Thursday, December 18, 2008


Out of the blue today I received a nice note from Kelly Harford, whose Frost Valley years ran from 1986 through 1994. She sent the photos above and here, below, is her note:
Hi Al, my name is Kelly & I found your blog while looking on the web for Lourdes Montoro's email. She & I have kept in touch since I was a little girl in her cabin in Pokey. I'm now 32! How wonderful to read your blog after so many years away. I first came to FV in the TiPi village called "Lacota" in what was its last year, I believe ('86?). Then Pokey the next year when I met Lourdes...then in 1988 I was in Sequoia with Colin Hill---I found an old photo from the top of Mt. Wittenburg on that trip & I believe a young Jeff Daly is to the right! Colin was a huge influence on me & the next year I did an Adirondack hike & canoe out-trip with him. I came back and did CIT training, then a summer as JC with Sequoia and Tacoma, In 94 I did a session at Sequoia again which was my last at Frost Valley.

I spent a whole afternoon reading your blog while snowed in with my little daughter in WA state where I live now. Thank you for the opportunity to think about all the amazing people and experiences from Frost Valley again!

Monday, December 15, 2008

I've been afraid of changing

Last summer, at a closing campfire, six girls who've gotten to know each other at camp over the past five summers sang "Landslide" together. They're all now 14 years old, having met at 9. They're feelings for each other are very, very strong. Saying goodbye each summer is hard for them. They stay in touch all year but it's not the same. They count the days until next summer. They really are afraid of changing, because they know inevitably that while friendships last they cannot remain just what they were. Some of these girls will drift off summers--summer school, family trips, the early need of jobs and a little income to help out. They climbed a mountain and turned around. Can the child within their hearts rise above?

I happened to catch their singing of the song on my recorder and here it is.

I took my love, I took it down
Climbed a mountain and I turned around
I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
till the landslide brought me down

Oh, mirror in the sky
What is love
Can the child within my heart rise above
Can I sail thru the changing ocean tides
Can I handle the seasons of my life

Well, Ive been afraid of changing
cause Ive built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
Im getting older too

Oh, take my love, take it down
Climb a mountain and turn around
If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well the landslide will bring it down

If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well maybe the landslide will bring it down

Saturday, December 13, 2008

archery and rhubarb

The Forstmann apple orchard and rhubarb patch, in the center of camp, served as the "Boys Archery Range" and then just generally "The Archery Range" for many years, from 1958 to (I would say) the mid-90s. At some point archery was moved to the northern edge of the Big Tree Field, just to the west of the tobaggan run and to the east of the old Deus property. (This new location for archery was where the BB Range was for years.) Anyway, in the old apple orchard we restored the apple trees as best we could (they still produce good sour apples, although the trees must be 100 years old by now), and we built some raised flower and vegetable beds, and moved the greenhouse up into camp. (It had been located next to the composting center down the road by the maintenance shop; this location made sense because students and campers could see the camp food waste turn into compost and add it directly to the soil where veggies and blossoms grew. But the problem was simply that the greenhouse was thus too far away, and didn't get enough traffic.)

In the past few summers I've spent some quite and meaningful time with campers and counselors in the orchard, spread out under the old trees in the quiet of the edge of the middle of camp, somewhat secluded, for some good talks.

I was reminded of all of this by the photo Jim Wilkes sent me this morning - a photo of some dads teaching some sons (this was an YMCA "Indian Guide" weekend, no doubt) to shoot with a bow and arrow back in the early sixties.

Note, once again, in the background, along the fence (the fence is still there!), the rhubarb growing. This was apparently Mrs. Forstmann's prize planting. She loved rhubarb pies, and maybe it's a fact that she loved to make rhubarb pies. When the camp came, long after the Forstmann's pie-baking days were done, the rhubarb was still growing somewhat wildly. I can remember as a young camper picking the rhubarb and (somewhere, somehow) participating in the making of pies. Does this memory make sense? When is the rhubarb season over? Surely by summer? I may be fantasizing this. If so, it's a worthy fantasy.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

the muck-and-mire relay - and the winner is...

Late 1980s. That's Dave Gold (as Camp Director) standing on top of the boathouse. I'm guessing that it's the afternoon of Olympics - the "water games" and he's doing the amplified play-by-play announcing. I've been there myself....

Photo courtesy of Dari Litchman.