The Last Day of Camp
Once a year we all gathered for a week of fun and frolic and crafts and music and sports and there was a trampoline. Mary Beth Matthews could hurtle her body way high and twist into contortions and land on her feet every time while we junior campers gazed in awe. Every single day was amazing—until the very last day. Parents showed up to collect us—sunburned, scratched, unwashed and exhausted. A week of late nights of pranks, gossip and sneaking snacks and illicit kisses was over. Many of us would not see each other again for a whole entire year.
The last day of camp was most miserable for the last ones awaiting parental retrieval. As the group of buddies dwindled, you didn’t even begin to care that some had been your sworn enemies all week. Each car that pulled up prompted another round of tearful hugs, promises to write and gifting little bits to remember one by—a camp souvenir, a note, a lock of hair… it was agonizing.
My grown-up self still gets that last day of camp feeling at the end of an intense multi-day project. The circus came to town and now it’s over. You could not convince my twelve-year-old self that anything so very glorious as camp could ever happen in my life again. But—I was twelve.
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