Saturday, February 18, 2012

old photo leads to thoughts of John Mumford

Photo taken in the early 70s, possibly 1969, by Ken Nathanson's dad during a visiting day or possibly check-in day at the beginning of a camp session. The fellow in the rakish-angeled straw hat is, I believe, Ken's older brother, whom we called "Snake" in those days. I could be wrong about that. The guy in the white shirt, wearing glasses, is the brilliant and creative John Mumford. John eventually became the quirkiest and most avant-garde VC of Forest in history. It was he who convinced us all that Forest needed a mascot - who turned out to be Kim Connell's goat, whom we named Bozo and who spent most of the summer with us. John also noticed that at night in the summer the constellation Cassiopia appeared as a "W" over cabin 6 when you sat at the CQ fire in the middle of cabins 6-10 (old arrangement, near the dining hall), and that any counselor assigned to cabin 6 would become "worthless." Thenceforward the "W" (two hands holding up index and middle finger, forming the now-famous Wawayanda W sign) referred not to "Wawayanda" but to "Wawayanda Worthless," a secret (and no doubt often unfair) judgment of counselors who weren't doing their jobs very well. It was Mumford who provided an apprenticeship (when he was a JC) for John Ferris, who himself turned out to be the very opposite of worthless - a smart and super-creative and abundantly dedicated counselor, especially for troubled kids.