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July 27, 2003

Weekend at Camp Pemberley

First, a brief mention of the last day of work, seeing as I was so busy wrapping things up I didn't have any time to blog (ha - so much for loafing idly). Zeebah was a dear, taking me to lunch at the Scandinavia House on Park Ave., where they have a lovely cafe and yummy toasted sandwiches. We were very good about not shedding tears at the office, but that's because we shall most definitely meet again before the big move. In between disposing of old papers (why, why do I hold onto such rubbish?) and clearing out the electronic in-box, I ran around like a headless chicken making sure the Tech Services librarian was comfortable using OCLC's CatMe and our local catalog software - understandably, since she wasn't using the sundry cataloging resources on a daily basis like me, I had to give her a refresher tutorial. I believe I was most patient, not at all snide or flip, but my forbearance was wearing thin by the end, that's for sure. There was also a chocolate cake, and the Asst. Head Librarian and the ILL clerk were so sweet as to give me parting gifts (doh! I need to send thank you notes). The job wasn't ideal, but having a few good coworkers who made me grin and giggle made the daily grind worth some groans.

Now for the long weekend - allow me to me preface the following by mentioning that this city girl has never been to camp - although I did, however, go on summer vacations with the family, which is more than what the other kids I knew growing up in NYC got to do.

The Pemberley annual meeting took place in Craigville, a tiny beach town on Cape Cod. It was so lovely to put names and faces together. I spent the night before on the Isle of Staten, to stay with a fellow denizen who so kindly offered me a ride in her barouche. I rode the ferry, toting my bags - a perfect cool night (once the sweat of the humid evening dried away), a sumptuous view of lower Manhattan, the city lights serving as a beacon in the distance. We stayed up late while she packed - the girlish gaiety had already begun.

The drive out of the city was remarkably calm. Connecticut proved to be a bit of a mud wallow, with accidents here and there. Hint: The Merrick parkway is quite lovely and a smooth go, provided no accidents lurk there. We even saw a doe by the side of the road. The ride to the Cape was just lovely - breezy and sunny, a glorious summer day.

In Craigville, we had a whole lodge to ourselves, numbering somewhere between thirty and fifty ladies. There was a cornucopia of women-food - all sorts of snacks and drinks (plenty of chocolate, to be sure!). I shared a room with four other gals - Jen, another Jen, Karen and Terese. With all the windows open we had magnificent views of the water and caught the sea breeze. I wouldn't mind having to summer in a nice cottage on Cape Cod, what hardship that would be.

How lovely to spend a weekend with good friends, old and new, who really get each other and all that is wonderful about Jane Austen. At any given moment ladies could be found watching one of the film adaptations (I raced in to catch the end of Persuasion), reading one of the novels, bonding over how they discovered the bewitching borders of Pemberley, taking little trips here and there. Jen and I decided the water was too lovely to simply dip our feet, so we managed to find flattering bathing gowns and get some of the others to accompany us.

The water was calm and gentle. This being my first beach trip of the year, I ran down the sand like a kid and plunged headfirst into the water. We swam out to a floating deck and climbed up to soak up some sun. I don't usually swim out past where I can stand, nor do I aim for getting tan, that being so out of fashion these days. But it was so nice to have the water all around, to see a seagull dive into the sea and come up with a gleaming silver fish, to chat with some ladies and brainstorm for next year's gathering. I felt like a sea otter, rolling and dipping, merrily flipping my feet, paddling about in the saltwater. Yes, to quote Elizabeth Bennet, I was excessively diverted.

The food at the dining hall was definitely camp cuisine. Some of us went out for seafood - I had a lobster, shrimp and scallop pie, fairly tasty. Other side trips were in order - at Four Seas, I had their famous cranberry sherbet, and also sampled the black raspberry ice cream and raspberry sorbet. A trip to the Isaiah Thomas bookstore yielded a treasure trove of pulp Philip K. Dick paperbacks; I hope a certain book is still there next year, as I would like to get it then. Also took in a bit of history, checking out one of the local historical museums, where we saw lovely bits of needlework and portraiture, and items like George Washington's and John Hancock's John Hancock (yes, I'm already wearing out the expression).

A long, lovely weekend. Our group is full of talented, accomplished ladies - for our entertainment some staged Pride & Prejudice, the musical - I could hardly breathe for laughing. We also watched one of the Emma adaptations, Rocky Horror-style - more opportunities for laughter - and we are sure-aimed with our water guns.

Cheery, teary goodbyes at the end as people went back to their daily lives. Jen and I dropped off some gals in Providence, then wended our way back home. Caught the ferry from Connecticut, then Jen was so kind as to drop me off at my abode. Now to develop the pictures!

Yours, &c., LC | 02:50 PM | Jane