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Staff Positions (Art Adelman)
I attended Camp Brooklyn Division I (Kotohke) as a camper from age 11-15 from 1950-54 and then on staff from age 16-17 1955-56.
My first year on staff all new staff had to enter the "Apprentice" program (preceded Donald Trump's now famous TV program). This was based on the seemingly sound idea of each new staff person spending one two-week period in each of the many staff positions open to new staff members, e.g. Assistant Scoutmaster of a provisional troop (which was the dominant kind of campsite at that time), waterfront, nature lodge, CCP (Camping, Cooking, Pioneering, for those of you getting forgetful), and, definitely not to be forgotten, PotBoy! In fact PotBoy was the only required part of the rotation, and was the only reason we were paid the small stipend that we received (so small I have forgotten the amount). I spent my two weeks as a PotBoy, and it was the hardest and dirtiest work I had ever done to that point, maybe ever, except for some times in the Army, where I was from 1957-59, stationed in Germany, as a tank commander, some of the coldest and toughest duty ever.
Among my memories of that time was my night in the Monticello jail spent because of getting trapped in Monticello on a day off with a fellow staff member when torrential rains made it impossible for vehicles to navigate the roads and in fact caused Mahls Pond to cut through the earth, run into Rock Lake, Rock Lake to break through the dam, and water, row boats, canoes to wash all the way down to Highway 97. I shall have to write that one up for the TMR Museum web site one of these days.
This same year, again because of heavy rains, the bus carrying Sunday visitors to TMR got mired in the mud of the D-1 ball field which was used as a parking lot on visitors day. I was working as a PotBoy during that period, but previously had been Assistant Scoutmaster at I think Kennebec, along with Scoutmaster Jerry Russin (Russian at that time). While serving as Assistant Scoutmaster I made it my business to learn from each camper whether or not they had any siblings, and if of the female persuasion and of the appropriate age range, to encourage them to make sure the sister would come during visiting day. One of the campers had such a sister, she came up, and we became friendly. She came up again on the bus that got stuck and which had to wait several hours for a tow truck-type vehicle with sufficient heft to extricate a bus from the mud to come from Monticello. Since I was now part of "unattached" staff, i.e. did not have to baby-sit campers, my evenings were free and Gloria and I went into the butka of the now unoccupied campsite and spent several pleasurable hours together making out until we heard the rescue vehicle lumber up the service road.
My second and last year on staff I was hired as Assistant Steward to Steward Elliot Friedman. An interesting and pretty easy job, one duty of which involved making chocolate milk from partially consumed quart milk containers. It was camp policy to not return already opened milk containers to meals, so waiters returned containers still holding milk to the kitchen as part of their clean up duties, these were stored in the large walk-in refrigerator in the kitchen. When there was a sufficient quantity of these, it was one of my duties to pour all of these into one of the immense cooking pots, add chocolate syrup, stir with a canoe paddle, have the waiters fill pitchers with this chocolate milk to be set on the tables as part of their meal set-up duties.
Now those of you who are more observant (masters of Kim's Game, remember that one?) will remember that a) I spent all 7 of my years at TMR in Kotohke and b) Kotohke was a kosher division. Therefore there were both dairy and meat pots, marked respectively with a big blue D and a big red M on their side. Naturally, the chocolate milk belonged in a big blue D marked pot, no? While being the callow "Ute" that I was at that time, I did not take the necessary care, and happened to select a meat pot, which mistake I did not notice until all the pitchers were already set on the tables and the meal was ready to be eaten. I did not know what to do, was not religious myself, and therefore decided to do nothing. You might also remember that the Rabbi lived with his family in HQ camp, but would come periodically but irregularly to each kosher division with his heater stack to carry away a meal for himself and his family. You guessed it, that particular lunch he showed up, noticed my transgression, recalled all the pitchers and had the now polluted pot set aside. The next day he returned, had the pot filled with water, set to a boil, added some herbs, invoked a blessing over the pot, and lo and behold, it was returned to service good as new!
That turned out to be not only my last year in D-1, as I went into the Army next summer, but also the last year for D-1, as there was a mess hall fire in D-1, see this story at the TMR Museum web site (as well as the one about the chocolate milk misadventure).
TMR was a wonderful time for me. I met many excellent people, most of whom have become life-long friends, I learned many useful and character-building things, and probably it has been one of the most important times as far as making me the person I am today.