Wednesday, June 22, 2011

ghany girl

They say that the sense of smell can bring back long forgotten memories. They are so true.

As a pre-teen, I had the pleasure of attending Camp Alleghany, a camp for girls in West Virginia. My mother had once been a counselor at this camp and I had heard so many stories of her time there.

I remember being completely nervous and anxious heading off on the charter bus, but so excited for my new experiences.

I attended 'Ghany for three years (not consecutively, as my sister had the chance to go as well). They were the most amazing summers of my life. I had never attended a sleep away camp before, or since, so I don't really know if my experiences there are unique to this camp or not; I would like to believe that they are.

I try explaining why 'Ghany is such a great place to my husband, and he ends up looking at me as though I were crazy (he may be right, but not about camp). Even as I write this, I have a hard time coming up with words to describe and explain why Camp is so special to me.

This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of taking my oldest daughter for her first Camp Alleghany experience- a week of Mini Camp, allowed for first timers. As we stood on the banks of the Greenbrier River waiting for the Barge to ferry us over to Camp, so many emotions filled my heart. The sound of the Barge scraping the ramp was such a welcome sound. Sarah and her friend (who chose to attend Camp with her) were filled with nervous energy and couldn't wait to get across the river.

As the Barge neared the opposite side of the river, the line of counselors dressed in Blues & Whites, linked arm in arm, greeted us with a familiar song..."A welcome we're singing to you today..." Tears welled in my eyes as I remembered being serenaded in a similar fashion many years ago.

Once we were checked in at the store and the infirmary, we walked to Junior Camp to tent row. The second I entered her tent, I was smacked in the face with a such a familiar scent, it nearly knocked me over. The aroma of the tent alone transported me back 25 years to when I was a camper. It was amazing: the campfires, vespers, the walk through the woods to the dining hall, dances with Greenbrier boys, drama productions, the Old Johns, assemblies, hospital corners & inspections, Blue/Gray competitions (go Gray!), mail call, Cooper, Frannie, glass bottles of coke & fireballs at the store after dinner, peppermint patties & peanut butter, lunch under the apple tree. Big sigh!

I am positive that my daughters now think I am crazy, but I am hoping that Sarah will now have a glimpse into why!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Growing up, I was not part of the "popular group". I spent many years during my adolescence wondering if people liked me. Trying to wear the right clothes, do the right things, have the right "stuff", so that I could be like those girls everyone flocked to.

I was overweight and short with frizzy hair that wouldn't do a damn thing. Eventually, I found my circle of friends and was fine. But there was always that nagging feeling in the back of my mind and in the bottom of my heart of "am I good enough?"

As I got older, I gained much more confidence and the world around me seemed to care less that I wasn't Ms. Perfect. I dated, I married, I had kids. I have a job I enjoy and usually I feel pretty confident about who I am.

Every now and again, something happens to rip me open and expose that little girl who feels left out. I begin to question if I'm part of circles that I thought I was. I wonder, do people really like me, or are they just pretending. Basically, my self-esteem gets so flipped I begin to question things.

This week, I had two of these situations happen. One left me scratching my head, the other pissed me off completely. I am sure that the parties involved had no intention of slighting me and I am manufacturing the problems in my own messed up head. But, how do I really know? The questions keep surfacing. As grown up as I try to be, the little left-out girl in me still surfaces--wanting to be part of the "popular group", wanting to have close relationships with the "cool people", wanting to be someone that others want to be with, not just a hanger on.