Friday, November 7, 2008

Flashback Friday: Origins, also Cootie Ghetto

Back in August, shortly after I created this blog, I found myself wondering what the heck I was going to write about week after week. My life doesn't seem very interesting most days.

At the same time, I was finally getting around to turning the guest room where our Japanese exchange student had lived for ten months back into the all-purpose storage/craft/gift-wrapping room that it was meant to be. I lack the capacity to simply shove boxes onto shelves without first establishing some semblance of order within them and determining their best organizational groupage category. Sifting through boxes of old photos and memorabilia, it occurred to me that my past is freckled with plenty of entertaining stories that would make great blog entries. Specifically, I was chuckling about some memories from church Girls' Camp in my teen years. But it seemed so random to just start writing about instances having no current relavancy. The solution to this conundrum, of course, would be to initiate a recurring flashback feature...possibly repeating on a regular day of the week. But I did not consider myself disciplined enough to establish the expectation to write a certain element each week, so I filed the idea away in my brain for future reference.

The very next day, I came across Bridget's first installment of her now well-established "Flashback Friday." And guess what: her first flashback was a story from the same Girls' Camp about which I was reminiscing when I had the same idea. I felt like I was in that twilighty show about that zone.

That was ten weeks ago. Now, with the help of NaBloPoMo forcing me into writing submission, I'm jumping on the Flashback Friday bandwagon (don't worry, Bridget invited others to participate, so I'm not stealing her idea (which she stole from me)).

So does that story count as today's flashback? It probably could, but I'd better keep the Girls' Camp tradition alive and tell you a story about a little piece of Heaven called the Cootie Ghetto.

All of us 16-year-olds were preparing to attend our 5th year of Girls' Camp, which is the year where for some reason we are allowed to be counselors--in relative charge of half a dozen or so impressionable pre-teens. Counselors work in pairs, and Bridget and I were a great match since we didn't take the whole thing too seriously and--while maintaining respect for the solemn--liked to gently push the boundaries of some of the more laughable processes.

A few months before camp, a meeting is held to announce the theme for the year, around which all camp activities, decorations, and lessons will be designed. Past themes included Wide World of Sports, Noah's Ark, and Saturday Morning Cartoons. The theme for 1997 would be...(drumroll)...The Game of Life. Each set of counselors must select the name of a board game by which their cabin group will be known. In order to avoid any hair-pulling brawls over the decidedly "best" games, we were assigned numbers and made our selections from their list in chronological order. Bridget and I were something like number 17 out of 18. As all the good choices were plucked from our grasp, we started thinking outside the box. There was no way we were going to try to create cool decorations and nametags etc. from a game such as Pick up Sticks or Backgammon when our friends had Candyland and Operation. It would be an exercise in futility, not to mention ensure that our campers would spend all their time with another (cooler) group. So we scoffed at their list and chose our own game: Cooties. The camp leaders weren't too supportive of our idea, but I guess we presented an acceptable argument.

Fast forward to our arrival at Camp Namanu. Before the girls who would be under our care arrived, Bridget and I had 9 hours to make our preparations, which mainly consisted of plastering our cabin with Cootie-related paraphernalia. To get the origins of Cootie Ghetto straight, I will forfeit my dignity and allow you to read directly from the embarrassing scrapbook I made:
The Camp leaders took issue with our haven of trash, and implored that we remove it. I recall we eventually reached a compromise where we cleaned up the actual garbage but were allowed to leave the more decorative duct tape and ghetto sign. Sometimes you have to make your own fun.

"COOTIES, Angela, COOTIES." I know this joke originated during our pre-camp preparations, but how? Help me out if you can, ridget.

Did you know that by replacing the word "choose" with "chews" you can create a catchy handout for almost any occasion? True. Just add any soft candy-type item and you've got yourself a winner.

This one was accompanied by a stick of gum. Very clever. Also good: "Chews" the Right with Snickers bar. If you want to make your handout extra cute, draw dots on the ends of every letter. And there's really no reason to over-think the rules of "quotation" marks. If you feel they are necessary, just "go" for it!


Bridget said...

Yep, I stole Flashback Friday all right...right out of the unspoken thoughts of your mind!!!

Oh, my goodness. The Cootie Ghetto. I wanted to write about it on my blog but my memories were not as, um, well illustrated as yours (read: I do not have an embarrassing scrapbook).

Sadly, while I remember the phrase, I do not remember the origin of "Cooties, Angela, Cooties." Darn! What I do remember is writing random Simpsons quotes on our campers' handouts. Or was that KIT year?

That handout wasn't ours, was it?? What an abomination.

I'll link back to this story on my blog, if you don't mind.

Jennifer said...

This is hilarious, Kristen. I'm trying to remember, were Julee, Janet, and I next door to you? That seems right. But I don't think we were the ones that left you with the bunk bed that led to such creativity. Oh good times.

Kristen said...

Bridget, the handout was most certainly NOT ours. Do you remember Satan's fiery darts? I kept a couple in my embarrassing scrapbook, and I recall having a staged spiritual moment with the girls when you BURST into the room throwing them at us. Excellent.

Jennifer, I do believe you were next door, or across from us. And I think it is very possible that you were indeed the bunk bed culprits. But maybe Bridget knows for sure.

Glad you enjoyed the first installment of Flashback Friday!

Bridget said...

Jennifer, if you were Operation, you were right next to us. The people who left the bunk bed were across from us, but I don't remember who or what they were. Red striped socks, maybe...? Does that ring a bell?

Oh Kristen, Fiery Darts is my #1 memory from that year of camp.

Jennifer said...

We were Operation. Oh good, I'm glad to know I'm not a bunk bed ditching neighbor. I remember that Elisa and Adria were across from us, but I don't remember who was across from you. Maybe it is better that way...


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