Snail's Postcard Post

Letters from Camp

image from the website TuneCore

Hello Muddah, hello Fadduh,
Here I am at Camp Grenada
Camp is very entertaining
and they say we’ll have some fun if it stops raining.

I went hiking with Joe Spivy
He developed poison ivy
You remember Leonard Skinner
He got ptomaine poisoning last night after dinner.

All the counselors hate the waiters
And the lake has alligators
And the head coach wants no sissies
So he reads to us from something called Ulysses.

Now I don’t want this should scare ya
But my bunkmate has malaria
You remember Jeffrey Hardy
They’re about to organize a searching party.

Take me home, oh Muddah, Fadduh,
take me home, I hate Grenada
Don’t leave me out in the forest where
I might get eaten by a bear.
Take me home, I promise I will not make noise
or mess the house with other boys,
Oh please don’t make me stay,
I’ve been here one whole day…

Dearest Fadduh, darling Muddah,
How’s my precious little bruddah?
Let me come home if ya miss me
I will even let Aunt Bertha hug and kiss me.

Wait a minute, it stopped hailing,
Guys are swimming, guys are sailing,
Playing baseball, gee that’s better,
Muddah, Fadduh kindly disregard this letter.

I’m really feelin’ for the kids right now. What is all this about Back To School? Summer’s not over yet! So this Postcard Post is dedicated to that ultimate summer refuge–Camp! In the U.S.A. at least, what started as exclusive, preppy substitutes for boarding school have flourished into all kinds of havens for all kinds of children and teens to have a ball while developing immensely in a concentrated period of time. While doing just that, here are postcards I sent and received over the years.


During my second time at a sleep-away camp, Mama Snail was on a book tour, and as she did when I was home, she sent me postcards from each stop. This is exactly when and how I started collecting postcards! (See the complete collection in the very first Postcard Post). 

 June 15, 2000
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
I spent the whole day traveling yesterday–missed just about everything I was supposed to do, even 1 1/2 hr. late for my booksigning, but there were people who came anyway + waited–so even though there weren’t many, they were really great. The night before, in Albuquerque, people had cats in their rooms. Meow Meow Meow. I thought I was going nuts! Hope you’re having fun + see you after camp!”

June 18, 2000
Dallas, Texas
postmarked Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Thought I’d send these to you at camp! Dallas was a lot of fun! Saw Aunt Ellen + Ann + her husband and 2 big boys…The boys are movie lovers + do routines from Austin Powers that are so funny–I was enjoying myself so much I almost missed my plane.”

June 19, 2000
Kansas City, Missouri

postmarked Milwaukee, Wisconsin
It was great to talk to you on the phone today at Aunt Janet’s–I’m very happy the plane ride went well. Hope you have a wonderful time at camp. Kansas City is beautiful–surprise!…We ate Kansas City’s Barbecue, that the town in known for. Mmm…”

June 21, 2000
Madison, Wisconsin <“where the cheese + beer comes from
caption: The downtown Madison skyline is seen here at dusk from across Monona lake.
postmarked Milwaukee, Wisconsin

“…a fun student town like Berkeley. Hope you are having a great time at camp! My tour is 1/2 way through(!)”

June 22, 2000
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Caption: A glimpse of downtown Milwaukee from across the Milwaukee River.
Leaving Milwaukee, a really beautiful city where they don’t tear down the old buildings, so it looks a lot like Europe. They brew Miller Beer here + when you pass the factory you can really smell it. The tall building is my hotel. Lots of green copper rooftops–you expect them to speak German–many of their Grandparents did. They’re having a Harley motorcycle convention here–pretty interesting people!”

June 23, 2000
Detroit, Michigan <“MOTOWN USA where The Supremes + Aretha Franklin are from.”
“Have you done any climbing yet? Hope camp is really fun, more wilderness than the last one! Detroit is where they build most American cars…I’m getting sick of hotels, looking forward to being HOME with you…I love to travel but this is ridiculous…Have a super, super time + see you soon!!”

June 25, 2000
Omni Netherland Plaza Hotel Cincinnati, Ohio
I saw your postcards from camp–Daddy e-mailed them to me! I’m so glad you like your cabin + councilor! Gene’s girlfriend Kate was staying at this hotel when I came, so we had drinks in this amazing room. So beautiful and 1920’s–I can imagine my new character here.”


Hundertwasser: 114 Eating Fishes and Cyclists, 1951
“Which cabin did you get?”

Symbols, in order of appearance:

  1. rollerblading
  2. beach
  3. writing
  4. book
  5. wedding
  6. Squaw
  7. our dog
  8. Papa Snail
  9. new car

August 7, 2001
Squaw Valley, California
Made it to Squaw Valley–Wedding was really fun–everyone asked after you…Lots of dancing (Israeli folk dancing)–Learned how to do all kinds of new dances. Annie’s Peruvian friends were so much fun!…It seems very strange to be up here at Tahoe without you…I’m right by the river–you know I love that. Miss you so much!”


July 25, 2002
Eureka, California
Caption: Roosevelt Elk are readily seen in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. A protected herd of 200 roam freely and graze alongside California’s Redwood highway 101.
curiously postmarked Eureka, CA 30 Jul and  Reno, NV 8 Aug
on our way to Oregon tomorrow–today we saw a herd of these Roosevelt elk. We’re staying up near the Oregon border tonight. Got to see where the Klamath River meets the sea–seals surfing in the waves, Native Americans fishing for salmon–Saw a pelican dive in + catch a fish almost too heavy for it to take off. Hope camp is fun.”

July 29, 2002
Cannon Beach, Oregon
We spent the weekend here at Cannon Beach…so quiet + pretty. Went up in a helicopter! They were giving rides down the coast. Now heading back down to California. Had a huge crab dinner…just a feast. Hope camp is great + we’ll see you soon!”


In my high school years, I spent the summers adventuring with one of my very favorite programs, Deer Hill Expeditions (  Deer Hill leaders give stamped postcards to participants to write home at the end of each section of a session. (Sessions typically consist of three portions–two forms of outdoor recreation and either environmental or native community service.) 

July 4, 2004
I just left the San Juan river where the duckiing [sic.] trip took place. Duckies are simple and manueverable [sic.]. I love the South Utah canyon land…Looking forward to a shower, swimming pool, and maybe even fire works [sic.] later today.”

“P.S. The San Juan has great, smoothe [sic.] mud!”

July 8, 2004
Finished service. All Ute service leaders were very jovial…Seen lots of Anasazi house and storage ruins…Looking forward to a shower and laundry tomorrow. (I’m writing with a leaky pen, just so you know.) I’m hoping for happy trails in the La Platas.”

White House Ruin, Canyon de Chelly, Arizona
From Grandpa Snail
July 13, 2004
Hope this arrives between your weekly breaks–+ that you are enjoying the 4 Corners Area–You missed a great 4th of July party–your dad looked great–All in white + your mom had a beautiful new red dress–Anxious to hear all about your adventure”

Tomorrow we’re leaving the river. I love paddling in the duckies. We just watched a beautiful sunset–blues and pinks. I’m happy with my group and leaders. This morning we had an icecream [sic.] drop! A Dear [sic.] Hill leader flew his jet into the canyon while we were on the river, and dropped icecream [sic.] down to us. Also today, we all jumped off a cliff into the river.”

A friend of mine was always an excellent pen pal while I was away on a Deer Hill expedition:

How’s camp life? Any supiscious [sic.] sightings of Big Foot, unicorns, mermaids, lumber jacks or UFOs learking [sic.] in the shadows under a large oak tree? Well, I hope so, it certainly would spicen things up. I am certain you have been doing all sorts of fun things my little wilderness Goddess. Climbing, jumping, swimming, laughing, eating gronala [sic.]. I can picture it now…someone playing an acoustic guitar while everyone sings “Hey Jude” and “Come Together.” And then you look and something catches your eye. What is it? Two gleaming brown eyes peering at you across the campfire and then you realize…You are staring at the late and great ghost of George Harrison. You gasp. And then the image slowly disappears. You have witnessed a vision defying all means of time travel and life and death. Sssshhh. We’ll keep it between us. Our little secret.”
” ¡Hey there!
I just returned from a mini trip to the desert. Palm Desert to be exact. I rode golf carts with the old folks, swam with leering old men in bannana [sic.] slingers, and bought a pair of dentures. (Not really) This all happened at my grandma’s house in a retirement community. Big surprise there! Last night, Liza Minneli [sic.] played The Bowl. There were numerous fabulous gay men in attendence. I was called sweetheart at least a dozen times. I didn’t go to Sunset Junction. :( I had to work. So sad…I drive by the Astro Burger near your house on a regular basis. I am alway reminded of [you]. I took a trip to Amoeba the other day and bought a [sic.] Sonic Youth and Elastica albums. You should check Elastica out. They are a British band from the 90’s. They have the 90’s sound down. LA misses you!”
This entry was published on August 8, 2012 at 6:43 pm. It’s filed under Art, Series, U.S.A. and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “Letters from Camp

  1. Pingback: Father’s Day | Snail's Postcard Post

  2. Pingback: The California Coast | Snail's Postcard Post

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