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SUMMER CAMP WITH BROTHER MARK…

Stephen & I watched Fellini’s 1965 film Juliet of the Spirits one recent evening & I’m saturated again remembering my history of appreciation for its seminal effects. It has remained a mental soundtrack long after I wore out the vinyl album which I played much of my college life to… becoming subliminal as I lived my own version of its archetype for these 30-plus years. I’m pleased it holds up & seemed even to capture he who was seeing it for the first time after hearing my numerous mentions of it over our years. I recommend it…

At the same time I have been editing the hundreds of photos I made last week while being a counselor at Camp Parkview. This is the camp, here on the Island, for developmentally disabled adults. Stephen & his brother Mark had been attending for some years before I came along & we three have done it together for many Augusts since.

Mark & I celebrate back-to-back birthdays during the last of July… early in the sign of Leo & we love to roar our leonine pride together. It was especially good to have him around to celebrate this year since I was mostly keeping mine quiet…

Because last year I was not sturdy enough for the rigors of camp, Stephen took his own turn this year to stay home for his own work while I went with brother Mark to this week of time special to him & some 60 other unique folk who attend… plus more than half that number of volunteers & staff.

Collectively we all are such characters it is not unlike living in a Fellini film for 5 days, if you track with my drifting mix.

Mark is gregarious… a party boy even… he loves music, especially vintage rock & roll so he loves to dress up & is ready to dance anytime, even outfitted with a life vest for canoing! He more rarely can be also a bit dreamy, as seen costumed for the drama/storytelling workshop which is led by our friend Myrna, who brings all sorts of props & masks for creating a morning of theatrical play…

While there is a scheduled evening social dance complete with a live band, we find many other times to dance. A boom box at the boat house brings music to of our boating time after dinner each evening… while some folk are out on the canoes, others are rocking out… making a lively beach party! Of course Mark loves both activities…

We play all sorts of ways, freeing our variously real interior clowns… even as we enjoy the natural beauty of dusk…

Here Mark is singing & doing the hula during a session led by our ukelele playing friend John, who was a founder of this camp several decades ago…

Another favorite session for most of the campers is when yet another Islander brings his huge collection of drums & percussion instruments, encouraging our making glorious noise!

The daily arts ‘n’ crafts session is another favorite time for most of the campers, with a variety of media from painting & bead stinging to tie-dying. There is always music happening while we play at projects… with occasional spontaneous dance breaks here as well.


Activities range a wide diversity… basketball to fragrant wax-dipped hands during “spa day”.

There is a carnival one morning,

In addition to the dance band evening there is always a movie night with popcorn. But the most anticipated evening event is when Elvis arrives. This gentle impersonator has become a fixture… for reasons that become more & more obvious as performer & audience warm to each other. He is mobbed by his fans & does not remain on stage for long. He soon dives into the mosh pit of their joyful adulation & engages as many campers as possible, dancing & singing directly with clusters of them in physical as well as musical hugs. He is good! I’m not certain who is having the most fun… he obviously loves them as much as they do him!

Mark had a camera as well this year… I wonder what his views might show…