I went home again last week.
Well, I went to the cancer camp I’d attended for 19 summers between 1990 and 2008.
The people who are the volunteers at this camp, myself now included, have been my family of choice forever. They attended my high school plays, graduation, wedding, and even Mama’s funeral.
A lot of people still call me by my maiden name (or worse, the nickname I earned as a teenager). I get reminded of the stunts I pulled or sometimes we chat about folks who aren’t at camp anymore.
But, my first day back at camp I was struck by just how much I have changed since I was last at camp. I’m no longer a newly-wed, I’m the parent of two little girls, and I spend a lot of time creating imaginary people.
I was asked quite a few times if I was still acting.
And each time I was asked, I smiled. Because these people, my chosen family, remembered that at one point time I was an actor. It was fun to explain that while I didn’t act any longer I was doing other creative things. I’m writing. I’m working on getting a novel published. I’m still inhabiting characters, just in a different format.
Each time I was asked if I was still acting it gave me a little thrill because people remembered that I was not only a performer, but I was (am?) talented. That theater is something I am passionate about. My camp family remembered me before I was a full-time mom and writer. They remembered when I would show up at any (and every) cattle-call audition and watch casting associates try to figure out what to do with the one-legged girl.
I have changed and grown in the seven years I was away from camp. And I love that people remember who I was and that they love who I am.
Here’s to going home again.