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Jr. Tales: The Mystery Counselor

Y. Bromberg

Summer camp was the only thought that had given me the strength to survive hours upon hours of boring math class the whole year. Would I be able to go?

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

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I t was a beautiful day outside my classroom windows. The sun was shining brightly, birds chirped excitedly on the freshly mowed summer grass, and a sailboat was drifting around in the nearby lake.

I sighed. Why was I stuck inside a dimly lit room listening to my teacher drone on about math equations? I wanted to be in camp already; racing across the baseball field to the cheers of my teammates, swimming in blue, pristine waters and playing—

“Ahem!” Mr. Rubin, my stern-faced math teacher cleared his throat loudly. “Why aren’t you paying attention, Dovid Baum? This is the fourth time I’ve caught you ignoring today’s lesson. You know what? Come see me during your recess time and we’ll review everything you missed!”

“Wha—? Please, no!” I tried to plead with Mr. Rubin, but he just shook his head and continued the lesson.

The bell rang 15 minutes later.

“Catch you later, Dovid!” my friends said to me as they ran outside to play ball.


“Take this math packet and if it’s not finished now, you’ll have to take it home with you.” Mr. Rubin tossed a thick stack of papers onto my desk and stared sternly at me over the rims of his glasses.

“If you’ve been paying at least a little bit of attention in class, the problems shouldn’t be an issue for you.

“Um, okay,” I gulped. 

Long story short, I had to take the packet home with me… 


The evening after the last day of school…

“No more school! I’m going to camp next week, everyone!” I bellowed to everyone inside my house within earshot when I got home.

My mother came into the front hall with a worried expression. “Not so fast, Dovid. I just received a call from the camp and they said there aren’t enough counselors to accommodate all of the campers.”

I froze. No. It couldn’t be…

“I’m sorry, Dovid, but this means you won’t be going to camp this summer,” my mother said.

Images of last year’s summer camp flashed through my mind: late night kumzitzes with my fun-loving, hilarious counselor; white-water rafting, color-war breakout… A huge knot formed inside my throat and I ran to my room before my mother could see the tears leaking from my eyes.

The next few days were pretty miserable. I slouched around the house, snapping irritably at my siblings, refusing to eat, and spending a lot of time alone in my room. Summer camp was the only thought that had given me the strength to survive hours upon hours of boring math class the whole year. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 663)

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