Remembering Betsy

Last night I got together with a wonderful old friend I hadn't seen in nearly ten years. During our discussion, she mentioned a woman with whom we had both attended summer camp had died. It's always such odd news to hear of the death of someone you haven't thought about or seen in many many years. Suddenly and unexpectedly, you miss them.

Today as I was running, my thoughts turned to Betsy and my memories of her: shockingly long bright red hair, her nose ring (which really seemed like something odd and amazing when I was a twelve-year-old girl), and her incredible mountaineering and canoeing skills. I strained to keep running against a brutally cold and strong wind along the Hudson River, but I never thought of stopping, or just turning to go back home, because I had a goal and I wouldn't give up. With my thoughts on Betsy, I realized that's not how I used to be.

In 1984, I had been away at summer camp for nearly four weeks, and it was Saturday morning of parents' weekend. I was at the canoeing department, working on my landings, and anxiously awaiting my parents' arrival. My tandem landings (where you paddle your canoe at an angle towards the dock, then at the last minute, turn it so you end up "parked" along side) were all that I needed to complete my Boatswain, the first rank given by the canoeing department to recognize a camper's canoeing skills. I had been working on it every day since camp began.

Previous: Next: