Where Camp Midgard Came From

Note from Cidney: I really did work at a summer camp for three summers. And I did the things in the interview. I just didn’t have the heart to tell Gwyn that I had also invented Camp Midgard basing it on my experiences at summer camps. Too confusing.

Gwyn Interviews Cidney

Gwyn: Okay. So first of all, I didn’t even know there was a Norse-themed fat camp just a few miles away from Las Abs.

Cidney: Um … I don’t think they call it a “fat camp”?

Gwyn: Oh. Right. My bad. But a Norse-themed camp? Here? In my backyard? Like, how did that even happen?

Cidney: Well, I guess it probably started as a little seedling in someone’s imagination. You know. Like most things.

Gwyn: Like someone’s dream, you mean? Like Ma and the bakery?

Cidney: Yes, I would guess that Camp Midgard and your mom’s bakery had a similar genesis.

Gwyn: Why are you smirking?

Cidney: Me? Oh. It was a smile. I was smiling.

Gwyn: (side-eyes Cidney) Okay. So. Anyway—and you were totally smirking—we’re here today because you were going to tell me all about the summer camp you worked at and the shenanigans you got up to there.

Cidney: Yes. I was. Actually it was similar to Camp Midgard in several ways.

Gwyn: Really? Like how?

Cidney: Well, the camp I worked at had a Robin Hood theme.

Gwyn: How is that the same?

Cidney: It’s just similar. In how they were both themed. We lived with our campers in Sherwood Forest, and there would be these people who acted the roles of Maid Marian and Robin Hood and the rest of them, and they would just show up at campfire and tell us about their adventures. They might ask if we’d seen the Sheriff of Nottingham. And which way he went, so they could go the other direction.

Gwyn: Oh, that’s so cute. So there’s all these little eight-year-olds thinking, “Did I really just help out Robin Hood?”

Cidney: Pretty much. The eleven-year-olds were a harder sell, for sure!

Gwyn: Did you wear costumes?

Cidney: We did, actually. We had these green tunic-things that we would wear over our regular clothes, with colorful belts that indicated which part of the “forest” we were from. So, in the same way that Camp Midgard has, like, Jotunheim and Muspelheim and so on, we had little hamlets with their own names. That way we could have little competitions among the hamlets, too. Like, who was the best at archery, and things like that.

Gwyn: You gave bows and arrows. To children. And just let them … shoot?

Cidney: It was very regulated. And they had to only shoot at targets set up in this one area.

Gwyn: I’m not hearing a lot of shenanigans yet.

Cidney: Oh that.

Gwyn: Yes, that.

Cidney: (flushing) Well, I for sure did things I didn’t exactly have permission for. This guy I was seeing at the time had the keys to the archery cabinet, for instance. And when all the campers had taken off for the week, he said we could go shoot as much as we wanted. I’m pretty sure we weren’t supposed to do that.

Gwyn: That is not very sneaky. You probably put everything away where it belonged even.

Cidney: We did.

Gwyn: Come on. Dish me the good stuff. Shaving cream on faces. Beds made funny. Bowls of hot water—

Cidney: I didn’t really do a lot of bad stuff. But there was the time when I kissed two guys on the same day.

Gwyn: You harlot!

Cidney: It wasn’t one of my finer moments.

Gwyn: Elaborate.

Cidney: So, the first one, I wasn’t expecting. He was really sweet and I thought he just liked me as a friend, so when he went in for a goodbye kiss, I was completely shocked.

Gwyn: But you kissed him back?

Cidney: Just a little.

Gwyn: And the other guy?

Cidney: He was the one I’d sort of been pining after all summer.

Gwyn: Amongst the pines. As one does.

Cidney: (laughs) There was a ton of pining going on at that camp.

Gwyn: So the second guy. Who started that kiss?

Cidney: Oh. Gosh. I don’t know. Me, maybe?

Gwyn: There we have it folks, two-timing Cidney, gallivanting through the forests of Sherwood, kissing and not telling. I’m assuming you didn’t tell?

Cidney: I wrote a letter to the first guy, actually. Apologizing and saying I wanted to be friends. He wrote me back and said that was okay.

Gwyn: D’awwwww!

Cidney: I know. It was before email.

Gwyn: Omg, like, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth?

Cidney: I’m very old.

Gwyn: Please. Sir Walter is old. Chrétien is old. You are not old.

Cidney: I’m old enough to have been a letter-writer who used stamps and everything.

Gwyn: Okay. So any other shenanigans you’d care to discuss?

Cidney: One night a bunch of us girl counselors arranged to meet some boy counselors at 1:00 in the morning out in the meadow. I have no idea what we were going to do when we got there—

Gwyn: It didn’t happen?

Cidney: Oh, no, it happened. One of us had an alarm watch and woke up all the other girls, and we all went to the meadow and met the guys, except they were all being detained by a very cross camp assistant who must have gotten wind of our plans.

Gwyn: You got caught?

Cidney: The assistant was basically waiting in the meadow all night for us. So, yes. I totally got caught.

Gwyn: Were you punished or sent to the stocks or whatever?

Cidney: We were scolded very severely and asked what we were thinking, leaving our campers in the middle of the night like that.

Gwyn: What were you thinking? What if some eight-year-old woke up and needed an adult?

Cidney: Well, the only ones of us who participated all had a co-counselor in our cabins, so there were no kids left alone.

Gwyn: I should hope not. That was very irresponsible of you.

Cidney: It was.

Gwyn: But that’s the worst of it?

Cidney: We also had a curfew, and I broke it on the regular because I was so infatuated with a guy.

Gwyn: We will do really stupid things when we think we’re in love. Were you in love?

Cidney: No, I don’t think so. I was infatuated. We never would have lasted as a couple.

Gwyn: Unlike Chrétien et moi.

Cidney: We were as unlike you and Chrétien as possible!

Gwyn: So did you do any good deeds, you know, to like balance your misdemeanors?

Cidney: I fell in the lake once trying to stop a bunch of canoes from getting away.

Gwyn: Getting away from what exactly?

Cidney: A bunch of canoes and paddleboats had been left untied by the dock by someone—

Gwyn: A naughty counselor prolly.

Cidney: Actually, that might be right. Anyway, I was walking up to get the camp mail I think, and I saw these boats just drifting, so I ran out to the dock and got in one of them and tried to grab the others. I had rescued two or three of them and tied them up, and then as I was going after the next one, I did that thing where you have one foot in one boat—

Gwyn: Please tell me you didn’t do the splits!

Cidney: Yeah. I had a foot in each of two different boats and I totally fell in the lake. Which was very cold and pretty slimy, if I’m honest.

Gwyn: Two of my not-favoritest things. Cold and slime.

Cidney: But I did rescue a lot of canoes.

Gwyn: So did you ever think of starting your own camp?

Cidney: Well, not exactly. Although if I had, it would probably have been themed more like Camp Midgard.

Gwyn: Sorry, that one is taken.

Cidney: (laughs) Yes. Yes, it has already been invented.

Gwyn: You’re smirking again.

Cidney: Just smiling.

Gwyn: Whatever. So, that guy you were crushing on? What happened to him?

Cidney: Oh, you know, he broke my eighteen-year-old heart.

Gwyn: Oh, eighteen is so hard!

Cidney: Aren’t you, like, nineteen?

Gwyn: We’re not talking about me.

Cidney: Right.

Gwyn: So, broken heart, but the story has a happy ending, right? You met Dr. Science at a summer camp, right?

Cidney: Sort of. I had been offered a job at a summer camp, but then I heard he was working at a different camp, and I wanted to get to know him better. So I applied to work at the camp he was going to work at, and they also offered me a job. Which I took. That time, I did fall in love. And we got engaged late that summer.

Gwyn: Oh, so sweet! I like him already.

Cidney: Me, too. He’s a good guy. In fact, he is the one who encouraged me to pursue my love of writing. Oh–speaking of Dr. Science, he just texted that he’s ready to head out to Yosemite, so I better get a move on.

Gwyn: Come here. Gimme a hug. I need to hug your inner eighteen-year-old broken-hearted self.

Cidney: (hugs Gwyn)

Gwyn: Okay. Well, you two go have fun and be good. No shooting arrows or leaving canoes out in the lake or kissing two boys on the same day.

Cidney: Once was more than enough!