Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Giannotti, strong on the issues

John Giannotti and his granddaughter Grace "debate" national politics.

man with a cleaver

In this photo you'll see the camp food service staff, the Castle food service staff and the maintenance staff - for 1960. Vilja and Fritz Kohtz, Albert and Mrs. Fay, and Paul Cypert - they were the leaders of the group. Wanda Cypert still lives in the Cypert house a few miles down the road from Frost Valley's east end. What I personally remember about Albert Fay was that he was - or was said to be - legally blind, couldn't see very well. And yet when he got mad he'd come at you with a cleaver, all in jest, to be sure, but just imagine what it felt like to be mockingly chased around by a man with bad eyesight waving a cleaver. I remember Bill Van Zandt once telling me about being chased all the way around the kitchen by Albert. What I remember about eating meals prepared by Vilja and Fritz...was that they served, more frequently than I ever liked, Hungarian goulash, served in these large low flat brown bowls that didn't make the dish any more appetizing.

Photo courtesy of Jim Wilkes.

Monday, October 27, 2008

on Oran Giannotti

Kim Aronowitz O'Connell, thinking about Oran Giannotti:

As I walked to the infirmary in early July of 1970 I noticed a little boy sitting on the lawn in front of the building. I asked him his name and replied "Oran David Gianotti". He was barely three and I was 12, but I knew even then he was unique child (how many three years olds recite their entire name when asked?) He had a little beatle type haircut and was extremely precocious. Three years later I was assigned to the infirmary as a nurse's aide and lived in the infirmary with the Gianottis. Oran was six then and quite serious. He was blessed (or cursed) with two little sisters Keara and Danielle. As time went on Oran decided he wanted to leave camp with John (who I believe had to attend to some teaching issues). I realized that Oran was not afraid to express his needs, and his wish to go home was respected by both parents. He was an admirable person. I never saw Oran again and read with sadness in this blog that he had died. I work for a Hospice and have seen many young people, including young children die before their time. I have never forgotten Oran, or that time I spent with his family. I wish them all peace and hope they know that he is remembered even after all these years by someone who only knew him briefly, but was nevertheless deeply affected by him.

And here Kim reflects generally on her time at Frost Valley:

I first arrived at Frosy Valley in late June of 1970. I was 12 years old and had been to three other sleepaway camps before my Mom found this one. I was to be a camper in the Tent Village, a small enclave of two large tents on a little piece of land behind the Ad office. My two counselors were Anne-Marie Kremer and Susan Ambry (later Sue's sister Meg joined us as a third counselor). I was to be there for ten life changing weeks. We hiked and campred, climbed mountains and were taught how to survive in the woods on our own. Anne knew the area well and led us on dozens of bucolic and awesome adventures. All three counselors played the guitar and Anne had one of the most beautiful singing voices I have ever heard. I was a wild and wacky kid, the product of a "broken home". I learned how to be part of a team, was never judged, and was comfoted and praised by three caring people who incidently, were barely out of their teens themselves. I was there for three more summers but this particular one resonates for me. I learned to respect nature and in turn to respect my peers. Each of us was from a different backround and came to together for one magical summer. Thirty eight years later I drove into camp and stood outside the AD office listening to the sound of singing coming from the boys dining hall. I almost think I heard them singing the Titanic song or the first chorus of Blowing in the Wind. Frost Valley will forever signify a turning point in my life. The smell of campfires, the sound of singing, and the feeling of peace. It was what I had been craving for in my young life, and it was there that I found it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Castle tour to end all Castle tours

It was billed as the Castle tour to end all Castle tours. It might well have been the greatest Castle tour-giving talent assembled in the old mansion's living room at one time. The featured tellers were Dave King (not pictured here), Chuck White, Bill Devlin, Dave Haight, Dave Gold, and Bud Cox. This (again) was Labor Day 2001, the Wawayanda Centennial (1901-2001) reunion. In this picture you see Bill Devlin (white beard), Chuck White (wearing sweater), Dave Haight (next to Bill), and Dave Gold. Bud and Dave King were on the other side of the room.

three great FV talents re-unite

Stan Treadway, Lisa Ernst (center) and Nancy Brady Smith - saying hello to each other not long after arriving at the Labor Day 2001 reunion.

fall is time for fog & deer

This photo was taken from the living room window of Halbe & Jane Brown around 1999 or 2000. It was autumn. If that doe knew what was good for her, she'd have moved on, out of the main part of camp, for hunting season was just a few weeks away.

old patch, worn but cherished

Someone sent me a photograph of his beloved Wawayanda 1 (first year) patch. I'm sorry I can't remember who it is, but that's just as well because the symbolism is generic, universal. Many of us have one of these somewhere, in the attic, in the back of a drawer, sewn onto the sleeve of an old jacket or sweatshirt.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Gene Orbaker honored

Gene Orbaker invented women's soccer at SUNY Brockport. Here's what a news release from the college says:

The College at Brockport Women’s Soccer team is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2008 and will have a special ceremony Saturday at halftime of the home opener against Buffalo State. The game is scheduled to start at 1 pm and the ceremony honoring the first head coach of Brockport Women’s Soccer, Eugene Orbaker, will take place at the end of the halftime intermission.

Orbaker led the Golden Eagles from 1983–1985, compiling 30 wins and just 12 losses. In 1983 –- the first season of Brockport Women’s Soccer -– Orbaker led the Golden Eagles to the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Championship with a 12-1-1 record.

Orbaker coached the team for the first three seasons before Connie Werner took over for a two-season stint during the 1985 and 1986 seasons. Current head coach Joan Schockow took over the head coaching reins in 1987 and has been the head coach every season since. The 20-year coaching veteran won her 200th career game last year with an overtime victory over St. John Fisher and became the all-time winningest soccer coach (men or women) in Brockport history in 2003 with a 1-0 victory over SUNY Cortland in the first round of the SUNYAC Tournament. Under Schockow, the Golden Eagles won the SUNYAC championship in 2006 advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.

In the 25 years of women’s soccer at Brockport, there have been 77 players named to All-SUNYAC squads, 40 players to All-State honors and seven named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/adidas All-Region team for the Northeast Region.

From The Stylus, which I'm guessing is the student newspaper of SUNY at Brockport, comes this news story, which is in part about the honor conferred on Gene, who, with his wife Mary, and two sons, spent many summers at Frost Valley in the 70s and 80s. Gene did various jobs at camp, including, for many years, coaching our soccer programs. For a few years there was a two-week "soccer camp" (soccer village, really) during the first session, and Gene was the coach for those kids. Mark Gottdenker, who learned his soccer from Gene at FV, directed me to this article. You'll probably want to skip directly to the italicized parts.

By George Banko

Saturday, Sept. 20, The College at Brockport Golden Eagles women’s soccer team celebrated the 25th anniversary of their program. With the sidelines packed with fans and notable alumni, they did not disappoint. Brockport jumped out to an early 1-0 lead against SUNYAC rival Buffalo State, off a Jess VanAllen goal 11 minutes into the first half. From there, the Golden Eagles offense did not look back as Brockport scored two more goals by senior Ashley Broadhurst and sophomore Jessica Bush, which gave Brockport a 3-0 lead at halftime. In the second half, Brockport put their offense in neutral, but still maintained their strong defensive presence, shutting out the Bengals en route to their second win of the season. Brockport coach Joan Schockow, now in her 20th season, credited the team’s commitment to work ethic as the main reason for the win. “We had an amazing week in practice,” Schockow said. “We’re not used to losing the way we have been recently, and our girls showed a great amount of toughness all week long, and I think that carried over into the game.” The women’s soccer team has had their struggles early on in the season, dropping their last two games to opponents Nazareth and Walsh. “It’s a huge lift to get this win,” Schockow said. “On a day like today, against a division rival with so many people here, it’s a big positive for us.” Determination has always been a focal point in Schockow’s coaching philosophy. “I don’t like to talk about the things we do well and the things we don’t do well,” Schockow said. “The biggest thing is that we outwork the other team, if we can do that, then we feel that we can win any time.” Schockow’s statements have proven true. The Golden Eagles looked like the team from last year, out shooting their opponents 21-11 while committing few penalties and scoring with a variety of players.

The win for Brockport came on a special day. At halftime, there man by the name of Eugene Orbaker, who many consider the father of women’s soccer in Brockport.

“Eugene is a great man,” Schockow said. “When people say that he’s the biggest asset to the Brockport soccer program, it’s true. Eugene always supported the male soccer program here and with his support we were able to start the women’s program as well. I am glad we got to honor him today.”

Orbaker was a 1953 graduate of SUNY Brockport. He was named All American in soccer and served on the faculty from 1958 to 1995 in the department of physical education and sport.

The Brockport women’s soccer team will play two home games on Friday and Saturday against SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Plattsburgh. Game times are 4 p.m. on Friday and 1 p.m on Saturday.

Mark Gottdenker says: "Gene is one of the classiest people I have had the privilege of knowing and working with at FV. His contributions to the Tokyo-FV sports program were amazing and should/need to be recognized."

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Barry Glickman returns

I remember Barry Glickman from the summers when we were campers together in the mid-60s. Barry lives in the Northwest now and doesn't get back east much. But recently he and his wife were in the area, climbed Slide together and then sought to visit Frost Valley after all these years. Dan Weir showed them around. Here is part of Barry's happy response:

What impressed me was how friendly the staff was and how clean the camp was. The new cabins were really nice, but not as cozy as the old ones. The mess halls were huge and the new medical facilities were amazing. I like the new dock which made the lake look cleaner and the horse fields added a lot to the camp. I was also glad to see that the big tree is still around. My sisters asked me about the swimming pool which was supposed to have been built ages ago, but I don’t remember seeing a pool. Did I miss it or is it still on the drawing board? Personally, I think a lake is all you need for an outdoor camp.

From a business standpoint, I have to say again how impressed I was with what that camp has done to bring in extra income. I don’t know if it is working, but I was impressed when Dan was telling us what the camp has to offer. Oh! I was also impressed with the castle. I only got to see it from the road, but it looked great.