#In Remembrance of Little Johnny (based on true events)_S**

1996 California

Science camp, ah, how distinctly I remember it.

I was, of course, in the sixth grade at
the time, and had only kissed a girl for the
first time a month prior; and every time we saw each other after that, we shared a knowing
smile: we had kissed!

Back to camp.

To attend Science Camp, one had to come up with about a hundred dollars-
which most kid’s parents could afford with ease; not mine. Yeah, we were poor.
I had to sell a hundred or so candy bars. It was terrible, as I had
to go door to door and get rejected at least ten
times for every one candy bar I sold. On top of this, I was a rather shy boy.

The children that did not have the money or could not sell enough candy bars, or
even had religious views that did not permit them from
being away from home at such an age for such a long period of time got to
stay home for a week.

“Those poor kids.” I thought at the time.
Poor, yeah, more like a week’s vacation, thinks my adult self now.

Science camp was okay, for the most part.

There was one event inparticular that was both great and tragic…this was it:
Towards the end of the week, one of the last activities we did
was hike rather deep into the woods (quite far for my young feet) and build shelters out of whatever was around in the forest.

My best friend Andy and I decided to build our own, even though we were alowed to
pair up into groups of seven. While most kids barely gave a spit
about what they were doing and mostly just hung around, Andy and I took the work of shelter building very seriously
and before long had a shelter going that many marveled at-including the Naturalists who were in charge of the activity.

Before long, our friends Rickey and Wesley came over and asked if they could help. Fine by us.
Next came Nicole and Tami.

Okay.

Finally Alexandra, the first girl I ever kissed, came over to help,
which was super-fine by me!

By the end of the activity, everyone had finished their shelter, including my six
friends and I. No one stood at their own shelters, however, all were at ours.
“This is SO cool!” many said. “Wow, neat fort!” exclaimed others.
Needless to say, we were awarded First Place for our shelter.

“Okay, everyone, time to go.” said Redwood Russ, the head Naturalist.
“What will happen to our Shelter?” I asked Miss Shirling, our teacher. “I don’t know.” she
replied. So I asked Redwood Russ, who told me that the Counselors would tare
it down so that another group of kids could build one later.

“Noooooo!” we seven shouted in pain.

As we walked away saddened, we blew the whole situation out of
proportion. “His [the shelter’s] name was Litle Johnny.” said one; he may not
of had a pulse, but he had a heart.” said another.
It became a running joke when we got back to school, about the glorious shelter called Little Johnny and the ‘evil’ camp counselors that tore it down piece by piece.

Amused by the running joke, Miss Shirling asked Andy and I if we could write
a piece about what happened for the school newspaper. We readily agreed and were
published a month later.

{In Memory of Little Johnny; RIP 1996}

 

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