I am generally scheming one thing or another and my friends have always ( well, almost always ) been pretty good sports. (And yes, I nearly died laughing when a former co-worker and I placed a fart machine in the Sheriff Officer's office at the high school we worked at).
Every once in a while, I get the wool pulled over my eyes and fall face-first into a classic blunder that becomes legend; like the legend of a girl called Moonshine.
It was the summer of 1980. I was a boy-crazy, 7th grade girl that had been sent away to summer Bible camp in the parental hopes of redemption and salvation. I'm not sure my parents were aware that there would be BOYS at summer camp, too! Teenage raging hormones do NOT care that the word CHURCH precedes the word CAMP! There's bound to be camp crushes!
Days at camp were filled with noisy chow time, fun activities, serious Bible study sessions, gross KP ( kitchen patrol), riotous dips in the pool, and making new friends. One new friend of particular interest to me, was a boy named Joe. Joe would be my camp crush of 1980.....and 1981.
Camp crushes, fair romances, summer love.
It's something we've all experienced; good and bad. This crush started good and I'm happy to say that it didn't end bad...it just kind of fizzled out like a sparkler on the 4th of July.
But when that sparkler of a crush was at it's brightest, I was fully consumed with trying to be at my best at all times. My hair had to be perfect, the clothing selection for the day/activity had to be perfect, I was constantly pestering my friends to check to make sure I didn't have pepper in my teeth, boogers in my nose, something on the seat of my pants. I was becoming a pain in the ass to all around me and I was about to get what was coming to me; I was distracted just enough to become a victim in my own game!
About day three into our five-day camp, I had repeatedly made known to all eight girls in my cabin that I had first dibs on the shower the next morning. I wanted to have enough time to get ready before breakfast so I looked nice when I smiled at Joe over my metal tray of powdered eggs and mystery meat.
As I climbed into my sleeping bag I delivered one last reminder with regards to who had dibs on the shower. Giggles and bedtime stories were soon replaced with the soft steady breaths that indicated that I had fallen asleep.....and the girls went to work with the best prank played on me to date.
Mattresses from the top bunks were placed over the windows to cloak the moon shining through the pines and clocks were set to 7:30 am. All the girls took their places in front of the mirrors, fully dressed, getting ready for their day when I was shaken awake by my best friend, Debbie. She and a few others were frantically yelling at me that we had all overslept and if I were going to get that shower in, I"d better hurry up!
I flew out of my sleeping bag, rubbing my eyes. Girls were swarming around me, ushering me into the bathroom; the shower already running. Everything was in such a flurry, I had barely noticed the covered windows, recall a comment about a total eclipse of the sun and with all the lights on, it hadn't even registered that it was NOT morning.
I stopped half-way to the shower and said that I had to get my clothes. Debbie assured me that she'd get my clothes and pushed me through the bathroom door to my waiting shower.
When I stepped out of the shower and wrapped myself in a very scratchy, very small towel, I was shocked at what Debbie has selected for me to wear! On top of the toilet was a lime green polyester skirt (how I even came to own a lime green polyester skirt is beyond me), a purple velor sweater, and blue lace up wedgie high heel tennis shoes, no bra or panties!. It was a fashion disaster of epic proportions ( but....as I write this, I realize that Lady GaGa may have gotten her start in much the same way....
I burst forth from that steamy bathroom on a mission for suitable clothing; ranting and raving about how I was going to be late and "somebody" needed their eyes checked because "who, in their right mind, would wear green and purple together!" All the girls chimed in at once about how I'd look fine, just get dressed, hurry up, the blow dryer and curling iron were waiting for me.
Ignoring them, I managed to get to my bunk and started rifling through my duffle bag looking for something decent to wear. I looked at the little shelf between my bunkbed and that of my friend Kim and had to do a double-take when I saw the time on her watch; 12:30am !!!
12:30 AM !!! I turned to look at all the girls who'd started to giggle; realizing they had forgotten to set Kim's watch forward. I once again focused the mattresses covering the window and saw a corner where the moon was shining through in the darkness. I see how everyone is in on this joke but me!!! I"m usually the jokester, but now I found myself as the jokee! As I continued to try to get my bearing and just sort this all out,the giggling is getting louder and I'm feeling a little cornered and there was nowhere to go to escape this joke!
So, I made a bee-line for the cabin door! I made my dramatic exit, slamming the door behind me, and left the cabin walking into the moonlit night, leaving the sounds of laughter behind me.
I was probably 100 feet from the cabin, shivering in the cold, wearing nothing but my towel. I had planned on staying out there, alone and pouting, until the girls would come to me with their apologies, telling me how it was just a joke, begging me to come back into the cabin before I caught my death of cold.
But a minute went by.....then two...and nobody came out to get me. I was wet. I was cold. I was upset. And I was shivering. The shivering got worse and while attempting to wrap my towel around me tighter, I lost my grip! Oops....no towel !!! It went straight to the ground!!!
I bent over to pick up the towel and was startled by a noise behind me. I grabbed my towel and ran behind a trash can wondering what was out at this time at night! Was it a bear? or worse, a camp counselor?
No, it was far worse than a bear or a counselor. It was the boys, under the midnight scouting leadership of their counselor, out on a midnight raid of the girls cabins!!! They had intended to wipe Vaseline all over the door handles of the girls' cabins. But now they found themselves witness to my wardrobe malfunction.....
Did I mention that there was a full moon that night??? Let me clarify...there were TWO full moons that night!!!
My anger and self-pity was quickly replaced with all-out humiliation as I wrapped my towel around me and high-tailed it back to the cabin. How nice it was to discover that I had been locked out!!! Thanks, girls!!!
The next morning, I was greeted by all the boys at breakfast with stares, whispers, finger-pointing, and comments about how full the moon was last night.
"Did you see the moon last night?"
"Did I ever!"
"That sure was a full moon!"
And, so on and so on, the chatter went on throughout breakfast. I had no other choice at this point than to go along with them...if they're going to laugh, I might as well laugh with them, right? Right!
At the next relay race event (where Debbie was actually willing to suck the big, fat, hairy, gnarly big toe of one of the camp counselors in order to earn 500 points for her team....sorry, Debbie, it has to be told) I was given my camp name that would live on with me for years to come: Moonshine
Now, you're probably thinking, "Yeah, right....a nickname like that is NOT going to stick with you for years. Well, as a matter of fact, just last month I had someone that I hadn't heard from in over 30 years message me on face book wanting to know if I was the Moonshine from camp!! Kid you not!!!
And so, after more than 30 years, the legend lives on...the legend of a girl called Moonshine.
I did a story a while back about nicknames http://mylifeasagrape.blogspot.com/2011/02/whats-in-name.html. Now you know how I got my name Moonshine.
What's your favorite, or not so favorite, nickname?