Friday, May 30, 2008

Tom Two Arrows

Here's a photo of Tom Two Arrows dancing in the dining hall in the early '60s. Tom used to come up to Frost Valley to teach and perform for father-son "Indian Guide" groups who were spending fall and spring weekends at camp. I remember Tom still doing this in the early 1970s - I'm guessing he was still at it in '73, possibly '74. This photo is courtesy of Jim Wilkes who had been searching for it for a long while.

Bill Starmer remembers: "Tom made a leather case for my 12-gauge shotgun, complete with bead work. To this day, the case hangs in the liviing room of my house in Las Vegas. It has actually been displayed in every house I have owned since '69 To heavy for the gun to live in it, so it is now home to a bow made by another Indian friend who lived in Michigan."

fighting homesickness and other tips

I'm the parent of a camper, and so I received a nice email from the directors today, telling me of--among other things--the new summer camp blog. You should have a visit to this new e-offering from FV. The first entry is about "how to fight homesickness," and as you can see the goal of the blog is to give parents and camper tips about preparing for camp.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

hall of fame

This year we inaugurated the Frost Valley Hall of Fame. The first three inductees are Woodruff (Woody) English, Halbe Brown and Eva Gottscho. Halbe, Jane and their son Jim were able to attend the recent annual meeting of the Board, as was Eva, now 95 years old. Woody, alas, died years ago, but his daughter Carol English (who herself was a member of the FV staff in the 70s) and several partners from Woody's law firm (McCarter English) were on hand.

Halbe, Carol and Eva each spoke briefly after they were introduced as inductees. Jim Kellogg, who succeeded Woody as Chairman of the FV Board, spoke of Halbe and Woody, and then Jerry Huncosky spoke of Eva.

Listen here to a recording of these introductions and "acceptance" speeches.

If you have thoughts about who should enter the Hall of Fame in May 2009, please let me know.

Above at right: Eva Gottscho. Left here: D. Halbe Brown.

four verbal photographs

At the recent Annual Dinner in Newark, I was honored to give the invocation. In it I created four verbal photographs and asked all those gathered to close their eyes (most really did this) and imagine the pictures I was describing. Click here and listen to the invocation, and see if you can imagine these pictures too. I'll bet they are familiar.

Friday, May 16, 2008

of slabs of butter & lack of plans

Dining hall memories: (back from 1963-67):

"you kill it, you fill it". There was an art to taking almost all of the bug juice (milk, butter, bread) so you didn't have to get more, but good counselors were wise to the ploy and made you get more anyway.

Butter. Cut out of those big chunks of Government butter. one time I had 3 pieces on the plate, 3" long and 1" square. I decided to build them into an arch as I walked back to the table. My counselor was not impressed with my architectural skills. My reward was to eat the three sticks of butter, plain. As I recall, it wasn't too hard.

The cooks were amazing. I don't know if I saw it but I understand they could grab two eggs in each hand and break them into the bowl in one go, 4 eggs at a time. For scrambled eggs or french toast.

It was rumored that the dining hall was built without any plans, that it was a "kit" and it arrived on site with no directions. Someone (who?) figured it all out and built it. Any truth to this rumor?

--Geoff Hazel

Thursday, May 15, 2008

old friends gather

Above: Howie Elliot (whom we in the 1960s and early 70s remember as Howie Fischgrund) joined us at the FV Annual Dinner last night at the Newark Club. Here he is with Jane and Halbe Brown. Howie is funny as ever!

Lisa Ernst, Jerry Huncosky, Karen Rauter and others put on a really terrific evening for everyone. Alumni reading this who missed out on last night's event should seriously consider joining us next May for the 2009 annual dinner.

Above: Jim Kellogg, Halbe Brown, Jane Brown, and (standing) Mary Wheeler. Halbe was inducted into the Frost Valley Hall of Fame last night; he and Jane drove down from Vermont with son Jim Brown, who now directs Camp Beckett in western Massachusetts. Jim Kellogg gave the introductions to Halbe before his induction into the new Hall - and to Woody English (deceased). Carol English, Woody's daughter who was on the EE and Adventure staff in the late 70s, was on hand to accept the honor on behalf of her late dad and the family. Mary is a long-standing member of the Trustees, and part of the Tison family who collaborates with us on the Tison Estate at the end of the East Branch Neversink Road.

Above: Fred Wasiak and Bud Cox. Fred was our Conference Director for some years, then went to the Westfield Y, and in recent years has been the CEO of the well-loved South Jersey/Philadelphia-area camp, Ockanickon (and Matollionequay for girls). Bud of course is still at Frost Valley after all these years. He is only current member of the staff to have been there when Wawayanda moved to Frost Valley 50 years ago.

Eva turns 95

Above: Rick Kaskel (right), Eva Gottscho, and me. Eva turns 95 on 6/21/08. If you send me birthday wishes to afilreis [at] writing [dot] upenn [dot] edu, I'll pass them along to her. She'll be delighted to hear from you if you've had anything to do with the dialysis program since 1975. Since the founding of the project that summer, Eva has found a way to pay for every one of the on-average 65 renal failure/transplant/dialysis kids who attend camp each summer. At the FV annual dinner last night, Eva was one of the three inductees into the new Frost Valley Hall of Fame. (The other two were Woody English and Halbe Brown.)

winner of the big-foot back

Michael Schneide made contact with us again last night after 23 years. Mike was a camper in 1983, '84, and '85. Those were perfect-storm years: he's one of the few FV mainstays who never ate either in the old dining hall or the new, as his time coincided with the three summers of makeshift meals at the smaller dining hall (now Geyer Hall). But they were good, high-spirited years, to be sure. And, per Mike last night, have had lasting positive influences on him. He was thrilled to be back. Just buying a new home in Queens; enjoying his job; and now contemplating a visit back to camp this summer.

Mike was a star, particularly in his final two summers. His last summer was the first summer of Pac (VC = Dave Gold). Mike had huge feet - size 15's I believe. He won Challenge Night in the big-feet event each session. David Marcone (who was a camper then) reminds me that Mike did a fabulous impersonation of Barney Rubble. A basically shy kid, he learned to step onto the stage and perform the funniest things. We brought out the joy in him. This he reminded us last night. And he asked about his old mates: Dave Gold, Dargie Mombo (Dargie, where are you?), Adam Diamond, et alia.

Welcome home, Mike.

Monday, May 12, 2008

we've been up to Wawayanda...

Mike DeVita remembers the early years of Wawayanda at Frost Valley, in a tribute to Dave King:

I HAVE A ZILLION memories of Wawayanda and Dave King. We both started there together after a summer break-in at Camp Conoy in Lusby, Maryland. I remember our first week at camp when we were first year VILLAGE CHIEFS (WOW! IN CHARGE AND WE HAD ONLY HAD ONE YEAR UNDER OUR BELTS). It worked out so well that Dave eventually became Program Director, then Camp Director and I eventually became HIS Program Director. Little bits: Singing on Sundays in the Camp Trio/quartette; Breaking down the rafters in the OLD DINING ROOM when we did a Rock and Roll Tribute and mimicked 'YAKETY YAK'/ the duets in the dining room...."Where's the golf ball, Dave?" "What golf.....mmph."/ leading the camp in singing "Michael Row the Boat" and "Kum By Ya" in dining room and at campfires/ the "privileged information and casual talks we had together when he was "the boss" (jest becuz we was friends)/ "The Mutt and Jeff" jokes/ scheduling overnights when everyone waited for me to select my overnight dates so they could steer clear of them and NOT get caught on a rainly overnight (it happened every time we went out).....gosh I could go on forever but I will stop and give someone else a chance. I am only sorry i got "out of the habit" or returning to Wawayanda...while Dave has become a "fixture."

Monday, May 5, 2008

they don't make 'em like this any longer

Dan Weir seems to be vigilantly watching Ebay for Frost Valley -related items. He found one today - a vintage 1980s (I'm guessing very early 80s) Frost Valley t-shirt. Hurry and bid for it. The price is right.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

while the paint is wet

Many of the plaques dedicating rooms and lodges were painted by John Giannotti. Here's a preview of a brand new one John has made for Snow Lodge. He just finished it - and now is shipping it to Frost Valley, where soon it'll be attached to that lodge. But you've seen it almost before the paint is dry!

I've written here earlier about the dedication of Snow Lodge. Mark Gottdenker wrote this to me today: "I happened to be a counselor in Pac in 1991 (along with co-counselors Bill Baker and Blaine Robbins, all under the strong leadership of "Flash" Gordon Fair) when the village resided in (then very new) Snow Lodge. We (and the campers as well) were all very excited to be invited to participate in the dedication ceremony for the lodge in late July."