Dearmomanddadhiloveyoubye: Letters from Camp
It’s getting a bit late and this is a blog post I meant to write before i went away on my vacation but my printer wouldn’t scan and I had to paint stripes in my other kids’ room before he gets back from camp is summer going fast for you because it is going fast for me…
Now, if I were to write all my blog posts in this style – one devoid of sentence structure, or any clarity of thought – I wouldn’t be much of a writer. And you would absolutely be in the right for clicking away from this blog in disgust, murmuring aloud, “Where does that woman get off thinking she can write!?”
However garbled the messages may be, letters from camp are regarded as true literary works from their loving parents.
And I know my son is a writer. He has been writing funny stories for school and just for kicks as long as I can remember. Like his fifth-grade essay assignment about his first roller-coaster ride. His teacher told us that in this essay he had a great sense of voice and composition.
But, for some reason at camp, all rules learned about writing – sentence composition, transition of thoughts from one paragraph to the next, and even legible handwriting are cast aside for the sake of getting back in the game of swimming, water skiing or just plain hanging out with your bunk mates.
I’ve been inspired to share one — just one hand-written letter of several we received from our three children — by several blogs, including Letters From New Jersey, who shares the letters she writes to her children at camp, and renée a. schuls-jacobson, who is holding a hand-written letter to camp contest. Her son at camp is the judge on the best letter. Go check these blogs out, you wont’ be sorry!
With all this blogging material on camp and letters out there, I tried to avoid the subject. Until I got the letter below. It left me in such a fit of laughter on my front lawn I just had to share it. Here it is!
What? You didn’t get all that? Can you not read?
It’s okay. I have become quite the sleuth decoding and deciphering my 15-year-old’s harried handwriting. Seriously, is there a place where they pay you for reading horrid handwriting? if so, I have found my new calling.
Just be glad that this was not written on a crag of a stone in the dark, as he claimed was the writing surface of his last letter.
And it reads, unedited for punctuation, as such:
Dear Mom and Dad
2nd month is better than I expected it to be; I am spending most of my time in (bunk) 11. I made friends with lots of Israelis and that Tresame shampoo is awesome, Girls are literally feeling my hair and saying how soft it is. I’m practicing frisbee got to go to the Aga’am (lake) bye.
He’s actually washing his hair now?? To the point that girls, not just one girl but girl(s) in plural – want to touch his hair?
A whole year last year of nagging him to better wash his hair, of saying, not a drop of water touched your hair in that shower, how can it be CLEAN?!
And now, my son has silky soft, clean and touchable hair!
You can learn a lot from a letter from your kid at camp. I’ve learned to buy Tresame by the gallon.
You have learned that you may want to buy stock in the company which makes Tresame.
Okay Campers, here is your cleanliness checklist:
In a few days, relative quiet will settle in my house as our eldest heads off for her first full summer at sleepaway camp.
In a few more weeks after that, the true peace will descend on our home as her oldest brother follows. Then, our family of five shrinks to a family of three for an entire month.
Sleepaway Camp. It’s like a child-parent sabbatical.
But kids, this is no time to slack off on basic hygiene, and I can only imagine how this all important priority in civilized life will backslide when you are out from the discerning eyes – and noses – of your parents.
I don’t know how you will manage without us, your nagging parents, to stay disease, filth, and cavity free, for the duration of your glorious summer camp experience. So for my kids and all those summer campers out there, here is a checklist:
These are nail clippers. They will keep your nails short and trimmed. Use them. They will prevent you from accumulating too much dirt underneath your fingernails, which may result in you becoming afflicted with a parasite that may take up home in your intestines.
These are bottles of shampoo. I have sent you up with ONE large bottle of shampoo, which is more than ample to last you the whole summer up at camp. If the shampoo bottle topples in the shower, please return it to its standing position.
You need about this much shampoo
not this much shampoo
to get the job done for an adequate cleaning.
Do not merely let the suds sit on the top of your wet head. But scrub and massage your scalp with the balls of your fingers. Then, rinse until you are squeaky.
And children who are at the age of adolescence and above, these are your armpits:
Okay, so this not your armpit but the armpit of Tom Cruise. He’s an old guy to you but ask your moms about him and the movies he was in when they were young.
You must apply deodorant to your armpits at the beginning of EACH day, no matter how much it may tickle.
You must wash your armpits BEFORE you apply the deodorant. Application of deodorant after playing sports or even GaGa in the camp rec room and after an unpleasant odor has set in is ineffective.
This is your mouth:
Now, many of you may not have this perfect smile – yet. Your teeth may be imprisoned in those metallic braces, but know this: Your parents have spent about just as much money on those teeth in your head as they spent on that summer at sleep-a-way camp. So please: Brush, floss, rinse. At least two times a day.
And for those of you with braces, NO there is no substitute for gum while at camp, at home, or otherwise.
And please drink at least one glass of milk a day.
And change your sheets at least once a week.
And…. remember we love you and will miss you like crazy.
But most of all …. Have fun!