Hey, Camp Fans!
Lots of people go to camp. Others send their kids to camp. And SOME people do both. And celebrated American author of the beloved novel ‘The Great Gatsby’, F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of those individuals. It’s no longer in operation now, but Fitzgerald enjoyed a month-long stay at a Camp Chatham, located in Orillia, Ontario in 1907.
Fitzgerald must have well understood what a momentous time camp is for children. When he sent his 11-year-old daughter, Frances Fitzgerald to summer camp in 1933, he wrote to her a rather ‘grown up’ letter with some strong advice for her. Here are his words to her:
I feel very strongly about you doing duty. Would you give me a little more documentation about your reading in French? I am glad you are happy– but I never believe much in happiness. I never believe in misery either. Those are things you see on the stage or the screen or the printed page, they never really happen to you in life.
All I believe in in life is the rewards for virtue (according to your talents) and the punishments for not fulfilling your duties, which are doubly costly. If there is such a volume in the camp library, will you ask Mrs. Tyson to let you look up a sonnet of Shakespeare’s in which the line occurs Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds…
I think of you, and always pleasantly, but I am going to take the White Cat out and beat his bottom hard, six times for every time you are impertinent. Do you react to that?…
Half-wit, I will conclude.
Things to worry about:
• Worry about courage
• Worry about cleanliness
• Worry about efficiency
• Worry about horsemanship…
Things not to worry about:
• Don’t worry about popular opinion
• Don’t worry about dolls
• Don’t worry about the past
• Don’t worry about the future
• Don’t worry about growing up
• Don’t worry about anybody getting ahead of you
• Don’t worry about triumph
• Don’t worry about failure unless it comes through your own fault
• Don’t worry about mosquitoes
• Don’t worry about flies
• Don’t worry about insects in general
• Don’t worry about parents
• Don’t worry about boys
• Don’t worry about disappointments
• Don’t worry about pleasures
• Don’t worry about satisfactions
Things to think about:
• What am I really aiming at?
• How good am I really in comparison to my contemporaries in regard to:
(b) Do I really understand about people and am I able to get along with them?
(c) Am I trying to make my body a useful instrument or am I neglecting it?
With dearest love,
Giving a wonderful sense of his terse, yet compassionate fathering, this letter illustrates the honest relationship between the two. No wonder, Frances Fitzgerald followed in her father’s footsteps and saw great success as a writer as well.
We carry great products that encourage convenience for parents to stay in touch with their campers while they’re away. Check it out right here and, as always, thanks for reading, Camp Fans!