The Adventure Column

The series of unfortunate events, at a summer camp


Mae Bryant, Journalist

     Everything I tell you is true, it really did happen. Not that anything which happened is particularly incredible, it is only enough so where you will find great entertainment from reading about it. Every week or so, (I don’t like definite dates) I will retell some well worthwhile adventure which has happened. And if I do a particularly good job, you will come back and read about it. (Disclaimer, this edition is a bit longer.)


The series of Unfortunate events, at a Summer Camp


     Today’s story is less of a typical adventure, more of a story. But nevertheless it is a very entertaining tale. Though I am most definitely not the first to have had a nearly intolerable week at summer camp, I may be the first to have recalled each memory just so they may be written down to then live forever on paper. I assure you, no award will be necessary for this one. 

     This summer camp, Camp Grizzly Lake, was just what you’d imagine. There was a dinning hall, cabins, a lake for all the canoeing, kayaking and swimming, so on so forth, it was a summer camp. I must say in the small moments before I met my counselor or my cabin mates, I was very enthralled with the whole idea of Camp Grizzly Lake. My parents were dropping me off with my brother Sam and my cousin Ella (pysudonym) on that Sunday afternoon. “I’ll make best friends, maybe even a camp romance?” My dad and mom left me holding my sleeping bag, expecting these idyllic things, running short on un-miserable moments. 

     My brother vanished quickly. (The last I’d ever see of him) So it was Ella and I off together. We were instructed to find our Counselor, we must’ve looked like kids being sent away from war to their long lost aunt. We found our Counselor…sprawled out on the ground. Using much effort she rolled up from the grass, she slowly wiped the grass from herself… fixed her hair…took a deep breath… and then she looked me in the eyes. (Does she hate children?) “Hi.” (Was she napping?) “Sorry… I was napping.” (Oh.) “My name is Polly. You’re going to have to speak up because I’m almost deaf in each ear. Welcome to Camp Grizzly Lake.” 

     When you are young and still very dependent on authority you judge whomever your ‘authority’ may be very swiftly and very harshly. Polly did not meet my judgments. 

      Oh but half asleep hard of hearing Polly would be an absolute riot in comparison to the people I was about to meet. Steadily my cabin mates arrived.–I’ve decided that in order to truly, accurately describe my cabin mates, I would have to write more than anyone cares for. So I’ve tried to encapsulate the very (outlandish) essence of each girl through this singular sentence, without a hint of exaggeration.–(Maybe I should get an award.) They numbered 4 in total. First Emily, whose one and only personality trait was the TV show Supernatural, Amilea, the reclusive follower of Emily who carried a binky around the whole week, Lily, a freakishly enthusiastic girl who I, for some reason, have run into several times in the years since, and who spent her time ruthlessly ditching Kristen and lastly Kristen, who spent her time trying to catch up with Lily. 

     To this day I wonder if the Counselors hand picked the outcasts and decided it would be best that the strangest girls all be put in the same cabin so to spare the other campers; or if it was just my dumb luck. (Or that maybe I am just as strange as them, but I’d rather leave that idea out.)

    Oh, there is one more set of people crucial to camp week. My brother cabin. In young boys there are mainly two groups, the nameless followers and the one they follow. That one whom nameless pre-pubescent boys fear or worship. This time, the punk of the week was Dillan. Then Bobby who secured a spot as right hand man. As for the rest, too unmotivated to challenge Dillan I suppose. (Save Sanje, but we’ll get to that later.) 

     One time I was in line for carpet ball, trying desperately to understand the game before it was my turn to play. And with the help of my inexperience I had gotten in the wrong line. (Apparently) Bobby was in the ‘correct line’ and I was embarrassed to find that when I thought it was my turn it was really his turn. “You’re in the wrong line.” (Oh I’m sorry-) “You can go. But I’m only letting you go because you’re a girl. If you were a boy, I’d fight you.” Gee, thanks for being just so merciful Bobby.

     This one boy, Wyatt, he was the runt. Several times I watched as the others bullied him into submission, usually as they fished by the lake when no one else was around. Normally I would have stepped in but Dillan really scared me. If I had spoken up maybe they would have pushed me into the lake, or put a hook in my hair or something else petty. At least that’s what I thought as I stood there. 

     But the worst one was when even my own cousin, the one sane girl, turned against me. One night the brother and sister cabins went out into the woods and played games at night. (I wonder who approved that). Polly left shortly into the games start and the poor Counselor from my brother cabin, I assume he ran away when he got his chance. I was either alone in the dark woods or alone with one of them in the dark woods. A hopeless situation at best. Somehow through the darkness I found Ella and Dillan. I found them right in the middle of, “Can I call you Izzy?”

“Of course you can call me Izzy.” I was utterly betrayed. Dillan?! It can’t be, not him, anyone but him!

     As we walked away Izzy and Dillan had a fantastic time. Izzy had been mute nearly the whole week and suddenly she was giggling, flirting even, with Dillan! She was doing cartwheels! It was from then on I became truly alone; and I knew it.

    One day during the allotted free time, I stood in line for a canoe by the lake. Izzy came over to me. I was wearing her shorts and she insisted on getting them back. Since I was wearing my bathing suit under the shorts I pulled down my shorts to give them back to Izzy then and there. Only, I wasn’t wearing my bathing suit under the shorts. And so I stood there, underwear brightly showing, in front of all the kids in line and in the lake. I had pantsed myself. 

     The very last night of camp there was a banquet. We all got dressed up and got to eat a nice meal–nice being a relative term– and we each were escorted by someone from our brother cabin. (Much to their disgust). For my birthday that year I had gotten this red African dress covered in elephants and patterns from my friends who had just visited Africa. I thought it would be brilliant if I wore that dress to the banquet. It took only one look at me in all my African glory for Dillian, Bobby and the nameless to tease me endlessly. 

I bared well enough until the last afternoon of that last day. 

     I can’t too well remember what I was doing exactly. But that’s how it always is before a disaster occurs. You see, some unseen rivalry had shaped rather fast between Dillan and Sanje. (Sanje? I mentioned him earlier). I was standing, feeling homesick, when all of the sudden Dillan pushed Sanje. Sanje pushed Dillan. Dillan shoved Sanje. (Who was much, much bigger than Dillan). Dillan boldly kicked him. Sanje hopped right up, he grabbed Dillan by the torso, lifted him over his shoulder, and swung him around flat onto the ground right onto his head. Dillan held back tears. He was beat, and beat good. To no one’s surprise they were fighting over Izzy. And that, I have decided, is the grand finale. 

     Somehow I’m glad Camp Grizzly Lake is the way it was. I’m not sure how, but I am. I will never return to that place or ever look back on these memories again. But still, I am glad.