Surprised, I turned toward the voice. A woman in a maroon cowl-neck walked out of the school's office, extra pens in hand. Her chin-length blond hair and roundish face triggered the synapses in my brain.
It's been about fifteen years since last I saw my childhood summer-camp friend. It was probably five years before that when our beloved camp was taken under new ownership and re-invented, ending any dreams we had of being counselors, ourselves.
There was a group of us horse crazy girls that came to camp every year for the same two-week session. Some of us even came back for the single-week session later in the summer. We all started as "maidens" in the middle of three age groups, and we all stayed to the sad end as "squaws." We had lots of adventures together, and we became good enough friends to see each other randomly in the off-season.
After seeing Bonnie, I spent the next couple nights in nostalgic remembrance of those time spent in the cabins and woods along the coast of the Elk River in North East, Maryland. The songs, canoeing and sailing on the river, chapel on the bluff, cookout night with Sandy Hill Stew, and the horses. Always the horses.
I can honestly say that my memories from Camp Sandy Hill are some of the best I have from my youth. And to add to the esteem of this rustic reminisce, my older cousins went to this camp, and my mom and aunt went to the one down the road when boys and girls were separated. So it was a family thing, and I miss this part of my past. My son will never have the chance to experience the joy that was being a camper at such a wholesome place.
A while ago I thought up a middle-grade series about a group of girls at a horsey summer camp. The idea is based on my own experience as a camper at Sandy Hill. It follows a group of young girls through their adventures while at summer camp. Their experiences will pull the girls together to form bonds that, even over long lapses of time (like fifteen to twenty years), will hold true. (Mind, there will be no time skips like those of my own. This is strictly a middle-grade series, and as such must have it's characters at that same age.)
I already have a few different scenarios that would make great middle-grade novels for those girls that are now so like I was at their age--horse crazy. Maybe this little encounter with my long-ago camp friend is what I need to get the ideas onto "paper."