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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Friday, April 15, 2011

There's No Place...

I’ve spent every summer since age fifteen working at a family camp outside of Yosemite, California. Noting the good chance that my reader is unfamiliar with the concept of a family camp, perhaps some information about the operation of mine would prove beneficial. Families with children of all ages come up with bedding, bugspray, and beer for a vacation in an A-frame cabin on beautiful grounds that lend themselves exquisitely to swimming, hiking, and relaxing, free from the stresses of the world that keep them in a chokehold those other 360 days of the year. The nature of this magical place allows parents to leave their children to play without their supervision all throughout the day, while the parents socialize, hike, or engage in major familial competition on the badminton court. The fifty-some odd staff members work to keep the camp operational and enjoyable for these families, who spend all year anticipating their visit to camp, with jobs ranging from cooking/serving meals to maintaining bathrooms, to running activities for children (like painting pictures by the river). Since the children come up with their parents, we as staff members are left to our own devices at night. We laugh about the day’s events in our cabins which we cleverly turn into little homes via crafty utilization of milk crates and scraps of fabric, we make delectable snacks in the commercial-grade kitchen, sometimes we even head into the nearest town to see a movie or to eat at our favorite restaurant: Be Wok and Sushi (where, in the mountains, you find fish for sushi I couldn’t tell you, but it’s part of the intrigue). It’s often all too easy to forget that we are living in the middle of the woods without cell phones or deadlines, a window into simpler times.
I grew up in this place. Since age two, I lived for the anticipation of that one morning where I’d be woken up at an ungodly hour to be carried to the car when it was time to make the journey to camp. As I grew older, I went from being carried to the car, to walking myself, to waking up my little sister and carrying her dead weight from her bedroom to the driveway. The ardent sense of excitement that took hold of me upon first sight of a cabin along the river, a signal that we were finally back to the place we were happiest, never changed, much like camp itself—stagnant in a changing world. So many of my most treasured memories come from times in this place: age five, age twelve, age eighteen. I have been so incredibly lucky to spend seventeen summers of my life in the place that makes me the happiest, and even luckier that the magic of it all has endured as I’ve aged. Here I learned how to tie my shoes, the importance of a strong work ethic, and how incredibly important great friendships are, and I’ve been able to see how much they endure. It’s tremendously devastating that for the first time in almost twenty years I will have to be away from the people and place I love the most, but I’m thinking that maybe the final lesson it holds for me is how to know when to walk away. I have the most amazing job opportunity waiting for me in New York and I hope that each summer here has had a hand in preparing me for what lies ahead.
-Kelsey Laubscher


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