Saturday, October 31, 2009

Diana Finkel: CIT coordinator to ultra-marathoner

Marc Hanna (1987-95) writes:

I was recently reminded of Diana Finkel when I came across her name in Sports Illustrated. Diana was my co-leader for the CIT's in 1994. She had endless energy and was one of those rare people who enjoyed absolutely everything she did. She couldn't sit still and couldn't stop smiling. During the camping portion she declared her role was to be the pack mule. It certainly wasn't navigator as she ateempted to start more than a few of hikes off in the opposite direction. She was also always up for a challenge, and I took advantage of that many times by saying, "I bet you can't........."

It seems her determination and deep gas tank are serving her well now since I recently saw her mentioned in Sports Illustrated's "Faces in the Crowd" section here.

She has become quite the ultra marathoner and recently broke the female course record in the Hardrock 100 by a whopping 2.5 hours. Two quotes of hers from an article on the race jumped out at me. On whether or not running 100 miles is fun - "Like I always say, it doesn't have to be fun to be fun." On how she was able to improve on her previous winning time by 4 hours and best the course record by 2.5 hours - "I didn't get lost as much. Last year, I got lost a lot. This year, I only got lost a little."

Below are two photos of Diana during her Frost Valley days.

The photo just above shows Diana with then-CIT Yoland Philpotts. Yoland was a FV'er from 1988 through 2003. Yoland writes: "After that CIT year with Diana and Marc, I went on to climb the counselor ranks and was VC of Pac in '99, CIT coordinator in '00 and again in '02. These days I'm in medical school at Einstein in the Bronx."

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fred's autumn

Former FV conference director Fred Wasiak was back and took this photo during the Columbus Day weekend.

director of development job open - apply now

Click on the image for a larger view. Alumni with relevant experience urged to apply now. Contact Linda Campbell at 845-985-2291.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

someone whose job description was her name

Our beloved Marie Kremer has died. John Kremer, one of Marie's children, has been asked about memorial gifts in honor of his mother. He says he is directing them to Frost Valley's Alumni Campership Fund. (For info about that, call 973 744-3488.)

John Kremer writes the following about Marie:

It is with much sadness that I find myself having to once again write to report another death within the Kremer family. My mother, Marie Kremer, died quietly in her sleep on October 15; she was 89.

As you well know, my mother's contributions to Frost Valley were many. The family history is long and now spans generations, as several of her grandchildren were staff and adventure campers this past summer. My mother began working at FV in the early 60's as a castle and camp cook. In 1972, after our family moved permanently to Claryville, she became the full time office manager where she worked until her retirement in the mid 80's. She contributed to the critical transition of Frost Valley from a summer camp to the premier environmental education center and camp it is today.

I'm sure if asked, my mother would have defined herself in terms of a homemaker, but she was so much more than that. She was a remarkable woman in many ways. Born to Irish immigrants, her strong will and determination was evident throughout her long life. When my father enlisted during WWII, she too felt the call to serve and joined the Marine Corps; rising to the rank of Corporal, where she out-ranked him! After the war, she turned her attentions to raising a family, which eventually grew to seven children. Despite this responsibility; she still found time for community service by being active in the Catholic Youth Organization, as PTA President for many years, and as a cook for a Catholic School. She was also a gifted seamstress, crafter, and quilter. She was active with the Claryville Quilters, President of the Calico Geese Quilting club, and was inducted into the Catskill Mountain Quilters' Hall of Fame in 1994. All in all, a life well lived!

Most of all, I hope my mother will be remembered for her kind heart. She willingly opened our home to those in need, and gladly gave to help others. Even though the heart and soul of our family, my mother and father, are now gone, the spirit forged by them will live on through us, and all they have touched.

- - -

Gail McNeill remembers: Everybody has their 'magic feather.' Remember Dumbo? If he didn't have his magic feather, he couldn't fly. For the surgeons I circulate for, it's a particular instrument. For Dr. Kerrigan, it's a pair of Beasley forceps. For Dr. Hecht, it's a Freer elevator. For Dr. Murphy, a pair of 5 1/2" curved delicate Lahey scissors, and on and on. If it's not on the tray, they just can't operate properly- even if they never pick it up. For Marie, when she was the cook, it was a bottle of Kitchen Bouquet. If she didn't have that little brown bottle with the yellow label on the shelf above the stove, she wasn't happy- and as they say, if Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. Just what *is* Kitchen Bouquet, you may well ask? It makes things brown. Gravy. Meat. Whatever. You add a few drops, presto, your pallid sauce is instantly tastier looking, or at least, well, brown. One summer back then, among other random jobs, I ran the warehouse, and once, I ran out of Kitchen Bouquet. Did you ever make Marie mad? I mean really, really, mad? I seemed to have a particular talent for it, but this was a truly special occasion. I hate to use the "Irish temper" stereotype, but if you were ever toe-to-toe with Marie when she was armed with one of those great big mixing spoons, it was something you didn't forget quickly, if ever. Needless to say, I never ran short of Kitchen Bouquet again, nor was I ever short of a friend or a hug when Marie was around. Marie was one of the core Frost Valley people for all the time I was there, and the kind of person that any organization is extremely lucky to have one of. Frost Valley's great good fortune was that we had several, folks whose job description is their name, and when they retire have to be replaced by three full time people in at least two departments. Marie's strength, her laugh, and her open heart will be missed by all, especially her wonderful family; my thoughts and love are with them.

Nancy Caplan writes: One of my fondest memories of Frost Valley was the summer that Beth Krumholtz and I worked in the Girls Camp kitchen with Marie Kramer. I can still hear her say "seek and ye shall find" when she would send us into the store room to find some ingredient for whatever it was we were cooking/making! We worked hard, and laughed a lot! My thoughts are with the Kramer family.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sacky girl, mid 80s

Mary Beth Sullivan remembers her Frost Valley years. She sent me a photo of one of her visits as an "Indian Princess" in the late 70s or maybe 1980. She and her dad and friends are at the BB Range. The staff member, in the sweater, is Paul Nelson - who was a VC in the summertime (of Outpost in around 1978). Here's Mary Beth recalling her Frost Valley summers, along with my editorial insertions:
I was in Sacky for ’83 and ’84. I used to remember my counselor’s name immediately, but now I think having a kid has drained my memory a bit. I think her name might have been Mara. She was a village leader and she was from Texas. The last time I mentioned her name to you (when I completely remembered her first and last name), you recognized it and also mentioned that she married another FV lifer? [Mary Beth is writing about Mari Angers.]

I remember my first lunch and winning a TV theme contest you personally MC’d and sang (one-man show). I also remembered the touching story you told of your friend with the arrow you found in Lake Cole. You mentioned it during Hirdstock. [Here she is probably remembering a Challenge Night that I led, and also the story I used to tell about Charlie Shelton.]

I also remember Kangaroo Court with people teasing the guy named “Flash.” [She's remembering Gordon Fair, whom we called "Flash Gordon."]

You know, I’ve been dying to visit the camp for the longest time. I live in Florida, and my parents went there about a year ago to visit during a trip to my uncle’s. As a matter of fact, this weekend, I’m flying up north for my cousin’s wedding. They live in Middletown. I almost decided to take a side trip up there, but my mom assigned me limo duties for my grandparents.

You know I’m planning to send my kid up the coast for summer camp at FV once she’s old enough. It never leaves your blood!

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Challenge Night smiles, July 2009.

Friday, October 16, 2009

wedding at Frost Valley

Jeff Daly and Kelly Zingone met at Frost Valley and in early September were married at Frost Valley. The ceremony took place at Reflection Pond and the reception was held in a beautifully transformed dining hall. Great food, lots of dancing, tons of Frost Valley (as well as other) friends, and family. A beautiful day in all. I've seen hundreds of photos of this wedding on Facebook and took a few dozen myself, but thought I'd present three here. The Japanese-style bridge that loops twice across the middle of the pond was decorated with flowers and became the path for the groom and his seconds. Then you see Kelly and Jeff at the key ceremonial moment, Kelly having come down, with the bride's maids, down the old Forstmann stone stairs. Vows were said, huzzahs shouted, a greeting line navigated, and then to the dining hall on a beautiful late afternoon, only to find there that our tables were assigned by villages. In my third photo you see the table set aside for the Susky women (and men). My family sat at Sequoia, which is fine by me, since the whole occasion was a pleasurable adventure.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Google Earth view - when was the photo taken?

Here's what Frost Valley looks like from above and a bit from the south - as per Google Earth.

Brian Sense has taken a long close look at this photograph. And he writes:
The overhead view of the valley from your blog popped up in my rss feed today and I couldn’t help but start playing the game of when exactly the photo was taken based on all the amazing changes and what is in the picture…it may take all the readers of the blog, but I bet we could nail that satellite shot down to within a month of its taking.

Here are the timeframe indicators I see to give us clues (though I am sure there are more):

(1) Lakeview Lodge roof was on but no landscaping yet;
(2) Construction on the new Wellness Center has not broken ground;
(3) Big Tree seems to have leaves on it still;
(4) The docks are not in their summer formation;
(5) The Y-tower is not built, but the Halbe Brown Pavilion is;
(6) I don’t yet see evidence of the butterfly garden behind Admin.

It can be like Challenge Night…for your blog readers…with no Chinese food reward!

Using the six pieces of information above, can you say what year and what month (or at least season) this Google Earth photo was taken?

Later: Kenny Nathanson notes that Google Earth has now provided from-the-ground photography of the landscape along and on either side of the county road that passes through Frost Valley. For that amazing view, click here.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

a beacon

The dining hall at night.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Eva and KK '08

Earlier I wrote about KK, a dialysis camper who has gotten deep into our hearts with her bravery and her total love of camp. Eva Gottscho's daughter, Judy Eichinger Gottscho, who I discover is a regular reader of this blog, is also a big KK fan, and just today sent me the wonderful photo below--taken in 2008--of her mom, the late Eva Gottscho--and our dear pal KK.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

fall colors

Photographs taken earlier today.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Adam Gold returns

Adam Gold (brothers Steven and Mike were both long-time FV guys) visited this summer with his wife and the hopes, I think, that the kids would begin to fall in love with the valley. I took this shot of Adam and my daughter Hannah in the Ad Office. We all hope Adam's family will make the connection and hope to see them at the reunion next Labor Day!