Dear Takajo Families,
It has become a cliché to refer to the pandemic as “unprecedented.” What’s not a cliché is that none of us has ever experienced anything in our lifetime like what we’ve endured these past ten months. It’s easy to become numb, if not beaten down, by what has become our “new normal.” The sacrifices we’ve had to make when it comes to career, education, social life– even simple exercise – are only magnified when we witness the loss through the eyes of our children.
What encourages me is watching how remarkably resilient our children are. I consider myself pretty flexible, but I marvel at the way my own children have dealt so seamlessly with the incredible changes in their daily lives. With each disappointment, they have moved on quickly and found new outlets for their energy and creativity. They have taught me the importance of breaking out of my daily routine and finding something that brings a smile to my face.
A few weeks ago, I was looking through some old photos and reminiscing about some of the amazing experiences I’ve been fortunate to have in my life. Naturally, many of them took place at Camp Takajo where I started as a camper in 1970. One of the pictures I came across was my bunk photo when I was fifteen. My friends and I were in Algonquin, which is the bunk on Senior Quad closest to the lake.
As I thought back to that summer, I wondered how my old bunkmates were doing. To my great delight, I’ve had the opportunity to remain in touch with many of the guys who, after they got married and started their own families, sent their sons to Takajo. Nevertheless, most of their boys have graduated, and it’s been years since we all spent time together. Thanks to social media, I was able to track down every one of my Algonquin bunkmates from 1977.
I shared the bunk photo included here, and we arranged a Zoom Bunk Reunion. Before we knew it, two hours had passed. We picked up right where we left off at fifteen! What a treat to get lost in some of my happiest childhood memories with guys who played starring roles in my adolescent adventures. So many stories gushed out – conversations after Taps late into the night, laughing ’til our sides hurt, remembering some of the great trips we took together and the counselors who played such an important role in our young lives – one of whom is none other than Warren Davis, my associate director for the past thirty years. Warren took us on our Canada Trip that summer. When we got to the hotel in Old Quebec, we all invaded Warren’s room, pinned him on the bed, put a pen in his mouth, and made him sign a document (drafted by future lawyer, Andy Levine) saying we had no curfew and could go anywhere in the city we wanted. Our bark ended up being bigger than our bite as we were all back at the hotel by 10 PM, hanging out, just happy to be together.
There were a few stories – well, maybe more than a few – that I can’t tell here because they might give our current campers some ideas. But what a great opportunity to share so many wonderful memories with some of my greatest childhood friends. No cable TV news, no thinking about the pandemic, no worrying about what tomorrow might bring. For a brief time, the world stood still, and I was able to anticipate a happy ending to every story told. Without being overly dramatic, it was just what the doctor ordered.
We are all so driven to be in the moment and fix what is right in front of us, problem-solve for those we love, and pave the way for the future. As we celebrate Thanksgiving and eagerly anticipate the New Year, I hope you can find your own moments during the holiday season to reconnect with those who made an impact on you. I promise it will be time well spent. It will no doubt rekindle some of the best memories of your life and help you look forward to many more in the future with your family and friends.
Warren joins me in sending love to your family and wishing you all the best as we celebrate the holidays!
Former Camp Takajo Campers- To reconnect and share your own stories with other alumni, consider activating your account on the Camp Takajo Alumni Website!
Photo caption: The Boys of Summer. Bunk Algonquin 1977. We haven’t changed a bit!
(standing, l to r) Counselor Doug Tully, Eric Borman, David Halper, Yours Truly (Jeff Konigsberg), Andy Levine, Counselor Rich Hardy (kneeling) Neal Kronovet, Lane Ostrow, David Horowitz, Fred Rubin, Steve Korman