Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I want to go everywhere I haven't been, and back to everywhere I have been.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Letters From Camp: "What I Need For Visiting Day"

Letters From Camp: "What I Need For Visiting Day" by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

My favorite day of the year was this past Saturday…

Visiting Day at Sleep-Away Camp!!!

For the uninitiated, Visiting Day is an event of epic proportions.  

It's right up there with Christmas, Chanukah, Halloween and the Superbowl.  

Bigger, maybe.

As soon as they board the buses to camp, kids start working on their "What I Need For Visiting Day" lists.  

If you are not familiar with the ritual of "The Writing of the Visiting Day List," I can tell you that it is Very. Serious. Business. 

In fact, it is the Jewish equivalent of Letters To Santa.

Letters From Camp: "What I Need For Visiting Day by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

A great deal of research goes into preparing The List. 

Campers pay close attention to what their friends have, so they can ask for the water bottle that Dan has, the mouthwash that Jared has, and the sweatshirt the counselor has. 

They compare lists with cabin mates to make sure they are not forgetting anything, which explains why the bunk ends up with 12 bottles of Febreze on Visiting Day.

The Lists translate into SUV-loads of provisions brought to campers, who, in the span of three weeks, claim that their shampoo bottles have exploded, their battery-operated fans are broken, and that 18 pairs of socks are missing.

Before we even receive The List, Junior Goo Shoes always mentions it in his first phone call home:

"I'm sending you The List of things I need you to bring on Visiting Day."

What on earth could he possibly need?

Didn't I just send him off to camp with two trunks the size of cruise ships?...(and I do mean Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, not those smaller ones)…

Letters From Camp: "What I Need For Visiting Day by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Although I have packed enough toiletries to last five years, and clothes to dress the entire state of California, Junior Goo Shoes needs more of everything. 

And then some. 

Like, for instance, his huge baseball card collection...and the dog.  

The List does include legitimate things, such as sunscreen and bug spray...

…but these are strategically included only to get our attention, sprinkled in between the things he really wants, like toys and expensive anti-bed bug sheets. 

He knows that because we are vulnerable…because We MISS is the perfect time to ask for $150 sunglasses. 

Letters From Camp: "What I Need For Visiting Day by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Well, I've got my own Visiting Day list called "No Way in Hell Are You Getting That," and I'm putting the sunglasses on that list.

Back when Junior Goo Shoes was a new camper, he asked for a bunch of stuff to get him through the rest of well as a plea to take him home…

...which will totally ripped my heart out. I cried not just through my entire pedi, but the mani, too, worrying about what exactly, does this mean

He's asking for all this STUFF, but he's not planning on staying?

I especially appreciate when The List includes helpful information, like where to find the requested items. I suppose the thinking is if it's easy for me to find, he's more likely to actually get it.

Inevitably, The List includes something like "my orange frisbee thing" that we have to turn the garage inside out to find…

And every list includes…CANDY. 

        Notice "take me home" in between Shampoo and iPod speakers).

If I am lucky, I  receive The List well in advance, so that I have adequate time to google things, like "What is a vuvuzela and where do I get one?"

Letters From Camp: "What I Need For Visiting Day by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

But more than likely, the letters will arrive just as we're getting in the car to drive up to camp.

On "Erev" Visiting Day, we load the car and make our pilgrimage up to the mountains. 
(*For my non-Jewish friends, "erev" means "night before.")

In the morning, we patiently wait behind barricades, laden with bags of goodies…

Letters From Camp: "What I Need For Visiting Day by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

…waiting for the camp owner to give the signal to start the Parental Stampede…

Letters From Camp: "What I Need For Visiting Day by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

We run all the way to the bunk, shlepping all our stuff…

...and after hugs and kisses and lots of "You grew so much since you left" comments, it  takes Junior Goo Shoes less than two minutes to ask…

"What did you bring me?"

We apologize that we couldn't find the Cyber Fire toy, and explain how we went to seven toy stores in five states to try to get one.

Which is when he looks at us and says, 

"Huh?" What Cyber Fire toy?"

So there's the kicker...He doesn't even remember what was on The List.

The only thing he cares about is whether we brought two things:



Charmin Ultra Soft Toilet Paper.

Letters From Camp: "What I Need For Visiting Day by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

This year as we were saying our goodbyes, Junior Goo Shoes says the unthinkable.

"Can you take all the candy I didn't eat, back home?"


My very first thought was, should we take him to the infirmary? He obviously must be delirious with fever. 

"Because, every year, half the kids throw up after Visiting Day. 
Justin has thrown up every single year. 
Take it home because I don't want to throw up." 

Wow, have things changed. 

My little boy is growing up. Sending candy home… now that's a Visiting Day first. 

Letters From Camp: "What I Need For Visiting Day by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

How fitting, because this is his last Visiting Day as a camper.

Sob…(that's me, not him). 

I'm actually gonna miss those lists.


  1. This was hysterical ! I loved reading it and feeling how you felt when you tried to fill juniors every wish only to find he forgot half of them. I love how you write. Keep up the good work!

  2. What a hoot! It brought back memories of my daughter's camp days. I loved this!

  3. This is such a cute story. I did notice that sunglasses, and not the cheap Dollar Store kind, are apparently quite the "in thing" at camp. I'm thinking of setting up setting up kiosks outside of these camps now - lol! Looks like you have a lot of fun with the want lists :)

    1. What is with these kids, with the pricey sunglasses, anyway? The kiosk idea sounds very profitable!

  4. Hi Amy,

    So nice to meet you! I LOL with your very funny narrative about 'The Lists'! Growing up in Toronto, Canada, my brother and I went to camp when we were pre-adolescents and remember the ritual of 'The Lists' (said in a haunting echo). Every summer, without fail, I reminisce about those good ol' days, when my biggest problem was whether to use 'Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific' or 'Body on Tap' shampoo, and don't get me started with the 'cream rinse', or rather, conditioner! Ah irons, crushes on counselors and campfire roasted marshmallows. Which reminds me...I'm low on candy, where's that list?!!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Your newest follower,


    1. Nice to meet you, too, Poppy! I am laughing because I totally remember the "Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific" and cream rinse days! I really appreciate that you are now "following."

  5. What a fun "tradition"! Well, not so fun when you have to find impossible items, but fun to read about!

    1. Thanks, Magali! Every year I say I'm not going to over-do it, and then…well, somehow I do!

  6. I think it's great that he gets the whole summer to spend with his peers doing fun outdoor stuff and probably learning some new things as well. Sure beats them being bored and playing too many video games! I got a kick out of reading the lists! I have a 12 year old son so that made me think of what mine might ask for. My son is a home body. I've asked him if he would like to go to camp (not a long camp just a week camp)and he gave me an emphatic NO! So, no such luck for me! LOL! I bet that was fun gathering stuff on his list knowing how happy it would make him.

    1. It's been really good for him, Kelly. It's not for everyone…the kids have to really want to go. Too many years of future therapy, if they're forced :) . I'm glad you got a chuckle out of the lists!

  7. What an absolutely wonderful time to be a kid! I grew up in South Florida and going to away camp in the summer was indeed a big deal. Great post thanks for sharing.


    1. Thank you, for reading it, Velva! Summer camp is a special thing! Wish I had gone as a kid...

  8. Wow! I really enjoyed reading this post! Not just because your perspective and comments are so clever, but because I am so unfamiliar with the whole process of Visiting Day! I thought it would be about prepping parents for obstacle courses and three legged matches, not Black Friday type races down a field with arms full of goods.

    Yes, Junior is surely growing up if he is exhibiting self control with the candy. What great memories his letters will hold for your family. Such a fun read, Amy!

    1. Thank you, BP! Your comment motivates to keep pushing forward on this blogging journey. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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