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Camphill Memory

nbarker's picture

I wish I had had more time to be with Charlene. I only felt as if I had just started to get to know her when we had to leave, but such was the structure of our course.

Much of the time I spent with Charlene was in silence. She’s a very friendly woman, and has a lot of questions, but she can’t always put them into words. She is strongly opinionated too, and has a lot of beliefs about the right way to do things, and gets perturbed when people don’t respect each other.

Our first morning, in the bakery, was spent mostly in washing dishes and in working in concert. The bakery is probably my strongest memory of Camphill. It was as if we were all one well-oiled machine, all playing our parts as necessary, working in not so much silence as companionable small chatter—no long conversations needed, no arguments. Just each other, the flour, the sugar, the tools. Everyone knew what they were supposed to do pretty quickly, even us Mawrters who were the unknowns in the equation. Soon, we fell into place helping on the cookies, making thousands upon thousands of them! I wish I had been able to be there a second morning, but my health began to fail me quite quickly after that. It wasn’t so much a personal experience, as it was an experience of being profoundly part of a group, almost a group consciousness, surrounding a few complicated yet peaceful tasks.

My next strongest memories come from my time in the Weavery with Charlene. Every time I went in, I started sneezing—it was completely worth the histaminic response though. Gaby and DD taught me how to loom-knit, and I did about half a scarf there, made of wool from the farm. I still need to finish the scarf I started for my mother! Charlene and I spent a lot of time simply sitting and crafting, though we did intersperse it with questions about each other’s lives. She was quite proud of her work in the Weavery, and rightly so: her rag rugs are very finely crafted, and one just had won a local contest in craftsmanship!

Our last day was when I finally understood that she did really care about our relationship. It’s not that I didn’t think she cared at all, it’s just that Charlene is a pretty independent person and doesn’t need a lot of company to be happy. She didn’t need a lot of direction—she is very capable, even if she is not very verbal. She often took off without me, but always seemed to know where I was. She had been a little sad that I hadn’t been able to be with her that morning in the bakery, or part of the day the third day, but the time we spent together on the fourth day helped make up for it. Our drawing time together is probably when we bonded the most; I wonder how much people have told her she's beautiful.