In the summer of 1979, my parents sent me away to Camp Shane. Camp Shane was (and still is) in the Catskills in upstate New York. Camp Shane is a fat farm. I was 14 and had just finished 9th grade.
We were a summer camp family, but this was to be my first experience at "sleep away" camp. I was nervous, but excited. Mostly, I was fat. I needed what Camp Shane had.
The night before departure, dad and I headed to Memorial Stadium to watch a scheduled double header between the Orioles and the three year old Toronto Blue Jays. Baseball was a passion and the Orioles were in their hey day, cooperating with lots of wins that summer en route to the World Series, where they would ultimately lose to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 7 games. It was a great send off, where I would enjoy just about all the hot dogs and soda I could handle prior to my trip north.
On Saturday, we headed to the airport in DC and I was on my way.
For the first time, I was part of a group that did not ostracize me. Everybody was big, if not fat. We started each day with calisthenics, then breakfast, lots of activities during the day. Lots of trips around the sprawling, hilly campus. The food was not memorable. I'm sure that was by design.
On my initial weigh in, I tipped the scale at 303. We weighed in just once a week. After the first week, I was something under 300. I remember saying to one of the counselors that I'd never go back to the 3's.
We spent lots of time building self esteem. It was hard not to. We were all losing. We all had new, relatively non-judgemental friends. It was paradise. They did try to teach us how to handle life after camp, back in the real world.
At the end of camp, my official final weigh-in was 254, a loss of 49 pounds.
I don't remember how long it took for me to regain my lost girth, but I have full confidence that I did not continue to lose. I've probably spent more days since then over the 3's than in the 3's.
When did I last weigh less than I did in August of 1979? I don't know, maybe a couple of years before that. Maybe even longer.
Well, actually, not. Today I weigh less than that. I've been writing this entry in my head for about two months as I've been single digits away from that final weigh in. How many 42 year olds (or probably anyone over 15, for that matter) can say they weigh less than they did when they were 12 or 13? Y'all know one!