Saturday, August 22, 2015

Carl Hess & his maintenance crew

Click on the image for a larger view. This is the summer camp maintenance crew during the mid-1970s. Top row, left to right: Bill Van Zandt, Carl Hess, Morris Slater, John Kremer, Norm Gurfinkel; bottom row, left to right: Mike Schiffer, Mike McBride, John Schiffer, Doug Kerr.

Morris Slater (he of the constant pipe and hat - whose talk you could barely understand but it was always a story of some kind) had once worked for Julius Forstmann! He lived in Claryville and his job at camp was mainly to mow the fields.

Here's what John Kremer has to say after seeing this photo:

That has got to be close to the first full summer I spent working at FV, which would put it about 1974 or 75. Next to Mike Schiffer is Mike McBride  - he hailed from the Kingston area as I recall. My first summer on staff was spent as Bill Van Zandt's "helper", and Norm and I bunked in one of the dorm rooms in the top of  Hayden.  Bill was an incredible man, hard as nails on the outside, but with a heart of gold.  I learned so much from him that summer. With Marie's recent passing, I've spent a lot of time thinking about my experiences working for Carl.  It was truly a rite of passage of me, growing up and learning to work with that "crew".  I recall that the true mark of being "part of that crew" was being invited to Marie's and Carl's house for dinner, which was timed to coincide with one of their trips back to southern Jersey so fresh sweet corn and the best tomatoes ever were alway featured.  Carl grilled a great steak which complimented them perfectly. Morris Slater was truly a character and he did indeed work for the Forstmann's as a young man. He did have great stories, and while most of the details are forgotten, i know one of them centered around Mrs. Forstmann and her shoes.    I'm not totally  sure if I  have this right, but I believe that he told me he was actually born in what was the old Haunted House, located on the Wildcat side of the Neversink at that south end of property as you entered FV from Claryville. The vision of him riding on the old red Farm All tractor, with his corn-cob pipe clinched tightly in his teeth, will be with me forever.