RBG’s Other Role

A high school friend from the east coast is here visiting her grown son, daughter-in-law, and new grandbaby — visits Laurie and I both cherish. The documentary RBG is around Seattle, and Laurie shared with me that Ruth Bader Ginsburg was her camp counselor back in the day. Three years ago the bunk had a 70th birthday reunion, and RBG showed up — affirming that many of the values she’s held in adult life she learned at camp.

When I was growing up in Kearny, NJ, in the 1950’s and early 1960’s, all the Jewish kids who were my friends went to camp — most of them for the whole summer. The culture of summer camp was a profound influence in their lives. I didn’t go, not even to day camp, although after my father died and my mother went back to work, my younger sister Wendy did. I don’t think I had any bonding experience that was similar until the Peace Corps.

Sara and Matt both went to camp. Matt attended Camp Stella Maris, in the Finger Lakes district of upstate New York, quite near our home. He was a camper, counselor, and finally waterfront director. At least one of his best friends to this day came from that camp experience. Sara chose to go to a different camp every year, and finally to break out of the camp routine entirely to go on trips which she planned and arranged and convinced us to allow her to join. Her first one was a bike trip, supervised, from Amsterdam to Paris. As we all know about Sara, she logged that one into her experience bank and kept on going.

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