Monthly Archives: July 2012

Come Read My Fiction About the Whatchamacallit

renée a. schuls-jacobson:

I am a finalist in Pegoleg’s Peg-o-Clio Award. Seriously, I entered a short piece of fiction inspired by a picture that she posted, and I made it to the finals. I would love it if you would check out the entries and then VOTE FOR ME. Or just scroll right to the bottom and VOTE FOR ME on an act of faith. I seem to always bump up against Darla from She’s a Maineiac and K8edid, and those ladies are the bombiest! So check it out, and did I mention VOTE FOR ME! From every device in your house. Seriously. I’m going down and dirty with this one. ;-) Mainly because I’m getting killed.

Originally posted on Peg-o-Leg's Ramblings:

Thanks to all who entered to win the (soon-to-be) coveted Peg-o-Clio Award.  Your task was to craft an ad campaign to sell the following item to an unsuspecting world.

I convened a distinguished panel of judges over the weekend (being two of my sisters) for the grueling process of selecting the five finalists.  Thank you to Mary Kay and Terry for their invaluable help.

We poured our heart and souls into the process (as well as many adult beverages and some pancake syrup, judging from the stains on the printouts) and it was not easy.  We practically came to blows as each sibling championed her favorite.   We were finally able to narrow it down to five without causing any permanent rifts in the family.

Please read and vote for your favorite.

1) thesinglecell

Tired of taking tests or winning trivia games to prove your intelligence? Now you can show…

View original 1,077 more words

Is it Wrong to Type Thank You Notes?

Rude!

I didn’t think it was a big deal.

In fact, in my view, it was a no brainer.

My kid’s handwriting is illegible.

Now that schools basically move kids from block print to the keyboard, very few students ever really master cursive. In fact, cursive penmanship is considered a “font option” in our district rather than an important life skill that children should be required to master.

No matter how you slice it, Tech’s handwriting sucks.

But he is a whiz on the computer, so he found a program which allowed him to create his own handwriting font, and he used it to type his bar mitzvah thank you notes.

That’s right.

I said he typed his thank you notes.

I figured he would be able to write more personal notes on the computer as opposed to the standard:

Dear Mr. and Mrs. So and So:

Thank you so much for the thoughtful gift and for sharing the day with me.

Insert illegible signature here.

I have to be honest, I was actually thrilled by the level of personalization Tech employed into his thank you notes. In many cases, he thanked people for little things like smiling at him while he was on the bimah, or dancing with him Saturday night at the party. He thanked people for the baked goods they provided for his Kiddush lunch at the temple, and he thanked other people for coming to our home on Sunday for brunch. He thanked out-of-towners for making the trip to be with him on his special day and he thanked people for funny cards.

But he would never have done all that personalization if I had him write every note out by hand.

I had to get Tech to write those notes while he was still feeling the magical vibe of post-bar mitzvah bliss as he was leaving for overnight camp on July 1st, just 8 days after his bar mitzvah. He was so wound up after eating so much sugar all weekend all the compliments he received, he didn’t even complain when I told him on Monday morning he’d need to write twenty notes notes each day in order to complete all his thank you’s before he went to camp.

The boy composed all his notes without any complaints.

He also addressed the envelopes (by hand) and affixed the stamps.

Still, I got the criticism and the hairy eyebrow.

“I can’t believe you let him type his thank you notes.”

I feel slightly guilty as I tap out this sentence, but it’s true: nearly every thank you note we receive ends up in the recycling bin 2.3 seconds after we read it. I save very few these days and only the ones that feel personalized in some way. Given that most thank you notes written after large events are extremely impersonal, what does it matter if the note is typed or hand-written? Aren’t the words the most important thing? Aren’t thank you notes all about expressing gratitude? Would you rather receive a dull, illegible note by hand or a personalized, typed one? Does it even matter?

I’m genuinely interested in your thoughts on this? In 2012, is it acceptable to type thank you notes? Or would you prefer a handwritten one? And if you want a handwritten one, can you explain why?

A Gift from Grampy

We invited family and traveling guests to our home for brunch before they had to leave town after Tech’s bar mitzvah weekend.

After nearly everyone left, my father handed me a black pouch.

“There’s something in there for Tech,” he said. “It’s important. Don’t lose it.”

I was busy, so I tossed it onto my kitchen desk, uncharacteristically cluttered with all kinds of junk.

Tech found it first.

“What’s this?” he asked, flipping the tiny black velvet pouch back and forth in his hands.

“Oh! That’s for you!” I walked toward him with a bounce in my step. Tech received few gifts, and I had no idea what could be in a little bag from my father. “Open it.”

Inside the pouch, there was a silver piece of jewelry: a pendant featuring a small Star of David and a symbol of the tablets upon which the 10 Commandments were written. I thought about how my father had just told us all that he had never formally chanted from the Torah. I knew his gift was super meaningful, but I didn’t want Tech to feel pressure to wear a piece of jewelry if he didn’t want to.

“You don’t have to wear it,” I said. “You can save it…”

But Tech had already put the silver chain around his neck. He squeezed it in his hand and then let it dangle loose.

“It’s just like Grampy’s,” he said.

I repeated myself. “You don’t have to wear it.”

Tech ignored me.

“I love it, and I’m never taking it off.” Tech hesitated. “Starting after camp. Because at camp, this could get lost. Or broken. Otherwise, I’m totally wearing it.”

He went to look in the mirror.

But he wasn’t looking at himself.

He was looking at the gift his grandfather had given him.

“So cool,” he mumbled.

My father has worn his silver piece of Judaica since he was 13-years old. The pendant is battered, and some of the symbols have fallen off. It is even a little dented.

But.

I know when he wears it, my father feels a connection to G-d. And he remembers his parents who gave him the gift when he turned 13-years old.

When Tech was young, he received a miniature Torah from our temple. Covered in blue velvet, it rests in a white box. My husband and I were asked to write our hopes for our child inside the box flap. I penned a few wishes:

May you continue to grow big and strong.

May you continue to learn and find the things that have meaning to you.

May you always be true to yourself and do the things you know are right – even if they are difficult.

May you continue to love being Jewish and honor all our traditions.

May you love always, and remember to put people before things.

I think he’s got it.

Have you ever received a highly symbolic gift? What was it?

Tweet this twit @rasjacobson

The Happy Hora

Hubby and I, up on the chairs in 1995. Do you not love my shoes?

In 1995, when my husband and I married, I remember dancing to the hora. At some point, someone brought out two chairs. As the traditional music played, we sat down as friends and family members held the legs of our chairs and raised us gently into the air, turned us in circles, together, my new husband and me. I remember staring at my husband from my chair. Noticing his wedding ring glinting on his finger, how foreign it looked.

Over the last several years, I’ve been to a lot more bar and bat mitzvahs than weddings. I’ve danced the hora at least nineteen-hundred forty-six bazillion times. To the uninitiated, the hora is a dance where everybody forms a circle and holds hands. You are supposed to step forward toward the right with the left foot, then follow with the right foot. The left foot is then supposed to be brought back, followed by the right foot. In my experience, almost no one dares to do the crisscross thing with their legs because dance floors are generally jammed so everyone mostly just goes around in circles.

Tech in the air!

At bar and bat mitzvahs, it is customary to raise the honoree, and sometimes his or her family members, on a chair during the hora.

The last time I sat in the chair was nearly seventeen years ago, when my husband and I were married.

Let me tell you something: the wedding hora is different from the b’nai mitzvah hora.

First of all, by definition, there are waaaaay more kids at a bar mitzvah than there usually are at a wedding.

I don’t think any of our friends had kids when we married so our wedding hora was pretty sedate.

During certain parts of the hora at my son’s bar mitzvah, I felt like I was in a mosh pit. All those circles going in all those directions. And then all that going in and going out. I was digging our DJ’s version of Hava Nagillah and feeling pleased that I was managing to move so easily in my four-inch heels when some kid gave me a pretty good elbow to the chin.

Whatever.

I wasn’t going to let a blow to the face ruin my night. In fact, I barely felt it.

As the mother of an only child, I knew I needed to pay attention. After all, my husband and I recognized this would be our one chance to experience everything. I watched friends pull a cushioned chair onto the dance floor. Surrounded by cheering friends and family members, Tech went first and made it look easy. He laughed and smiled as the strongest men in the room bounced him around in a circle.

“Hold on, Mom!” Tech warned as we traded places.

Holy shizzlesticks.

I now understand why some friends had warned me before the fact:

I don’t know who was holding the legs of my chair but who put all the tall guys on one side and all the short guys on the other? I was positively crooked. At one point, I bounced so high off my seat, I thought I was going to have an emergency landing.

Listen, I have no fear of being lifted by people who are scampered. I just wasn’t prepared for the “let’s-try-to-eject-the-momma-from-the-chair” thing that was happening beneath me.

This video is every Jewish mother’s nightmare:

Someone snapped this picture and posted it on Facebook.

Waiting for the ride to be over.

Someone asked me: “What were you thinking about while you were up there?”

You wanna know know what I was thinking?

That I needed to keep my legs together like two tightly twisted vines.

Because there would be no “junk” showing at my son’s bar mitzvah.

Would I do it again?

In a heartbeat.

That night, I couldn’t stop smiling.

I am pretty sure I was radiating something close to pure joy.

All day, my son amazed me with his comport, his flexibility, and composure; I could have danced all night.

And once I got off that chair, I did.

What is the happiest dance you ever remember doing?

To My Son, One Month After

Dress rehearsal. No cameras allowed on the real day.

By the time you read this, it will have already slipped into past tense.

I will have already sat in synagogue and listened to him chant from the Torah.

It’s a little surreal, eighteen months of talking about it and suddenly, it will be over.

At the time, I wasn’t sure what to say.

Because I didn’t know how I would feel.

Everyone always talks about the party, the theme, the food, the DJ.

But for me, the most amazing stuff happened in the synagogue, hours before.

At one point, our family stood on the bimah together, facing the Torah scrolls, the congregation at our backs. We had just finished singing and the rabbi whispered, “Now turn and face front.”

This was taken right after the “glow moment.”

As we all turned, the room came into focus. We woke that morning to a stunning blue-skies day, as we stood in shul, the sun streamed through the stained glass windows.

From my vantage point, everyone’s head seemed to be glowing, especially the men’s heads underneath the neon green yarmulkes Tech had selected for the day. I saw every row filled with people — our people — family and friends and members of the community.

It felt like G-d was touching our little corner of the earth.

I thought back to eighteen months earlier, when we learned that Tech’s bar mitzvah was going on to be on June 23, 2012, how my husband took two giant steps backward.

“No way,” Hubby put his hand on his forehead. “I made my bar mitzvah on June 23rd. In 1979.”

My son was going to become a bar mitzvah and stand on the same bimah where my husband made his bar mitzvah thirty-three years earlier.

It was definitely beshert, meant to be.

And it felt a little bit magical.

Tech’s Hebrew name is Abbe Reuven, after two of his great-grandfathers. And, on his bar mitzvah day he received his tallit (traditional prayer shawl) from one grandfather and his other grandfather (my father) presented him with a tallit bag which had belonged to his father: these are ancient rituals, traditions passed down from one generation to to the next.

Our son is the walking embodiment of our faith. He has always been proud to be Jewish. He has never complained about going to Hebrew School, the way most some kids do. Each summer he heads to Jewish camp, and he says his favorite place there is at the waterfront, by the fire circle, during Friday night services.

Tech takes Jewish Law seriously, and — as he said during his d’Var (personal reflection) during his bar mitzvah — he truly wishes everyone followed the 10 Commandments. He feels these rules were designed to keep people out of trouble with themselves, family, friends, and neighbors, and he believes if we look at the lessons of the Torah, we can figure out how to stay out of trouble and live in peace with one another.

As he stood before a congregation of over 200 people, I was amazed by his composure.

I have always said Tech has an “old soul.” It is like some 93-year old Jewish guy died and on his way out, his soul went straight into our newborn. Tech has always understood the important things in life. He is comfortable in his own skin and with who he is, regardless of whatever others think.

[I expect to get to that place. You know, like any day now.]

I don’t pretend to know where Tech is going.

He is still becoming.

All I know is that if you can get up and sing (and speak) in front of hundreds of people at the age of 13, you can do anything.

Tweet this twit @rasjacobson

My Father’s Secret

My dad, June 23, 2012

My parents took religious school education seriously. I was never allowed to miss a day for any after-school extra-curricular activities like roller skating parties, which always seemed to fall on the same afternoons as Hebrew School. My brother and I were expected to be proficient in Hebrew, and it was a given we would study extensively in preparation for our bar and bat mitzvah services.

The weekend prior to my son’s bar mitzvah, my mother-in-law pulled out some old pictures to show TechSupport. There was a sepia photograph of my father-in-law taken before his bar mitzvah over 60 years ago.

“And there’s your daddy.” My mother-in-law pointed to a photo of Hubby, who was quite the stud in his powder-blue jacket, plaid pants, and wide collar peach shirt à la1977.

That night, I called my father to see if there might be a photo of him somewhere. I’d never seen one, but my grandmother was before her time with the scrapbooking, so I wondered if maybe there was a picture buried in the basement somewhere.

“Well, you know…” my father took a deep breath. “I guess this is as good a time as any to tell you.”

I had no idea what he was going to say.

“I mean, now that you are an adult, you should probably know…”

My mind was spinning. Was he going to tell me that he wasn’t really Jewish?

My father hemmed and hawed and beat around the bush until I shouted into the receiver. “Dad, you’re killing me! Just say it!”

“I never had a bar mitzvah,” my father said quietly.

My brain couldn’t process this new information. It didn’t fit into any information it had been given before. I didn’t know any Jewish men my father’s age that had not had a bar mitzvah. Even men who have fallen out of the faith had stood on the bimah and chanted. Meanwhile, my father is a spiritual person. He follows the laws of the Torah. He is active in his synagogue. He loves Judaism. He loves Israel. He loves celebrating the Jewish holidays. He never had a bar mitzvah?

“What are you talking about?” I stood up from my chair to pace around our family room. “How is that even possible?”

“I grew up pretty poor. Back then people didn’t have parties like they do today, but there were get-togethers.” My father paused, and I imagined him flipping the corner of his crossword puzzle. “My parents and I talked it over, and we decided that I wouldn’t have one. Because, you know, we couldn’t afford a party or anything.”

“But you could have had a bar mitzvah and just not had a party, right?

“I suppose.” My father conceded. “But I didn’t want to embarrass my father.”

I asked why he had waited so long to tell me about not having a bar mitzvah.

I asked him if he had ever wished to have made his bar mitzvah.

I asked him if it was something he wanted to do now, at 74.

TechSupport overheard me giving my father the third degree, and told me to stop.

“Grampy goes to temple all the time.” Tech said. “He is a very honest, very humble and very good man. He lives his life by the Torah. I am pretty sure that G-d is good with him.”

I felt the tears catch in my eyes when my son spoke to me. He was right, and I am sure any rabbi would have offered the same words.

The Bar or Bat Mitzvah isn’t a mandatory rite of passage; by Jewish law, a boy reaches adulthood when he turns 13 and a girl at 12, no ceremony required. Some say the very lack of necessity makes the efforts even more remarkable as concrete, hard-won, and public affirmations of Jewish identity and commitment.

And yet.

My father became a bar mitzvah without pomp or circumstance. For him, becoming a bar mitzvah was a private experience, a continuation of the covenant between himself and G-d.

Who knew?

Ever been surprised by your child’s wisdom?

Tweet This Twit @rasjacobson

What Do You Remember About Yearbook Day?

Last year, a few days before school ended, Tech received his yearbook. A person involved in several extracurricular activities, he was frustrated when he only appeared in only one photograph – the same individual photograph that we had purchased earlier in the year. This appeared alphabetically amidst a sea of faces.

I tried to soothe my son’s bruised ego by pointing out how tiny the thumbnails were and how difficult it was to see anyone.

He shrugged.

“Anyway, the autographs are the best part!” I flipped through the pages of his book. “Did you get any?”

Tech’s 6th grade year book.

Tech turned to the back of his yearbook where I was surprised to see that kids did not write in sentences as my friends had when we were his age. Instead, they simply penned their names. To be fair, my son collected mainly boys’ signatures last year, so I wondered if maybe it was a gender thing: perhaps 6th grade boys were inclined to communicate their feelings in words less well than girls of the same age.

[For example, someone penned “FAGS,” instead of "HAGS" -- an acronym for “Have A Good Summer” -- causing one teacher to haul out smiley-face stickers to cover up his unfortunate and oft-repeated abbreviation.]

Later, a friend and I compared notes.  She has daughters, and I was curious to see if 6th grade girls did things differently, but no, I found very much the same kind of thing. Kids just signed their names, sans niceties. I was looking for some kind of: “It was nice meeting you this year”; or “Have a nice summer”; even “Your (sic) a grate (sic) kid.”

Most surprising was that three of my son’s teachers had elected to pre-print their names on Avery stickers. I understand it is tedious to write out one’s name 125 times, but pre-printed stickers? Really? Only the music teacher wrote my son a personal note and took the time to scribble out his signature in his own hand.

So I was interested to see how things would play-out a year later.

This year, on the last day of 7th grade, approximately 3.3 minutes before he had to walk out the house, Tech pulled his backpack over his shoulder and announced, “Oh, we got our yearbooks.”

He was out the door before I had a chance to ask him if he landed in any photographs besides the tiny thumbnail. That night, we flipped through his yearbook together. He was in a few extra pictures but the autographs had changed!

Tech’s 7th grade yearbook.

For the most part, the 7th grade boys are still pretty hapless.

But.

I did see several nice, handwritten notes from teachers recognizing Tech’s hard work this year.

Which was nice.

And I couldn’t help but notice a few more signatures by people with names that certainly sounded feminine.

And some of these notes were composed in actual sentences.

Someone with curly handwriting penned in purple ink:

“I can’t wait to see you when you come home from summer camp. Maybe we can hang out.”

Hmmmmm.

So I know my son has discovered girls, but does he realize that a few girls may have discovered him?

What do you see in your kids’ yearbooks? What do you remember about yearbook day?

Tweet this twit @rasjacobson

The Best Card My Son Received For His Bar Mitzvah: When Hilarious Meets Holy

A small sampling of the most popular cards Tech received for his bar mitzvah.

Apparently, there are 7 different store-bought cards a boy can receive for a bar mitzvah.

And don’t get me wrong; they are all lovely.

Friends and family wrote wonderful messages to Tech, who insisted on reading each note before looking at the gift.

After a while, we did start to keep a little tally to see which card would be designated the “most popular card to receive on your bar mitzvah day.”

This was the one.

Tech got a lot of those.

There were waaaay more cards for a girl celebrating her bat mitzvah.

Like this one.

Tech received this card from his grandmother.

I don’t think she was trying to be funny.

But it was extremely funny. *smiles*

Hands down, the best card, came from one of my husband’s oldest friends.

Neil is known for his kooky gifts. It’s his thing. He once gave Tech a sushi stapler; the child looked like he had won the lottery. Another time Neil had just returned from a trip overseas and gave our son a black baseball cap that had “Fukuoka” embroidered in white on the back. Wearing it, made Tech feel like he was getting away with swearing when really he was simply advertising a city in Japan located 1,100 kilometers from Tokyo. More recently, Neil brought us an enormous jar of Polish pickles.

So of course, it should have been no surprise when we saw Neil’s card.

Yup. He penned it on a rubber chicken.

It was awesome.

Especially this part:

In case you can’t read it, it says: “Butt seriously, pardon the fowl humor. Congratulations on your Bar Mitzvah.” Very punny, no?

When I told Neil how awesome it was that he took the time to find a rubber chicken, that he even had the idea to write on it, he waved his hand dismissively.

Like it was no big whoop.

Except it was.

He found a way to make Tech’s bar mitzvah – which was already amazing – even more memorable.

In Judaism, we are taught to be mindful and pay attention to the smallest details because G-d is everywhere and in everything.

Though Neil would shrug and call me meshugganah, I believe that in paying attention to the smallest details, Neil helped remind us even the most seemingly insignificant act can be something that connects us to G-d, to the rest of humanity, even the universe.

The chicken card was a small detail.

It was hilarious.

And holy.

I know Tech will never forget it.

None of us will.

What little things have people done for you that have stuck with you?

Tweet this Twit @rasjacobson

Ghosts Made Me Start This Blog

People often ask me how I come up with my topics.
They ask if I ever suffer from writers’ block.
They ask if I will post naked pictures of myself.
But no one has ever asked me why I decided to start this blog.

Until Erin Margolin came along.

If you’d like to know the rest of the story and how ghosts are involved, follow me to Erin’s place.

And while you are there, check out her words. Girl has range.

If You Really Need To Get There

I am a huge advocate of summer overnight camps for children. Tech has been going since he was 9 years old and he recently hopped on the bus for a 1-month stint. Here is something I wrote when I was longing to go back to camp. In the name of research, I actually had to go and make the trip. It was fabulous.

• • •

If you really need to get there, get on the New York State Thruway and drive pretty fast. Get off at exit #42. Go through the tollbooth. This may take a little while because there are only two lanes, and one is for E-Z Pass users only. In front of you, you will see a Mobil station. To the right, you will see a motel. A few years ago, it was called Gus & Nancy’s. I don’t know what it is called now. It doesn’t matter. The place looks exactly a it did in 1978.

Take a right onto Route 14S. Drive for a while. See Northrup Plumbing, Heating and Cooling. See the Rollerdrome, boasting a new blue awning. If it is summertime, see the yard sales brimming with glass.

See the sign that boasts Geneva is the “Lake Trout Capital of the World.” I used to laugh at this sign, but these days, I suppose it’s as good a designation as any other.

See the houses that sandwich the Sunoco Station that was charging $4.26 a gallon for gas on the day I last passed through. If it is hot, see folks sitting on their porches. And on chairs under trees. See the shirtless boys riding bikes in the road. See the babies in sagging diapers standing on the sidewalks.

If you haven’t been on Route 14 in a while, brace yourself. The old ice cream stand that used to be on the corner of North Street has been torn down. Kentucky Fried Chicken is gone, too. It’s okay. Keep going. Pass “Family Dollar” and a furniture store called Aaron’s. Remember Alice’s Restaurant? It used to be on the left, just before you’d cross over the railroad tracks? Alice is gone, but Nonna’s Trattoria is there, so the décor hasn’t changed much. There are still red, white and green flags flapping in the breeze.

A little further down the road and you are in the epicenter of Hobart & William Smith’s night-life. How do I know this? Because I am a graduate from William Smith. Friends joke that half of the reason I chose William Smith is because of its proximity. They are not wrong. I knew where I was, how close I was. How fast I could get there. Take a right. Any right. They’ll all get you to the right place.

If you are idling in front of the First Methodist Church at Main and Seneca, prepare to take a left. See the multi-colored row houses that flank the left side of the road. Good. Now look quickly to your right.

Pulteney Park, Geneva, NY

Pulteney Park, Geneva, NY (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you don’t look quickly you will miss her: the Lady of the Lake, kneeling in her fountain. If you get close enough to her, you will see that her nose is cracked.

How do I know this? I used to live in one of those faded green apartments behind her. In 1989, my address was 1 Park Place. If I opened my bedroom window and craned my neck, I could see the road.

The road that would take me there.

If I needed to get there.

Keep going. Pass the fraternity houses with their fat pillars, the Deltas and Betas and Gammas and all the other ancient Greek symbols.

See the benches on the left.

On a clear day, it is there that you will catch your first real patch of blue: Seneca Lake stretching out before you. I spent a lot of time on those benches. But in a car, things happen fast. The lake is a blur.

Keep going. Pass Geneva on the Lake on your left, promising waterfront lunches on the porch for $15.99. Pass the American Legion Hall, situated right in front of the historic Belhurst Castle. I ate at The Castle once, with someone I loved. A bat flew about the dining room as the waiters haplessly tried to catch it by throwing tablecloths over it.

See the Seneca Lake Country Club. See Geneva Rod and Gun. A little more blue, a place where the sea gulls cluster. See Kashong. Say it a few times aloud because it feels good, the way it holds in the back of the throat. Suddenly, there are wineries, stalks attached to wires training branches to go this way or that. There are the old wineries — Fox Run and Wiemer — which have been joined by Seneca Shore and Anthony Road and Prejean. The buildings are huge, a little industrial, and you can feel their newness. Just when it starts to feel uncomfortably new, pass Darryl’s Garage. Little Green — the camp truck — had lots of sleepovers there. But Little Green is gone too.

See the ‘T’ in the road. Mr. Twistee’s on your left. And that light. That flashing light. You have a choice. Only there is no choice.

You know where you are going.

You could go left to Dresden. You could go right to Penn Yan. Maybe stop at Lloyd’s for a free poster and some chicken wings. But you don’t.

You know how close you are.

If you are a die-hard, your heart, you’ll feel it. It pumps. It pumps.

If you wait to see the mailbox, you’ve almost passed Camp Road, that beautiful, awful, bumpy road. The road that separates real life from camp life. If your windows are open, close them. Because no matter how slowly you approach, your wheels will kick up dust that settles everywhere. And if you are lucky, that crazy, magical camp dust will surround you, envelope you, get inside you and make you fall so in love with a place that, upon leaving, you will weep for missing its dust.

See the bee boxes. See the Mennonite children running in the fields, the girls in their long blue dresses and thick black boots; the boys in their white shirts and suspenders. See the corn. Notice how short it is in June. Remember how tall it will be in August. Pause at the railroad tracks. (Everyone knows someone who knows someone who almost got hit by a train.) Turn down the music. Look to the left, to the right. Cross over to the camp side of the tracks. Pass Gypsy camp. Bear left. See the green fence and the slightly ominous sign that reads: “All Visitors Must Check In At The Office.”

Am I a visitor? Am I family?

My heart. It pumps. It pumps.

You can’t tell me I’m not home.

What do you think about the idea of sending your children to summer camp? Have you ever gone back as an adult to visit a summer camp that you loved? How did it feel? What did you remember?

(For more on why I think summer camp is fabulous read THIS and THIS.)

tweet me @rasjacobson