Posted by on Feb 22, 2011 in Camp Days, Favorite things, Kids, Mom stuff, Nostalgia, Personal | 14 comments

7-violet-purple-flames-tm-1-500 Sometimes I miss, even long for, the naïveté of youth. Then is the time for free and innocent expression… before you realize sometimes words have dual meaning.  

For me, summers at the all-girls Jennie Arnold Edwards Y Camp in the 70s encapsulate this season better than any other memory.  Scorch of days couldn't touch us because we were too busy living. Nights only fueled our energy and momentarily rested counselors for what would unravel as sun shooed away moon.  

Mary V, Dewdrop, Sunshine, Hillside, The Crow's Nest, Upper Lodge, Edweda, The Doghouse–odd names for home away from home, wooden cabins with one long, continuous wrap-around screen window, perfect for filling in the tiny metal squares with nail polish.  We'd paint our name and year in shades of Sally Hansen–except for Upper Lodge where you could write your name on the walls, and if you were lucky enough, the ceiling. Paradise was the name of our bathhouse. 

When I heard they were auctioning off those cabins to make way for a country club, my heart ached all the way to its center and I silently protested at the top of my lungs  "HOW CAN THEY DO THAT?" but I knew how and why and hated both.  

At mealtimes and before night activities, we'd frenzy-sing forever–

"Just plant a little watermelon on my grave
and let the juice (slurp, slurp) drip through…"

or "Under the bamboo, under the bamboo tree,
room enough for you my darling,
Room enough for 1-2-3-4…"

or "When you're down and out
Lift up your head and shout
It's gonna be a great day…!"

or "Catalina Mattalina Hoopstiner Walkendiner
Hogen-bogen-logen was her name."

We sang slow and more sensical songs, too, but those were usually reserved for Chapel and Sundays.  It was there I learned the words to all the stanzas of Pass it On and motions to Swing Lo, Sweet Chariot.  I remember both decades later.  

I79CC8F2 But my favorite camp song to sing was Violent Love.  No, make that everybody's favorite song was Violent Love.  The words ~ 

I wanna make violent love (clap clap)
To you with the moon above (clap clap)
I wanna make violent love to you. Don't you?
Now I don't wanna get romantic. (clap)
And I don't wanna cramp your style. (clap clap)
But baby you're making me frantic
Bum (clap), bum (clap), bum (clap),
You're driving me wild!
I wanna make violent love (clap clap)
To you with the moon above (clap clap)
I wanna make violent love to you
Don't you? (clap clap) Sure do! (clap clap)
(shouted) LET'S DO!

I'm sure reading the lyrics makes some uncomfortable, but a sinister attachment never crossed our minds.  Never ever ever ever EVER.  Ever.

50s dancers Of course, maybe that's because for years I thought the title was "Violet Love" which sounded awfully pretty–like a Valentine–but I didn't question it.  I imagined violet love involved lots of hand-holding, hugging and even kissing on the lips under a full moon.  Remember, this was the 70s and PG movies meant something might scare you, not that you'd be seeing naked bodies, implied sex or hearing f-bombs dropped like a Southerner's g's.  

Eventually parents complained and Becky-the-Camp-Director told us we couldn't sing it anymore.  I didn't understand and thought the ruling unjust, overreacting moms and dads raining on a parade in which they had never marched.  They were the ones who didn't understand!

They were the ones paying the camp's bills, however, so their understanding was the only thing that mattered.

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A generation later, I see through the lens of a mother; I can't imagine my daughter coming home from camp belting out her frenzied want to make love, violet or otherwise.  

And yet something deep down inside wishes she could sing it with the freedom I had as a 14-year-old, not thinking twice about what it c o u l d mean (but didn't).

 

* * * * *

For the absolute win!!!  I found a version of this song (our lyrics were slightly altered) when I searched on Amazon!  Click and scroll down and you can hear a bluesy rendition of Violent Love from Willie Dixon, Disc 1, Track 2.