It’s a little green cabin that sits back about a hundred yards from Sandy Pond in upstate New York. It’s just got one bedroom, one bathroom, a living room and a kitchen that is not big enough for two people to fit in.
But ask me where I’d rather be at any moment and I’ll tell you: right there at Green Camp.
My great-grandfather Stanley Getman built our little cabin with his own two hands. He built it in 1955 and part of the foundation keeping the cabin up off the ground is an old, partially-rotted tree stump about 15 feet in diameter. During the summer it smells of blueberry buckle and my Grandma Pauline’s famous “Albino brownies.”
In the summer my family and I go up there for usually a week, or even two if we’re lucky and our schedules all work out. When I was little, we used to be able to stay for a month – fishing, swimming, boating and playing in the summer sun until the sun went away and it was time for dinner, a round of cards and bed.
I’ve seen the place go through a lot of changes in my 22 years. There used to be a huge tree right outside the cabin that my younger brother, Sam, and I used as home base for multiple games of “Tag” and “Hide and Go Seek.” In 1992 Hurricane Andrew caused horrible storms all throughout the eastern part of the country and our poor tree blew down in the storm.
I found my very first “best friend” there – Kaylah, who was born exactly one month before me. Her mother and my dad were friends growing up and they have their own cabin about 20 feet from ours. We didn’t see each other all year long but for the two or three weeks we were there in the summer, it was as if no time had passed at all.
I learned how to fish, how to drive a boat, how to cook and how to have all kinds of silly television-less fun there. I believe growing up in Sandy Pond has shaped who I am today. It brought me closer to my family and it has taught me a good deal of independence – even though I still always ask my dad to take my fish off the hook for me because it’s kind of slimy.
I know where I come from – a group of hard working men and women who believed in God, family and country first and all other things second.
Someday I’ll take my own family there and we’ll start new traditions. Maybe I’ll even get my future husband to bait my hook for me.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.