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Davy Jones Stopped by the Brady House

January 23, 2012

So you may know that in 2nd grade I plagiarized a story and won it big in a writing contest.  Well you may be surprised to know that this was where my cheating chapter ended.  That’s right.  I never again borrowed from the talents of others to complete my homework.  Until now.

I’m pleased to offer my very first featured guest post here at Childhood Relived.  Speaker7 from over at Ramblings and Rumblings was nice enough to stop by and offer me a hand-up (although really more a hand-out) to fill a void on my page — and in my heart.  Simply put, she is my favorite blogger.  “Favorite” because 1.)  She is wickedly funny and should write for The Daily Show (perhaps she does — we can’t know for sure) and 2.)  I believe her to be my former conjoined twin who was surgically separated from me on a special two-hour edition of Nightline.

After reading her guest post, I urge you to go visit her smart, hilarious blog (here).


Angie Z. was kind enough to loan out her blog to me, Speaker 7, which is pretty surprising since she is such a fantastic and amazing writer.  I write about turds and the Today show (these are actually the same topic) so I jumped at the chance to appear as a special guest star on Childhood Relived.  It reminds me of the sitcoms of my youth like when Davy Jones suddenly turned up at the Brady house and impregnated Marcia or when The Great Gazoo turned up on planet Earth and ruined the Flintstones and then impregnated Wilma.

Since Angie writes about her childhood experiences, I figured it would be appropriate to share a tale from my past.  And since Angie writes about the common elements of 1970s and ‘80s sitcoms, I will engage in some historical revision so the me of the story actually has the courage of a Jan Brady wearing a hideous black wig to Lucy Winters’ birthday party instead of the me of reality who has the courage of cousin Oliver.

This was the summer of 1979 or 1981 or 1982 or 1985.  Unlike Angie, I do not have a photographic memory.  I do not remember what I even did five minutes ago although I notice a shattered wine glass on the ground and my husband lying in a pool of red wine or blood.  My mother had some truly horrible idea that my brother and I would benefit from attending a week-long summer day camp.  Now I understand in adult-time, a week is the equivalent of an eye blink, but for a kid a week is longer than a road trip to Grandma’s house, which is an eternity.  We were not thrilled, but seeing that it would take longer than a week to become emancipated children, we got on the bus and rode into the wilderness.

There were trees, camp counselors, picnic tables (I think) and this horrible, wretched child whose name I do not remember, but let’s call her Brenda.  This is what she looked like:

Brenda’s purpose in life was to make my life — for that week — utterly miserable.  She recognized that the skim-milk hue of my skin meant that I was likely not the outdoors type, and pounced.  We were paired up as swimming “buddies,” which to Brenda meant dragging my short guppy self to the deepest part of the lake and laughing when I sputtered through gasps for air that my feet couldn’t touch.  I got to witness what I looked like by watching Brenda impersonate a fearful Speaker7 to the rest of the campers.  We were paired up as canoe “buddies” to participate in a “fun” canoe race.  I had never set foot in a canoe before so the counselor, who was clearly a sadist, thought it appropriate to put me in the back.  If you’ve never canoed before — which is completely fine because a motorboat is way faster — the person in back is responsible for steering the vessel.  Brenda gave the needed encouragement by referring to me as “asshole” through the duration of the race.

Now if this were a sitcom, Brenda would eventually receive her comeuppance.  Maybe she would break down and confess that she was jealous of my toothpick-size legs or ability to touch the tip of my nose with my tongue, and that’s why she was acting like the worst person alive.  Or maybe I would stand up to her and say “Brenda, you’re the asshole” and then whack her in the head with the canoe paddle and then some camper would start the slow clap until everyone begins cheering and I’m picked up onto two people’s shoulders and carried throughout the camp in triumph (I just feel like a giant weight has been lifted from typing that last sentence).  So we could end the story that way and feel better about a bully being bested.

But this is what really happened.

It was Thursday, and I was riding the same bus home as Brenda.  Brenda had decided the shirt I was wearing was her shirt and clearly I had stolen it.  Let’s put aside the logic that this is day camp and the only clothes we brought with us were our bathing suits.  It wasn’t even a great shirt — just some old navy blue T-shirt.  She threatened that I would be in a world of hurt if I didn’t bring it back with me on Friday.  I nodded my head yes and looked out the window secure in the knowledge that I would not be back on Friday.  I had guilted my mom into letting me quit camp a day early.

29 Comments leave one →
  1. January 23, 2012 7:04 am

    It’s like the stars aligned. Angie AND Speaker7!

  2. January 23, 2012 7:25 am

    I’d like to retroactively wish on Brenda a teen era consisting of bad acne, plantar warts and a blind date with Doogie Howser’s best friend Vinnie.

    My bad camp memory is being in 4th grade and having to sleep on cots that had “Jenny f–ked Chris here,” and the like, written all over the mattresses.

    • January 23, 2012 4:29 pm

      My wish for Brenda is that she never found an navy blue T-shirt that fit her properly.

  3. January 23, 2012 8:39 am

    i never attended camp, and it seems many recollections are horror-filled. especially when represented in 90s movies. glad you escaped with your coveted navy shirt. i bet brenda was really steamed about that one…

    • January 23, 2012 4:30 pm

      I also was forced in attending golf camp. I’m not ready to talk about that experience yet.

  4. January 23, 2012 11:05 am

    Thank GAWD I never attended day camp, or any other camp, mostly because my parents couldn’t afford it, and it’s never free. I have my memories of notable bullies though, on football trips, and track meets, and even orchestra trips. Try carrying a violin case into football practice. Yeah, that will elicit some bully action. I finally got one of those violin cases that were shaped like a trumpet case (okay to play football and a trumpet), but I ultimately quit the orchestra.

    • January 23, 2012 4:34 pm

      That’s a shame that the orchestra even had bullies…one would think that would be a refuge from that kind of nonsense.

  5. rose permalink
    January 23, 2012 11:15 am

    I think Brenda was at my camp too. She was the underwear thief. I slept on my stuff. Somehow my babydoll pajamas still ended up fluttering in the breeze on the flagpole. How was I to know you were subject to ridicule if you bought your kid pjs to camp? I can’t imagine much has changed in 40 years. Don’t send pjs with your kids to camp, shorts and tshirts will do :)

  6. January 23, 2012 12:05 pm

    I don’t know why Brenda wanted your navy blue t-shirt when her “awful child” one was clearly superior.

    Cousin Oliver was a non-authentic, late addition to the show. I have nothing but contempt for him.

    • January 23, 2012 4:35 pm

      I think she wanted to add it to her trophy room of keepsakes from victims–much in the style of a serial killer.

  7. January 23, 2012 12:41 pm

    Great guest post!

    The only day camp experience I had was pretty lame (YMCA camp twice in a row for two weeks) – I wasn’t one to be bullied or to bully – I just kind of awkwardly didn’t fit it – meaning I spent a lot of time with the councelors following them around like a pathetic puppy… .

    As for “Brenda” – well I think we’ve all know Brendas in our life at some time or another. The weird thing is some of them still exist in their 30s and for what it’s worth I’m pretty sure she envied you your toothpick legs or the touching your nose with your tongue talent – I know I would have! Especially the tongue bit ;)

    • January 23, 2012 3:55 pm

      “The weird thing is some of them still exist in their 30s…”

      Sad truth! Some childhood bullies don’t mature, they just become adult bullies.

    • January 23, 2012 4:38 pm

      Adult bullies are most fun! I don’t even bother with trying to stand up to them. I immediately give them whatever shirt I’m wearing and then key their cars while they’re not looking.

  8. January 23, 2012 3:29 pm

    At YMCA camp one of the counselors crashed in my tent and on my sleeping bag. So I had no place to sleep that night. I was afraid of him so I didn’t want to wake him up. I remember curling up on a log late at night and snoozing there. Freakin miserable…

  9. January 23, 2012 6:28 pm

    That bitch! I now understand you so much better S7. In the sitcom, it flashes forward into the future where you are a successful blogger (that was hard to type without laughing) and she’s just a CEO at some shitty corporation where they give her only limited stock options and a SILVER parachute (Loser).
    The chemistry between you and Angie is palpable. Might we see a re-conjoining of the twins in a medical/youtube docudrama?
    You two make the internet worth surfing (sorry about the water reference 7).

  10. January 23, 2012 7:10 pm

    You must be the terrified little asshole in the navy blue shirt who Brenda fondly remembers trying to drown during summer day camp in 1979 or 1981 or 1982 or 1985. She was commenting about you over at Nellie Oleson’s blog (which I stumbled upon when I was looking for entertaining commenting tidbits to stockpile for future visits to Childhood Relived).

    • January 24, 2012 7:04 pm

      I prefer to go by terrified, novice swimmer/canoer, little asshole in the navy blue shirt. Sorry to be such a stickler.

  11. January 24, 2012 3:09 pm

    Nice post speaker7. Sorry about the awful child. I never got bullies then and still don’t. I was just never that way for some reason.

  12. January 24, 2012 9:57 pm

    I laughed out loud, speaker7. And I love how you handle adult bullies, pure genius.

  13. January 25, 2012 8:10 am

    well, speaker7 – again thanks are in order. 1. for giving me another blog to read thereby ignoring my children and laundry, 2. for increasing my love of alternate endings, and 3. for giving me more reason to fear and detest camping of any form. angie has hit the nail on the head: the daily show needs to hire you if they have not done so already.

  14. January 26, 2012 9:34 am

    *wacked brenda on the head* ;)
    i enjoy your blog lots & have nominated your for the Versatile Blogger Award. See for details.

  15. January 26, 2012 2:36 pm

    Excellent. Your “sure, I’ll give you my T-shirt on Friday,” ploy would never have worked for me because I only had 25 kids in my class. The whole school knew each other. Forever. So, essentially, no escape and no forgetting any unfortunate intestinal gas, unzipped flies or unexpected snot ejections with no Kleenex at hand. All golden moments locked in perpetuity. We didn’t have any lakes in our area, so at least no attempted drownings. Horrible.

  16. February 22, 2012 1:20 pm

    I never had to go to camp. Praise all that is holy.

    As for Brenda, fuck her and her blue old navy shirt fetish. You showed her!

    Your intro provided me with crystal clarity about the painful slowness of my writing/blogging. While you made the uncertainty about the year of this story into a funny bit, I would have spent a half hour researching and verifying the exact date…checking my childhood diary, asking my mother, etc… You are smart. It’s exhausting being me.


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