Saturday night I went out for dinner with a bunch of old friends. After two scotches, a glass of Prosecco and a Corona, I announced that having just had my second and final phone call of the summer with my sleep-away camp kid, and hearing him say, “Ma you can ask me one more question, but then I gotta go” I was finally able to breathe that long awaited sigh of relief knowing that things have definitely fallen into place and he’s in his element. I went on to say there would now be no more worrying on my part and I was psyched to regain my sanity. “My boy is great; I’m certain he’s loving camp so I’m officially ready to start enjoying the freedom of having only one child at home.”
However, it appears as though my five weeks late and a lot of dollars short start leaves me no choice but to put the pedal to the metal in the HOV lane of freedom because time’s a tickin’. The summer is practically over! My Little Prince will be back to reclaim his throne in less than two weeks.
My announcement must have come at the perfect time because my girlfriend said, “Oh my G-d Silver, that reminds me I brought something to show you. Come here! My Mother found a letter she wrote the first summer we all left for sleep-away camp. I made a copy for you to keep. Yer gonna love it.” So not to miss a single word, we huddled around in a quiet area and my friend read the letter aloud, which was typewritten on what must have been a typewriter from at least thirty-four years ago (assuming it was brand new) because the letter was drafted in the summer of 1980.
After hearing her diary-like confessions which caused us much hilarity, there was no question in my mind that if blogs existed in 1980, this spot-on post written by Ellen, my dear friend’s Mom titled, Children Leave For Camp would have gone viral. Her perspective reflects vintage unpolishedness at its finest so it gives me great pleasure to share her words on my blog now, thirty-four years later.
Pictures of the actual letter are below, but for your reading convenience I have re-typed it verbatim.
CHILDREN LEAVE FOR CAMP
Here it is! The day we (my husband) have been waiting for! Who would believe it, all three children are old enough to go to sleep-away
camp. My husband is completely out of control. He has been leering at me since February 1st. Everyone we know who (a) has older children, (b) can afford it, or has found a camp who will take either Master Charge or Visa and (c) which should really be (a)! a couple who is still married has told us that this sumer is going to be a second honeymoon for us. What they don’t know and what my husband has totally repressed, is that the first honeymoon wasn’t so hot. Well, there is no delaying it, it’s time to leave for the bus. Oh, please G-D, don’t let me make a scene. Here we are, the usual state of affairs, I’m crying and the children are telling me that I’m humiliating them, and my husband is threatening my life. Okay, I’ll stay in the car and compose myself while they get on the bus. I am now in the car, the windows are locked and closed and of course, I have no key, it is 100 degrees in here, I’m dying for a cigarette ( I stopped smoking five months and two sizes ago). Great luck, I spy in the ashtray a half-smoked, filthy, old cigarillo. I light it, knowing full well it will make me sick. YUK, as I’m turning green there is a knock at my window, my girlfriend, she came to see if it was true, that at the bus stop I behave as if I was auditioning for the lead in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Yes, she said, it’s true! Well, she forced me out of the car to at least wave to the children as their bus drove off to camp. She and my husband took me home where I proceeded to be hysterical and referred to their laughing faces as if they were all Gestapo members. That night we all went out to dinner, three couples with previous experience in summer freedom, giving us a quickie seminar in how to handle 56 days of freedom. Now half the summer has passed, and I must admit that I’m right in the swing of it. The children are fine and all mail received is of a positive nature. I have fulfilled the guilt quota by planning an 11 day trip to Florida the day following the children’s return from camp. I am sending to them their weekly packages ( 8 weeks x 3 children = 24 packages and a grand total of 11 million dollars), and of course the daily letter informing them that it has rained almost continually since they left and that I spend most of my time cleaning closets! Actually I’m looking forward to many more summers like this and of course I know the following will remain in your confidence I’m loving every minute of it!
JUST TO LET YOU KNOW… THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID 34 YEARS AGO and I think it’s a classic, unpolished gem! I appreciate every single sentence of this letter and relate to it all too well even if it’s thirty-four years later. In my opinion, Ellen was (and still is) an Unpolished Goddess, which coming from me, is highly complimentary! Ellen, I worship your sense of humor and welcome the opportunity to post anything you have to say whenever you want to say it! As a matter of fact, I have an unpolishedly good idea. I bet there are more hidden treasures to find, so how about I come over and help you clean out a few closets? My freedom runs out in twelve days, so we need to act fast! Whaddaya say I swing by and bring you something much better than a half-smoked, filthy, old cigarillo? I can’t promise you won’t get a little “cuckoo” but you have my unpolished word that I won’t let you get sick and turn green this time!