CAMPOut:Fay's Rehoboth Journal
|by Fay Jacobs|
|Gather 'round the CAMP fire...
"Have you got a column ready for me?" editor Steve had the audacity to ask, one hour before the CAMP Rehoboth Follies started. Like I've had time to write anything.
And it was an especially risky question because he knew I could retaliate by tattling that when he asked, he was wearing a pink tutu.
Honestly, living in Rehoboth is like being at adult sleepaway camp. And I use the word adult loosely. If you've ever been to camp or heard tales of counselors, bunks, color war or dining hall etiquette, you may relate.
Here at Camp Runamuck we swim, go boating, have cook-outs, do arts and crafts, play sports, have dances and do every damn camp-like thing except wake up with reveille and gather at the flagpole in the morning. Hold it. When I go to the boardwalk, I walk right past the flagpole.
Of course, back in the day, I was cranky as hell because I was sent to a co-ed camp. Worried that I wasn't boy crazy, my parents were probably the only ones hoping their daughter would climb out the bungalow window to sneak over to the boy's bunks. Little did they know I was suffering in silence with a crush on my counselor.
So just like my tortured past, here at our adult camp, we have separate boys' and girls' waterfronts (although there's a great amount of crossover), many coed activities (which I now love, go figure) and that mid-summer tradition, "Sing." For the uninitiated, Sing is a competition, where different age groups present songs and skits making fun of various counselors, activities and camp lore.
I can recall sitting up late at night with my pals, re-writing popular songs with silly lyrics to take good-natured jabs at our friends and shared experiences. Wait a minute, that was last week when I was re-writing popular songs with silly words for the CAMP Rehoboth Follies. And we made lanyards to hang pink triangles on our costumes.
Yup, the correlation between summer camp skit night, where we'd rehearse for two days and be willing to humiliate ourselves for a laugh has amazing resonance here. Just ask Tinky Winky, a.k.a. my spouse, who was drafted for Follies.
And speaking of the Follies, I have to report that the following morning in the dining hall...er, Crystal Restaurant, the Delmarva Divas ate their bacon and eggs with their Gold Barbie sitting on the table. Honest.
If I may digress for a moment, I have to report how fabulous Christopher Peterson was as the Follies emcee, what a pleasure he was to work with, how the troupes really paid strict attention to the judges guidelines, what a wonderful job Ric Kirby did organizing the troupes and how grateful I was to be involved in the whole thing. I never had this much fun at my childhood summer camp.
Actually, the old fashioned mid-twentieth century generic summer camp is probably extinct. Specialized camps are all the rage now, with computer camps, dude ranch camps, fat camps (the kind where you trim the fat as opposed to what's happened to me at adult camp) and of course, drama camp. We got that one covered in spades.
I guess our corollary to Wilderness Camp is an overnight to Millsboro.
There's even a Hogwarts camp where Harry Potter maniacs can make potions by mixing Alka Seltzer and Jello. I don't know about you, but I just went to a party where Jello shots were availablethat would be Jello and Vodka. We waited until morning for the Alka-Seltzer.
Ahhh, all those starry nights, with boys sitting around the campfire telling scary stories and girls sitting around the campfire gossiping. I think we reverse the roles around here, but we have horror stories and gossip to beat the band. Chatter about streetscape delays and speculation about the upcoming Rehoboth election cover both categories. No marshmallows, though.
Hey, remember lights out when the counselors yelled, "One more sound and I'm coming in!"
Now we have a noise ordinance to deal with and our bars and restaurants get pretty much the same treatment. And just as we did as kids, we try to behave, but every once in a while....
And though I've never heard of Rehoboth bunk mates short-sheeting a friend's bed, I do not put it out of the realm of possibility. Actually, it would be a great hint to guests who overstay their welcome. Instead of once a summer, around here we have visiting day weekend after weekend after weekend. I wonder if I remember the correct technique for short sheeting.
Oh, we were so bad as teen campers. As a 16-year old counselor-in-training I would run off with my friends to smoke Newport Lights (ptooey!) clandestinely in the bathroom stalls. Do we see any parallels here?
And while we don't have an official Color War, which splits the whole camp into two teams at the end of the summer, we do have our annual Drag Volleyball (how campy is that!) with its two rival teams inviting hundreds of campers to take sides and cheer.
We've come a long way baby from Kool-Aid and lousy camp food, but we're still happy campers. That's because along with our Rehoboth camp activities we have five star restaurants, legendary happy hours and S'Mores.
Oh Lord, Kum-Ba-Yah.
Fay Jacobs is the author of As I Lay Fryinga Rehoboth Beach Memoir and can be reached at www.fayjacobs.com.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 15, No. 10 July 29, 2005