Saturday, November 22, 2008

kidney disease getting worse

Rick Kaskel - long associated with our dialysis program - was quoted in this week's Science Times. Here is a link to the article.

An analysis of federal health data published last November in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that 13 percent of American adults — about 26 million people — have chronic kidney disease, up from 10 percent, or about 20 million people, a decade earlier.

“We’ve had a marked increase in chronic kidney disease in the last 10 years, and that continues with the baby boomers coming into retirement age,” said Dr. Frederick J. Kaskel, director of pediatric nephrology at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in the Bronx. “The burden on the health care system is enormous, and it’s going to get worse."

Sunday, November 16, 2008

one-room schoolhouses

Andy Hutner, staff alumnus, has been conducting studies and tours of the old one-room schoolhouses around Frost Valley. Below is a preliminary report he's made on his findings.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

mowing the Castle Hill

Doug Kerr, now of Lewis, NY, was a camper in '68 and '69, then CIT, LIT, Counselor and then joined the maintenance staff. Eventually he worked year-round on the maintenance staff. Doug writes: "Did you know I had the record time for mowing the Castle Hill with a hand mower solo? Carl [Hess] trained us well!"

In those days the Castle Hill was mown by hand. I suppose that's because tractor mowers in those days were not built flexibly enough to handle riding sideways at such a steep angle. For whatever reason it was done by hand - tiring, hard work, and terrible on the ankles! Andy Kremer, I recall, wore spikes (like soccer shoes, or baseball cletes) when mowing it, to keep himself from falling over and tumbling down the hill.
Doug is our source for the spectacular photograph below. Top row, left to right: Bill Van Zandt, Carl Hess, Morris Slater, John Kremer, Norm Gurfinkel; bottom row, left to right: Mike Schiffer, Dave McBride, Andrew Schiffer, Doug Kerr.

John Kremer writes: "This would have been my first summer on the Maintenance staff - Norm and I lived in one of the dorm rooms in Hayden - I think the younger Schiffer is actually John, who would have been my age. Andrew is the youngest and he did not join the staff until years later when Chuck had the crew."

Sunday, November 9, 2008

gloomy hill

Taken yesterday, this photo shows "the Hill" (cabins 41-45 and 46-50). The leaves are gone, gone, gone. Mucky misty rain added to the gloom. Along the road (but not in camp) there were signs of earlier snowfall. And snow was in the forecast again for tomorrow.

If you click on the photo and stare at the larger version, you'll see three cabins in the vertical middle of the shot and to the left of center: at the far left, 46 and barely visible behind it, 47; then to the right of 46 is 45 and 44. To the right of a clump of yellow-brown leaves is 43, and then I can barely make out 42 further to the right. Of course when the leaves are on the trees you can't see any cabins from where I took the shot (on the road up the hill).

finally, a real theater

Readers of this blog - even those who have not seen Frost Valley in several or more years - will already know plenty about the new Guenther Family Wellness Center. Remember that the upper floor is for the medical facilities. We took advantage of the building's site (on the edge of the second flat up from the valley bottom): architects and builder created a large lower floor the front of which looks out across the valley toward Wildcat. Okay. Inside that lower floor is the new Arts & Crafts room, which yesterday I saw in its current state - about 20% of the way toward being the new A&C it will be. But working and terrific.

Elsewhere on the lower floor is a toddler room/day care room. Other meeting rooms. A Life Sciences classroom/lab. We met Houdini the snake in there. A plenty of FV's old stuffed beavers. A few objects of old taxidermist's talents--including some figures, surely, that date back to the Forstmann era--are here.

For me the most exciting and beautiful space on the lower floor of the new building is...the theater. As of this weekend (photos taken last night - Saturday) it looks to be 97% finished. Take a look and imagine what great events and performances can be staged here.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Who's Your Father - now available in mp3 audio

I have been asked 1,000 times at least to re-tell my 45-minute blockbuster comic epic, "Who's Your Father." Since I "retired" from Camp Director-ship in 1985, I've told the story exactly twice. Once was at a reunion in the early 90s, at the urging, I think, of Dave Gold, Eric Wechter and Adam Diamond. And once, spontaneously, just two summers ago, I told the story to Lenape Village one late rainy night in their lodge up the hill. I'm really not sure they knew what hit them. The story was always funniest when the listeners had heard the legend of the story. Then they were ready to persist against the story's deliberate narrative confusions. These Lenape boys, knowing nothing of all that, scratched their heads, conceded that this bearded guy apparently can tell a good story, but wondered really what it was all about.

Anyway, I can't imagine telling the story too many more times. It takes a lot out of me and really requires loosening up - a ready-familiarity with the story's complicated turns. Something like story-teller's RAM (ready-access memory). Let's just say that "Who's Your Father" requires a lot of RAM.

One of my dearest Frost Valley friends says: ""Who's Your Father" is, of course, part of the furniture of my mind." I like that. I like something I've made being in the structure of things. Nothing so fancy as the air we breathe, but more like the furniture we sit on.

The story was recorded twice that I know of. The last time I told it in 1985, billed as "the last time the story will ever be told," the VCs and program director (Sue Yennello) actually arranged to have my father drive up for the telling. He emerged at the end of the story, to my surprise and that of the campers. And they presented me with a beautiful painted three-legged stool, with a Frost Valley horizon in green and white and the words "Who's Your Father" scripted out nicely by the then Arts & Crafts director. Nice. The recording was a video tape. Not bad (I still have it) but it turns out that that was not a great telling of the story (for reasons I can't remember now).

The other recording was an audio cassette made in 1983. Someone was taping from the back of the room so the sound quality isn't the best. But this must have been one of the better tellings because by the end I was really getting into it.

This morning I found that old cassette here at my house, in a box of old Frost Valley things. And now I've converted it to digital recording, 1's and 0's that will last forever. So click here, if you dare, and listen to the story. Let me know what you think. It's a bit odd and seems to make light of vices like vandalism and gambling, but I'd argue otherwise.

Monday, November 3, 2008

goodnight, girls!

New Goodnight Song

We run along home
and jump into bed,
Say our prayers and cover our heads,
the very last thing
we sing onto you
is you dream of me
and I'll dream of you.

Someone make a recording of the song as sung and send it to me. I'll add it here.