Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sepia Scenes: Treasure Ship

This little wooden ship is nearly 30 years old.

My son made it his first week at 'big kid day camp' - before this he always spent the summer at nursery school, no different than the rest of the year.

He enjoyed the first week of the first time at 'big kid day camp'. He got to go on 'the giant bus that smells like gasoline' and he met kids from all over, not just the kids he knew from the neighborhood.

It was a short honeymoon.

The 'big kid day camp' soon became 'these people are trying to kill me camp'. On the first day of his second week they fed him tuna sandwiches that had been sitting in the sun all morning. On the second day of the second week they sent him into Clove Lake on Staten Island without his water wings even though he told them he didn't swim very well.

On the third day of the second week they put him on a horse that tried to throw him. This was the day the camp got it's new name. Jeffrey called me at work from a pay phone at the riding academy and in the true theatrical fashion that would become his trademark whispered into the phone - "send Uncle John to get me NOW, these people are trying to kill me."

On the fourth day of the second week he didn't go to that camp anymore.

The rest of the summer was a nightmare of babysitters and taking him to work and using up all my vacation and sick time - childcare for working Moms wasn't so great in the 70s.

But we do have this treasure.

Check out all the SEPIA SCENES


bobbie said...

It is a treasure! I love that you have kept it for 30 years. It is the kind of thing mothers really must keep. And it looks very well made too, so I'm sure he was proud of it.

Sorry the rest of hte experience was so awful, for both of you.

bobbie said...

Oh, yes. And the photos are great. I love the foamy lopk of the "sea" under the boat.

pink dogwood said...

Wow, what a story. Great looking ship too.

Dianne said...

bobbie - I have a huge chest full of Jeff's creations but a few of them are so wonderful that I have to have them out all the time :)
the 'camp tried to kill me' is now family folklore. Jeffrey acts out his horrible childhood at family gatherings, it's all very funny.

pink - thanks, we have so many family stories, I've been thinking a lot about them with the holidays coming up :)

Hilary said...

Too funny. I can just picture this little figure huddled in a phone booth, hand cupped to shield his mouth so that he's not overheard. Great tale.. and wonderful souvenir to mark the memory.

Mojo said...

Nice trick with the blanket(?) to create the sea for the little ship to sail on. Very neat!

I seem to recall a similar kind of camp from back in the 70's. Not the worst experience of my young life... but I have a few stories.

Ivanhoe said...

Oh no! That's not good. Poor baby!
I was in summer camp every summer since I was six. Three weeks. Every year until I was fourteen. I hated it the first time, but then loved to get out of the house :o)

Dianne said...

hilary - that is exactly the picture!! after he called he refused to leave the phone booth area so his uncle could find him. and boy was he pissed LOL and he wanted his quarter back that he used for the call.

mojo - thanks!! it is a fluffy throw that Siren likes to sleep on, it's draped over the back of the sofa.
those camp stories are all funny now but at the time ... Oy!! ;)

Hilary said...

Dianne, you totally cracked me up with "and he wanted his quarter back that he used for the call." LOL

Anonymous said...

A lovely object to cherish.

Gmj said...

i love it! the boat and the story. you tell it well.

Your EG Tour Guide said...

I'm sorry I chuckled. I'm sure it wasn't funny when it happened but it makes for interesting memories!

Dianne said...

ivanhoe - he survived LOL
we found a good camp the following summer
I always tried to get him to go to 'sleep away' but he never would.

hil - the kid was, and still is, a riot ;)

ilanadavita - thank you!! it is one of my favorites

gmj - thanks :)
glad you liked the story.

storyteller said...

Very nifty memento of a harrowing time in your son’s life! I’m glad he recognized the danger and that you rescued him. That said … those years were different times weren’t they? I remember posting an entertaining email I received about growing up in the 30s, 40s & 50s. It’s amazing that many of us managed to grow up at all!
Hugs and blessings,

Askew To You said...

Big kid camp sounds scary! A guy has got to have his water wings. :D

I really like that you used a photo that has a special story attached. Thank you for sharing that.

Also, you mentioned looking for writing jobs. Take a look at for the job boards. They list all kinds of stuff there. If I hear about anything new, I will let you know. I've been working for b5 since.... the end of August, I think, so I'm still very new. It's fun.

Carletta said...

And a wonderful treasure it is!
I loved your commentary Dianne - sad and funny at the same time.

Dianne said...

storyteller - if that had happened today a different parent probably would have called the press and 10 lawyers. ;)

askew - exactly!! how can you deprive a guy of his water wings!! they had too many kids and their counselors were overwhelmed.
thanks for the advice, I really appreciate it :)

carletta - it is very beautiful to me :)
and mostly the story is funny. the sandwich didn't taste that great, the lake wasn't very deep and the horse wasn't very tall. they should have done better but my son was such a drama king.

Mar said...

A lovely boat with a story. Lovely!

Raven said...

A true treasure - and a treasure of a story too.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

That is a Great Treasure and how good that he left that "Killing Place"!
Oy Vey! It sounds like they truly did not know what they were doing!

maryt/theteach said...

Oh dear, Dianne! What a terrible story! I feel sorry for you and for your son! A questionable "treasure" from long ago. My husband made book-ends in high school that look a little like that boat! Ha! :)

CG said...

It's lovely! bless him! we don't have summer camp in the uk. It has always seemed a strange concept to me but i guess it does solve the childcare problems for working parents!

marLou said...

Great story. Too funny which makes a memorable childhood memory!

splummer said...

That's a wonderful memory you have. And the great boat. You asked it was any trouble getting my picture to work with sepia in Picasa. No it isn't . It is under effects and you just click the button that says sepia and it does the job for you. Thanks for stopping by my place. Take Care!!


Dianne said...

your eg - you must have commented just as I left ;)
don't be sorry for chuckling - it is funny. inevitably at some family gathering my brother - the same Uncle John from the story - will say "so Jeff! anybody try to kill ya lately?"
or at the beach someone will start yelling - "get his water wings, get his water wings!!" - we are brutal LOL

mar - thanks!!

raven - we have a million of them, what a freak show we are LOL

oldold lady of the hills - oh you would fit in so perfectly, my brother called it the 'Killing Fields of Staten Island' - he'd love you :)

mary - it was a major pain the butt, having 2 jobs and no childcare - but it was OK.
I think all wood projects look the same ;)

cg - without after school and summer programs so many parents would be lost!!
it's better now than 30 years ago and still not good enough.

marlou - thanks :)
with my family the worse the problem the funnier the story.
there's a story from when my son broke his leg that literally makes eveyone, including my son, wail with laughter.

sherrie - your photo was so good I assumed you had to fix the contrast or the light or something before turning it to sepia. I always have to do at least 3 or 4 steps or my sepia looks so washed out.

Anonymous said...

LOL~ Sorry I had to laugh at his statement over the phone.

Though summer camp wasn't that great for him after all, that ship he made must have brought back all the memories of summer camp for him :)

MyMaracas said...

I'm sure it wasn't funny at the time, but it sure makes a great family story now. The boat really is a treasure, and in sepia it looks like a favorite memory. Fun post!

Kahshe Cottager said...

What wonderful memories are tied up in that treasure boat .. the real treasure! Nice work with the sepia!

Rambling Woods said...

Oh dear..that wasn't a very good camp..but you do have a lovely parting gift from them..LOL..

magiceye said...

that sure is a wonderfully preserved treasure!!

Dianne said...

napaboaniya - that's my boy ;)
he has always had a flair for drama, no idea who he gets that from !!!

mymaracas - the sepia made the boat look warmer, they really used crappy wood at that camp :)
glad you enjoyed, thanks!

kahshe - they are wonderful memories, thank you!

rambling - you changed your pic!! cute, I like it.
LOL at parting gift

magiceye - thanks :)

Faye Pekas said...

Yes, regardless of what camp was like, he brought home this treasure and lots of memories that, I'm sure, are a lot better in the telling them than in living them :)

Jientje said...

That story is a treasure too! Well done!

PixieKatten said...

Lovely pictures and thanks for sharing the little story too. Two treasures I'd say. :)

Dianne said...

faye - isn't that true!! they are always better in the telling than in the living :)

jientje - thanks so much, glad you enjoyed the story

pixiekatten - thank you so much! :)

Ladynred said...

What a treasure! love the sepia look on it.

Dianne said...

ladynred - thanks! it is very special to me

Anndi said...

Awwwww, I feel bad for him.


Looks like it's sailing on a cloud. Lovely shots my dear.

Dianne said...

anndi - I love how you giggle while feeling bad for him, you're another one who would fit into the family perfectly.
thanks for the kind words on the photos :)

Patti said...

The important thing is your son survived the day camp trauma.

That's a really nice looking ship, a treasure to remind you of those days long ago. :-)

Patti said...

Um, a flair for the dramatic? I think it's from you. Just a wild guess.

me ann my camera said...

You can't change the past, but you can sort through the memories and keep the good ones. A great ship!!

Ralph said...

I like the boat as well. It was made with excitement, annd happiness. It is a treasure. We have things make by ours when they were young, boxed here and there.

Your son was proudest giving his treasure to you, I'd say...

Dianne said...

patti - it is a fine ship :)
you think he gets the drama from me? whatever makes you say that!!! hehehehehehe

me ann - we tend to go one step further and try to turn the not so good ones into folklore. It may be the Irish in us :)

ralph - he always loved bringing home his creations, you're right. and I always loved making a big deal out of them.

Melli said...

ROFLMBO! I LOOOOOVE this story! And yea... I have to agree... day care in the 70's sucked. I lucked into a Montessori situation and BOY was I thankful!!! I loved it, she loved it, they loved her... it was great! But it only lasted til she was 5! Then what?

Dianne said...

melli - thanks for the hearty laugh!! that's the reaction I was hoping for LOL
there was a Montessori school near me with a waiting list that was impossible. Jeff would have been 10 by the time they took him. so I struggled with private nursery schools (expensive!!) and then crappy summer camps and oh man - after school care was really pathetic. But we made it didn't we :)

Carmi said...

I'm sure it's just as much a treasure for him as it is for you. Thanks for sharing this experience with us. Not so delightful for either of you back then, of course, but somehow sweet in retrospect: You were and are a good mom for how you sacrificed to make things right for him.

Dianne said...

carmi - I'm so sorry I missed your comment, especially since it is so kind, thank you!