The girl scout camp was laid out like a wheel with the main lodge and kitchen/mess hall the hub, with four “units” and the swimming pool radiating down wooded paths from that hub. I knew every tree, every bush, every hill and hiding place along all those paths. I knew which trees to climb and which were wide enough to hide me. I knew the best routes to take to sneak up unseen on the units where the girls had most of their activites and where their tents were pitched.
Ah, the tents. They were actually army surplus six man tents that were erected upon wooden platforms. The platforms were in some cases raised on concrete blocks to level them on the uneven terrain. Raised platforms make for snug and secret crawl spaces ideally suited to a sneaking boy bent on learning the strange habits of female wildlife. Once the spiders and other bugs that staked out their territory under the platforms were evicted and the other little critters were scared off by my invasion of their territory, the space under those tents became my lair, my base of operations, and my classroom where I learned more than I needed to know at that age and definitely more than I bargained for.
Those platforms that supported the girls’ living quarters were not of the finest workmanship. The gaps between floorboards were not quite wide enough to see through clearly, even if you were stationed strategically under the openings. Of course, what little view there was between boards was bifurcated by the width of the boards, so there was a bit of shifting back and forth underneath required to obtain the best view of the movements on top of the platforms. I became quite adept at shifting silently while doing my spying.
I also, of course, knew the best times to position myself in my hidey hole, so that my sneakiness and spying were justly rewarded with the most educational, shall we say, observations. Bedtime was, for obvious reasons, a most advantageous time for advancing my knowledge of the female mystery. Not only was I privey to their conversations--often about boys, which at the time I couldn’t quite figure out--but I gradually learned which girls had flowers or bunnies on their underpants and which wore just plain white or pink and sometimes other odd colors. I was occasionally rewarded for my patience with a glimplse of a bare buttock or even a faint fleeting glimpse of a budding nipple when those strange harness like contraptions they wore were removed. The absence of the protruding genitalia that I was familiar with was a total mystery to me. I wondered what strange growth spurt would be necessary for those poor girls to catch up to my development.
You may be thinking that I was a rotten little seven year old kid for exercising such voyeuristic tendencies. But what I was doing seemed to me only a game of hide and seek, with me doing the hiding and no one but my imagination doing the seeking. Unlike some kids at that age, I did not share my world with any imaginary friends, who could be used to take the blame or offer excuses for my activities. I was really just playing. The fact that those girls were around to provide someone for me to spy on was a bonus. I would have played the same game if they weren’t there, using my imagination to provide the necessary foils for my spying. It just wouldn’t have been as much fun. Or as educational.
So I really wasn’t as rotten as it would appear. I really was a good kid. And I mean good. I was the good little Catholic altar boy. I was the proverbial choir boy goody-goody. Only I was literally a choir boy. I sang in the parish boys’ choir. I went to mass everyday. I identified with the parish priest, who was one of my heroes. (Don’t go getting any ideas about molestation or any other kind of unsavory activity. Nothing like that ever happened to me or anyone I knew). I never got into trouble. I hung around with other choir boys just like me. I was my mother’s favorite, although I never consciously took advantage of that . I was an A student who always did his homework. I even played Jesus Christ in one of the grade school Easter pageants. And I was cute. The girls in my class always were hanging around making those stupid girl faces at me. I was such a perfect little boy that I’m sure there were any number of my contemporaries who would gladly have punched my lights out. Of course, being so saintly, I would simply have turned the other cheek, and then prayed for them. What an insufferable little twit I was. But I was a good twit.
So my lurking and spying, when taken in the context of such a perfect little boy, is probably all the more disgraceful because I certainly should have known better. But, hey, it was only a venial sin not a mortal sin, and I didn’t really expect to burn in hell for all eternity for it, despite the remonstrations of those holier-than-thow nuns. (They, the nuns, knew what nasty little perverts lurked under the innocent veneer of us choir boys. They caught on when they discovered the furtive upward glances we directed at the girls in line on the steps above us as we waited for the dismissal bell at the end of the day. We, of course, were trying desperately to see the underpants beneath the skirts the girls wore. Sometimes we got lucky. Then we got unlucky when the nuns got smart and moved the girls to the front of the line, relegating us boys to the top of the stairs and back to our imaginations.) I figured God, in all His benificent wisdom, expected us to find out somehow how we were different, or He wouldn’t have made us that way. Right? The means for that discovery was ours to find. And I found mine. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
...to be continued....