I was born and raised in New York. The people, the FOOD, the culture, theaters, museums oh I can go on were all first class. Being able to see a Broadway Play on a Saturday and then go to the Museum on Sunday was at my disposal. My parents were always taking my brother and I whether we wanted to or not to various events in the city. They say New York is a melting pot and my parents were determined to make sure we were a part of it all. Perhaps they just really enjoyed fondue, hmm.
Besides the cultural events my brother and I were part of many teams and groups. While my brother was a star baseball player, runner, boxer, and master at talking his way out of anything I was dancing, playing softball and babysitting all the kids on the block. I absolutely loved helping out younger kids especially when they were being cranky and stubborn. It probably would have been easier to just take down a brick wall but I have never taken the easy road in life. In fact I thrived on being different from the others even if it made me an outsider. Not fitting in was me fitting in. It always amazed me how one minute a group of girls were BFF’s and the next were enemies. I wanted nothing to do with that. Most of my friends were boys I had a few female friends and all were from grammar school. I guess the best way to describe me was odd. I followed fashion trends but took them to an extreme so I could be original. One example began with my love for the band Motley Crew. Not only did I wear their concert t-shirts everyday but I wore more black eyeliner and mascara then all of them combined. After that came the Madonna era with jelly shoes, and 1,000 or so black rubber bracelets that went up to my elbow plus I switched to a bright cobalt blue eyeliner and mascara. That faze didn’t last very long because of practical reasons, it was uncomfortable.
In the summers my parents sent my brother and I away to sleep away camp. At first I absolutely hated it and wished all bad things upon my parents. I know they still have my scathing letters and laugh at them now as they did then. Camp terrified me especially since we were segregated. There was a boys campus and a girls campus. The girls were at the top of the hill and the boys were at the bottom in the middle was the infirmary, pool, theater, and the store that we could buy candy from, yum. There was so much to do at camp and still I found myself bored at times. While the other girls gossiped and picked apart the boys I wanted to play tennis, learn archery, take drama class, get my lifeguard certification and so much more. We were allowed 1 hour to do something we chose the catch was that there could only be three groups because there always had to be a counselor with you, of course not one girl wanted to do something that caused them to sweat. Therefore I was crafting, sewing, painting, dancing and such. Not that there is anything wrong with any of these its just that I wanted to be outside and doing something with my body and not sitting on my butt. I guess someone noticed that I went with the flow but I was miserable because one afternoon I was asked if there was something else I preferred to do. I happily blurted out swimness, yes, swimness what I meant to say was swimming and tennis. From that day on I rotated between tennis and swimming. I became so good at swimming, took the lifeguard test and passed! My favorite place to work was at the lake. I despised working at the pool it was crazy nosy and repeating the same phrase “no running” wasn’t for me. There was a calming feeling at the lake and I tried to be there as often as I was allowed.
Sleep away camp changed my life forever the summer going from 8th grade to 9th grade 1985-1986. More on this to come. Being from New York I’ve learned that our neighbors can be part of our family, going through a tragedy ties people together like family, coming from different backgrounds doesn’t separate people it allows people to share their differences and when someone says “I’ve got your back” feel free to do the death fall because you wont fall more than a foot before you are caught by many New Yorkers.