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My Night In The Monticello Jail (Art Adelman)
The summer of 1955 I turned 16 and after 5 years as a camper I was finally on the TMR staff, at D-1. My job – Apprentice, one of the first hired into that dreary program, marked by a period or periods in various camp jobs, including a required one as a Pot Boy!
During that Pot Boy period, I got a day off, and a fellow staff member, Herb Miller, and I hitched into Monticello to pick up girls. We were successful, and spent the day with two girls we met who were staying with their families at one of the bungalow colonies in the area. As night fell, so did the rain, in buckets, and Herb and I had to get back to camp or Camp Director Frank Swiatokos would tell us PYT (Pack Your Trunk!). Hitching was out of the question, the torrential rain was making rivers of the Monticello streets, and there was not a car to be seen. We went to the taxi office to get a taxi to camp, truly a desperate act for penurious staff, but the taxi started to get water coming into the cab floor and turned right back around and left us stranded.
We decided to go to the Police Station for help. We took off our shoes and socks to cross the street to the station house, as the street was now a swollen river. When we got to the station looking like two drowning rats, the Police took pity on us and offered to put us up at the jail.
However, the jail was not in the Police Station, but in the Court House, on the other side of the street, so we forded ‘the river’ again, and presented ourselves at the jail entrance in the Court House basement. This turned out to be the drunk tank, where for some reason there was a washing machine with a mangle dryer, and a semi-sober man walking/staggering around. The officer in charge welcomed us, and while the officer gave us coffee and reading material (the Police Gazette), the man ran our drenched clothes through the mangle. Soon the officer took us to the top floor of the jail where a very big cell was used to store a large number of new mattresses, pillows and blankets. Herb and I laid out several mattresses, pillows and blankets and bedded down for the night.
When we awoke in the morning, the sky was clear, the sun shining, and we hitched to camp, marveling at the damage the rampaging water had done, including causing Rock Lake to burst its dam and course all the way down to Highway 97, where canoes and row boats from Rock Lake had been carried down in the channel cut by the rampaging water and were now strewn on and around Highway 97.
This total experience has lived sharply in my memory these many years.