Remembrance of Mischiefs Past

In May, I wrote about elitism. Last week, I wrote about my summer experiences with a bunch of privileged kids. With the following blog post, the trilogy will be complete and so will a chapter in my life.

The Sotomayor hearings this summer unfolded along with my summer camp experience with a bunch of privileged kids, who inherited republican genes of their rich parents. The funny thing was that the other mentors who populated the camp alongside me were liberals, who should espouse the E-word (empathy, not elitism) heartily.

Yet, there was no empathy in this summer camp. Probably because I went to a prep school and witnessed the entire power structure from the other side (compelling life experience?), I identified myself more closely with the highschoolers than with my fellow mentors. Thus began my eventful summer–I must vainly admit I was a mediocre mentor and a good friend to many highschoolers–and I tried to be a friend to them. (I was always partial to those who are on a learning curve as it is.)

A hardened veteran of a prep/boarding school, I assumed quite correctly that nothing in their behavior could shock me. Nothing did. Some genius once said the prep schools are where boys become men. If manhood revolves around breaking every single rule, then that saying is accurate. I won’t self-incriminate here by compiling a laundry list of what I (we) did in prep school, let it be duly noted that there were cigarettes taped under drawers, alcohol in cleansed lotion bottles and a bowl inside, now the creative part, a porcelain polar bear. [Some kid converted Meerschaum pipe that had been in his family for generations. Dieu Merci.]

So the bottomline this summer is that I was somewhat shocked to see them in the same spiral trap I was in pre-college years. I quit smoking and drinking a year ago, my belief (and those of my parents) being you have to do it once (or occasionally) while you were young. In the social, social world out there, you need to build tolerance to these substances and empathy to the others using them.

I don’t know how many people from my camp follows this blog (Vainly I will say more than two), but I will break that fourth barrier now, but directly addressing to you. Despite quite stressful obstacles you threw at me, I enjoyed working (and becoming friends) with you. Despite a hectic schedule, my recreational hours were made more complete by you all. There were times I felt overwhelmed and frustrated at all the administrative rigmarole (about which I ranted in my last post), but I knew I enjoyed your presence and you mine too.

I enjoyed helping you guys with your essays and homework. I enjoyed late night guitar renditions, hospital visits (*wink, wink*), 3 a.m. phone-calls and 7 a.m. wake-up calls, but not leftover food in the hallways. Every second was a memory. To say that I will miss someone whom I met eight weeks ago (and didn’t actually know) will be a gross overstatement. Some of you got to really know me, and good for you, but I don’t know your quirks, your personalities and your aspirations; as much as I would love to, there are 370 of you and only one me. Some of you are inspired by me (I am flattered), but you guys inspired me many times more; again, there are 370 of you–so full of angst, vibrancy, and rebelliousness. Oh, sweet old days. You made me feel old.

Life goes on for each and everyone of us, and again I truthfully concede that it is hard for me to remember and miss every single one of you. Yet, needless to say, I will remember this summer.

Thank you. Go on and have wonderful lives. I know I will.

One Response to “Remembrance of Mischiefs Past”
  1. auntielucia says:

    Life goes on is one of those trite but true statements… life goes on, whether we do or not. I say, we do!

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