Monday, July 30, 2018

The Flowery Journal My Sister Gave Me (Part 2)

I'm reading more of my 1996 question and answer journal.

Now I'm on a page about early memories.

My first recalled memory is of-Pooping in my crib. Going to Sesame Street Live.

Now I've totally lost that memory. I don't remember it happening. Nor do I remember remembering it. If I hadn't written it down in this book, the memory might have been lost forever.

Strangely, I remember my sister's earliest memory. Though I'm not sure if I remember the event that she remembered or if I remember he talking about it as her earliest memory.

The memory involves a Christmas party and a little doll she received. I have vague memories of it. But I might have formed an image when she shared the memory, and now I'm confusing my imagination with memory.

What still remains vivid after all this time-Camp Shalom is extremely vivid for some reason. Cookies with fruit in the middle, the bucket of water to wash the sand off of our feet, the counselor who looked like an ape, the Tuesday night sleepovers.

I'm sure I didn't mean anything racist by the ape comment. I think all the counselors were white Jews.

It's probably also not wise to refer to Jewish people as apes.  But since I AM a Jew, do I get a pass?

Plus, scientifically ALL humans are apes anyway.

And now I don't actually remember that particular counselor. Another erased memory.

I do remember the cookies, bucket, and sleepovers.

People and Places I Still Remember-Camp Shalom, John Muir school. Madison neighborhood. Laura S, Janine G, Elizabeth S. Alissa. The playground at the Madison zoo with the multiple type of swings. Devil's lake. Grandma's old apartment.  

I still remember all that and have a huge soft spot, in my heart, for all of it.  I loved my Madison life.

I wonder if the Madison zoo still has that same playground

Here's the Trip Advisor page for the playground. I'm going to look at the photos and see if it sparks any memories.

Wait. Never mind. I think it's mostly pictures of the zoo itself.

I'm Googling for images. This blog has pictures of what must be the new playground. I don't remember it.

The happiest memory-Playing with my Jewish friends. Alissa, Deborah, Stacy G, etc.

Well...see... in the 1990's I went through a stage of being obsessed with my Jewish identity. So I think this was influencing my memories of the past.

And the saddest one-Moving away from Madison.

I'm still sad that we left.

Although I don't think I could handle the cold.

The memory that most captures my childhood was-Camp Shalom-Being afraid of the Jewish persecution games, capture the flags, sleepovers, etc. In other words, fear controlled my childhood.

I'm confused by the question and my answer.

And I can't believe I didn't mention my Exorcist drama.

I do agree that fear played a big part of my childhood. But I'm not sure how that connects to capture the flag and sleepovers.

Except I was scared to participate in the Tuesday night Camp Shalom sleepovers. I think there were a few times that I had intentions to stay but then ended up going home with my parents.

I do think the capture the flag game made me nervous.

As for the Jewish persecution game. This is what I remember: All the campers and counselors were in a building. They told us we were going to have to escape and that if we were hurt, the counselors wouldn't help us. I think they meant if we were mildly hurt. Like we skinned our knee. I don't think they'd force us to deal with a head injury or broken arm on our own.

I think we were supposed to escape through windows?

Then we had to go on canoes.

Another child and I sat there crying near the water.

It all sounds nuts.

A part of me thinks I must have twisted it wrongly in my head. But this was the the late 1970's or early 1980's.  It wouldn't surprise me if these kind of things went on back then.  Even now, teachers plan some crazy ass educational activities.

Okay. I just Googled and found something that gives me memory-validation.  It's about a film regarding the whole Jewish camp thing.  The site says: The story appealed to Zalutsky beyond just its cinematic qualities—it resonated with him on a personal level. He remembered a night at his own Jewish summer camp where the counselors turned the lights off in the rec hall and explained to the campers an activity in which they were refuseniks, the counselors would be KGB agents, and they had to make it out of the country. It was designed to engage them with the movement to aid Soviet Jewry, but it mostly just freaked them out. These are chilling scenarios to be thrust upon an idyllic summer camp experience, and that’s part of what drew Zalutsky to the project.

I'm looking at the film website now.

I'm very glad to know that other people have these memories.

I just watched the trailer, and the kids are wearing Camp Shalom t-shirts.

I wonder if it's the same Camp Shalom I went to.

How many Camp Shalom's are there?

Well, I Googled. There seems to be a lot of them.

Anyway...besides the scary bits, Camp Shalom was a ton of fun.

I loved that place.