Summer Sleep Away


With summer camp fast approaching, we have taken out the trunks and begun going through the checklist the camp sends us each year. 12 pairs of underwear, 8 pairs of shorts, 5 bathing suits and so on. Each of my boys takes a copy of the list and starts lining up his clothes, sports equipment, sleeping bag and all the other stuff on the list. The clothes are all marked up with their names or initials and then one by one I help them neatly fold up their belongings and pack the trunk with the utmost of care. The trunks are picked up a few days later and all that stuff starts to make its way upstate and eventually find its way beside their bed in their bunk.

But that’s where the journey only begins. The stuff will be unpacked and haphazardly jammed into a cubby that only holds a tenth of all the stuff. Over the span of the next eight weeks at sleep-away camp, much of the sports equipment will be lost, the clothes will either disappear or be destroyed in the camp’s infamous laundry service and eventually the once tiny cubby will seem spacious. And into that cubby will go the survivors of the summer. The sole pair of shorts, the one sock without its matching partner, the remaining underwear whose rightful owner no one can ascertain. And at the end of camp when that trunk is filled with what’s left of the stuff in whatever condition it’s in, it will bear no resemblance to the neatly packed trunk with all the nice clothes and new soccer cleats and leather baseball mitt and the new tennis raquet that was packed away two months earlier with such care. The trunk that comes home carries the injured, the stained, the ripped and the maimed. I open the trunks to find the broken lacrosse stick, the roller blade with the missing wheels, the sleeping bag with the burn holes, the canteen with the black mold inside and the clothes that have survived the war and have changed color, shape and size.

We take the trunk but we do not unpack it. We simply take out its contents and stuff them into giant heavy duty black garbage bags and take them out to the curb. Then its off to do our school shopping for new STUFF.

11/7/2010 09:21:30 am

To accomplish their dreams and efforts to fight! This is best feeling.


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    Ofer Aronskind grew up in a camping family. The Aronskinds operated summer camps in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts for over 15 years. The adventures and anecdotes in this book, although fictionalized, are his boyhood memories. He now lives with his three sons in the suburbs of New Jersey. Ofer Aronskind is the author of “Summer Sleep Away” and “That Same Summer”, and  “Escape From Sunday School”.


    June 2009


    Preparing For Camp
    Sleepaway Camp
    Summer Camp

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