CAMP Out: Fay's Rehoboth Journal - Off to Visit the Queen
|by Fay Jacobs|
I'm having a huge attack of writer's block as I sit down to write this column, since there are so many different things I want to say and the clock is ticking toward deadline. Not only am I on my editor's deadline, but there are a zillion loose ends to wrap up before Bonnie and I leave for a vacation in England.
This year it's Bonnie's turn to celebrate her forty-tenth birthday abroad and we're heading for her ancestral home. At least we think so.
Wading through genealogy sites on the internet, it's perfectly possible to spend the better part of several weeks tracking down hundreds of Quesenberrys and discovering we're related to not a single Elijah, Millie or Heinrich in the bunch. But we think Bonnie's descended from Lord Herman Von Questenberg of Germany, whose offspring re-located to Kent County, England, near Leeds Castle and anglicized his moniker. This could explain why my British-rooted sweetie makes a mean Matzo Ball, but we'll have to see.
Our frustrating foray into genealogy reminded me of my own brush with the past a few years ago. Bonnie and I visited Ellis Island in New York and we got all goosebumpy and nostalgic seeing the well-preserved artifacts from the early century immigrant experience. With my Russian and Romanian heritage, I ogled the ships logs and peered through the personal effects, feeling closer to my roots than I ever thought possible.
By coincidence, I spent that evening with family matriarch Aunt Marion. As Bonnie and I excitedly babbled on about communing with my ancestors at Ellis Island, she interrupted with, "That's nice, dear, but we came in illegally through Canada." Oh good. Illegal aliens. I might have known. But as for Bonnie, we think we've got her lineage scoped out and we hope to trace some of those Questenbergs on our trip.
Apparently, lots of Letters readers remember our last trip, where we followed the throw-as-you-go-plan around France, having taken our oldest underwear to toss away at the end of each day to make room for souvenirs. An acquaintance asked our traveling companions if Bonnie intended to discard her underpants in England, too. It's nice to know that folks we don't even know are following the saga of Bonnie's previously mentioned unmentionables. Yeah, we're doing the toss and travel thing again.
But it's with mixed feelings that we're packing up to depart, since this is the very first year we've been able to stick around and see what things are like in town after Labor Day.
This week, as the last of our houseguests waved bye-bye and headed home, Bonnie and I collapsed, exhausted. Even the dogs had to take extra naps. Don't get me wrongI absolutely love living the resort life where everybody wants to come and stay because we live at the beach. But we must need more vitamins. Running a quasi B&B so consumed me with food planning, I saw yesterday's Post headline "Albright Can't Get Syria to the Table," and all I could think was "What was she serving?"
And talk about houseguestsI thought Hurricane Dennis would never leave. The damn thing hung around gouging our shoreline and not having the decency to give us the rain we needed. And it was nowhere near the fun we had with the Hurricane Bonnie headlines last year: Bonnie Pummels Rehoboth! Bonnie Gusts Through Delaware! And my personal favorite, Bonnie's Wrath Hits Home! Been there. Especially after Bonnie read some of the stories I've included in this column. (Hmmm... the underwear thing comes to mind)
With the two weeks of gloom hanging over Rehoboth just before Labor Day, our annual SunDance was aptly named. Well it may have been murky weather outside the convention center, but inside it was glowing. With Murray's brilliant, billowy dcor, and the lights from Baltimore Stage Lighting, life inside was beautiful.
And what volunteers! I have never seen so many people work togetherso hard and so wellin my life. While that recent Washington Post article pretty much got it right about our hometown, I just wish it could have chronicled the sweat equity and community spirit that went into SunDance. That's the real measure of our town's diversity.
But I guess we should be pleased that reporter Donna St. George was able to capture many, many of the other Rehoboth success stories. The articlein the August 29 Post Sunday Magazine, in case you didn't see it was really pretty good. My only complaint was the ugly cover shot of a couple of seemingly prepubescent boys, holding hands, with their shorts heading South. I don't know about you, but I've never seen the likes of these two at Poodle Beach, North Shores or the Renegade. They look like they'd never been to summer camp much less the gym. If they wanted to represent our community correctly, they should have put one of Rehoboth's two major gay-population groups on the cover. Either some pumped up, great looking gym bunniesmale or female or a bunch of graying gayby-boomers sitting around and trying to summon brain cells enough to remember whether the Celsius reservations were for 7:00 or 7:30.
But I digress, as usual.
So here we are, getting ready for the trip. I've been reading the Complete Idiot's Guide to British Royalty. My favorite chapter is the one that tells the reader that Bette Davis was not actually Queen Elizabeth. She wasn't?
I also loved the news that London Bridge is no longer falling down, since somebody bought it (Manhattan Indians, call your office, we've got another sucker....) and put it in the Arizona desert. Go figure. Of course, the book makes much mention of the Tower of London and the actual family jewels, as opposed to the family jewels often heard mentioned at Poodle Beach.
I also learned that Jacobites were the citizens who supported James the Second's claim to the English throne. I suspect no relation to them. Unless, of course, I discover they're serving knishes at Windsor.
We're getting set to trade dollars for pounds and fish and chips for the other kind of pounds. And while researching Bonnie's familial roots will be small part of our trip, we're going to stay close to our own community roots by staying at the Noel Coward Hotel in London and checking out the gay scene there, too. We'll report back.
In the meantime, I'm hoping that Hurricane Floyd misses us, leaves my house and newly planted trees where they are, and that all will be well here upon our return.
It's really great to know that this time, coming home will be coming back to Rehoboth. Talk about roots. Mine are down.
Fay Jacobs' CAMPOut, the 1998 winner of the Vice Versa Award for "Best First Person Column," is a regular feature of Letters from CAMP Rehoboth.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 9, No. 13, Sept. 17, 1999