Living… at Camp Ivanhoe for the summer, where he hones his survival skills with Scout Master Randy and his fellow Khaki Scouts. The year is 1965. Sam is an orphan, and he has stayed with his foster parents Mr. and Mrs. Billingsley for the past year.
Profession… Khaki Scout — until he deserts Camp Ivanhoe in the middle of the night to meet up with his pen pal, Suzy Bishop, and traverse 16-mile long New Penzance Island, retracing the old Chickchaw harvest migration trail. A knowledgeable and accomplished Scout, Sam is less concerned about surviving and more concerned about not being found by the search party, which consists of Suzy’s parents, Police Captain Sharp, Scout Master Randy and his legion of Khaki Scouts.
Interests… watercolors — “mostly landscapes but a few nudes,” as Sam puts it — and his coonskin cap, which he stubbornly wears despite the sweltering heat.
Relationship Status… in cahoots with fellow 12-year-old Suzy. He first saw her while he wandered around backstage before a performance of Noye’s Fludde. Her quiet intensity captivated him, and they began corresponding by post. They eventually agreed to run away together at the beginning of September, seeking escape in the wilderness and in each other.
Challenge… making friends. Despite his best efforts, Sam is unable to make any friends at Camp Ivanhoe. According to Randy, Sam is the “least popular scout in the troop by a significant margin.” The other scouts find him strange and think he’s emotionally disturbed from his parents’ deaths. His isolation at camp causes him to run away with Suzy.
Personality… forthright, chivalrous, and talkative. Sam acts utterly without pretense, which is rare, especially for someone his age. He does what he wants, like when he wears a life preserver while he casts his fishing net from shore. The same quirky qualities that alienated him from his fellow scouts are what caught eye.
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