Thursday, February 28, 2008

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

EE/Conference alums help for a weekend

Kenis Sweet, Chris Dundorf, Glenn Horton and others among Environmental Education/Conference staff alumni volunteer for a winter weekend each year to relieve the current staff who like to go off to a conference away from camp. (What a perfect way for alumni to help!) The gang has been doing this for years. Recently they were back again for their 2008 volunteer stint.

It's been cold and snowy at FV of late. Follow this link and then play a 22-second video clip of a snowy just-at-sundown 360-degree swing around - a little video taken, I think, by Kenis Sweet.

And here are photos of the gang.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

heaven is Forstmann's apples and music

Ah those old old apple trees (are they 100 years old by now? possibly?). I have loved an Indian Summer weekend in late September or early October, even later, temps soaring to 60, sun on my neck, walking on a Sunday (after the conference groups have left) from apple tree to apple tree, picking just the right one - eating it on the spot. Oh, but they are sour! Best to make an apple pie after adding loads of sugar to the chopped apples. Or get them into the cider press. But if you dare, eat one right there, in the sun, on the Sunday. Here at right is Sue Moriarity, reaching for the perfect apple on just such a Sunday afternoon in the fall of 1974. We'd munch away, sitting in the Big Tree Field or on the porch of "Old John's" house (currently where the Alexanders live, down the hill along High Falls Brook), hoping Sue would get out her guitar and play a Joni Mitchell song she'd just perfected, or Bonnie Raitt's version of Randy Newman's "Guilty." Heaven: Forstmann's apples and music and nothin' else to do. Hotcha!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Mr. Carey's old rec hall

There it is. Forstmann's cow barn, which we first used as our dining hall (1958, '59) and then as our beloved "rec hall" for many years. The "rec hall" was essentially our only indoor space other than the dining halls. Somehow--unbelievably--we held all-camp evening programs in there. On a rainy night, once in a while, we'd crowd in there to watch a reel-to-reel 16 mm movie. Calamity Jane (a western already old then) was one I remember. We held Kangaroo Court in there too. I got at least one pie in the face in there, as a "defendent" in the K Court, Judge King presiding. During sunny days it was quiet in the rec hall, but when it rained we all flowed in. During some summers there was a little library of old adventure novels (e.g. Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island). For a few years there was a random never-in-tune upright piano.

I came of age as an extrovert in that building.

One torrentially rainy afternoon in '66 - I was a camper in Forest - we found ourselves sopping wet, standing around in the rec hall. Maybe a hundred kids and counselors, waiting out the rain. But it just wasn't going to stop. It was maybe 3 PM and surely we'd be stuck in there until 5. What to do? One of my counselors, the legendary J. C. Pony, sat down at the piano and began to play loud, melodramatic, lugubrious mystery-movie music. Instinctively, I grabbed a book from the shelf. It was Stevenson's Kidnapped. I began to read its overheated boys' adventure prose in a loud radio-drama voice. Between J.C. and me we were creating a story time. People started to listen. Then they went quiet. Then they sat down and gathered around us. And as more people came in from the rain, they were shushed and sat down too. I don't know how long we did this, but we dramatized Kidnapped for some time. And we hadn't planned to do it, we hadn't even cued each other - it just happened. I felt the feeling of having flair for the first time in my life. I was gumbo. I could invent something to do on an otherwise dreary day.

By the early 70s the rec hall was really falling apart. We had Arts & Crafts in there. In the winter, it was the x-country ski shop. Then in '75 "Chuck White came with the world's largest shovel" (as the song goes) and "knocked it all down for the progress of camp." And Margetts Lodge was built. See the photo below.

Mr. Carey, by the way, was Dick Carey, Wawayanda's executive director when we moved from NJ to Frost Valley. So I sometimes refer to the rec hall as "Mr. Carey's Old Rec Hall."

(Jim Wilkes, on seeing the above about Dick, reminds me that Ray Grant was the Executive Director in those days. "Carey [was] the Camp Director my first summer," Jim writes, "along with Marion Schreck, and Al Parsons who met my bus in Woodstock.")

In the photo at the top of this entry: it's holdover weekend (visiting day) and the boy in the bottom right is me. The kid from Forest.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

our Long Islanders

In the 1960s there emerged a core group of Wawayanda folks coming to camp from Long Island - Woodmere, Great Neck, etc. I'd guess that the L.I. contingent peaked in the early to mid 1970s. This group brought us a number of families whose devotion to Frost Valley continues to this day, four decades later. Among the core families were the Chandlers, the Nathansons and the Tilleses and a bit later the Diamonds. Ken Nathanson, who with his gang recently spent the weekend at camp, sent this recent photo and also this caption:

Most in this photo have been coming to camp during the winter for many years. Actually, the Chandler's and the Nathanson's were coming up to Frost Valley in the winter since the early 60's with the Ricciardis [Tom, Ellie, and Pat Ricciardi).

Front: Sam Nathanson, current camper; Ken Nathanson, '69-'77. Second Row: Aaron Chandler-worth; Bradley Nathanson; Alex Arrick, current camper; Graham Arrick, current camper; Cindy Chandler-Guy Back Row: Kathy Nathanson; Casey Chandler-Alexander,'94-'04; (behind Casey) Steve Guy; Micah; Maho; Cathy Chandler,'63-'72; Linda Arrick; Remy Bernstein, camper & CIT '07; Martin Arrick; Dan Arrick, camper - CIT '07; Lindsay Chandler-Alexander,'92-'02; Chris Lane,'78-'04.

I guess one can say this is a mini Allen Lane reunion. Missing from Allen Lane crew that went to Frost Valley are: David Chandler, Mark Nathanson, Peter Tilles & his daughters Amanda and Olivia, Adam Diamond, Cindy Diamond, and Kim Diamond.

At left you see just the summer camp crew: top row: Casey Chandler- Alexander,'94-'04; Cathy Chandler,'63-'72; Chris Lane,'78-'04; Lindsay Chandler- Alexander,'92-'02; Remy Bernstein, camper -CIT '07; Dan Arrick, camper - CIT '07. Bottom row: Sam Nathanson, current camper; Alex Arrick, current camper; Graham Arrick, current camper; Ken Nathanson, '69-'77.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

sports village

For a few years in the early 1980s we had (in the first session of the summer) a special "Hemlock" that consisted of campers who signed up for various sports specialty villages - gymnastics, soccer, and basketball. Here are the gymnastics folks from '81. That's Kathy Bell on the shoulders of the kindly and mighty Jersey Cityan, Mike Ford. To Kathy's left (our right) is the legendary John Paul Thomas, special gymnastics instructor that summer but a long-time FV guy (came in '67 or '68 and ran archery, was a VC, later came back to work fulltime for several years, in two stints, as FV's conference director, played a wonderful guitar). To Kathy's right (our left) is the specialty village VC, Tom Franzkowiak, of Germany (who was also a fabulously successful VC of Forest). In the front row (doing splits), fourth from our right, in the glasses, is Jenny Brown - Halbe and Jane's daughter.

This photo comes to us courtesy of Bill Abbott - who was in that village, on the soccer end. The soccer coach was Eugene Orbaker.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

CIT journal

Click on the image above; you'll get an enlarged image and should be able to read one entry in a collective journal kept by the CITs and their directors during late June and early July during the summer of 1982, 26 years ago.

The mimeographed journal was discovered by Lenny Aberman during a recent bout of spring cleaning at his home. "The leaders for the trip were Dawn Helfand and Glenn Horton. Some of my fellow CIT's included: Andy Gold, Jean Potter, Mark Mueller, Jason Comstock, Marc Robinov, and Cathy Guild. The others, Rob, Audrey, and Chris, I remember, but unfortunately, not their last names."

As you see, the entry above was written by "Rob." Here are Dari Litchman's speculations about Rob and others: "I have a strong feeling it was written by Rob Iverson - Rob and his sister Kelly became my close friends that summer. We are all Montclairians! I was a Sequoia camper that summer and we shared the village with the CITs. It felt so cool to hang out with the CITs at their campfire. Our VCs were Fran Grayson and Stuart Duff. I remember some of the other names of the CITs from Lenny's message. (Jon Bell and Andy Wiener were also campers with me that summer in Sequoia.)"

February progress

A very recent shot of the Wellness Center under construction. Compare it to the images just below - and see how much progress is being made. There's a chance - not sure how high a chance, but a chance - that it'll all be ready for the beginning of the summer. Stay tuned....