Eva’s Public Reading of Her Non-Fiction Piece

I know you won’t be able to hear the words Eva (my dear 13-year-old granddaughter) is speaking in the above video. It was “captured” second or third hand from a computer mic. Sorry about that. (But don’t worry, the words she’s reading appear in print below.)

Despite its problems, I include the video just to give an idea of the way Eva looked making her presentation at the final event of her three-week writing workshop at Michigan’s Interlochen Arts Camp. Isn’t she lovely?

Students picked their favorite piece (poetry, nonfiction, fiction, drama) and read it aloud to their colleagues and teachers. (If you look hard down in the right hand corner of the video, you’ll see my bride, Peggy (Eva’s proud grandma), looking on. Peggy is sitting next to her college roommate (Eva’s ‘Aunt Micki’) from so many years ago at Central Michigan University.

In any case, I share below the text of Eva’s nonfiction work about her none-too-happy experiences at sleepaway camp in Maine. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did when I heard the words without the recording’s distortions.

Summer Camp Reflection

When I was eight, my parents shipped me off to seven weeks of sleepaway camp in Poland, Maine. I hated it. Breakfast, lunch and dinner consisted of cubes of uncooked tofu. Cubes. I only had one friend. For privacy purposes, let’s call her Hazel. She was a good friend. She hugged me when I cried, she accompanied me to the activities I hated. When she met me, I was shy and sad. Over the course of five years, however, I changed. But she didn’t leave me. She stayed with me for each horrible year of sleepaway camp. I wrote her parents letters for her because she didn’t like writing them, and she gave me her dessert so that I had more than just tofu. We ate candy in secret, sitting on a hidden rock by the cold, murky lake, even though we weren’t allowed. We were good friends. But I wasn’t happy at that camp. I felt sad every day. And so, after five years, I made the decision to switch camps. And here I am. But I left Hazel alone. She didn’t love the camp. I left Hazel alone. She stayed with me even when I couldn’t stop crying. 

“It’s okay, Eva. Only 50 days left.” She would tell me.

I would take a shaky breath, and we would skip our activity and go to our special rock to eat candy and talk about everything we wish we could be doing. “Thank you.” I told her.

“That’s what friends are for!” She would always say.

But I left Hazel by herself. Now, she sits alone on that rock, watching the lake hit the shoreline, the water spraying her with white foam, eating candy and humming a tune to herself. Or maybe she found a new Eva. One she likes better. Maybe she doesn’t miss me the way I miss her. Maybe the new Eva doesn’t cry as much. Or maybe the new Eva would rather go to Marksmanship than read a book. Or maybe the new Eva doesn’t exist.