Susie Ma’am saves teeth. 

OK, before you worry that your camp director has a bizarre or macabre habit.

She is a hopeless sentimentalist. She saves many items from our four children.  She treasures photos, keeps drawings, and preserves clever stories.

And she has saved their teeth.

When we were the Tooth Fairy for our children, she put the old teeth in a small box.  I have to be honest with you, it felt like something from a horror movie to me. But I have learned never to underestimate the many ways that maternal love manifests itself.

It was not for several years that I also learned that this odd habit was a great boon for a camp director.

Occasionally, a young camper will lose a baby tooth at camp.  When this happens, the “Champ Fairy” exchanges the tooth for some “champs” - the currency in our camp store.  [Note: for those parents that share Susie Ma’am’s penchant for tooth collection, we have been known to return the tooth to the camper as well.]

Sounds like a straightforward task: super easy.

Until a camper drops the tooth into the grass or water or some other hard-to-retrieve spot.  It is in moments like these that Susie Ma’am’s collection comes in handy.

Last week, we were in the house when a breathless counselor arrived, “Susie Ma’am.  Jack Sir [not actual camper name, so do not call if your child’s name is Jack] lost a tooth in the grass.  I am told you have some kids’ teeth [Note: that is one creepy sentence taken out of context.]. Can we borrow one? His counselors are actively ‘searching’ for one now to buy me time to get one.”

Susie Ma’am ran upstairs, got a tooth and handed it to the counselor.  The counselor then ran to the search zone, made eye contact with the search team, and subtly dropped the tooth into the grass.  Moments later, the counselors triumphantly ‘find’ Jack Sir’s tooth, much to his relief. The Champ Fairy came, exchanged the tooth for some champs, and then returned the tooth to Susie Ma’am.

Mission accomplished.

It is worth noting that the camper wanted to keep the tooth so that he could also get a reward from the “real” tooth fairy. Susie Ma’am happily parted with the tooth.

If you would have told me 23 years ago as I was finishing graduate school in Boston that I would someday deal in used teeth, I certainly would have thought you mad.  Now, this seems like a totally normal day.


Steve Sir

P.S. Our birthdays today are Maggie Bane (9) and Spencer Duran (24).  Tonight we have several fun activities.  The girls have Ms. Champini, a mock pageant featuring counselors dressed as items from camp. Their campers will choose the person or item and then dress up their counselor.  Past entrants have included the glob, fruit frenzy, a Chaco tan, a friendship bracelet, the slide and even the executive directors. In addition to the costumes, they have a “talent”.  For example, the friendship bracelet “heals cabin disharmony”.  The cabin then presented a short skit where one girl acts like someone stepped on her bunk and got mad.  Then the friendship bracelet touches their heads and they sigh and say “we love being cabinmates” [hey, no one said this merits a Tony award].

On the boys side, the lettermen have their overnight tonight while the remainder of the guys have Fishing Night. After a short torchlight, the youngest campers went to bed early while the Aquanauts (mostly the campers finishing 7th and 8th grade) had “Aquanight” – an extra 45 minutes of games under the lights with burgers.

P.P.S.  The photo tonight comes from a long time camp dad who is a gifted photographer. I love the feel of it. And it is appropriate on Fishing Night!


Want more like this? See: