"I was so much
older then, I'm younger than that now."
There are a million stories waiting to be told.
Here are a few as told by Steve Bernstein, excerpted from his
Every June, David and I left the concrete confines of
for eight wonderful
weeks of freedom at summer camp. We went to a few different camps, but
we stayed at
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
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
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
. 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
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
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
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.