memory stacked in layers

I walk into the chapel. It is one big room with a ceiling that soars above me. My family spreads out into the room.

It is the summer of 2011, and we are on family vacation. We haven’t been together at Camp Lambec since 2008.

My parents got married in this chapel. I look over at them, wondering what they are thinking.

I’ve seen pictures: Mom talking to guests in her wedding dress, a photo of my mother’s family beside the pond.

Outside the chapel is a tree planted in memory of my grandfather. On the far side of the camp is another tree dedicated to my other grandfather.

I grew up coming to camp, and my memory of the place is stacked in layers — child, teen, college student. My parents met at Camp Lambec. All four of my grandparents worked as counselors at camp.

Grandma Bundy told me how she caught the girls in her cabin sneaking out at night to talk to the barn boys (summer staff). She told the girls they could talk to them front of the cabin or not at all.

My parents and grandparents played softball in the valley at camp. And when it rained, they ran and slid in the trapped water.

All of my grandparents except for Grandma Bundy have died. But my grandparent’s presence is heavy at camp. They are here.

As we walk around camp, we see the recreation hall is gone. The camp tore down the rec hall because it was going to fall off the cliff and onto the beach. I’ve seen pictures of people at camp standing on ground that was long ago swept out into the hungry lake.

Lake Erie continues to eat away at the beach and shoreline. My parents remember when the beach was bigger. I don’t. My memory doesn’t reach that far.

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