Reflections on Summers Past by David Yas

  • In anticipation of celebrating our 70th year, we are asking members of our camp community…alumni, parents, staff and campers, to share their favorite memories and camp stories. Check out what the legendary David Yas has to say for himself and for camp! And register today for our 70 celebration!

    When I woke, I swore I could smell the Tzofim chug.

    yas 12It was a familiar odor, with traces of fresh ammonia from the daily cleanup and the nasty but familiar mildewy towels hanging on the line outside. It was just a dream, but man was it vivid.

    I’m a graying man of 46, but there I was in Bunk 7.  I looked down and saw uneven piles of clothes on my cot. An empty duffel bag was at my feet. “Make sure you pack everything up boys,” a voice called. I saw trunks being carried outside.

    It was the last day of camp.

    My heart dropped, and I recognized the desperate sentimentality, the feeling that something so good, so perfect, was coming to an end. People on the road were hugging. It was the sweetest, saddest day.

    I shook my head and thought of my life at home … my children … my job … I knew I had to get back.  I wanted to. But I also didn’t want to leave this place. I was on the verge of tears, so I kept turning my head to the wall, gazing at the graffiti left by the generations of Bogrim past, hoping no one would see me cry.

    I had to find Larry. He’d understand. He was the Director of camp, but also the camp’s most profound philosopher. The keeper of CTN karma. He’d put things in perspective.

    I darted from the bunk and jogged over rocks and benches and entered a hall.

    I could see through the door that Larry was there, but he was busy in some quiet meeting. I couldn’t tell what it was; I just saw him motion to me and point to his bunk. “Meet me there,” he said.

    I turned away, still averting eye contact from the campers on the road who were waving at me. “See ya next summer Yaz,” they said. I couldn’t muster a reply.

    I needed to talk to Larry. I was going to have one of those teary meltdowns like a girl in bunk 18 would.

    Through my watery eyes I saw the flagpole gently shaking with the wind. The old rec hall doors clapping shut as people went in and yazzzout.  A couple of kitchen boys leaned on the fence by the road. Sharon was looking down at a couple of Olot-ers, smiling and holding her clipboard in both arms, like she was hugging it.

    A couple of kids wearing ratty baseball hats were getting in a final game of bounce volleyball. I could still hear a stray whistle; a gaggle of teen girls laughing about something; maybe even a “Sheket” breaking out?

    Finally I made it to Larry’s bunk. I peered in but Larry was still busy, moving some papers around, taking care of things. He was shirtless, as usual, his leathery skin carrying a full eight weeks of sun.  The trademark whistle dangled from his white CTN shorts. He knew I was there but hadn’t looked at me.

    “Larry,” I said, “I really have to talk to you.” Finally he looked up and gave me his knowingest of knowing looks. His face broke into that gap-toothed grin.

    “Don’t worry,” he said. “I’ll be right with you.”

    Larry had departed camp in the late 1980s.  Several years later he departed the earth.

    That was a long time ago. But it sure was nice to see him again.

One response to “Reflections on Summers Past by David Yas”

  1. You made me laugh, you made me cry. All good memories ox

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