Letters to Camp

This is a letter to the editor written by Biocitizen campers at another of Remy’s camps

The two weeks—well, 13 days—of Journey’s End Farm Camp are nearly complete. Tomorrow, I go get my guy. I cannot wait to hug him and his requisite layer of overnight camp dirt. He’s written twice, as is the camp’s expectation. Here’s what I’ve learned in those two letters: 1) camp is fun — and “still fun,” 2) something got jammed, the actual body part—I’m guessing finger or toe—was missing, 3) swimming test passed, 4) Zohar wasn’t at camp because his family is moving to the States, 5) Max got 6 stitches.

My real burning question is whether he ever took his baseball cap off.

As always, I enjoyed the task of writing letters and postcards to my boy. I made a tiny book by pasting Chinese fortune cookie slips onto paper and adding commentary. I wrote about jam, Saskia and bedtime, and how proud I was of how he handled a hard week before he left for camp. I probably didn’t really say much more than the five things he said in two short notes, just did so in a mom way.

Speaking of letters, I read a funny Motherlode guest essay last night on what parents should not write to their kids at camp. I also read yesterday about what parents should—and should not—say when they drop their kids off at college. The idea that if you blew it you could write your kid a letter, I loved. It’s so easy for minutiae to obscure your opportunities to say something more important with teens (or, this is my personal and limited experience to date).

Because I’ve been in letter mode, I have written postcards and letters to others, like our housemate now in Louisville and friends just off to Austin and a friend who’s been sick and another with a new baby and on. I like the act of physically writing and of sticking the stamps on and the sound of opening and closing the mailbox; I know which ones have 10 AM pickups and which one on my route to town has the 3 PM pickup. The more I write, the more justified I feel about adding to my stationery collection. I’m nearing the end of a 100-postcard box of Pantone hues. The dashboard of my computer is sticky-noted with snail mail addresses.


While I can’t wait to see him and while I’ve missed him, the third summer of camp had the added bonus that we both knew going in camp would be fun and “still fun.” Practice helps you not worry. I think there’s a lesson in here, right? Practice is what it’s all about. No wonder I like yoga so much!

For a quick visual, my guy will return home to find a lot more jam here, too. This week’s two batches are fancy: peach with balsamic vinegar, basil and a touch of honey and peach-strawberry-jalapeño. Save for the balsamic, the banner ingredients—local.

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Author: Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser's work has appeared on the New York Times, Salon, and the Manifest Station amongst other places. Find her on Twitter @standshadows

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