Bonjour, mes amis! Happy Bastille Day! While I know the French can be rather annoying, and they tend to judge us Modern Philosophers at they glare at us icily from beneath their stylish berets as they munch on their baguettes, I actually have a fond Bastille Day memory that I’d like to share with the group.
The summer I was 16, Evil Step Mom told me I needed to get a job. So, I found one as a counselor at a sleep away camp. Camp Madison Felicia was somewhere a couple of hours north of the city, and its claim to fame was that some PBS show about a summer camp was filmed there (I want to say the show was called “Camp High Feather”).
My friend Eric had also gotten a job there, so off we went to spend the summer away from home, and earned a paycheck for our troubles.
That was the summer I fell in love for the first time. Maureen was 20, went to Allegheny College, and was really cool. Don’t worry, Modern Philosophers, it was puppy love on my part and she never did anything more than hold my hand. But still, I was smitten.
When you work at a sleep away camp, you’re pretty much always at work. So, they would give us days off and encourage us to spend the day in town, or go down to NYC so we could put some distance between ourselves and our jobs.
My first day off happened to fall on July 14, and this dorky Modern Philosopher in training was a bit obsessed with telling everyone it was Bastille Day. Maureen thought it was amusing, so I’m sure that’s why I did it. She also had that day off, so we went down to the city and spent it at South Street Seaport.
This was all so long ago, so I don’t really remember the details of the day other than that I was in heaven. I was 16, free of parental control, and wandering around the Seaport with this beautiful older girl. On the train ride home, Maureen fell asleep with her head on my shoulder. Sigh. First love, even if it was just one sided, is pretty cool.
How many Americans do you think could tell you exactly where they were on Bastille Day when they were 16? I might be one of the very few. Because of that wonderful day in New York City, this French holiday will always have a special day in my heart.
So Happy Bastille Day! Even if you’re not French, perhaps you can celebrate the day by thinking back to your first love and allowing yourself a walk down Memory Lane. Maybe on this day, Memory Lane could run past the Eiffel Tower.