your first kiss? SICK! Oh wait, I did it. Whatever.

Heather said...

LOL...what a disgusting first kiss!

Twins Squared said...

Thanks for sharing - you're pretty brave! I was lucky in a way - I got to warm up slowly. Had a few stupid pecks at party games in the 6th and 7th grade til the end of the 7th grade. Another party game but this time it was a French kiss. I decided it was okay since I'd had a crush on this boy since the 2nd grade. I just thought it was weird. At least by the time I got to my first real kiss, you know, where the boy actually liked me, it was kind of a nice memory. So I try to remember that one since it's the first one that counted.

As for camp, I LOVED camp! I would only go for 2 weeks but it was such a great time. No kissing for me though in all my 4 years. There was one guy though that was always grabbing my butt! Being young and stupid I thought that was so cool. What an idiot.

Brooke said...

my first kiss was totally gross. we were 13 and in the movie theater watching 'dumb & dumber' good times!

melissa78 said...

Oh God too funny!!!
My first kiss I was in 6th grade & at a friends communion party & we were playing spin the bottle. YES you read that right we were playing spin the bottle at a 1st HOLY COMMUNION party. hahaahahh we were rebels lol
and he was one of the "popular" kids I was SOOO Nervous.

Leslie and James said...

I read your blog all the time! You are hilarious! My first kiss was really similar to yours. good thing life moves on and we get many chances to redeem ourselves with other boys :)
Also, happy birthday to the boys! My little guy just turned 3, too!

The Mother said...

Does it tell you something about me that mine was at DEBATE camp?

Charlene said...

lmao @ the "tuck and roll" comment...I can totally see my husband doing that to our kids when we drop them off at the nearest military camp he can find lol!

Is it sad that I can't remember my first kiss? Maybe it was just so bad that I wiped it from my memory LOL!

D said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
D said...

Something I did first was with a guy named Marc too but my first kiss was with a guy named Alex. He was so cute! Still, that's all I knew. His name was Alex! Just think if your parents hadn't sent you to the Jason camp you might never have met Marc and your first kiss would've been lame!

yonca said...

What a lovely story Helen! My first kiss..ugh! Lol, I don't like the memory of my first kiss.

Jen said...

Aw summer camp...

Aw the first kiss...

Aw creepy things crawling out of a lake to get you if things went to far.

This had all the makings of an after school special.

;)

MamaHen Em said...

I had my first kiss at summer camp, too. I think it was weirdly similar to yours, but with a boy named Jason who sported a blond mullet and bright blue eyes!

Samantha said...

I was NOT a camp person. My Parents tried to get me to go to Camp for one week...and while I was there, I was trying to figure out ways to break my arm so I could go home early...lol

My first kiss was awkward too...and disappointing. Now, first kiss with the hubby was amazingly perfect. I'm talking fireworks were going off...that's probably why...six months later I got pregnant...lol

Semi-Slacker Mom said...

The camp was awesome because it was in GA. Did y'all go to the Cabbage Patch place?

You still got the name of that camp? Do they take 8 year olds?

Buncha Blue-Eyed Monkeys said...

I enjoyed reading this, thanks for sharing!

Mayhem and Moxie said...

My favorite line from this post? "My parents might have well said, tuck and roll." Totally had me laughing out loud.

I think you've written a very thought-provoking and timely post here, Helene. Summer is almost upon us. Where in the world will your children be?

xo

The Girl Next Door Grows Up said...

Seriously, are you guys saving for camp for your kids now?

Could you imagine 8 weeks being all alone?

OK - let's just take a moment and revel in that thought...

I would be so SAD!

What a great memory. I would LOVE to hear your mom's side of the story!

Double Wide Mom said...

That is a great, great story! I also went to Cleveland, GA every summer but not for camp, for family reunion. I have tons of family there and my sis lived there for a while. Well Good to hear from you this morning!

Betty Manousos:cutand-dry.blogspot.com said...

I do remember my first kiss.
I was sent to camp every summer but I hated it.
xx

Nezzy said...

Hummmmm, first kiss??? Does first grade count. I was an early bloomer, heeehehe! Tuck and roll....baby you crack me up.

Have a wonderful day!!!

The Lane Family said...

Loved this blog entry it was so fun and it reminded me of my first kiss and camp every summer. Granted our camp was only for a week!!

I think I will start saving now for summer camp because a little quite..oh so nice!!

Eva Gallant said...

My first kiss was back in first grade, behind the barn. He was in 4th grade and I adored him. It was just a peck.
But my freshman year of high school, I learned the art of French kissing with my best friends brother. He was a year younger than I, but I thought he was kinda' hot! We practiced and practiced! lol

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

Great post...so glad I stopped by your blog....

Mighty M said...

Oh boy this is hilarious! Your parents actually did what so many probably WANT to do - send the kids to sleep away camp, far far away! And for such a long time. Don't think I will go to such lengths, but I definitely think a day camp here and there is a good thing. :)

Missy (Two Little Monkeys) said...

Would it be funny or cruel if I pretended that Marc was my brother? Sigh, I gave away my joke - I sadly do not have a brother but if I did I bet his name would be Marc.
You know the best things come from Alabama! : )

I love your writing skills. You tell a story so well! Love it!

Deb said...

What a sweet and funny story. You really have the gift of storytelling, I love your sense of humor.

Sending all of my kids to camp at the same time has never quite worked out yet--there is definitely a gift to teaching you kids to tuck and roll! :)

This Daddy said...

WOW, Cleveland, Ga is in the sticks. Helene we just repo'd a car from there today.

I am never letting my daughter go to any camps

Annie said...

I just laugh with your story.

Trippy Momma said...

It was so ironic that you posted this today. The guy who I shared my first kiss with sent me a friend's request on facebook yesterday.... out of the blue! Thanks for sharing your story!

Jessica said...

I clobbered the first guy.
Maybe this will make up for the scary first kiss ;)
http://lafindumondfarm.blogspot.com/

"Cottage By The Sea" said...

Yep, you are a sassy one. I can completely see why they sent you to camp. Lucky for all of us you kept your sass. It's quite enjoyable now!

KK said...

How funny! I can't believe they sent you away every summer! I might have enjoyed that ;) Oh and I sorta borrowed your title because it's awesome :) My first kiss was just about the exact same!

shortmama said...

Awww its so sweet and cute though...I always wished I could go to camp!

debi9kids said...

what a sweet memory!
I too was sent away to camp every year for many years and each time, I;d cry as my parents dropped me off and then, after the weeks, i;d cry when I had to go home. haha

DysFUNctional Mom said...

Are first kisses EVER any good? Mine was gross.

Robin said...

Haaa...Are you gonna do the tuck and roll with your kids..?...You wrote this so well..I was on the edge of my seat trying to read faster...I thought it was going to end in fireworks..Oh well...my first was actually great..he was experienced and I guess that took over...Ahhh the memories...but then the A-hole ditched me for a friend of a friend...A few years later I blossomed..he tried to go out with me and I turned him down..Woo Hoo..!

Shelby at DoubleUpBooks.com - The Twins and Multiples Bookstore said...

Touching, funny, just perfect!

My parents shipped me off to sleep over camp too -- when I was 5! I have no idea what they were thinking, but they shipped me and my older sister off together at least. Big mistake for me, but I'm sure they enjoyed their summer sans kids!

It's probably why I'm so independent today : )

Shelby

christy rose said...

What a story!! You had me captivated from the very beginning. I went to camp every year from the time I was 8 until I was 18. But it was only for a week not 4 or 8 weeks. I can not imagine how long that must seem like to a kid. What brought on the idea of telling the story of your first kiss? It was a great story though. :)

julie said...

What a great post! I have such wonderful memories of summer camp as a child. I can't wait until my kids are old enough to go!

sandandstarfish said...

I'll definitely have to share my first kiss story now too! thanks for bringing back the horrible memories! ;)

Erin said...

My first French kiss was awful too. Blogged about it a while back (probably worthy of a re-run since it was from back when I had very few followers). I accidentally bit the guy. LOL! With a ton of people watching (it was at a party). ugh.

Ms Bibi said...

Aah, first kiss. Mine was very much the same way. Very awkward and unforgettable.
Love your story...tuck and roll,lol.

I used to go to camp for 3 weeks every summer, but I wasn't too happy about it.

My older son goes every summer for 2 weeks, but he loves it. It is special camp and every child and most of the counselors are type 1 diabetics so he gets to be himself for few weeks a year.

Mrsbear said...

So glad you avoided an ugly death at the hands of some machete wielding maniac.

The kiss doesn't sound so bad actually. I remember mine to be much more awkward - it was at a party and he came at me with his mouth wide open, I'm pretty sure the first part of that kiss was me screaming. When it was over, I opened my eyes to find my entire 6th grade class standing around us. Ugh. I didn't want to get out of bed for days.

Shipping the kids off for 8 weeks huh? I could get used to that. ;) Although I'd be thinking "Jason" too.

Kim said...

That sort of boy is why my daughters will NEVER attend summer camp. Or leave the house.

As crazy and exhausting as they are, I have to say that 8 weeks away from my children would be pretty impossible for me to handle. The kids would probably love it, but I'd be a basket case!

wife.mom.nurse said...

first of all...8 weeks at camp! (please send me the name!)

That was quite a first kiss story. Mine is pretty mortifying too! Lol =)

Karen said...

I always wanted to go to one of those summer camps! But my mom never had that kind of money and my dad wouldn't help pay for braces, let alone send us off to camp for an entire month.

Your first kiss sounds less embarrassing than mine! (And NO. I'm not going to blog about it!)

JennyMac said...

hahaha..I am laughing WITH you...and I am sure he did not think you were a prude one bit. :) I think everyone has a very embarrassing first kiss story. LOL.

Sara said...

You are so freaking funny! Tuck and roll, kids! Love it!

My first kiss was at the most magical place on Earth - okay, well maybe it was on a hotel room floor within 10 driving miles of Disney World, but whatever. Close enough. I was 13, on a youth trip to Disney and flirting like crazy with my senior high crush. I'm pretty sure I saw fireworks, but those might have just been from the Fourth of July parade going on that night.

kanishk said...

This is something that's still very new to me living in the US.....sending your kids to camp in the Summer time, I mean.
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