Dear Parents, and CAMPERS, (how strange that last word)
Im fractured this morning--- What a day previously---my campers and staff members were about to leave for home and I was very nervous. I wonder if you can imagine the TROOP MOVEMENT AND LOGISTICS that are involved in getting your son home with all his luggage safe and sound. Well, Im going to make you become me. (H.H. the boss man) and lets get the boys off from camp to their respective homes. We start at 4:00 A.M. on Friday morning. August 18th-- I arose and it as black outside--- I went to Mark Faiwell, one of my assistant directors, and we compared a sheet containing the names of the boys that would be catching a 7:25 A.M. or 7:45 plane out of Rhinelander for Chicago. Every boy in camp had packed his foot locker previously, and we had loaded all but the Milwaukee foot lockers on a hired truck and carted it Thursday evening to the airport and arranged it by cities. Now we had to awaken the early plane group at 5:15 A.M. and get them to breakfast and then have them pack their duffel bags and get it to a waiting trailer which would take the rest of their luggage to the airport.
I took my flashlight and started off to wake up half the early flight contingent. I went to the first cabin, and tapped one of the campers---he looked up startled, grabbed a flashlight and swung it at me, he then pulled his wallet from under his pillow...I muttered, What the heck are you doing, its me H.H., and Im trying to wake you up for your trip home. The kid apologized profusely. When I went to wake up one of the C.I.T.s in Vance Liebmans cabin, I tripped over a rope which was spread across the open doorway of their room. It seems that the C.I.T.s were afraid that they were going to be tossed in the lake by their campers and were taking precautions. Well, we got the 1st contingent up, fed them breakfast, got their luggage loaded, put the boys aboard a bus and left for the airport. We got them all aboard the plane, and began loading all the bags on the plane, but there wasnt an ounce of space left, and the air-line told us it would have to go aboard the 11:45 A.M. big jet plane. Mark called me, and I began sputtering. Mark, do you know what that means--every parent who comes to pick up their boy wont have their duffel bags, and theyll blame me. Do something Mark---please!" Well, he could do nothing, so I plotted our timetable to see if the later plane would catch some of our boys luggage and if we would still get those duffels on their plane trip out of Chicago. The duffels would miss a couple of connections. One guy, Jordy Minkin, sent a trunk weighing over a hundred pounds, and the airline made us pay an additional $10, plus two of my counselors almost got a hernia lifting it onto the plane.
Our entire remaining camp was then awakened at 6:30 A.M. and we all ate breakfast together. Now the packing of the rest of the duffels began, and we split the duffels into separate cities, and tagged all but the Milwaukee group. (I might add that we are the only camp around that air tags all our luggage and sets it aboard the planes. Mark used to work for the airline and is a phenomenon at routing luggage....although one foot locker once ended up in Thailand) Our Milwaukee Greyhound bus came to camp, and we loaded it, loaded up a wagon with a trailer, put the boys aboard the bus, and sent them on their way at 9:00 A.M. for Milwaukee. Then we loaded another wagon and trailer with the duffels for the airport and got our last group of 47 boys who were catching the 11:15 A.M. jet plane for Chicago, and got ready to send them to the Rhinelander Airport. I boarded their bus, and as I looked at them, I got a lump in my throat---this was it--this was my last group of campers and it would all be over very shortly. Steve Feigenbaum of Indianapolis, yelled out, Hey, H.H. were going to get you a lot of new campers from Indianapolis. I looked at him, and I saidHey guys, Ive got good news for you---guess who the third biggest city is with the biggest number of campers at Timberlane. I paused for a moment, and then I yelled out, Its Indianapolis. With that the bus erupted as if I had shot off a stick of dynamite. Everybody began whooping and hollering and patting one another on the back. I guess we had a lot of guys on the bus from Indianapolis. The bus went to the airport and we were now able to load all the duffels aboard the plane and the boys then boarded the 11:15 A.M. plane. And I breathed a sigh of relief, the plane sat, and it sat, and it sat. It was one of two sections of the flight to Chicago. Mark called me and said that the plane had left at 12:02 (noon) and that we were in good shape and for me not worry about a thing. Five minutes later, I got a call from Mark and he said, H.H., we got a problem---the way it looks, this plane wont make the 1:15P.M. flight that goes to Indianapolis as this plane wont get into O'Hare Airport until 1:10 P.M. and the boys cant get to their flight in tie. I wailed and I cursed, and I said to myself, How did I ever get into this stupid business. Imagine, 23 sets of parents waiting for the flight in Indianapolis. and no boys of theirs aboard the flight. I grabbed the phone, and I called Allegheny Airlines in Chicago, got the terminal and told them that our plane would be late out of Rhinelander and that they must hold their flight one half hour to allow us to get our luggage and kids aboard their plane. They told me that it couldnt and never had been done, so I should forget it. I told them if they knew what powerful, influential, loving, irate parents would do to their reputation if they left those poor kids stuck in O'Hare Airport. They thought about it---from then on, (I thought) everything went smooth as silk, and at 3:30 P.M. my Milwaukee counselors called me to tell me that all boys had arrived safely and been picked up. At 4:00 P.M. I received a call from one of my five counselors at O'Hare saying that all boys were off safely, and that only left one guy to go. Steve Eisenberg, of Madison, was flying from Rhinelander to Madison at 4:30 P.M. ---His mom had decided at the last minute to fly him home rather than pick him up. Since it was short notice, I couldnt get a confirmed reservation and could only get him on standby. The flight was booked solid, and as the time approached for take off it looked dimmer and dimmer for him to get on the plane. Finally, the word came in to me--No space for Steve. So, I frantically called his mom, told her of our plight and brought Steve back to camp. He loved every minute of it. He was my guest a dinner--we all went out to eat--then he sat around with the remaining staff members---and slept in my house. Hes flying home today.
(Synopsis of final closing of camp)
After the last group had left for the plane, it was raining heavily, and the entire staff looked sad and bedraggled. I called them all together and I said, Guys, weve got to finish closing up camp, and as soon as you finish the work, youll get your pay checks. That did it--they perked up and everyone started to work like beavers. The night before, the entire camp pitched in to pull in the boardwalk, ski dock, and swim pier, and now with the whole staff working together, we put everything away, cleaned up the cabins, and completed the entire task by 11:00 A.M. on Friday morning. Then the boys all said good-bye to one another and the gals in camp started with the wailing and crying, and I settled back to wait and listen to events of our troop movement home. And now it was over, yes it was truly over---the calls had come to me that all boys were safely on their way, and no major problems??????? had developed. And on Friday evening at 9:00 P.M. a parent called me to tell me how happy and excited her son was about his camp experience, and how pleased she was at the way we got her son home with his luggage on the plane. I told her, Oh, theres nothing to it, I just sit back and let my staff do it all. Well, after two pages of telling you how it really is, I hope that you truly realize the monumental task that is involved in getting your boys home, and the logistics that goes into it, so please dont become upset if your duffel bag is two hours late---weve done out part....
Last Tuesday morning was a good one, and at 7:30 A.M. some of our boys got on horses, rode them bareback, and awakened the rest of the camp. It was POW WOW DAY and a great one. We all engaged in a series of contests and the day swayed back and forth with the Aztecs and Croix (pronounced Cree) neck and neck. Yep, you guessed it---the outcome would be decided by the last event, the Tug of War, and in a final burst of energy, the Croix won their last tug against the Navajo tribe to win the day by 4 points.They lifted their leaders on their shoulders and I took a movie of the boys cheering and yelling. Then we had an outdoor STEAK dinner, and as we finished the meal it began to drizzle and then to rain. We moved our campfire inside and as we sang our favorite songs you could sense the joy and unity of our group. The boys delight in sitting together, and hearing stories and guitar music as well as singing out the things we love. Then we had lots of smores to eat. (the boys take marshmallows and roast them, place them on Hershey milk chocolate bars and place it all between delicious graham crackers) It was pouring outside and we waited until the rain finally abated for a few minutes and then sent them to bed. And yet the rains came, and it poured for five continuous hours, and I became worried. I have only once before heard such a long and pelting rain. And I awoke at 5:30 A.M. and our beach was wiped out...there was a gorge where the sand beach had been. I was only thankful that it had happened after the major program was finished. Kids were running on the shoreline which had lots of water on the grass, and two kids were sitting in a rowboat which had been placed in the center of our beach area, and they were going to try to row it around the suddenly formed pond. Our 105 H.P. boat had been sunk, motor and all. SO we rushed into action--drained the sunken boat and rushed it Kens Marine Mart and he cleaned out the motor , dried the inside, fogged it and it was ready to go. I only needed five yards of beaches sand dumped on the beach and its now back in shape again. The sun came out again on Wednesday, Cruiser Day, and the boys loved it. At night it rained again, so we wouldnt get to see the Minocqua-Bat Ski team. Thursday, we did our initial packing, and then had 1st and 2nd series of activities in the morning, then we continued with our packing and then ate lunch. After lunch, most of the awards were given out, including such things as banners for 1st years boys, jackets for 2nd year campers, special T-shirts for 3rd year and over campers, memory books for those that ordered them, and many many awards. Birthday lists and achievement charts were passsed out and the boys put them in their foot lockers. The lockers were brought out to special areas for loading, and the campers went to their 3rd and 4th period classes. We then had a giant scrubdown at the lake, and finally it was dinner time. It was a great meal, and afterwards we went down to our barbecue area for our final evening of singing, special awards and our key log ceremony. Many, many boys came up to the fire and threw in a key log to give thanks...it was a most moving ceremony.
A few years ago, one of our campers, Andy Brickman, was getting ready to come to camp, and he went to his doctor to get his medical form filled out. They took a blood test, and the reading was strange, so they retook the test. They found out that he had leukemia, and as a result, Andy didnt come to camp and died shortly thereafter. In memory, we made up the Andy Brickman Memorial Award for Camper of the Year, and it is given to a boy who shows the willingness and desire to help out a camp and become that type of a young man who best represents what we feel is one of the most well rounded campers at Timberlane. The staff had met previously and voted a number of times, and we had two boys that were so outstanding, that we had two Campers of the Year. Congratulations to Scott Goodman and Mark Abrahams for achieving this honor. We then went to the lodge after the campfire, placed candles in paper dishes, carried them to our waterfront, and launched the burning candles in the lake. Randy Wynn got on a rooftop and played his bugle as the candles floated out on the lake. And then camp was over---this was it---We had a few parties in the cabins at night, and finally the boys fell asleep...And were back to 4:00 A.M and I awoke to get the boys up for the trip home...Its been our best season---I loved it---your boys loved it---and Ill write you all once more with a summary--Bye Bye H.H.