So you collected the little orange lizards, deftly plucking them from the ground by their tails (didn't that hurt at all?), and softly depositing them in their new home-a Yuban can stacked with damp grass and a moist rock, covered with tin foil held fast by a rubber band, some small air holes punched through with your Swiss army knife.You'd been too long in the pool earlier in the summer, when the sun was sub-tropical, and your shoulders had burnt so badly that they'd blistered, and you were sure you'd never escape the ubiquituous scent of the Noxema that your mom gobbed onto your reddened skin every day.But there were other things that were going especially well.Then back in the car for the last five minutes to the colony. The car windows are open wide, because a/c just didn't exist, and you can smell the jasmine and the honeysuckle and the fresh cut grass, and the small hint of pollen, and then, around the bend, through a clearing in the stand of pine and birch, you get your first glimpse of a bungalow, peeking through the branches. On Saturday nights the parents dressed a little better than usual, and after dinner they migrated towards the casino where they preformed God only knew kinds of pagan rituals that were guarded like holy state secrets from us, the kinder.There was a certain mystery and romance to seeing our parents act silly, and laugh at foolish, inane jokes, while sloppily imbibing rye and scotch and gin (who drank vodka and tequila in those days?
You'd had your eye on the new kid's sister, who was a year and a half younger than you, but cute, all the same, with curtly red hair and a smattering of freckles across the bridge of her nose, and you didn't half mind the half pound of steel she was carrying on her teeth, because her smile was brilliant all the same.During ice-cream break I retreated to the back of the camp house to plot my strategy.I could fake a stomachache and plead too ill to attend.But then I'd miss out on the barn fire afterwards, replete with hot dogs, marshmallows, and Uncle Hal, the camp director, enacting his rendition of the "Best of Cropsey" around the campfire.I could ask Carla Stevens, but she had buck teeth, and was pigeon toed, and looked a lot like her brother, Matt, who wasn't a bad kid, and who did a pretty neat trick with turning his eyelid inside out that always managed to get me queasy. She had hair like soft down and skin like cream and freckles across the bridge of her nose, and a smile that made me feel tingly and weird at the same time, and I'd never managed to say more than three words in succession to her, but yet she was there, on our porch, and through the bungalow, muffled, yet distinct, I could swear she asked my mom if she thought it was too forward for a girl to ask a boy to a dance.