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.

8 Comments

  1. “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.

  2. 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

  3. 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!

  4. 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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