“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
OK, it’s a lame quote. And it doesn’t make any real sense, because the moon is like, millions of miles closer to us than the nearest star, the sun, so, if we shot for the moon and missed we’d be…somewhere between the earth and the moon, and nowhere near a star.
Still, it reminded me of when I literally wanted to shoot for the moon. For a few years of my childhood, I really wanted to be an astronaut. REALLY. I read all kinds of books about space. I even read Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time over and over again, until it stopped feeling like it was melting my brain and I started understanding it (I was in middle school). I begged my parents to let me go to NASA Space Camp.
But it turns out real space camp is friggin’ expensive.
Instead, one summer, I got sent to some science daycamp at a local elementary school. We made space suits out of tinfoil and Saran Wrap and learned about planets and space shuttles.
But we did not get to pull any G forces or play in any simulators. There was no freeze-dried astronaut ice cream. They might have served us TANG.
What a letdown.
Next time my science-loving dad gives me grief about being a grad student in English Literature, I’m going to say: “Maybe if you let me go to real space camp, I’d be an astrophysicist or something right about now.”
Today campers are arriving at the summer camp where I was a camper and where I spent one very memorable summer as a camp counselor. It has me reminiscing.
6 summers ago, I had just graduated from high school, and I got a job I didn’t even apply for. On the day before I was supposed to leave with my family for a Disney World vacation, I got a phone call from the camp, asking me if I had plans for the summer and could I please consider working as a counselor? Yes, I was a year too young according to the rules, but they were short on staff, and I was an experienced camper. Not looking forward to spending the summer at home with my parents, I said, of course, but I can’t be there until I get back from Florida, which would cause me to miss the first week of staff training.
On the day I arrived, one other counselor was also arriving a week late, because his sister had just gotten married and he couldn’t make it to camp until after the wedding. We were introduced in the dining room and I immediately thought he was the cutest boy I’d ever seen. I schemed to sit next to him for CPR training, during which time we got into trouble with the instructor for talking too much. That evening the staff had a cook-out in the Outback Adventure Area, where we would be spending the night in cabins and learning how to do cook-outs as we would with our own campers each week of the summer. I remember that we tossed a frisbee. I remember that I loved his laugh. We started chatting around a campfire with several other counselors, but before too long, we were the only two still up. I saw three shooting stars, which he claimed were really just fireflies, but they couldn’t have been. Because I made three wishes. And they came true. (I KNOW! Totally cheesy and ridiculous but absolutely true!) Continue reading “summer lovin’”