The summer before my freshman year, I remember coming home from my work at a YMCA Day Camp, locking myself in my bedroom and listening to REM’s “Dead Letter Office”, a very hacked together tape of Document along with an unlabeled mix tape of Pylon provided by someone I wanted to be like. I want to say I also had Green, but that would have made it 1989. I had some weird tie-dye speaker covers, and would just rock out all night.
There are some times now, that I just want to relive those summers. I was outside for about 60 hours a week, helping run a camp. Meeting very interesting people, other kids and some of the counselors. I occasionally bump into one of the counselors. I ran into my biggest influence at the time, while he was on a break from teaching High School English. I saw another as he brought his High School science class into a hospital tour.
One of my fellow CITs & former girlfriend later dated my best friend, and we actually got to hang out as adults. Really strange. Another camper who became a CIT is a fellow drummer is a pretty good band. I had one of the kids in the 9-10 year old group I was over, in my college math class. I ran into another kid at the local bookstore. He is 20 and has a kid. His comment was something I’ve been pondering for a long time, “You weren’t that much older than us, but we thought you and the others were much older”. We were 15 year-olds counseling 10 year olds….actually we worked with 5-12, then at 13 you could become a CIT, then a LIT, then if you actually had no life, you became a counselor at 16. But when I was 16, they made me a Jr. Counselor. That means the Y worked me like a fucking dog, paid me apprentice wage, while the other councilors got minimum wage and worked 40 hours a week. Most of the people I worked with got out of the Y system by the time they were 20. They became teachers, webmasters, soldiers, pastors, and probably dozens of other professions. We all are better people because of that job.
There are still a few I worry about, my friend who became a runaway and a drug addict at 16, my friend who suffered years of physical abuse from her mother only to move-in with her moderately rich Dad and diving into the world of cocaine….and when I completely treated her like crap when she was on the recovery. Those relationships were started during innocent summers, early teenage summers where we really didn’t know about the world and we really didn’t have to care about anything. But those people had to grow up faster than me and the others they were around. We led “cushy” lives compared to theirs, but we didn’t judge them. We were experiencing the same amount of fun not knowing what happened when school started in August.
I guess I’m at a point of reflection in my life. I’m getting older and thinking about what made me happy during the “best times of my life”. Reflection is a dangerous thing, when you look back you can’t avoid seeing the places and people you miss…and completely realizing your faults…along with seeing what was so great about your life circa. 1988…1990..1993 whatever time that was.
My life is better now, circa. 2002., than it has been in a long long time. I’m married and completely in love with a wonderful woman, I have a completely kick ass job, and I know what living is. I know my life will get better, it’s like roller coaster speech at the end of “Parenthood” or my personal motto, “You Might Not Know Why Things Happen, but Eventually the Reason Will Appear”
This could lead to a completely different tangent, so I’m going to stop while I’m ahead.