Summers of Babs

I still have my Boiberik t-shirt!

I still have my Boiberik t-shirt!

I want to thank my good friend, Linda, who suggested no fewer than THREE interesting topics for my blog. That was three more topics than any of you other readers suggested. And, so, I am going to go with one of my favorite topics, evoking memories of long ago, summer nights, furtive kisses and poison ivy… Camp Boiberik, in Rhinebeck, NY, where I spent eleven blissful summers and about which I still dream!

The first year I attended camp, I was 8 years old. My bunk consisted of 8 girls, three of whom were named Arlene. The counselor suggested that two of us pick a nickname and so I chose “Babs” the name of the daughter on “Life of Riley.” One of the other Arlenes chose “Cookie.” I was Babs for the 11 summers I attended camp.

Remember Babs and Junior?

Remember Babs and Junior?

One of my early bunk photos

One of my early bunk photos (I’m lower right)

My folks had only signed me up for one month. I think the cost was $125. I was terribly homesick and wrote letters home pleading for them to come pick me up. They did not. However, the fact that my older cousin, Mady, was also a camper, helped me to

Mady and Me

Mady and Me

manage through and I lasted the month.

The next year, my parents signed me up for 2 months, using the ploy that it would be best for me to get out of the Bronx during the hot summer. Coincidentally, my absence would give them more freedom to pack and prepare for our move to upscale Queens. This time, my experience of camp was entirely different and I begged my parents to let me return year after year.

Some of my earliest and fondest memories of Camp were the Shabbas services Friday night and Saturday morning. Friday began with doing “laundry” before sundown, making our beds with fresh, clean linens and dressing in our Shabbas whites. Then, the entire camp lined up in a horseshoe configuration with the leader, Leibush Lehrer, as our guide.  He gave a short inspirational speech, followed by his customary “Alright, ve go!” That

Leibush Lehrer

Leibush Lehrer

signaled the long white line of campers to wend their way across the hill and into the sparkling clean dining hall where a brief candle lighting ceremony was held and we sat down to a delicious meal of

Shabbat Horseshoe

Shabbat Horseshoe

chalah, matzoh ball soup, and chicken. Aside from the well-prepared food, the most exciting part of Shabbas dinner was that each bunk got to exchange their counselor for another of their choosing to be a “guest” at their table. Of course, there were some male counselors who were very much in demand with the female campers, and vice versa. If you didn’t get first pick, you were pretty much stuck with someone nerdy.

Other fond memories of camp involved my active and successful participation in sports (and I don’t mean “getting to 1st base”) about which I will write in later posts.


  1. Sylvia Grossbach


    My name is Sylvia Grossbach and I moved to East New York, Brooklyn in 1955 when I was 11 years old. I had met a wonderful friend named Arlene Chasin whom I’ve been trying to locate all these years. I am now 77 years old and living with my husband. Robert, in Commack, NY. My maiden name is Sylvia Cohen.

    All I have of her memories are two beautiful letters written in July 1955 from Camp Boiberick, Bunk #20. I kept them all these years. Arlene moved shortly after with her two brothers to Japan and I completely lost contact with her. I believe that one of her brothers name was David. I have put in a request a few days ago to have access to the camp’s Facebook page, but it has been pending. I use my husband’s Facebook, Robert Grossbach.

    Any assistance you can give me that will help me get information of my dear childhood friend would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much and I look forward to hearing from you.


    Sylvia Grossbach
    15 Dolly Dr.
    Commack, NY 11725

    631-543-2733 – home

    • Hi, Sylvia. We are the same age; unfortunately, I do not remember Arlene Chasin although the name sounds vaguely familiar. I would think the Boiberik FB page is your best bet. Good luck!

  2. susanna HATENBOER

    Hi Babs, This is Shushy Perlov (Susanna Hatenboer). I remember hanging out abt 20 plus years ago at a Boiberik reunion. It was thrilling to read you blog- Boiberik was unique! Peggy Waletzky and I are in touch and she sent me a link to a 100th anniversary article about Boiberik: If you google camp boiberik, there’s also a slide show, and other memories. I remember you vividly- I hope to read more, and wish you and yours health in these crazy times.

    • Wonderful to hear from you. I will never forget the summer when we were competed against each other for girls president. I will definitely read the article about BOIBERIK, thanks for sending it.

  3. “That was three more topics than any of you other readers suggested.”

    Hey, now… I suggested a topic and a whole genre of topics! 😕

    No apple for you! 😐

    • Yikes! You’re right, loyal reader! You did suggest the Hilbert Hotel math topic. I have not dismissed it entirely….still thinking about it. Thank you so much.

  4. linda Levine

    Arlene, It’s Summer and I’d like to call you Babs, until camp is over. . O.K. Babs?
    What a great idea your counselor had. You and Cookie got to be a new person for six weeks. Maybe , as Babs you felt like a tougher, more athletic girl.
    We did laundry too on Friday and took our newly washed white ( of course) sheets back and put them into our cubbies. All our uniforms were green and “gold”. We all had long hair ( circa 1946,7?) and hair brushes and nailbrushes. I have a photo of the bunk while our 8 girls stood on the porch scrubbing our nails vigorously , and taking turns with the counselors to get our hair bushed. Hurry, it’s almost Shabbos!

    • Thanks for YOUR great memories, Linda, and for your writing suggestions. Babs

  5. Simmy rosenblatt

    I remember you so well Babs. I believe that you were the counselor of my sister bunk. I also think of Boiberik so very often and miss that sense of shared community. I hope that we will have another reunion someday to reconnect.

    • As I remember you, Simmy, thank you so much for reading! Come back again….I have lots more to write about Boiberik. Regards!

  6. Maida

    Babs, Hi. I don’t know if you remember me, but I remember you as being a counselor at about the same time I was…or maybe you were a CIT…..I had long brown hair and played the guitar and sang…Maida Feingold ….Anyway, nice reading your recollections.

    • I absolutely remember you, Maida, thanks for reading and hope you’ll come back for more memories.

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