BennyEast.Com/Blog The official blog of Kenny West


The Search

Yesterday I went on a search to find out the last name of my first kiss, or as the British counselors at camp put it, her surname.  Surname sounds much more formal.  Anyways, either way... Her second name... Which could very well be her third name by now.  Or, possibly her second middle name.  Second surname?

I have no idea how that works when people get married, which she probably is.  Names get shuffled about. So even having her last name may not have been helpful because it could be different by now.

Anyway, I made an attempt after leaving camp to go find her full name.  See, in the summer of 1996, or I'll admit, it could have been 1997.  Although, from my calculations I'm fairly certain it was 1996.  It could NOT have been 1998, as I was already attending another camp by that time.  As well it also could not have been before 1996 as in, 1995, because that would have made me 12 in the summer of 1995, as I was born in the Fall of 1982.

I know I was not 12 because I know that my brother had already had his first kiss by the time he was 12 and I felt the need to hurry up and have my own first kiss.

It came eventually.

Her name was Amanda.  She wrote me a menagerie of love letters that same summer.  The letters all contained a plethora of stickers.  Sooooo many stickers.  All over the place, on the envelope, on the letter, inside the envelope.  I really wish I had saved the letters.  Her handwriting was exquisite.  But she was really big on using stickers.

Well, so, yesterday I left my camp to head over to Camp Mataponi.  When I arrived there was a tornado warning.  I'm fairly certain that the multitude of tornado warnings blaring from my phone were probably a sign that I should not have attempted to locate my first kiss.  But, since the camp office had no information to assist in my search, I feel like it doesn't actually matter that I did not turn back when the first tornado warning showed on my phone.

I mean, what are the odds there would be a half dozen tornado warnings show at the exact moment I'm in the car and on my way to try and locate my first kiss.

Coincidence?  Maybe.  But it didn't feel like it.

I arrived at the camp office and awkwardly explained the meaning of my visit.  They directed me to a small library of old camp photograph books.  The problem was that no names were associated with any of the photos, only quotes, and camp sayings.  Additionally the exact year I was looking for, 1996, was missing.

1997 and onward were there, along with 1995, and a few other previous years.  The further you went back, the less consecutive it got.

I paged through the 1997 and 1995 books, nothing that helped.  I asked if they had a camper list, or an all camp photo.  Or some sort of alumni list.

The office staff tried to help, but nothing seemed to have any kind of information that would have contained her surname.  They were very interested to know the detailed explanation of the night the kiss occurred.  I explained that it was at one of the dances that we called "Socials".  After the very last song, "Stairway To Heaven", everyone was leaving... For some reason I decided, after I'd already gotten into the van that would drive us back over to my camp, that I wanted to go back and say goodbye again.  I ran back over to her and it just happened.  It was totally awkward.  But, cool at the same time.

I saunter back over to the van holding my head high and smiling to all of my bunkmates.

That's pretty much how it went.  Of course... Then the letters started, which contained her full name and home address as well.  I saw her on a couple other occasions at other socials held during that summer.

1996 seemed to be a bit of a mystery year.  I'm fairly certain that it was 1996.  I'm almost positive.  There's no way it was 1997, because that would have made me 14 almost 15... I'm pretty sure I WAS 13 going on 14.

My only hope is to find the lost letters.  It's funny because I don't recall throwing them out, and I usually keep things.  If I do throw things out, I scan them first.  I'm big on scanning things and then keeping the PDFs in triplicate on digital storage devices.

Though I was not successful I thanked them and went on my way.  I suppose if I was not supposed to search for my first kiss, I'll find out why eventually.  Supposing those tornados were a sign of some sort.  Oh, and in addition to the tornado warnings... There was a fog/mist coming out of my vents as I was driving there.  The fog didn't smell or anything.  It doesn't smell like anything was burning, I'd never seen that before though.  It was just a white fog coming from my vents.

At any rate, I then went a mile down the road to visit my old camp... It's still owned by the same owners and coincidentally the very same counselor DJing that very night I had my first kiss... Still works as one of the head staff at the camp.

As of right now I'm writing this from a Panera Bread somewhere in Connecticut.  I just downloaded two albums from The 1975 containing the songs "The Sound" and "Chocolate" to listen to on the rest of the ride now.  Those two songs were played a lot this year at camp, so each time I hear them will now memories of great times spent with best friends.  Just like the song "Stairway to Heaven" will always remind me of my first kiss.

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