This was the third summer I was going to attend Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. This year was different; I wasn’t being sent away to keep me away from my brother. There was no alternative subtext to the joy I felt at spending two weeks in the western part of the state, far away from home and family. There was just pure excitement at seeing and rooming with two of my close friends that I’d bonded with for the last two summers. I was hoping that the good feelings from the experience would help banish the dark thoughts that kept creeping into my head in my quiet room at night.
This year we were finally rooming together. We’d originally asked to be housed in the only tents on the campsite, but the tents had been dismantled that year. In their place, an area of cabins on the “mens” side was opened up for girls. This was amazing, because segregation of the sexes was taken to the extreme at BLFAC, by having all main activities in the middle of the camp and the resident cabins on either edge…a good mile or more apart from each other. Not that that stopped boys and girls from finding all manner of places to sneak hidden kisses and more, but at least the appearance of civility was able to be given to the parents who left their children there.
The three of us were old hands at the camp now and we walked about as if we ruled the place. My natural tendency to hang back was pushed to the limit when amongst my outgoing friends. They led games with our eight other cabin mates like “tell us something that no one else knows about you,” and other games that brought us all closer together.
In the mornings, on the way to breakfast, we started to take notice of the boys who were assigned to the cabins around us. There were tall ones, shorter ones, friendly ones and shy ones, and all were simply amazed that there were girls allowed to be so close to where they showered and shaved. It wasn’t long before they started befriending us and accompanying us to the evening classical music concerts.
I chuckled at the attention the girls gave the boys. I knew better. I’d met my first boyfriend here last year, and I wasn’t about to make that mistake again. I laughed and instead set my sights on the dashing German exchange student who seemed to be popping up everywhere I was. He was smart, funny and spoke with an endearing accent. I decided to put my affections there, because it wouldn’t matter in two weeks when it was all over; he wasn’t going to be calling, he wasn’t going to be asking for anything and perhaps after a letter or two I wouldn’t hear that much from him again soon.
There’s a picture of me and that boy in my scrapbook, me and Ulrich.