For many kids, the end of summer means the return from sleepaway camp, back to home sweet home.
And while parents are joyous to see their children after an extended absence, they also just want to make sure everything is OK. Because based on some kids’ letters from camp, as Rock Center reports, this has not necessarily been evident.
As one camper, Juliet, wrote home:
“A ginormous tree hit our cabin and knoked it down! When I was in it! No one got hurt, though. It was so scary! When the roof fell off our cabin everyone got soaked!... Love, Juliet. P.s. please do not be alarmed.”
Another unhappy camper wrote:
“Dear Mom and Dad, I love everything about this camp except the campers. Love, Sarina”
Author Diana Falanga collected thousands of camp letters that have been written over decades from kids at sleepaway camp. She has written her second book, “P.S. I Still Hate It Here,” which is a follow up to her first book, “P.S. I Hate It Here.”
Falanga started the project when her own daughter Bianca, then 8, happily left for camp, only to later write a letter that said, in part:
“…they made me clean the table. I want to go home!...I stopped crying…But we have chores today. I am the Scraper, Sweeper and Maid.”
Bianca ended up loving her camp experience and ever since, Falanga has loved compiling the letters.
“I love that going to camp is the time when you cannot take any of your electronic gadgetry with you. And what a gift that is, that may be the only time when they have an opportunity to write a letter is when they go to camp,” Falanga says.
“Dear Mom and Dad, Our cabin is so dirty and unclean that this bacterial disease called Empitiga so far 4 people in our cabin have it under their armpits. I have it all over my face…”
In Falanga’s book, kids sure tell it like it is. Whether you want to hear it or not. “They're not thinking about the emotional impact of their words on their poor mothers at home,” Falanga says.
“Dear Mom and Dad, This is not a camp from my dreams, it’s the 100th level of hell. I hate this stupid camp. I am getting out of here. Write me. I NEED MORE STAMPS. Save me!!! I am out of stamps.”
Ultimately, Falanga thinks parents worry a lot when they read their kids’ words. But they really shouldn’t. “The kid survives,” she says.
“Hey Mom! I’m having so much fun!! …I miss u! But this is so much better than u yelling at me, Joey and dad! (no offense)..love, Googie.”
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Letters from camp are filled with all kinds of truths, including some that parents don't really want to hear.
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