A few weeks ago my wife excitedly came to me with news: Her old sleepaway camp in Monroe, N.Y., was having an alumni reunion. And we should go!
My wife is an enthusiastic, wonderful person, and she has many passions. One of those passions that I learned about VERY early on in our relationship was her worship of sleepaway summer camp, particularly, her sleepaway summer camp, Camp Monroe.
If you’re not from the Northeast, or maybe it’s the whole East Coast, you might not be familiar with the sleepaway camp phenomenon. Basically, instead of the more traditional day camps that I and maybe many of you attended, sleepaway camp is like college for 9-year-olds.
You sleep in bunks with other kids, you do activities, you have freedom from your parents, and most importantly, for four or six or eight weeks every summer, you’re hundreds of miles away from your parents.
Thousands of kids, every year, take leave of their home and happily go to sleepaway camp; I only did one two-week stint at tennis camp and loved it, except six hours of tennis a day were too much for me.
Anyway, growing up I thought this was a totally normal option, sleepaway camp, but when a few friends of mine from other parts of the country have heard about it, they’re horrified.
“You’re sending your kids away for 6 weeks, or 8 weeks, all by themselves, with strangers???”” they would shout. “That’s so mean! Aren’t you going to miss them? What kind of parents would do that?”
Seriously, that’s what they’ve said. And I guess they have a point; it does seem like a radical concept if you’re not familiar with it, and of course some kids go to sleepaway camp and hate it (my sister went once and said “never again.”)
But the vast majority of parents and kids who do it love it. It teaches the kids independence, life skills, shows them again how to make new friends and get along with people, and gives everyone in the family a chance to experience new things. Heck, I know lots of kids who look at school as the 10 months a year thing you have to endure just to get back to the fun of sleepaway camp.
I have very little doubt that when Nate and future Lewis children are old enough, we’ll ask if they want to go have fun in the woods, meet new friends, and learn to make S’Mores.
And if they say yes, then one day they’ll drag their kids to an alumni reunion. And if it’s as fun as ours was on Sunday, their children will be thrilled.
**Next up today, I used to be a big pro wrestling fan as a kid; totally into Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair and Rowdy Roddy Piper and all that (still mad that I left a beautiful, black WWF satin jacket on a bus in 8th grade. Man, I loved that jacket). I don’t follow the “sport” anymore unless something truly genius or strange catches my eye, and this is genius. In a minor-league wrestling promotion in Kentucky, there’s a new “bad guy” character called The Progressive Liberal, a Democrat who wears Hillary and Bernie Sanders T-shirts, spouts off about backwoods people, and gets fans all riled up. He also says stuff like “I want to help you people get jobs in clean energy!” and “Use some ObamaCare and get a hearing aid, you moron!”
Above is a video of him in action, and here’s an MSNBC report on the guy, named Daniel Edwards. This is perfect; I really hope the WWE scoops him up soon.
At first I was thinking they ought to also have a conservative bad guy, a cartoonishly awful figure saying stupid and crazy things, too, but then I remembered: Sean Hannity already exists, and plays the part so, so well.
**And finally today, I’m a huge (yuge) fan of the HBO show “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” so I was thrilled when it was finally announced this week that Season 9 will begin on October 1, and released this trailer to go with it.