Summer Camp: The Big Show

The private journal of CT

Summer has come to an end, and soon we’ll close up camp for the season. Maybe we’ll reopen over Plum Day and spring break, since we still have a waiting list.

But for now, we realize that soon, the children will be packing up and heading home, and Joel and I will embark on our new adventures.

“Don’t worry!” Joel reminded me. “You know I’ve got that new project coming up! And it’s of special interest to you and also to a few other Sims who are of special interest to both of us!”


Joel has a great way of both observing the sadness that we feel at endings and celebrating the joys we feel at beginnings.

At my age, with all the endings and beginnings I’ve experienced–and there must be thousands–I would think that I would be an expert on letting go and letting come. But it is Joel who teaches me: let go, let come.

As I write those words, I realize I heard them first from JRose! What a miracle that all around us we are surrounded by friends who can teach us what we are here to learn!

I called up JRose and our other friends and invited them to the big art exhibition and ice cream social, our last big event before the kids head home.

Jessica arrived first.

“Be right with you,” she said, “I’m just going to check how the voting is going for Brady’s Boot Camp.”


“Does it always smell this heavenly in here?” Jessica asked. Joel’s cupcakes filled the kitchen with the aroma of vanilla, butterscotch, and strawberry.

“Pretty much,” I answered, and I realized that we’ve been living on a diet of cupcakes and ice cream, with a helping of spinach frittata every now and then for good measure. Joel reminds us that happiness and health go hand-in-hand, and his happiness cupcakes are the deliverers of happiness!

I’m already feeling nostalgic for this ice cream cupcake summer.


“Are you really letting that child eat that ice cream cone for dinner? It’s as big as he is!” Jessica commented. “Isn’t he the one whose mother said ‘No ice cream?'”


“Dr. Erica Mom won’t mind too much,” I said, trying to sound hopeful. “All that calcium in the milk and whipped cream! And I sweetened it with honey!”

“Plus,” said Dillan with his mouth full, “the bar’s got nuts in it.”


I found JRose outside trimming the bonsai.

“I’m just so inspired,” she said. “All this art! These imaginative kids! I just need an outlet for my creativity!”

I love that about JRose–she’s always absorbing the creative energy surrounding her and then expressing it through her own unique vision.


Marty was out back with Violet.

“So, grandfather, what do you think of our art show?”

“I enjoy your photographs, Violet! It’s not everyday that I get to look through the eyes of a young Sim like you!”

“Mmmm. I’m not so sure I have anything different to show.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure of that! Why, in one photo, you even captured a gnome!”


“How many people ever see gnomes?” Marty asked.

“I do!” Violet answered. “I see them everywhere I look!”


“That’s what I mean about your unique vision,” Marty told her. “Through your photographs, we’re also able to see the magic of the world around us!”

“I never thought of it like that,” Violet said.


Felicity had asked if she could greet Shannon SimsFan, so as soon as I saw Shannon enter the yard, I let her know her fairy godmother had arrived. She raced out there so quickly!

“I can show you the paintings,” she said, “but you’ll have to be really careful, ok? Try only looking at them for a few seconds, and then turn away. We’ve already had one case of Stendhal, and we don’t want another!”


“This way!” Fiona shouted as she ran out of the kitchen and led Shannon and Felicity to the big wall of paintings.


But while Shannon and Felicity stopped to enjoy the paintings, Fiona kept going right on to the picnic table where we’d set out the ice cream and cupcakes!


I walked through camp, checking on everybody and thinking to myself that soon, we’ll all be someplace else. Do you know that quiet feeling that comes on the evenings of the last days of any adventure? That’s how it felt to me as I walked through the grounds, listening to the guitar music playing on the old stereo, watching Dillan and Joel dance, feeling grateful for all the days that Joel and I have spent with all these kids, all these kids who soon will be home with siblings and parents and new stories and adventures.


By the time I made it to the big wall, all my future nostalgia faded. Here we were at the big show, after all!

Seeing all my paintings on the wall alongside of Dillan, Violet, Amelia, Lola, Fiona, and Felicity’s drawings filled me with so much joy!

“Lola! Your macaroni horse is masterful!”


“That’s the animal I would be,” Lola said, “if I were an animal! I’d be a horse. And do you know why?”

I didn’t know.

“It’s so that I could race faster than the wind,” she explained.


“And also,” she continued, “so that wherever my feet went, there would be clickity-clack for dancing!”


JRose joined us.

“Brilliant show!” she said.


“I just finished looking at Violet’s photos! They’re so amazing!”

JRose talked about Violet’s portrait of Stuffy Bear and the blurry table that makes you see the shapes and patterns in new ways, and, especially, about the gnome-bomb photo.


“I’m so keeping my eyes open for gnomes,” she said. “Violet says they’re everywhere! All we need to do is look!”

Lola kept trying to get my attention. Later she told me that her magical helper, the butterscotch fairy that lives in her pocket, kept whispering to her that the gnomes don’t really want us big folks to know they exist. They prefer it when only children can see them.


They needn’t worry! All the grown-ups here have children’s hearts!

I found Rory in the kitchen at the computer. “I’m just checking to see if my Let’s Play has finished uploading,” she said.


“Miss Rory! You made it!” Lola was so excited to see her. “I’ve been told that for each of us, there’s one true hero. You’re my hero, Miss Rory!”


“I am?” Rory asked. “But why me?”

“Because you’re everything I want to be when I grow up,” Lola whispered.

“But, Lola,” Rory replied, “thanks. But really, when you grow up you will be you, and that will be perfect.”

“Really?” Lola asked.

“Truly,” said Rory.


I took the words from their conversation with me out to the sitting area where I sat alone, surrounded by flowers that smelled sweeter than vanilla in the night air.

I could say that we learned so much from summer camp this summer–each and every one of us. But when I think about it, all the lessons boil down to one: Every single one of us, in being who we are, is perfect–just as we are, and just as Rory says. And that’s what makes our summer friendships, every single one of them, so amazing: they come from the love and appreciation that we feel for each and every one of us, exactly as we are. And maybe, that love is the secret to Joel’s happiness cupcakes.


 “Joel!” I called out, before opening the volume of T.S. Eliot’s poems. “I’ve finally cracked your secret!”