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Charles A. Rubin, "First Kiss Revisted"

I had misplaced the memory of the first girl that I kissed until about 2 weeks ago.

From 1966 through 1970 I attended a summer camp about fifty miles north of New York City. I have nothing but fond memories from my summer years there. The camp closed in 1971 and gradually I lost touch with the almost everyone that had peopled those years. Oddly, the woman I married was an alumnus of this camp but we never knew each other at camp and it is not her that this story is about.

This story is about Celia who I met in 1969. Originally, I was drawn toward her sister who was my age and two years older than Celia. There was an unwritten rule in the camp, though, that boys could only be involved with girls a year younger and therefore Margi was off limits. Celia on the other hand was OK. Celia wasn’t like the other girls; she had a head of curly brown hair in an age where you had to have long straight hair, she also wasn’t going to wait for a boy or anyone to talk to her. She made her own friends and made her own choices. I liked being around her because she was funny and opinionated. We were friends and indeed she may have been the first girl that I was ever friendly with.

When we returned home at the end of the summer I began to correspond to Celia (by mail!) since she lived in The Bronx and I in Brooklyn. My father had a thing about the phone bill and would confront me when there were charges for calls. When we returned to camp in 1970 I came with the assumption that we would be boyfriend and girlfriend. Celia had different ideas. We tried and managed a clumsy kiss in her bunk on one of the first nights of camp but we both found other love interests that summer and, in the end, it was the last summer at the camp for both of us.

Recently I discovered a dedicated group of people who had established e-mail list to share photos and reminiscences about the camp. Perusing the photos that had been posted I found one of myself, that Celia had posted. With trembling fingers I sent her an e-mail asking if she remembered me. Within minutes came a reply saying that of course she remembered me, that she had lots more pictures, and a bunch of letters that I had written her. I didn’t know whether to be flattered or mortified.

Three days later we met for lunch in midtown Manhattan after not having seen each other or spoke in 36 years. Celia brought the letters and photographs and other camp memorabilia. It was a wonderful reunion that I didn’t want to end.

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