Chapter 1

Florida June 3 1978

It was a sunny summer day in June and Camp Walden for girls was abuzz with excitement. The young girls had just arrived at the camp on big green busses. Ten-year-old Elizabeth, Lisa, Leans was among the young girls. She looked out the bus window as the bus drove under the big wooden sign that said Camp Walden. Lisa pushed her shoulder length black hair out of her face and sighed. If the truth be told she hadn't wanted to come to Camp Walden but her parents had made her come.

"It will be good for you to be around other girls your age," her mother had said.

So here she was at an all girls camp in hot sunny Florida.

"I'm going to have to make the best of it," Lisa said to herself.

At the age of eleven-years-old Lisa was very smart and cute with her shoulder length black hair and flashing blue eyes. She had been born to a rich family and had almost anything she wanted. But all she wanted was to be able to be a little girl. Maybe coming to this Camp Walden wasn't a bad idea after all. Perhaps her mother was right and perhaps she would finally find a friend, or hopefully more than one friend.

As the busses pulled up at Camp Walden all the girls climbed out. Camp Walden was almost right on the beach and the ocean could be seen from the cabins. Mrs. Martha Johansson, a rich elderly lady, had built the camp back in the 60's. It was a very beautiful place but still Lisa was not happy. She had wanted to stay home and enjoy the summer but her parents had to go away on business. She had had the choice of either coming to camp or go stay with crabby old Aunt Gertrude in Georgia. Of course Lisa had chosen camp for she would rather spit than go stay with Aunt Gertrude.

With her large duffel bag slung over her shoulder, Lisa slowly climbed out of the bus. A cool breeze was blowing up from the ocean and Lisa breathed it in. She walked over to where several camp instructors stood giving a speech about the rules of the camp. Lisa felt rather out of place with her fancy blue dress and high heeled shoes. Her mother had insisted she dress nice for the arrival of camp. Now Lisa wished she had disobeyed her mother and wore shorts and a tee-shirt. Everyone else was dressed that way.

"Elizabeth Leans, you'll be in the Seaside cabin with some of the other girls," Mary Beth Marcus, one of the camp instructors said.

Lisa sighed and trudged up to her new living quarters. The cabin was small but there was enough room for her and the five other girls who would be staying in it. Lisa picked a bed that was next to a window and with a grunt she dropped her duffel bag onto the bouncy bed.

"Hey little princess that's my bed," a mean looking girl said hitting Lisa on the shoulder.

"Excuse me?" Lisa asked turning around to face the girl.

"You heard me you little brat. This my bed. It always is every time I come here. So beat it," the girl yelled.

Lisa cringed back not knowing what to do. At that moment a fiery red headed girl came running over to them and she edged in between Lisa and the mean girl.

"Alright Barbie, take it easy on this girl. She's new. I don't see your name plastered to this bed anyways," the red headed girl said angrily.

"I'll let her get by for now but she had better watch her step," the mean girl said turning and walking away.

With a big smile on her face, the red headed girl turned to Lisa.

"There ya go hon. It's all taken care of," the red headed girl said.

"Thank. . .you. I was terribly frightened by that girl. I was afraid she was going to hit me," Lisa said.

"No problem. Nah she wouldn't hit you. She's too afraid she might break a nail if she did that," the red headed girl said laughing.

"Well thank you anyway. . ." Lisa implied wanting to know the red headed girl's name.

"Oh I'm Scarlet, Scarlet O'Hara Winston," the red headed girl said.

"I must admit that I've never met anyone with that name. But I like it," Lisa said.

"Well, you'll probably never meet anyone like me in this lifetime. My Mom is a BIG fan of that stupid book 'Gone With the Wind' so she named me after the main character," Scarlet said chuckling.

"I'm Lisa and it's a pleasure to meet you Scarlet."

"Pretty name, it fits you," Scarlet said smiling.

"Thanks. So are you going to be staying in this cabin?" Lisa asked.

"Yeah, I stay in it every year when I come to camp," Scarlet said showing Lisa her bed that was right across from Lisa's.

"We can stay up talking all night. It's going to be so much fun!" Scarlet said.

Lisa liked Scarlet very much. Scarlet had an energetic spirit, something Lisa longed for. They were both the same age and she knew that they were going to be good friends. Scarlet lived with her mother in California. Her father had left them but they had managed to get by without him. Scarlet's ambitions was to become an actress or a Broadway star. She said she would be one sooner or later.

The two girls stayed together all of the time. One of their favorite things to do was to go out onto the beach in search of seashells.

One day while they were walking along the beach Scarlet pointed to a cluster of trees not too far away.

"Let's go exploring in those trees," Scarlet said taking off.

"But. . .are you sure we should?" Lisa asked trying to catch up.

"Of course we can. It's not like they're going to arrest or anything," Scarlet said.

The two girls made their way to the cluster of trees and when they reached the entrance they slowly made their way into them. Lisa looked around at the tall trees rather frightened. Scarlet didn't seem to be bothered in the least. She was whistling and walking along as if she didn't have a care in the world. Suddenly a bird swooped down from a tree right in front of Lisa. She screamed and fell to the ground terrified.

"Lisa are you okay?" Scarlet asked kneeling down beside her.

"I think we should go back. I don't like this place," Lisa said standing up.

"Oh don't be such a scardey cat. Come on let's just go a little farther," Scarlet said.

They continued on through the woods until they came to the place where the woods ended. It led to the beach and they could see the ocean plainly in view.

"Oh look isn't it beautiful!" Lisa said smiling.

"Yeah," Scarlet said.

"Hey I bet we could see the world if we climb up this tree!" Scarlet said.

"Don't be silly. We couldn't see the whole world," Lisa said laughing.

Scarlet just shrugged and began to shimmy up a large tree.

"What are you doing?" Lisa asked as she watched Scarlet climb way up into the tree.

"Come on up!" Scarlet yelled down.

"I'll fall if I do because I've never climbed a tree before," Lisa said.

"Never climbed a tree! Girl where do you live anyway, the North Pole!" Scarlet said.

"I live in New York City," Lisa said shaking her head.

Finally she decided to try and climb the tree. Taking a deep breath Lisa began to make her way up. Halfway up her foot slipped and she started to fall. She managed to grab a nearby branch and soon she was able to continue her climb.

"Come on you can do it!" Scarlet said encouragingly.

Lisa finally made it up to the top and she slowly sat on down on a large limb beside Scarlet.

"See I told you we'd be able to see the world!" Scarlet said pointing out to the beautiful view of the ocean.

"It's not exactly the whole world but it is beautiful," Lisa said smiling.

They sat there for a long time enjoying the view. Suddenly Lisa got an idea.

"Hey, why don't we make this tree our secret meeting place!" she suggested excitedly.

"Our meeting place? That's a great idea!" Scarlet said.

"Okay let's promise to meet here every year on this exact date, June 5," Lisa said.

"Even after we get married, or get gray and old," Scarlet said smiling.

"Yes, even after we're married, or gray and old," Lisa said.

They made a pact and promised to meet at that tree for as long as they were alive. It was a promise that neither would forget even though many things would change in both their lives.

To Be Continued. . .