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"I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now."  Bob Dylan

Submit your Camp Impala memories.  There are a million stories waiting to be told.  Here are a few as told by Steve Bernstein, excerpted from his book:


Andy Bindell
Every June, David and I left the concrete confines of
Brooklyn for eight wonderful weeks of freedom at summer camp. We went to a few different camps, but we stayed at Camp Impala for five great years.  David, Jeff, Isaacs, Sidelle and I started as campers and left as a group of inept counselors and waiters.  On the first day of camp we would meet the bus at Canarsie pier for the long ride up to Woodbourne , New York .  This particular year we were very excited as we where now CIT’s (counselors in training). CIT’s were nothing more than glorified campers.  We still had to pay to go to camp and were not mature enough to be responsible for anything, but we could boss around the little kids.  It was highly enjoyable. As we waited on the pier for all the campers to arrive, we noticed the usual commotion coming from the Bindell family.  Andy Bindell was refusing, as he did every year, to get on the bus.  Andy was a small boy about 12 years old with a mop of very curly blonde hair.  He looked like a miniature Harpo Marx.  His parents tried everything to make him comply.  They promised him toys, they threatened him, they told him he only had to stay for half the summer and finally, they physically tried forcing him onto the bus. All to no avail.  I still remember his white knuckles gripping the edge of the door with no intention of letting go.  It was time for the CIT’s to get involved. We talked with Andy and tried to calm him down.  We talked about the great things we would do that summer.  He wasn’t buying it.  We offered him to ride up to camp in the CIT van with us. No dice.  With his parent’s consent,
we grabbed the little brat and forced him onto the van.  At first, he fought
for dear life.  Then suddenly he relaxed his grip and calmly got into the
van.  Success! Or so we thought.  This little 12-year-old was no fool.  He
got into the van, quickly jumped out the driver side door and ran down the pier into the Marsh.  David was in hot pursuit.  It was a scene straight out of the movies. Andy disappeared into the high weeds.  David was a few seconds behind him and also disappeared from view.  Moments later, David came running out of the woods like a bat out of hell.  Andy soon followed swinging a very large branch menacingly from side to side.  We couldn’t help David, as we were laughing too hard.  We finally were able to disarm Andy and force him into the van.  Of course, he ended up having a great summer and we had a story to tell for life.

The Flying Futz
One summer our camp counselor was a trollish looking guy named Seth Zaglin.  He was very cool and we got along great with him.  Seth was short and dumpy with a big bushy beard and always wore earth shoes.  Sports were definitely not his forte. He did have one skill though, and for this feat we called him The Flying Futz.  A flying futz is similar to high jumping except Seth used campers instead of a bar.  He would make a camper lie face down on the bed with his hands at his sides and then pile us on top, one at a time.  He would start at the back of the bunk and run full speed (for him anyway) and dive headfirst over us onto the next bed.  He did this often and after a while we got to like it except if you were on top.  I think his record was five campers.
My other memorable story of Seth was when one rainy day we went outside of camp to see a movie.  As he went away to arrange payment we waited in the lobby.  He warned us to behave so we went straight to the phone booth and started making phony phone calls.  Being time was short we decided to play a little trick on Seth.  We called information and requested the phone number of the Zaglin residence in
Brooklyn . Fortunately for us his last name was not Cohen.  Having memorized the number we waited for Seth to return.  When he returned, I pretended to hang up the phone and we all started to laugh.  He of course wanted in on the joke. I concocted some story about making a prank call to some woman and really winding her up.  I said she didn’t have a clue what was going on and we made her crazy.  He had a big smile on his face and started to laugh along with us.  I said, “We should call that old hag again.  I even remember her number, 212 636 8308.”  We could see his
mind starting to process the familiar number and the smile slowly dissolved from his face.  His eyes widened and he blurted out in a panic, “HEY, THAT WAS MY MOM!”  The Flying Futz crashed and burned.

Milk
The cows are up in arms,
They’ve left their fields and barns,
They’re marching from their farms,
Because kids don’t drink enough milk.

Most kids at some point in their lives try to be the world’s best at
something.  It could be that they made the biggest rubber-band ball, or
became the youngest pilot to solo across country.  For us it was never that grand. Our biggest challenge was beating the camp record for drinking the most cartons of milk during lunch.  The standing record was 21 quarts of milk between 10 campers.  David, Jeff, Isaacs, Ira, Lance, Schweydock, three other idiots and myself decided the record needed to be broken.  We wanted to make camp history.  We ate light.  We skipped liquids at breakfast.  We trained hard.  We were ready.  The big decision was should we stick to the traditional plain milk or diversify with the better tasting chocolate milk.  We decided it should be drinker’s choice. I went for the chocolate.  I was nervous.  I didn’t want to be the weak link. Our goal was two quarts of milk each, which was a lot for kids who barely weighed 85 pounds.  At the start it was easy.  We couldn’t believe the record stood so long.  This was going to be a piece of cake.  Actually, cake probably would have been a good idea. The milk started to go down a lot slower after the first few glasses by themselves.  After one quart it started to get painful but we had to press on. Some of the guys started to look a bit green.  None of us wanted to be the one to fold.  The whole camp was looking on.  We struggled through the
twenty-second quart.  A new
Camp Impala record!  I remember it was tough to get excited about it at the time because I was so bloated I could barely walk. We stumbled out of the dining room and onto the black asphalt driveway.  That’s when the first domino fell.  Jeff puked a flood of milk all over the black tar.  As soon as Ira saw it, he lost it also, then Schweydock.  And so on.  It was fairly easy to see who went for the chocolate milk and who stuck to nature’s own.  Fortunately for me I was the first one out of the dining room and bee-lined straight for the bunk so all the white washing happened behind me.  I only glanced back once because I knew if I saw it,  I would either be joining them or I would turn into a pillar of salt. I laid down on my bed and didn’t move for two hours.  I don’t think I had another glass of milk for a week.

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