Lying in bed last night, saying goodnight to my mama via cell phone, I mention that I have plans to meet Cindy for a bagel and lox brunch the next day. This casual comment triggers a memory from her past and she starts telling me about her memories of Saturday morning breakfasts at summer camp.
The summers that she was 11 and 12 years old, my mom went to Camp Wonderland. It was a sleepaway camp just outside of New Hope, PA, only a half hour’s drive from the Philadelphia suburb where she was growing up. Aunt Alice ran the camp, and had one hard and fast tradition. Every Saturday morning the campers had to sit through a 15 or 20 minute Shabbos service (it was a mostly Jewish camp) before they got their weekly breakfast of lox and bagels. In my mom’s memory, the bagels were excellent (toothsome exterior and yielding interior) and the lox was salty perfection. There were also the requisite platters of sliced tomato and onion, bowls of olives and mounds of crisp lettuce leaves. For the kids who didn’t like the lox, they could always cover their bagels with cream cheese and leave it at that.
One year, they held a contest among the campers, trying to come up with a new name for the camp (many were concerned that the name “Wonderland” kept the boys away). Without consultation, several kids submitted the name “Camp No Hope,” inspired by the proximity to New Hope. Soon after, it was renamed “Camp Olympia.”
Sitting outside of DiBruno’s this morning, munching my bagel, I thought of Saturday mornings at Camp Wonderland and felt delight that something so simple as a breakfast/brunch item could tie my 27 year old self to my mom at age 11.