{link to the video at the bottom}

July 1969.

I was 11 years old. I had gone to church camp in Sharon, Connecticut, somewhat begrudgingly.

My family was living in West Haven Connecticut, my dad was a Protestant minister. He asked me to go to church camp, somewhat as a favor to him, as the enrollment was low and they needed young people to attend. It was my first time away from home, I really didn’t want to go, but was talked into it.

While at camp, we listened to the moon landing. It was exciting, laying in my bunk, surrounded by eight same-aged strangers and a camp counselor not far out of high school. At camp I reveled in nature, was assigned to the “work camp” detail tidying up the camp. I fell in love with nature that week, and after that I always found a quiet place under a tree to read.

That week shaped a lot who I am today. I was extremely shy, even though what my dad did for a living made me into someone who was very aware how to act in public. After that week of me being shoved into situations with strangers, especially those of the opposite sex, I shed my shy persona and became more outgoing. The day came for my family to fetch me, my mom made a picnic lunch and we stopped in a tiny roadside rest area and ate. I was a little saddened, I felt I was leaving the new Frank and going back to the old Frank.

In a weird coincidence, two years later my dad changed churches and we moved to a place not far from Sharon. I got to reconnect with the “Nature Frank” I left behind, being our new home was more rural.

Years later, I was on a short car ride and I drove by the roadside rest area. It was still there!

I filmed this video almost 49 years to the day of that family picnic. Our little family has changed. My dad died in 1976, my mom passed in 1998 and my brother lives a distance from me. The picnic table has obviously changed, but the ground I stood on as an 11-year-old, certainly is the same ground that I am standing on filming as a 60-year-old.

It’s so easy to look at life in the rear-view mirror. “Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda” is the rallying cry for a lot of people. I would change a few things about my life, but the mistakes we make in life are what gives us character. I do wish, as that 11 year-old me got up from the picnic table, wandered over to the tree line and looked longingly at the sky, I could have left little me a notebook at the base of a tree. Not so much as avoiding the mistakes I have made, but a blueprint on how to pull out of the mistakes without compounding the errors.

So, this video is more introspective, a therapeutic video on my part. I often visit that place on Route #4 in Sharon. Every time that I visit, I remember every sight and sound from July 1969. While I can’t change the space in between, I can always work on being a better person, making less mistakes, and helping people overcome their own mistakes.

I do miss that day though.

Thank you for watching.

 

Video #100.

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