No distance at all

I’ve written about Jessica before.  She is one of my oldest and very best friends.  If I have a soul sister she is it.  We met at Cape Cod Sea Camps in the summer of 1988 and after a few days we were inseparable.  After an interval where we fought about something that neither of us remember, CCSC worked its magic yet again and put us as co-counselors in a cabin together in the summer of 1993.  From that moment on our lives have remained twined together, despite the fact that Jess lives in North Carolina.  As Carly Simon says, we’re so close that in our separation there’s no distance at all.

And then there are our girls.  Julia was born in August 2002, 12 weeks before Grace.  The picture above is from the summer of 2002, when, shocked, delighted, and more than a little awestruck, we celebrated that we each had a baby on the way.  That they were both girls was a special joy.

That they’ve become friends is a fact that makes my head explode with happiness.  And this summer, in July, Julia and Grace will be cabinmates at CCSC.  I honestly cannot believe it, and at the same time it feels as though my whole life has been unfurling to this moment. The picture above was taken in August 2010, on the front lawn at camp, the very place I first met this woman who has become so essential to my life.  Our girls are with us.

It’s impossible to overstate how much CCSC means to me.  First and foremost, it brought me Jessica.  But it was also the still point of my childhood. I left every single school early or arrived late, but at camp I was just regular.  I wasn’t different.  I was a long-timer, and there aren’t many places on earth I can remember being so comfortable.

Camp brought me many gifts, some slow to open but now fully revealed. It was fun, of course, but more importantly it was in many ways the ballast that kept my wildly heeling life from capsizing.

I cannot wait for Grace and Julia to experience camp.  I recently reconnected with another close friend from my CCSC days, with whom I’d totally lost touch.  I’m thrilled that her daughter, too, will be there with Julia and Grace.  I feel immensely moved as I watch the light of the past shine through the present and the present fold into the past.  There’s no distance at all, either, in between me and those cabins on the shore of Cape Cod.  My adult life circles back to a place and a person who fundamentally informed who I am today.  The last photograph is of Julia, Grace, and Whit on the beach at CCSC at low tide this past summer.  Lydia was still too small to join them, but she will.

Long may they run on those tidal flats.

14 thoughts on “No distance at all”

  1. What an amazing story to tell, and a lovely tribute to the beauty that is the circle of life. I have a few friends today that I carry-over from years ago, and at least one with whom I raise children close in age. It’s pretty special. But I will also say that I’m now raising my children in the same community as I was raised. When we attend events, or go to activities such as a community festival, lessons or simply walking downtown, it often takes my breath away to see the people I went to school with and their children. I usually have to pinch myself.

  2. I love when life comes full circle in these ways! I have a friend whose daughter is attending the same elementary and junior high schools as us, and I am always pouring over her photos, looking at the same buildings, the same teachers, 20+ years down the road even though it feels like yesterday.

  3. Wait, Grace is going to camp??! I guess I did at her age too — and after an initial and intense bout of homesickness, I never looked back. I loved my camp as much as you did and cannot wait for E to go. But still: G is old enough for camp!!??!!

  4. This sort of synchronicity makes me so happy… just the best sort of soul support in the world.

    And that your favorite place is the place where I grew up? Just another form of the same confirmation of pattern, everywhere around us.

    Love to all of you.

    And here’s hoping that Grace loves camp as much as you did…

  5. How cool!! Not living close to my childhood home and haunts anymore, your words here make me ponder what experiences my own kids might be able to write things like this about 30 years from now. What will their anchor points be? What are mine? Thank you for this food for good thought.

  6. I am always amazed with people who have friendships so old. I hope the girls continue to be friends long into their lives, no matter the distance.

  7. This story just made my heart glad. I had wonderful childhood friends, and have wonderful ‘now’ friends, but none that I think have truly carried over to a ‘lifelong’ friend in the way you describe. What a gift!

  8. camp friendships have an entirely different level than normal ones. it is so hard for anyone else to get. I spent my summers going to and working at a girls camp and am still in touch with some of those girls decades later. and you are so right.the seperation is no distance at all.

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