Malibu, 1978

When I was a hippie kid I used to dream about going to one of the elite, new-england horse camps I saw advertised in the back of all my horse magazines. I stared at the pictures of girls on jumping horses soaring over fences. I imagined I could become one of them, wearing immaculate jodhpurs and grooming my own horse in an elegant barn. When my grandmother offered to send me to a California horse camp called "Calamigos" in Malibu, I was beyond excited.

It was 1978. I was eleven years old and The Bee-Gees were HOT. Although not the polished English academy I had envisioned Camp Calamigos had its own kind of California glamour. Our councilors were groovy young people with mustaches and feathered hair, and the campers were children of wealthy playboys and celebrities. As a hippie kid straight from the commune I had to endure the catty girls' comments about my clothes and newly-grown armpit hair.

There were some really fun times, however. I remember with gratitude girl who lent me her brand-new pink satin jacket for a dance, and the friendly overtures from the comedian FLIP WILSON'S daughters who attended the camp at the same time as I did. Thanks, girls!

I did get to ride horses that summer. It was a dustier, more western version of my camp dream, but I enjoyed it immensely. It was my first taste of traveling on my own and being forced to ameliorate myself into a foreign culture. That's a thrill for me that's continued to today.

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