Monday, September 23, 2013

Blum memorial weekend

During a beautiful autumnal Frost Valley weekend, friends and family of the late Eric Blum gathered in the valley to remember this remarkable guy. On Saturday at 4 PM we began to celebrate in Blum style: beer, meat of all sort grilling on the grills, and, later, cigars. The cigar band was specially designed with a photo of Eric on it. The meat started at 4 and was still coming (ribs prepared by Eric's BBQ partner John, who had come from Virginia for the occasion) at 9:30 PM. If Eric had been there, he would have insisted on "nothing green on anyone's plate," but, well, we caved and there was salad too and even veggie burgers. On Sunday morning we gathered in the Ketcham Chapel for the part that Eric would not have enjoyed: sentiment, affection, serious expressions of love, in addition to some hilarious Blum stories. Scroll down for the videos of Matt's and Mark's testimonials and you'll see what I mean.

Dave Bieler & Joe Elliot (right).

Sue Geller and Matt Buczek.

Dave Bieler with Nina Braun.

Brian Sense (who flew in from Colorado) with current Adventure Director Lincoln McLain.

Kam, Jackson, Jeff, Dan and Joe.

Three Adventure Directors across the years.

Dan Goldman with Katie Kelly.

A letter Eric wrote to his FV staff colleagues one summer.

Rick Kaskel, Claudia Swain, Phyllis Kaskel and Bud Cox hang out with Sue Geller's adorable daughter.

Just some of the annual "Camp Schlep" T-shirts Eric had made each summer. If you were up (or down!) to the standards of real Frost Valley schlepping, you got one of these.

One summer Eric made his own weekly schedule - Schlep Village! Notice the activities.

Eric volunteered for many, many summers. In the late 90s Peter Swain drew up a mock contract. Here's one of them.

Jerry Huncosky (who coordinated the entire weekend of events) with Melissa Pauls.

Peter Swain with Lincoln.

On Sunday morning family and friends began gathering around the site on Memorial Island in Reflection Pond before the service began in the chapel. Eric's ashes are buried here, and there is a plaque (see below) along with a miniature of the log bench Eric loved to sit on as he gazed at camp's activities from his spot in from of Margetts Lodge.

Lillian Rountree traveled from Pittsburgh. Here she is with Peter Swain, once her camp director.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Jane Brown has passed away

Dear Frost Valley friends, former staff & campers:

I'm sorry to pass along the extremely sad news that Jane Brown died last night at around 8 PM at her home in Massachusetts. The family will be gathering privately at some point soon to memorialize her and she will be buried next to Halbe.

If there is additional word from the family about how Jane's many, many, many Frost Valley friends can remember her and acknowledge her passing, I will write again very soon.

Meantime, for those of you who use Facebook: we encourage you to post your memories of Jane, and condolences, to the Facebook group we set up at the time of Halbe's passing a year ago -

This is a FB group one must join. If you aren't already a member, just request it, and you will be added - and then can post and read others' posts about Jane. I will collect remembrances soon and will post them to the Frost Valley alumni blog.

For thirty-five years, Jane Brown was the center of news and love and dedication and caring at Frost Valley. She knew us all. She never forgot to acknowledge you - remembered your birthdays, sweetly noted the births of your children and honored your marriage or partnership, and sought you out to offer consolation when a parent or loved one passed away. Now it's time for us to remember her as she passes. A very sad full circle, I must say.

With kindest wishes for the Frost Valley family who comes together at moments like this,

- Al

Monday, September 16, 2013

looking out from the girls' dining hall, 1970s

Those familiar with Geyer Hall will immediately know where this photo was taken. But notice the dining hall tables! Yes, this was McClain Hall, known to everyone as the "girls' dining hall." We're looking out at the lovely view this high-up building has always had. Close observers will also notice the yellow plates and bowls. And: not just pepper and salt shakers on every table, but sugar shakers too! What I remember about this building was the breeze: there was always such good air flow.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

1973 girls CITs

From left standing: Loretta Maurer, Lauren Kraft, Melanie Mackin, Lisa Ernst, Carole Wolf, Linda Caplan, Jayne Oeschle, Mindy Pfeiffer, Kerry McIntyre; kneeling from left: Debbie McDonald, Nancy Kachline, Melanie Brown, Barb Bergen, Ellen Alina. The photo was provided by Lauren Kraft Rothberg.

Friday, September 6, 2013

John Giannotti's dinosaur sculpture

The same John Giannotti who carved our second Totem Pole at FV's main entrance (in the early 80s) is of course a world-famous sculptor. I spent time with John the other night in Haddonfield, NJ, where he lives with his wife Toni, their son Del (2013 Hemlock counselor), John's adult children (Keara and Dani - both longtime FV people - and grandchildren (one of whom is a FV camper).

Anyway, the other night we went to dinner in downtown Haddonfield and happened to pass by the famous dinosaur sculpture John created about ten years ago. Here's a picture of John with his art. And here is a link to an article about that project.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

"the best game"

When Olivia Frioli posted this photo to Facebook today, she called it ("Hunker Hawser" at Challenge Night) "the best game." Yes!

Nick Harley vs. Nikki Goldshein

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

the older daughter of a current camper parent was a counselor in Totem, 2003

Richard Bell is a Frost Valley dad. His son John was a camper in Hemlock this summer. One of John's counselors was Braxton Bohn. Richard and I got to talking. His older daughter Samantha was a Frost Valley counselor back in 2003. Her assignment was....a cabin in Totem (boys)! Okay. Samantha took a snapshot of her cabin in '03 and passed it along to Richard, who passed it along to me, and, lo and behold, there's Braxton Bohn as a Totemite (the blonde kid right in front of the door).

John Giannotti, always the aritst

Here's a snap of John Giannotti as a young child. Notice that he's holding a piece of chalk, and notice that he's already drawn something on the pavement.