Tag Archives: camp

Shasta McNasty: Part II


A continuation of Shasta McNasty: Part I

It had been a long first day. I wearily wandered into my room. Shasta McNasty wasn’t there. Thank God. I wouldn’t be needing a brave face. Though I was the youngest, I certainly wasn’t going to be some simpering weak cry baby emphasizing that point in front of my … practiced teenaged roomie. That said, I was basically a simpering weak cry baby in that moment. I needed reassurance. I needed a distraction.  Like any eleven-year-old having a time of it, I needed my mom.

I called home to hear my parents’ encouraging voices, trying hard not to reveal my current state of vulnerability. I didn’t want to disappoint them. They’d sacrificed a lot to send me to this camp, and I wasn’t going to let them down. Seeking a diversion from my terrible day, I asked what was knew. I was tendered the tragic news that my gerbil, Gremlin, was dead.


Now before I continue, full disclosure, I’d only had said gerbil for a week. He was a proxy pet.  A quick fix, if you will. See, my Martha, a six-year-old guinea pig, my first pet, and adored ball of fur, had crashed and burned the week prior, hence the four-legged rebound that had croaked on my parents’ watch. I lost it. Not because I was mourning the death of a replacement rodent, but because I was overwhelmed. It was coming out in one big ugly cry. I hate ugly crying. However, my parents didn’t know how overwhelmed I was because, of course, I’d lied. I was eleven. I wasn’t stupid. So, when they thought I was hysterical because of my week-long companion’s untimely demise, I went with it.

After the unfortunate phone call, I headed to the communal showers. Another miserable experience in the making because pretty much at any age insecurities abound in shared fitting rooms, locker rooms, showers, etc. So, that awkward experience was basically the cherry on top of the ultimate shitty day.

Till I got back to my room.

Shasta McNasty was there. Okay, maybe this wouldn’t be so bad. Maybe after today’s shared tennis trials and tribulations, this was our moment to bond.

It wasn’t.

I can remember sighing at her somewhat dismissive attitude. I simply chalked it up to being born with Palace Script monogrammed towels as I headed to my bed.

Of course, I didn’t immediately fall asleep. I laid there, staring blankly at the dated ceiling, desperately wishing for a sprained ankle the next day when Shasta McNasty started to speak. I suppose in the dark confines of our dorm room, when all others she could impress were gone, I was what was there. She talked; I listened. She went on and on and on about her sex life, her popularity, her money … insert pretty much any nauseating topic here and she had it covered. I passed out somewhere between lingerie she’d recently bought from Victoria’s Secret and the car she’d been promised for her 16th birthday.

The next day was much the same though we had a mid-morning break. So, I ran back to the room to relax a bit, using the air conditioner to beat the heat. When I walked in the room, I was alone, but something was off. Something just wasn’t right….

I looked around, but it all seemed in place. I shrugged it off and went to the cabinet to have a quick snack when in my periphery, I saw the trash bin had more than a few Kit Kat wrappers inside. That was odd. Maybe Shasta McNasty had brought Kit Kats, too. Though when I told her she was welcome to share my snacks, she hadn’t mentioned it.

I shook it off and opened the cupboard only to see that my bag of Kit Kats had been opened. Over half the bag was gone. Shasta McNasty must have eaten them. And no, I didn’t jump to that conclusion because she was fat, well, okay, maybe I jumped to that conclusion because she was fat, but regardless, it had to be her because I knew it wasn’t me. This also meant that even though I told her she was welcome to my snacks, she had snuck them when I wasn’t in the room. She had gone through my things. This did not make me a happy camper.

Shortly after my discovery, Shasta McNasty entered the room. She, too, was seeking a cool reprieve from the sweltering sun and had also come to grab a quick bite to eat. Because of course she had. (what? I was ELEVEN!)

I casually mentioned the Kit Kats. I said I was glad she’d taken me up on my offer to share my snacks. She stared at me vacantly (yeah, this was kind of her standard look, but there was a little more detachment behind the eyes than usual). So, I motioned to the trash bin, hoping she understood. Her eyes had followed my hand to the bin and then back again. She said she hadn’t eaten them. She didn’t take my Kit Kats.


I was confused. She had to have eaten my Kit Kats. Right? Wait! Maybe one of her equally vacuous new friends had been in the room with her and she had given them some of my Kit Kats. That had to be it!

Shasta McNasty said she hadn’t brought anyone to the room. Honestly, given our schedules, she probably hadn’t.

Swiftly, she turned on her heels and went to open her cabinet. Lo and behold, some of her snacks had been eaten, too! She quickly checked her suitcase as well, which had even more snacks hiding in it, (because she was fat, folks) and a bag of Fritos or something was gone.

We both looked at each other. I was baffled and she was as vacant as before. What was going on? What could this mean? The answer was clear —- someone had broken into our room and was stealing our food.

There was a mystery to be solved at this Nike tennis camp and dammit, we were going to solve it.

To be continued … 


Shasta McNasty: Part I


My gut said she was evil. My gut said nothing good would come from this roommate situation… I didn’t listen to my gut.

It was a Nike Tennis camp at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana circa 1991. It was my first overnight camp and at age 11, I would soon find that I was the youngest one there. I was assigned to Tarkington Hall, the dorm my brother would later call home his Freshman year. I went to the front desk, checked-in and was given my room key.

I headed up the stairs to my room, unlocked the door, and walked in. My would-be-roommate-for-the-week’s things were already there. She wasn’t, but her stuff was. Okay. So, I guess the bed on the left was mine.

I’d seen enough movies to know how camp worked, and I knew that even if we didn’t hit it off quite at first, we’d eventually be fast friends. The movies never lie.

I started unpacking my things. I began placing my clothes in the drawers provided and storing the snacks my mom sent, like my precious Fig Newton’s, in the cabinet above the desk. That’s when she walked through the doorway.

Shasta Elliott, heretofore referred to as Shasta McNasty, a well-to-do suburbanite from somewhere in Indiana, sauntered into our room like she owned the place. The monogrammed towels I saw dripping with pretense near her bed would have been all the foreshadowing needed had my life been an effective young adult novel. If I knew then what I know now, the garishly popular Palace Script used for the initials was the telltale sign, because fonts never lie. And I suppose her initials S.H.E. (for SHE DEVIL) was perhaps another context clue… Okay, admittedly, I don’t recall her middle initial, BUT accurate is accurate and so for the purposes of this post, S.H.E. were her initials.

She was fat. I was chubby and she was fat. I would later abhor those types of judgements, as we all should, however, this was then, and looking a person up and down, judging them based solely on the superficial information at hand, is what 5th graders did (as well as the rest of society).

She was 13. Probably one of the next youngest at camp, hence why she got stuck with the baby camper.

She talked a lot. Anyone that knows me knows I talk A LOT, yet somehow, she made me look like a church mouse.

I was somewhat in awe. Here was a fat 13-year-old girl with the confidence of Bette Davis and Katherine Hepburn combined. We were at the ages where we should have been awkward and uncomfortable. And here was Shasta McNasty who had no qualms about changing clothes in front of me, flaunting her wares like they were the best-in-show, and commanding the attentions of anyone in the room…which, unfortunately, was me.

That first night, as we laid in our rather uncomfortable twin beds staring blankly at the ceiling while getting to know one another, I learned officially that yes, her family had wealth. They owned a tennis court. It was on their estate near the pool … and just so you understand, this Hollywood Hills style living that she relayed to me, in that bored tone you see snobby affluent folks use on TV, was not commonplace in Northern Indiana farm country, so I was hanging on every word. I’d never really met a “rich” person before. That night is when I also learned she’d had sex. A. Lot. And with older boys. My little 11-year-old mind was blown!!! Shasta McNasty was….….doing it! My roommate had just gone from spoiled suburban rich girl to a Hoosier harlot in 5 seconds flat. Because I judged. Because that’s what people do. Regardless, I was completely engrossed in the tales she was spinning of her fast and loose ways. That night and those stories are why she became Shasta McNasty. I still can’t shake some of the images she so colorfully painted.

The next day was the first official day of camp. After listening to Shasta McNasty regale me all night with story after story of her many sexual encounters, I’d simply assumed we were now camp friends. Clearly, we’d bonded in the dark of our dormitory room. But apparently outside of our little abode in Tarkington Hall, this was not the case. I wasn’t even on her radar.

That’s okay. I had tennis to focus on and being the youngest at a Nike tennis camp wherein we had to run five miles a day, in addition to day drills and calisthenics I’d never done, I needed all my energy to make it through.  The average age of a camper was 16. I was 11. It was a lot to keep up.

The camp atmosphere, I quickly learned, was extremely competitive, so befriending Shasta McNasty didn’t really matter to me once the day had gotten underway. I was too busy dying in the 100-degree heat to be concerned about making camp besties with anyone, let alone my experienced supercilious roommate. At the end of that first day, I was sore and in pain. I was beyond exhausted. I’d never had 8 hours of high school level athletics thrust upon me. I was ready to shower, eat, and go to bed.

As I walked into our room to do just that, however, it appeared my suffering had only just begun.

To be continued….