Stephen King has name-dropped Camp Agawam in two of his novels

PetSematary3dreamcatcherBest-selling fiction author Stephen King has name-dropped the Maine summer camp Camp Agawam in two of his novels.

The first reference came in his 1983 horror novel Pet Sematary. The book’s main character Louis Creed, a doctor who moves to Maine from Chicago, attended Camp Agawam as a kid.

There are two passages in the book that mention the camp, which opened in 1919 and is now in its 96th season.

“By the time he was ten, he was spending the entire summer away at Camp Agawam in Raymond, and at eleven he won two blue ribbons and a red one at the Four Camps Swimathon that ended the summer’s activities.”

“No Olympic swimming team, Louis thought dully as he walked back to his bed and sat down on it. The sour taste of beer coated his mouth and throat, and he swore to himself (not for the first time or the last) that he would never touch that poison again. No Olympic swimming team, no 3.0 in college, no little Catholic girlfriend or conversion, no Camp Agawam, no nothing.”

King referenced the camp in Raymond, Maine, again 18 years later in the 2001 science fiction novel Dreamcatcher. One of the main characters in the book, Gary Ambrose ‘Jonesy’ Jones, attended the camp as a kid.

“Of all the things in his life he hadn’t wanted to do–calling his brother Mike to tell him Ma had died of a heart attack, telling Carla she had to do something about the booze and all the prescriptions or he was going to leave her, telling Big Lou, his cabin counselor at Camp Agawam, that he had wet his bed–crossing the big central room at Hole in the Wall to that closed bathroom door was the hardest.”

King name drops other camps in his writing and makes numerous references to camp. Some of these include:

  • Chef Dick Hallorann in his 1977 novel The Shining was once a cook at camp in Maine on Long Lake
  • A character in his 1992 suspense novel Gerald’s Game wears a Camp Ossippee t-shirt and a reference is made to a Sunset Trails family camp
  • A character in his 1979 supernatural thriller The Dead Zone was once a cook at a boys’ camp in Rangely Lakes
  • Two girls in the novella The Mist wear white rayon shirts with Camp Woodlands on the back
  • A character in his short story “The Moving Finger” goes to bed for the first time without brushing his teeth “since his two-week stint at Camp High Pines.”
  • The title character in his 1974 novel Carrie earned money herself to go to Christian Youth Camp, which her mom told her was a sin and backsliding

 

Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I'm the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at Tangzine.com and MatthewRalph.com. I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.

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