31 July 2009

Love Story, Part 2

It really was a dream come true. My friend, Jenn Harbaugh, and I had had a fascination with the Revolutionary War ever since we saw Heath Ledger and his luscious blonde hair in The Patriot in eighth grade, and so the sign on the Camp Carpenter staff bulletin board reading "Staff Hunt American Heroes Sign Up" was an open invitation to escape to the world of Polonaise gowns and tri-corner hats once more. Last week I had been Molly Pitcher, the courageous Revolutionary who regularly brought water to the soldiers on the battlefield but who, when her husband was hit, dropped her buckets and took up a cannon post instead. Unfortunately, elementary school-aged Cub Scouts couldn't tell the difference between Molly Pitcher and Felicity, the Revolutionary War-era American Girl doll that their sisters no doubt played with, when they found me hiding on the trail and questioned me as to my identity. I was doomed to pick a less interesting historical character. With a sigh on behalf of historical creativity everywhere, I picked up the pencil hanging next to the sheet and wrote "Martha Washington" next to my name on the staff list.

I scanned the list before turning away to see what other American heroes were being portrayed by the camp staff during our weekly event. Let's see....Davy Crockett....Captain America...Eleanor Roosevelt....George Washing...ton.....oh, no. I read the line again. George Washington. Who had decided to be George Washington? Would they think that I had decided to portray Martha Washington because I had some ulterior motive? I didn't! She was just the only Colonial-era woman that the kids would recognize! What was I going to do? I ran through a list of likely colonial women that I could play. I couldn't just be another person, seeing as I'd spent my first week's break making the costume. Molly Pitcher's out. Betsy Ross? No, they'll just guess Martha Washington, that's what happened last week. Abigail Adams? No, they'll just think I'm...Martha Washington. Ugh, that's the only choice. I guess I have to deal with it. I hope it's someone agreeable at least...I ran my finger parallel across the paper, looking to see who my fictional husband would be.
Daniel "Kip" Cheshire.
Who on earth was that?

Later that night, at the daily flag-lowering ceremony, I stood in line with my Staff Den waiting for the rest of the camp attendees to show up. I leaned to my left, beckoning to my bunkmate, Joanna. "Psst! Joanna!" She turned to me, "What?"
"Who's Kip Cheshire?"
"Who? Why?"
"We're signed up to be the Washingtons on the staff hunt and I want to know who it is or it'll be awkward."
"You're Martha Washington?"
"You're Martha Washington?" It was a different voice this time. Joanna's Staff Den leader had turned around and had joined our conversation. It was Mystery Man from the Jeep a few weeks ago. My knees knocked together and all the blood I never knew I had rushed to my face, "Uhh.....yeah. But don't think that I did it on purpose or anything, I just couldn't think of anyone else the kids would know. I was Molly Pitcher last week..."
"That's the one who took over her husband's canon position, right?"
My face became even more red, "Um, yeah." I scuffed the dirt with the toe of my sneaker. "The kids didn't know that." I glued my eyes to the ground below. I'd learned earlier that week that looking Mystery Jeep Man in the eyes wasn't a good idea; I blushed too much.
"Well that's cool," he turned back to his spot as the Camp Director took his spot next to the flagpole, looking slightly awkward. I was mortified. Of all the people at camp to be in a fictional, historical relationship with, it was the one person that I wanted to be in a non-fictional relationship with.


Later that week during the staff hunt, I was signing a card for a pack of campers with "M. Washington" when one of them piped up, "Oh! We almost forgot!" The campers looked around at each other, nodding in agreement and excitement. "Your husband said to say 'Hi' and that he wants dinner on the table by five." They giggled, obviously proud of themselves at passing along such a salacious and personal message. I blushed. "Oh? Well, tell him I said 'hi' back," I mumbled as I finished signing their card with a flourish and a smile that I couldn't contain. "Okay!" they all started to run back down the trail they'd come, one of them shouting, "I think I see Captain America! Get him!!!!" I sighed, trying to wipe the grin off my face before one of the other staffers saw right through me.

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