Today you are three. This year brought many changes for you…
One night at dinner, Mrs. D came to me at my cabin’s assigned table and told me I had a phone call. I followed her back into the kitchen, sat at a little table, and picked up the black receiver.
“Jess, it’s Mom and Dad. We got all your letters and we decided it’s time for us to come for you.”
Things change after this one, I promise…
July 4, 1987
You’re just telling me to try harder because you don’t know what it’s like. I lost my flashlight, Innie’s* head is very wobbly probably because I dropped her on the floor 3 times while I was sleeping. I am really worried her
headneck might give in altogether. And there is this girl in my bunk. Her name is Amelia. She just thinks she’s the head of the world. She’s always saying that people only like me because I am always homesick and crying. She’s jelous of me! Why should SHE want to be jealous of me!?
“It’s not like I’m going to be in the Olympics…”
Dear Mom + Dad,
It’s not fair what you are doing to me. I feel like I am in a jail. You’re making me stay here to the point of making me even more homesick. I don’t want to work really, really, really, really, really hard at swimming. I am already in swimmers. It’s not like I’m going to be in the Olympics. I hate swimming here. I am older than everyone in this cabin by 1 year. You just don’t understand. You don’t know how I feel! I wake up every morning thinking I am at home. Do you know how disapointing that is? It’s awful. I CAN’T HANG IN THERE DAD!!!! I would feel ALOT better if I had Lisa or Sara with me. Believe me. I HATE YOU FOR MAKING ME STAY HERE.
In the thick of it now…
Dear Mom + Dad,
This is to tell you how I feel and what is wrong.
Here we go…
Dear Mom and Dad,
Please let me come home! I don’t like it here. The horses are yucky and anyway riding makes me homesick. I want to come home!! Just let me come home. I don’t care about all the stuff you told me. I am crying right now ‘cause you won’t let me come home. You just don’t understand how I feel. Please! I mis Montpelier. (E. Montpelier)* I miss home. I promise I won’t be guilty when I come home early. Don’t you want me to be happy? If you do just pick me up and hug me and kiss me and say you love me. Then take me home to a comfortable bed. Please?!!!!
Who cares what my friends think?
p.s I WOKE UP THIS MORNING [THINKING] I WAS HOME!!!!!
*Just to be very clear.
You Better call and ask to talk to me. And then agree to take me home. OR ELSE I WILL HATE YOU FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE
*I spelled my name with an ‘i’ for a few years to match my friend Carrie.
It’s early on in the first week at Camp Betsy Cox and I’m still doing fine.
You’re right! Camp is cozy and friendly. So far I a haveing a very wonderful time. I did get homesick but I am alright now.
In riding I had to ride the trouble pony because he was being bad. He started bucking but I swear I wasn’t that scared!
Today is Space Day. To save me from a tired, sore hand ask Dad about it.
Did you have a nice time at your birthday dinner? I hope you did.
I can’t wait to see the house! Tell Timmy that was a beutiful picture.
Don’t worry, Mom. After about five years with your handwriting I am used to it. And I will definitly write a lot.
Love and kisses from the walking Bug Bite!
p.s. Don’t worry about the costume, I don’t need it.
p.s.s I might need more stamps.
We thought these were lost. A bundle of letters I wrote to my parents from Camp Betsy Cox in 1987 when I was 11. But they’ve been found.
In reading them, I was taken aback by the voice and self reflection of this little girl.
This is the first letter. I’ve settled into my cabin, Horrid Hamlet, I’m looking for friends, and searching for my place.
Dear Mom, Dad, and Timmy,
So far camp is really great. I don’t really have a true posotive friend yet but everyone really likes me. I have my
Ieye on someone but we are both kind of shy. Her name is Bonnie. She lives in Manhatten. One camper in our bunk still hasn’t arrived. Her name is Amelia*. In swimming lessons I am in Swimmers! And I am an advanced rider. Every Wednesday there is a trail ride. Bonnie loves riding too. Gotta go!
p.s. I love you! Remember to write back
*I had high hopes for this Amelia
Thank you parents (who are amazing grandparents), thank you JetBlue for the good seats, thank you patrons of JFK’s restroom at Gate 20 for only offering me encouragement as my son had a tantrum on the floor, and then fell asleep there, thank you row mates for being so AMAZING and for sticking up for me when my son woke up abruptly during take off and had (yet another) 45 minute meltdown, NO THANKS to the grumpy lady in the row behind us wondering why I couldn’t “get him under control.” Thank you to the lady sitting in front of me for patting my arm when I started to cry. Thank you impermanence. Thank you organic, low sugar lollypops, thank you toddler headphones, thank you Sesame Street (and Feist, Adam Sandler, Amy Adams, Jack Black, India Arie, John Krasinsky, Emma Stone, and Bruno Mars). Thanks to everyone who told me to wrap up little gifts to be opened at various points throughout the flight. Thank you Play-doh. Thank you stickers. Thank you finger skateboard, thank you Elmo “cell phone”. Thank you lady across the row for telling me I am an amazing mother. Thank you Asa for being such a trooper. Thank you Lynn for picking us up and not batting a lash at the final meltdown of the day. Thank you AAA for coming so promptly to jump start my dead Prius and put air in Isaiah’s flat Golf tire. Thank you Sarah for bringing us dinner last night and ensuring me I was only having a panic attack, and not coming down with a dreaded flu. Thank you Asa for sleeping 11 straight hours last night. Thank you Gloria for the loving daycare. Thank you Los Angeles for this golden, soothing day.