Before the first day was over, most of the girls in my cabin also had a boyfriend. I was in the sixth grade, and as far as I was concerned, boys still had cooties.
Every activity was done with partners, or groups. The friends all clustered together, and a counselor always had to “assign” someone to play or work with me. I was such a nerdy little kid, dangerously naive and socially inept, and when it came to approaching these girls, I was at a complete and total loss.
I also knew practically nothing about the birds and the bees, but at the end of the week, I knew a lot more. Church camp is where I got most of my information, in fact. Surprisingly, a lot of the information I got was correct.
In one week, I went from the kid who didn’t even know what a “period” was, to a kid who not only knew where babies came from, but also how they got in there in the first place. I didn’t believe it, of course. I mean, who were they trying to kid?
Not MY mom and dad. Ewww.
The church camp sex vocabulary was interesting, too. “The man puts his THING into the girl’s THING, and THINGS come out of it and touch her THINGS, and makes a baby grow in the THING, and when it’s big enough, her THING pushes it out, like poop.”
The funny THING is, we understood what that meant. Sort of. Well, I knew how to poop, so I figured I would know how to have a baby when the time came.
And I did. Pushed ’em right out of my THING.
The next summer, I went back to Baptist Camp with friends, and I had a BLAST. Seriously, it was really fun. We had vespers about forty times a day, but other than that, it was great. Lanyards and wallets and swimming in the filthy lake water, goofy camp songs that I still remember, and boys.
Oh yes, there are always boys. And THINGS.
Flash forward, and there I am with my friend, and we’re taking our daughters to this same Baptist Camp. They were assigned the same cabin I’d been in. I walked inside, and the smell of the cabin hit my memory. . . it was the SAME SMELL. I looked at the graffiti all over the rafters. . . I recognized some of it.
It was difficult for me to leave her there, but I smiled as we drove away. I had a feeling that THINGS would be fine with my baby. And they were.
She learned to dive there.
I didn’t ask her about other THINGS.