Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sounds of Summer

The loudspeaker crackled before the tune began. For the briefest of moments, before the trumpet played its instructive notes, there was just this static noise. It was the prelude, the overture to another day.

As that initial sound dissipated into the crisp morning air, I reacted. At once, I oriented myself to see the row of beds, each with a figure beginning to stir. On the coldest of nights, the extra blanket ( "the jelly roll") that was neatly laying at the foot of the bed, had been put to good use. On the coolest of mornings, we would dress in our long blue pants, t-shirt with the capital A prominently displayed on the front, and our jackets, all intended to protect us from the elements.

When the rain came, it always seemed to pelt down. At its worse, torrents of water streamed by, and headed down hill. The older I got, the farther up the hill I resided, closer to the common dining area. But each bunk played the same distinct, and very loud rhythms on its roof whenever the summer storms reached full intensity.

I attended camp in the Pocono Mountains from ages 6 to 13. Each morning, reveille played to bring us the news of another day dawning. Each evening, as we lay in our beds, taps could be heard over that loudspeaker.

Almost half a century ago has now passed. The record player, and its crackling, as the needle and the record make first contact, is but a relic of an era long gone. I wonder now if the children at summer camp awaken to the day with the same greeting I received so many years ago. Yet, even if reveille is the first sound they hear, that distinctive opening crackle lives only in the minds and the hearts of people like me. It is a sound of summer that has ceased to be.


PickleBiz said...

For the first time in 49 years, you brought me back to that same memory all sleep-away veterans share. Very cool. Thanks.

Robert said...

Some memories are shared by many, from different times and places. That loudspeaker was, in some ways, universal.

Robert said...

So this evening I took a break from putting the finishing touches on Zack's camp trunks which go out tomorrow morning. I had just finished stuffing his plush down comforter and pillow into his soft trunk and smiled when you reminded me of that comforting warm crackling sound before and while reveille and taps played and how it lingered until they lifted the needle, and my blue wool jelly roll. We're old Robert, very old...