I had hoped that I would remember it, but I didn’t. As we drove into the campground gates, nothing looked familiar. I suppose that isn’t surprising since it had been thirty-two years. Saturday, July 27th, we went with our fourteen-year-old granddaughter Mary Grace’s parents, to Sapphire, NC to pick her up from Camp Merrie-Woode, where she had been in camp for five weeks. Thirty-two years ago, I dropped off and picked up our daughter, Tara, Mary Grace’s momma (Mary Grace’s name for her mother!), at the same camp. Thirty-two years! It is hard to believe that many years have passed. A legacy continues.
This was Mary Grace’s first time at Camp Merrie-Woode, and she loved it. She has been to camp before, Camp Sea Farer, for several years, and she loved that camp experience also. But she and her parents decided (and I honestly do not remember why) that she should try Camp Merrie-Woode this year. And it was a good decision. There is no need to compare the two camps. Both camps are good and provide a wonderful experience for the campers. But at this point in time, Camp Merrie-Woode was exactly what Mary Grace needed. She plans to go back next year, as does her twelve-year-old sister, Elsie. Seven-year-old Virginia says she isn’t going, but her mom says she is! We will see how that evolves.
Although I did not recognize anything about the camp on arrival, at the end of our visit, I did. The cabins looked familiar. I could recall leaving Tara at her cabin thirty-two years ago. Mary Grace so proudly showed us around the camp and told us where all of her activities took place. Tara remembered the name of her cabin from 1987; it was Robin’s Nest. Mary Grace took us to Robin’s Nest.
One of the traditions at Camp Merrie-Woode is that the campers of each cabin make a plaque and sign it, and it is kept (I suppose forever?) on the ceiling of the cabin. We weren’t really expecting to find Tara’s plaque from 1987, but it wasn’t long before Stephen, Tara’s husband, spotted it. I was amazed. Thirty-two years have passed, and the writing on the plaque was totally distinguishable. Tara’s maiden name was Pennington, and her name and the year are clearly legible. As can be seen on the plaque, in 1987 Tara was at Camp Merrie-Woode for three weeks.
Mary Grace’s cabin’s sign is interesting. Several campers in her cabin, Avalon, have ADD, and the group decided that AADD would be their theme. So, AADD it is, forever in perpetuity. There is one slight problem with this plaque, however. See if you can find it!
We never know when we make one decision how that decision may result in other decisions. We do not usually know the depth of our legacy until years have passed. I certainly did not know when Tara went to Camp Merrie-Woode in 1987 that thirty-two-years later her oldest daughter would follow in her footsteps and become a Camp Merrie-Woode alum.
Legacies and traditions create memories, binding us to our history, and preparing us for our future. Thank you to the leaders of Camp Merrie-Woode for creating such positive experiences that the cycle continues.