Guest post by Kay Roberts
I received a special letter from my only granddaughter and namesake, Catherine, which she sent me from Y Camp. What was so special about it?
Catherine is ten and was spending two whole weeks away from home at Y Camp. How would she handle this big new event? Could she eat and sleep in a strange new place with kids she didn’t know?
I remembered back decades ago when her father went to Y Camp. It was a day camp and he only had one night when the kids camped out. He said it was foggy and damp and he was lying under dripping trees trying not cry, but when he heard the kid next to him crying he decided to weep a little too. Was Catherine crying herself to sleep every night for two weeks? Absolutely not!
“Today I have another archery class. I also have backyard games (four square, cornhole, badmitton, etc.) and arts and crafts. For my water activities, I had kayaking, swimming and sailing.”
It was reassuring when my daughter-in-law sent camp photos of Catherine and her brother having a grand time (I only have two “Grands,” so my attention is pretty focused), but it was really special to get her letter and know she was not just OK, she was doing just great. The kids don’t have access to email and telephones, their usual ways to correspond, but the camp facilitates the writing and mailing of old fashioned letters. What a good idea!
This was also a special letter since it was the first real letter Catherine sent us. Of course I had received notes and thank you cards, but there was always a whiff of parental supervision in those. This was clearly Catherine’s own doing, and her parents were even surprised to find out she had written us. Where did she get the address?
From the letter, of course, that I had sent her, along with cartoons I culled from the New Yorker. I enjoyed that she got the Romeo joke (although I am not sure if she knows the play, the opera, or the ballet). In a post-camp telephone conversation, she told me it was her favorite.
“Thanks so much for the comics. My favorite is where Juliet is saying, ‘O Romeo, Romeo. Lurking outside my balcony is super creepy, Romeo.”
This was also a special letter since last summer her family moved from the West Coast where I live to the East Coast, so far away. Ever since the “Grands” were small we had a family event on July 4 at our street’s tiny, tiny Fourth of July celebration, so I was missing the kids this year.
What else made it a special letter? I liked the young touches: what she had for stationery, the handwriting practice, the “Sincerely, Catherine.” Her sense of humor, energy and enthusiasm shine through. It’s a good letter, not just all me, me, me. I had sent a photo of Baxter the cat doing one of his yoga poses so she thought to include Baxter and her Grandfather Ray in her letter.
“In my mom’s notes, she has told me she is taking yoga classes. Baxter should try the hard yoga classes she does. Then he would really get a workout.”
“Please say hi to Baxter and Ray for me…Have a wonderful rest of your day.”
I told her I would save her letters and, when she is an old lady like her grandmother, she will like looking back on what kind of person she was at 10. I hope that happens, since the few mementos like this I have from my childhood are nice memories. I wonder if letters on paper will even exist when Catherine is an old lady. I hope so; a letter on paper is a special letter.