|by Murray Archibald|
|August 9, 20047:28 a.m.
Today is the second Monday in the merry old month of August, and for a time I am alone here in the CAMP Rehoboth office. I've been here for a while, checking the final proof for the Sundance poster, invitation, and palm card so that my sister, Mary Beth, can get it to the printer by 8 a.m. Lying beside me on the desk is a to-do list that at first glance seems so absurd, I could almost shrug it off as pure fantasy. (I do, however, glean a small bit of satisfaction from my nicely designed new "to-do" list forms now neatly stacked and clipped within the hard edge of a bright orange clipboard). My plan, at the moment, is to write a piece about the people who where hosts of the very first Sundance back in 1988and I may get to that plan in a momentbut for now, my head is still spinning from the news that CAMP Rehoboth is purchasing the old Our Place Restaurant next door (in case you missed it, see The Way I See It on page 3 of this issue).
And so, for a time, I put everything else aside and let my mind wander back through the years...back to the first days of CAMP Rehoboth...no, back further than that...to my very first trip to Rehoboth Beach. It is a bright but chilly day in late winter or the early spring of 1981. Joe McMahon has invited Steve and I to join him in a Rehoboth beach house for the summer and we are driving through the many cornfields that line Route 1 on our way to meet the real estate agent who's going to show us a cute little house on Norfolk Street.
Now the time shifts again...still early in the 80s...and we are in a beach house on Christian Street..."the boys of Christian Street invite you to the white party...the aquamarine and tangerine party...the madras party."
The years peel away like layers of paint...my first shows at the Blue Moon...dancing at the Renegade...the opening of the Strand...and the dying...always the dying. AIDS is among us now and cuts like a knife, random slashes through the house... the address book...our hearts. And so the first Sundance...born out of defiance, of tears, of frustration...and a desperate need for joy, for hope, for healing.
It is 1990 now, and we have just moved to Rehoboth...a group of us gather to lay the foundation of CAMP Rehoboth and...aha! There it is...the memory I sought. The first dream...the first concept of CAMP Rehoboth that included...shops, gallery, information, resources, books, and a magnificent courtyard...a safe place, a vibrant place. Something that seemed unreal 14 years ago, and yet something that like DNA follows a path to what it is...what it can't help but be.
Now I understand my need to look back, to remember. I needed to remember the dream from the start...from the very firstthe part that got lost in the hard reality of making it from one year to the next. In the beginning, CAMP Rehoboth was pared down to the basics... step by step...year by year...heart by heart... we have grown as the community has grown.
This morning I awoke in the darkness just before dawn, in that time of day when doubt tries to take reason and replace it with fear and I worried that we were growing too fast...working too hard...pushing too hard. Then I remembered the journey...and all the people who have given so much...and I remembered the vision...the dream...the idea of CAMP, of creating a more positive world...of creating a more hopeful world...a more accepting world...a more welcoming world.
Most of all I remembered the incredible creative power of our community and the commitment that so many people have made over the yearsto Sundance, to CAMP Rehoboth, to the Community Center, to a dream that is now, in fact, a reality.
I have not written this morning what I set out to write about and yet, in a way, I have. Each of those 18 people who were hosts of the first Sundance are woven through the memories that spilled out upon this page. Many of the ones who are still living remain a part of our communityas hosts of Sundance, Founders' Circle members, volunteers, friends, and family.
Suddenly a great peace settles around my heart and my soul stirs with excitement and anticipation. Just look at the progress we've made in 14 years. Just imagine where we can go from here.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 14, No. 11 August 13, 2004