A Shout Out Loud


I’ve written about my sad tenure at Camp Taconic many times, and while it was the most traumatic camp I attended, it was not the only one.

After Taconic, I went to the Maine Teen Camp for two years. As the name implies, the camp was based in Maine and aimed at teens. For some reason, the camp had a lot of foreigners. I suppose wealthy French and Italian families thought a summer in New England was a chance for their teenagers to improve their English while waterskiing, and who could argue with an experience like that?

My first year there, Francesca Versace, niece of Gianni, was a camper. We had one conversation during a tennis tournament, but that was it. It so happened that was the summer her uncle died.

Versace’s murder was a big story, but only made it to the campers because of Francesca. When it happened, she was beginning a four day trip to Montreal. During evening announcements, the head counselor reported the news, as well as her family’s request to tell her themselves.

Her parents’ wish was understandable, if a little impractical. They were asking the camp to keep their teenage daughter in a bubble in Canada’s second largest city for three days. But somehow the counselors succeeded in making sure she never heard the radio or saw a newspaper. I can only assume Francesca enjoyed her visit to Montreal, blissfully ignorant of what had happened to her uncle.

The bus came back from Montreal during evening announcements, and joining our group was a family of Italians wearing silk scarves with a rental Jaguar. As the head counselor welcomed back the campers from Montreal and proceeded to talk about an upcoming fishing trip, we were all waiting for Francesca to learn what we already understood: her uncle was dead, murdered. Her parents told her right away. I know because Francesca let out a horrible scream.