Written by Head of S4B Andrew Hano
I do not have to look at a calendar to know we are in the final days until we leave for Camp. No, there are other indications about what time of year it is. Looking in all the desk drawers for black laundry marking pens; the hundreds of iron-on “Hano” labels lying around; packs of new socks and underwear, boxes of new shoes; and piles of clothes and sports equipment signal the approach of camp like the turning of leaves in October brings the fall season.
As we prepare to leave for camp and I contemplate renting a Uhaul to transport all this stuff there, my wife and I ask the question, “What do we really need to bring?” I began to think about some of the best and worst things I brought to camp in the past. There must be some item that bore the four letters of my last name that inspired envy among the other campers. Of course, there had to be something so useless I could not believe my stupidity for using valuable space bringing it with me.
Topping the “Best of” list has to be a lamp. I remember it vividly: a black toy train with an arm that unfolded upwards holding the lightbulb. I brought it for the first time as a CIT in the Lodge. That lamp transformed reading at night after the cabin lights went out. No longer was it necessary to clamp my flashlight between shoulder and head at the perfect angle to see the pages of my book, only to readjust every time I turned a page. I would compare it to talking hands free on a cell phone! The train lamp found its way to camp (and later college) for the next eight summers.
The “Useless” list is a little more difficult. For example, the weather for a summer can render something completely unusable, like a fleece last summer when the temperatures never seemed to drop below 85. But I do remember the rubber rainboots that made their way with me my first summer. I did use them…on a hiking trip through a gorge. As if slipping across wet rocks all day was not enough, I reduced the raging stream to a trickle carting most of the stream water back to camp inside those impermeable rubber rainboots. Ever since, an old pair of sneakers have proved far more practicable than those rubber rain boots.
As the piles begin to grow, and you have to sit on the trunk lid to get it to close, survey what you have chosen. Now, tell yourself, “Keep the reading lamp, and leave the rubber rain boots at home!”
See you all soon!