Sunday, April 08, 2012
(The Fairer) Sex Sells
Such a crudely mercenary title, one which is actually unsuited to the real point. I was showering, and thinking of Time Past, as well as current writings close at hand, and I realised a funny thing. I became a conservative because of a chick. Well, truth be told, a Young Lady. Oh yes.
Her name was Leslie, and we met at Camp Pee Dee, north of Bennettsville, SC, a Presbyterian church camp that I attended for a week each summer since the fourth grade (I believe). She was pale, willowy, dark-haired, and smart. I spent as much time with her as I could (I was twelve). Major crush. She was passionate about two things, as I recall: William F. Buckley and The Bard. I'm sure that her doctor Dad helped in her political development, but she was a True Conservative of the National Review brand, back when that meant summat. I had watched Firing Line (which was produced in Columbia by SCETV) as it had good stuff, and was one of 3 1/2 stations we could get, so I had a working knowledge of Buckley- but rather less than I let on. Leslie could do a spot-on impression of Buckley, waggling pencil and outrageous posture. Had Torquemada put William F. Buckley,Jr. to the Rack, Buckley may have thanked him. So I became more interested in WFB and conservatism. Her interest in Shakesperson also increased my interest in good writing. You may well have her to thank for this blog, for manifold reasons. Because of this, I only ID her by her first name. Anonymous may be lurking!
I knew her for the week of camp. I am impressed by her friendship, because I was in the middle of my one and only case of impetigo, and the outbreak was obvious, and could land one in the "grossest photos" websites. WHY AT CAMP?!?
Fate seemed destined to throw us together, because we won best costumes in a contest. The main craft-y project involved blowing up a HUGE balloon, then coating it with multiple layers of wallpaper-paste and newspaper strips. Once dried, we popped the balloon, extracted the bits, then cut holes for eyes, mouth, and a big hole to fit the thing over your head. Then, to painting. I painted it grey, with pipecleaner antennae, and a pipecleaner mouth-cage thingie.
Leslie made a charming pink elephant head. All the campers paraded around, and the counselors judged. Leslie and I won! Cosplay FTW! When the camp director looked at my costume, I learned the importance of details. I had a balloon in my mouth, laying in the mouth-parts. I would apply breath, and the balloon would pulse. The director looked into my face, saw the movement and cried "Good Grief! It's got a tongue!". Leslie and I, conjoined by talent, basked for the minutes involved. I basked in being near her.
Camp ended, we exchanged addresses, wrote a bit during the next year when I was away at Porter-Gaud. I got to spend an afternoon at her home the following summer, and then we drifted more apart than we were.
So here I am, affected by, and affecting you because of a cute, smart girl who made me want to be Better Than I Was. I pray she has had a lovely life.