Roughing It?



Is there an official start date for one’s second childhood? I urgently need to know, because it’s already August and I’m thinking about enrolling in summer camp.

I never went to camp and I’m tired of feeling left out.

Left out of what?” you ask.

Left out of the screeching and squealing that occurs when we’re with a group of friends who reminisce about their childhood trip to Camp Gitchee Gumee or Maka Laka, or some other made up Native American name.

They gleefully ruminate about learning to paddle a canoe and water ski on a beautiful lake,
cooking food in a can over a campfire, missing their parents and the cute letters to home (saved by Mom). They wax nostalgic about the scavenger hunts and their first kiss, often by the light of the campfire. And if I’m really lucky, I’m treated to a chorus of the good
old camp songs.

I’m left wondering if anyone is interested in my childhood summers getting cool in front of a fire hydrant. Probably not.

Funky colored cartoon bus filled with kids

Not going to camp is one of my
biggest regrets. Right up there with missing Woodstock and getting muddy, hungry and high.

But alas, I am no longer a girl,
and I can’t go back. I’m resigned to the fact that playing Camping Bingo was just not in the cards. But that doesn’t stop me from contemplating what a camp experience might be
like at this time of my life.

First of all, I would need a lower bunk. The reasons for this should be obvious to anyone old enough to have second thoughts about changing an overhead light bulb while standing on a ladder ¬in the middle of the night.

I don’t mean to sound snobbish, but are there cabins where the toilets are en suite? The thought of trudging to an outhouse at 2 a.m. is about as appealing as a lukewarm
cup of instant coffee.

Then there’s all that sharing. Sharing sleeping space, sharing a bathroom, sharing a shower. Seven other females seeing you naked. Chatter when you are trying to
sleep. And who sleeps through the night anymore anyway?

I think I would enjoy the activities. In moderation. With frequent rest periods, followed by a massage. But tell me honestly, you veterans, what’s camp food really like? And is it suitable for those on a low-salt, low-cholesterol diet?

Funny, this entire concept is starting to sound less and less compelling. Considering my current requirements, I have confirmed the foolishness of contemplating a later-in-life camp experience.

But while one door closes, another opens. The Golden Door that is. Clearly, the month of August would be much better spent at a spa!


Susan Goldfein’s newest book, How to Complain When There’s Nothing
to Complain About, is available at Read her blog at: Email Susan at

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