Published November 12, 2019
We asked, you answered: what are your favorite camp memories? Through snail mail, email, and over Facebook, you’ve been sharing your fondest memories of camp. Here, we’ve compiled your favorite stories from over 80 years of Farm & Wilderness.
“When I was there,” Bill Schwarzchild (TL and SWC ‘49, ’50, ’52; Sr. Work Camp, ’53; Jr. Counselor ’54) recalls, “there was no running water, electricity, or flush toilets. The big thrill was having a garden big enough to go for a Marmon Motor Car ride. I first attended the Camps soon after the end of the WWII. To meet, live, and learn from Japanese and German people at that time was unheard of anyplace else in my little world. And learn I did!”
Bruce Katz (TL ‘56-’60) was nine years old when he first met Ken Webb in 1956: “I smile when I recall that first Parents’ Weekend when my mother came to the waterfront to see us all swimming, and Ken walked up to say hello to her wearing only his funny ‘Murray Space Shoes’ as they were called.”
Judy Muggia’s (IB ‘44-’52; SWC ’53-’33; IB Nurse ’59) camp memories are full of history–her own and the country’s. On August 14, 1945, she remembers the “wild celebration” when the community learned that Japan had surrendered to the allied forces, bringing an end to the war. And Judy never forgot how Ken Webb once turned down a post as director of the UN School in NYC because “he would not refuse a place at TL for Tony Hiss, Alger Hiss’s son.”
The IB kitchen was Libby Rondthaler Jolley’s (IB Staff ’80-’84) first introduction to F&W. She remembers “being dropped off…in pouring rain, after a 5-day Greyhound trip across the country, knowing no one at camp…and being welcomed in and offered a mug of miso soup.” Decades later, the place still resonates in her memory: “the light coming through the windows, picking up the yellow walls in the old IB Kitchen.”
In the summer of 1972, John Turitzin (TL ‘66-’70; TF ’72) lay awake, watching the Northern Lights break over the sky. “It was as if seeing a colored theater curtain undulating across the sky,” John writes. “I’ve never seen them since and might never see them again. I knew it was unusual, but I didn’t realize at the time just how rare.”
For Peter Burrowes (TL ’61-‘63), there was The Time the Bonfire Jumped Off the Ground: “It was the summer of 1964,” Peter writes. Back then, the bonfires were at least twenty feet across and ten to twelve feet high. Elaborate and entertaining methods have traditionally been used to torch off this conflagration, but none quite so entertaining as that year. Some starter fluid was always used, but this year, somehow, a five gallon can of gasoline got into the mix. As the fire got going, suddenly, with a huge WHOOOMP!, the pile lifted two feet off the ground. Nothing significant of the fire scattered, for which one and all were grateful, but it gave a few people a bad moment before even greater high spirits were restored.”
Bob Weisbord (TL ’73, ’75, ’70, ’80, ’81) hasn’t forgotten the rainy morning in Lower Lodge when Ken Webb told the campers the story of Mad Morgan. Kristi Webb remembers her Grandma Sue telling the story of a “friendly giant.” Many of you recalled with fondness the “giant Salty Dog Rag” at Fair, the sounds of bells drifting down The Valley, and the square dances where first kisses were sometimes exchanged and first dances occasionally ended in marriages. There were Sticky Buns courtesy of Al and Mabel Hicks, pea shelling contests and one-handed bowline tying contests at the TL trading post, and peppermint ice cream on Susan Webb’s birthday.
Resoundingly, your best memories are of the fellow campers and staff who were and have remained integral to your lives. We bet Bill Schwarzchild speaks for many when he writes: “Now, being 82 years old, I still look back on those summers as being the best ones.”
Posted in Community Stories