Thursday, March 20, 2008


We'll start relatively early I suppose, with a person I met in the summer of 1993.

That summer I finished my second year of CIT (Counselor-in-training) at Camp Henry Kaufmann in Ligoneer, PA (not far from Johnstown). The camp has since been sold out of the Council because it was too big, too old, and in need of too much repair for the Council to maintain. Plus, before the rezoning, it was technically outside of the Pittsburgh-based Council's territory. Now, of course, it's smack in the middle, but hey - what can you do?

Anyway. Ruth was from England, one of the counselors brought in from overseas every year, and she quickly got tagged with the camp name "Doc", for reasons I hope should be obvious. For whatever reason, she and I really hit it off. I spent the last week of the program in her unit, assisting her and the other counselor ("Chatterbox") with programming and whatnot. I recall that I was put in charge of the All-Camp skit.

For anyone not familiar with All-Camp, aka - just about anyone reading this, it took place on the final night of the 3, 4, or 5 day session, and all ten units in camp would bring their groups down to the Maple Ridge field and put on a little skit or show. Each session had a theme (fairytales, cartoons, christmas, talent show, etc) and the skits were supposed to have some relation to both the camp and the theme. The productions varied - sometimes the counselors would write the skit or song, sometimes the scouts would, sometimes the troop leaders would take charge. It depended a lot on how many days the group was in camp, how old the girls were, and how pushy or confident the leaders were.

I don't particularly remember what our skit was that night, though I want to say it was "Snow White and the Eleven Dwarves", a production that also featured Goldilocks and the Five Bears and Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Elephant. What I do remember quite clearly is that after spending the week with Doc, I had developed a freakishly good English accent and that when I opened my mouth that night to introduce our group, I did the whole thing in Brit-speak. God, the rest of camp teased me about that for days.

Ruth and I kept in touch for a few years, but this was before email was universal, and I'm not sure whether or not she ever got my last letter, because I never got a response. I remember that I loved her address - Rose Cottage - even though I don't remember the town it was in. The last I heard from her was in 1997 or so, I think. I remember that she always talked about her boyfriend Alan. I wonder if they stayed together.

I don't know where she is or what she's doing, but she's definitely a character who made her mark on me. I hope she's well and occasionally thinks of me as I do her.

Sunday, March 02, 2008


I lost track of the date.


All's well with my dad - his doctor and therapy crew keep yelling at him to slow down and not puch himself so hard. He's still got some weakness in his right hand and he says his signature might never be the same, but other than that, he seems to be doing pretty well. Driving my mother batty, in any case, so that seems about back to normal.

I survived February with friends visiting, a conference in Nashua, four twelve-hour work days in a row, and throwing my back out so badly the pain is still lingering even now -- two weeks later.

Anyway, I don't really have time right now to write the post I wanted to write, so I'll just tell you what I intend for the rest of the month. I've lived in a few interesting places, worked a range of different jobs - many with a constantly rotating cast of characters. So my plan for March (and possibly beyond) is to memorialize some of the more colorful or influential individuals who have crossed my path over the last 14 years.