Post by Jessica R.
When my sister first went to camp she got a trunk. A big, navy blue trunk with gold corners and hinges. I coveted that trunk. It was so big and so roomy, you could fit anything in there. It smelled of leather and adventure.
I don’t know where the camp trunk tradition originated, or even why it has been perpetuated. Trunks are anything but easily portable and a decent suitcase holds just as much. All I know is that that trunk symbolized going away to camp, and I wanted to have it.
She left and came back and the trunk had lost some of its newness, but none of its lure. My mother put it away in the attic where it stayed until the next summer when my sister went off to camp again.
Years later I finally got to pack my own bathing suit, shorts, socks and books into that trunk. I ran my hands over its now well-worn top and imagined the adventures I would have—sleeping in a cabin, canoeing in the lake, making s’mores around the campfire.
I had no idea. My imagination didn’t even touch on the fun I ended up having. Camp that summer was an incredible blend of friendship and fun, adventures and discovery. I had five roles in the camp play, learned to make lanyards and discovered the joy of short-sheeting beds and the frustration of discovering that the other cabin has retaliated by putting our mattresses on the roof.
But no memory is fonder than the memory opening that trunk for the first time while settling into my cabin, a little homesick, a little nervous, and discovering the treats and notes my mother had hidden in all the nooks and crannies she could find. To this day, the picture of a camp trunk brings to mind my mother, packing up to send her daughter off for the first time and wanting to hide love where she could.