Saturday, December 24, 2022
My childhood summers usually stretched long and dull, but, to my surprise and delight, I was sent to camp after fifth grade. Nothing fancy. A huddle of barracks in a sandy fenced-in area that accommodated a few dozen kids and a handful of counselors. Pine trees offered scant shade under the harsh gaze of the Israeli sun; pools of brown needles gathered at their feet. The air smelled of dust. The camp girls were all younger than me, but I recognized Dudie: a curly boy a year above me in school, with warm smiling eyes. Together, we climbed an old oak tree at the edge of camp. I reached the higher branches while he followed me with tentative moves. We played catch; he’d dodge me with sharp turns just as my fingertips were about to tap his shoulder. We burst into waves of laughter.