Ten years ago, when a few of us were digging through some old Kewanee-ana with the idea of creating a neo-Knocker, Abe Samuels sent me a photocopy of the letter he had recently received from Dave Sechrist. The letter, simply entitled "Some Memories," was handwritten, on 43 pages in a high school notebook. Reading it, I found Dave's observations - on the biological and human ecology of mid-century Manatakans, from pollywog to butterfly to Kamper to Anspacher - wonderfully wise and whimsical. It seemed to me the grand accounting of an ancient and almost (at least in my mind) legendary tribe, now fading into the deep mists of memory. (Did all this really happen?)
Dave's letter sat in my file drawer for the ensuing decade. For reasons I know not, it all but bolted from the drawer late this summer, and insisted on being keyboarded into my computer. And so here, for the pleasure that it may give to assorted KK'ers of various generations, are Dave Sechrist's Kewanee memories: unexpurgated (all the parenthetical question marks are his) and unedited. Any spelling mistakes are doubtless mine; Dave's orthography, like so much in his life, was perfect.
Thanks for your help: Abe and Johnnie Samuels, and Dave Rutstein! And to all: If you know anyone who'd like a copy of this and didn't get one, please let me know.
Pax Vobiscum - and Kee Kee Wah!
Robert ("B.S.") Cohen
DAVID L. SECHRIST
(1903 - 1995)
June 1927 - my visit to Kewanee to help Fred Reynolds and sons install a second tennis court, Dr. A. watched. Friendly conversation. That Fall he died.
My timid visit to the kitchen door in June, 1934, to see if there were an opening. That evening Uncle Aub walked over to our farmhouse, sat on our porch as we conversed. Next day - -Hired!
Frank Essig's Indian Council Ring in the woods N.E. of the present 12-00.
I was baseball coach that year. In charge of Seniors' Kamp baseball team. Johnny Samter, catcher, a whirling dervish as he "needled" the Camp Venard pitcher. Jack Newman pounding down the first base line trying to beat out a drive.
I was in Tent 8. Memories of Leonard Silverstein being propelled out of Tent 9 as Caesar Gold insisted he prepare for inspection.
Headed towards the Mess Hall for my first meal. Ben Lowengard kindly informed me that shoulders must always be covered at meals.
Dave Halle and John Samter spent that meal in the rafters above us - had something to do with an initiation.
Someone fitted me in a contest with Ralph Levy - a dash from right field to the 3rd baseline. To Ralph's surprise (and mine) I won.
Ben Lowengard convulsed me in laughter --
1. Telling me he was evicted from the band at Harrisburg Academy for using his trombone to vault over a fence.
2. Headed toward the mess hall, he put his hand on the low (and frail) rail guarding Mrs. A's rosebushes, tried to vault over. The rail gave way - and so did Ben.
3. After Taps, in the Mess Hall, Ben decided to empty and revamp the contents of his wallet. He pulled out a news item from Kewanee, III. Then a news item from the Harrisburg Telegraph: "Mr. and Mrs. (Joe) Lowengard, of (street, #) are proud to announce that their son Benjamin has achieved the Dean's probation list at Syracuse University."
4. After-supper baseball game - Jimmy A. played first, Ben second. A grounder came toward Ben. He scooped it up with his unaccustomed grace, swiveled to get into position to make a left-handed peg to Jimmy. Ben had completely forgotten the influence of gravity on a ball after it leaves the hand. It hit the ground 4 3/4 feet below Jimmy's glove and scooted between his legs. The runner was safe. Ben waited for an explosion of invective. Jimmy was motionless, glaring with disbelief and ineffable (former) affection at Ben. Finally, Ben said, "Well I had to pick it up off the ground. Why shouldn't you?"
5. After the noon meal, C.C. Frank D. and Ben would go out the small side door, down the steps, enter the Kounselor Room. Ben would give the call of a Hoot Owl; Frank would pull out 2 White Owl cigars and say: "The White Owl Club will now come to order:"
6. Ben was the favorite Inspector. He would stop at a tent: "Have you prepared thoroughly?" "Yes!" "O.K. Gentle-men. I have been known to award marks after undue influence has been exerted. Do you have anything to offer?" A camper would rush out with a Hershey bar, hand it to him. 'Thank you, gentlemen. Your grade is 100. My confidence in your kindness has been rewarded." On to the next tent.
Those meetings of owners, Kounselors, after taps on the first day. H.C. would remind us of Mrs. A's constant concern that the covers be on the sugar bowls during all meals.
Letters from parents, containing special medications, etc. for their sons were read. Once H.C. said: "Who has Hoimie Goldblatt in his tent?" "Skinny" Ennis said: "I do." Frank read: "Be sure that Hoimie's Kounselor watches his bowel movements." "Skinny" said; "What! Wait a minute! I don't mind giving him his pills, seeing that he goes to 10-00, but do you mean I must watch his bowel movements?"
"Skinny" on the raft, diving, cleaving the water not like a knife, but more like a bag of garbage, sinking out of sight. Up he came, feet first.
In the Mess Hall during a meal the wind was blowing the swinging screen doors open. "Skinny" went to them, put on a hilarious scene, closing them, commanding them silently, - - -! Pure comedy.
In the lodge, rehearsing Gilbert and Sullivan. "Skinny" went down the benches with a broom and convulsed the whole cast without saying a word. What a comic!
In the Mess Hall - noon meal - H.C. Frank off duty, Dave S. was in charge. A perfectly tremendous rain came down, with lightning flashes, terrific cracks; one struck a tree just outside the mess hall. Thunder exploding. Rain blowing in through the screens. Dave had all tables moved to the center of the room. Bob Stephens went to the piano, banging out familiar tunes. Some very scared boys gradually calmed down.
Middle of the night. A terrific lighting, thunder, rainstorm. Wind blowing at the tent ropes. Larry Crone, of Baltimore, called: "Dave! We must be sleeping in a wind tunnel!"
Taps on 2 bugles, one an echo up on the football field.
The German doctor who played the violin - several times he played Taps on his violin.
Kounselors at the Kampfire after Kampers were in bed. Hungry for some sweet corn from Fritz's garden. Fred Harris volunteered to get a pail of ears of corn. When he came back with them, he said: "I passed up the ears with brown silk, picked the ones with green silk. Was that right?"
Midnight and after. I was trying to sleep. Just outside, a group of Kounselors were competing in a Crapitation Contest. Feet spread, knees bent, hands grasping the ... Release as many and as loud explosions from the anal vent as you could create. They were counted and evaluated. Rest until others took their turn. In the meantime, you might be ready for a second demonstration. Much laughter. I stepped to our tent opening, said 'That's disgusting!" and said they should quit the noise and let us sleep - which they did after some time. Eddie Chiampi often repeated to me afterward: "That's disgusting!" as he rolled in glee.
In the Nature room after taps, reading or working, side windows open. On muggy nights, big moths and other insects fluttered in. I didn't chase them.
Or, hearing Kounselors at the tank, slapping canoe paddles at the large bass swimming in the tank.
After taps, Leo Pelton and I went to the shop, worked on wood projects until midnight or later. I called Leo my "blueprint" - he always helped when I needed it. He always had requests from relatives and friends to complete. In several summers, I could recall projects I completed - desks for John, Alan, Lauren - still in use; saddle racks; gun rack, chimney cap for farmhouse, frame for wire screen for porch, lamps from sumac wood on Thurston's ash pile, rose trellis, 2 broadbase stools (still in use), frames for cellar window screens, bookshelves --. Leo figured bills, turned them into the office.
Noon meal. No Marty. Jimmy A said to a Kamper: "Go down to the lodge and see if he's there." Kamper returned: "Yes, he's down there." Jimmy: "Did you tell him we are eating?" "No, you just said: "See if he's there."
Fritz: when I first met Jimmy A, and we were talking, he would never stand still. He would walk and I would follow him. Finally, I noticed that he always came back, so when he walked, I just waited for him to wander back.
One June, Fritz built the mezzanine on the end of the mess hall. I helped him. Several times I helped paint tent platforms, repair them, put up tents, take them down, put boats and canoes in the lodge, pick up luggage in the tents, truck it to the RR station, weed gardens, pick vegetables.
The old, unused, rotting boat in the outlet. A good source for various protozoa, spirogyra, bryozoans (at first I thought they were sponges.) Using the microscope, I saw for the first time the circular hooked statoblasts which were released by the bryozoans as cold weather approached. They sank in the water: in the spring they developed into new moss plants.
I hunted many times for the coelenterates, hydra, in the lake, but never found any. One day Billy Speizman came in with quite a few, found just past the lodge. About 1/4" long.
Many Kampers saw, through the microscope, the red corpuscles moving thru the narrow capillaries in the webbing between the toes of live frogs, or in the tail of a pollywog.
In the outlet, while in a boat, I would use a paddle to stir the mud in the bottom of the pond. Many bubbles of methane gas rose to the surface. A lighted match set the CH4 afire.
Rest hour - sometimes I would take a boat to the inlet, or to the bog across the lake; look for nests and eggs of red-winged blackbirds; for back-swimmers; for kingbird nests; for muskrat holes in the bank.
In early June, female catfish would cruise the shallows of the pond near the lodge, with several hundred black 3/4" young in a school.
Mrs. A's cultivated water lilies in tubs near the lodge. The clusters of yellow lilies (cow lilies) or white ones all around the lake-edge.
In the early 30s, Em Stanton and I went to Lake Kewanee, brought several pods of white water lily plants to Lake Mana-taka, covered the roots with mud. Until then, the lake had only yellow lilies.
Lou Moscowitz did a good project on study of clouds - types, development or disappearance during the day, relationship to weather! Unusual clouds, mammocumulus. Gordy Lawrence selected that project once, but stretched out along the foul line to watch a game, and once in a while, by accident, looked up at the sky.
Benn Weeks - a fine collection of pressed plants, for a college requirement. He used them on a nature program.
Sam Strauss - at a loss in selecting a nature project. I suggested - "How about you and I in a boat, cruising the shores, picking up trash, improving the beauty of the lake?" "Sure." It worked for 2 or 3 times, then he had enough.
Howard Bloom and his Minolta and I following the egg-laying, hatching, development of young in the towhee birds behind 12-00.
Dr. Felsenstein - "In June - pinch your skin; it is flabby. In a few weeks, it will be firmer."
The huge anthill near the road to Stubles. We put dead animals on it. In a day or 2 the flesh was cleaned from the bones.
Johnny Ludd decided to reduce his waist area. He cut a piece of rope to just encircle him. Each day he tied it; excess rope would mean he was getting thinner. He didn't know that every few days his bosom friend Eddie Chiampi would snip a 1/4" or 1/2" off the rope, and presto - the waist must be larger.
Dennis Gelli - "Hey, Eddie; for cryin' out loud! Ah-h-h - come on!"
Senior Day - Kounselor volleyball game. Eddie Chiampi was behind Walt Davis. A high one came over. Walt had his hands up: "I have it! I have it!" Just before it arrived he said suddenly, "You take it," as he jumped aside. The ball landed on Eddie in a tangle. Was he disgusted!
At night, watching the man-made balloons, Echo, Telstar (balloon) moving across the sky.
At afternoon swim on a sultry day. Looking to the Stuble farms (the west) sometimes, there was a cold front - a black area with straight edge, behind that a lighter color. When a breeze came up, the black edge started to move toward us and disintegrate. Quick raindrops came. We closed swim, went up the hill. A heavy shower lasting 20-30 minutes came down. I was on my back above the tennis courts, looking into the swirling mass of dark clouds as they passed low overhead. The rain tapered off quickly. To the south, toward Fritz's house, a beautiful rainbow (sometimes double) would appear. Sometimes it was there for an hour. Once, we had such a cold front and rainbows on 3 successive days.
In thunder and lightning I walked up to the Craft Shop. It was on high ground. The lightning was spectacular.
In '34 or '35 [an] astronomer was brought in. He set up a good telescope on the basketball court. Then he showed magnificent photos of the skies, covering a large suspended sheet, as he lectured. Then we looked thru the telescope; saw 2 of Jupiter's moons. Beautiful evening.
Frequently, after taps, a group, several to a dozen, would go up past the tentline to look at, talk about, identity constellations and planets, talk about space, galaxies. Field glasses or telescopes were used.
There were some spectacular displays of the aurora borealis. Once, in the tank at night, I turned over to swim on my back. Until then, I hadn't noticed the beautiful Northern Lights display above. A number of times I observed them beyond the tentline, on my back in the grass.
Meteor showers - the Perseids Aug. 10-12 (Sister Nora's birthday 11/12) We saw them many times.
Gilbert and Sullivan shows - costumes by Mrs. A & the ladies; props by Jerry Adler and helpers. Joe Wood at the piano. Johnny Ludd as Yum-Yum; Leonard Silverstein as Ko-Ko; Doc Klein as Pooh-Bah; HC - The Mikado; Dick Gottlieb as Katisha; DLS as Nanki-Poo. Crowded lodge. The violinist Joseph Fuchs, friend (and husband) of Scranton people, came twice.
Final banquet night. On my 25th, they gave me a record player and records and a watch. At one final banquet I sat next to Mrs. Straus. I went to the piano for a musical number. On my return, my chicken was gone. Mrs. Straus smiled sweetly, said: "Our dog likes chicken."
Uncle Aub - never happier than when arrayed in a Zilch Brothers costume. He enjoyed his daily after-lunch session of checkers with Duke Bunnell.
One summer the bugler was Hugh Myers, using a trombone. On July 4, with the camp lined up at the flagpole, Hugh was playing the Star Spangled Banner; he couldn't find the end of it, and kept repeating. Joe Hevesi, near me, said: "He must be playing The Stars and Stripes Forever."
Joe Hevesi thoroughly enjoyed The Mikado. I can still hear him in the opening chorus: "If you want to know who we are - -We are gentlemen of Japan."
I met Leonard Silverstein on the street in Scranton one fall. Then a Wyoming Seminary student, he persuaded them to stage 'The Mikado." They had tryouts, and he, (Kewanee's all-time Ko-Ko, wielder of the Snicker-snee) failed to qualify for the part. He told me that ironic news with a hearty laugh.
Dick Gottlieb really "found" himself on the stage as he played the part of Katisha.
The H.C., Frank Dolbear, as he played leading parts, devel-oped the use of cue cards to the nth degree - in his hand, inside a hat, overhead on the stage, on the back of another character.
During my first year at Kewanee, Frank Dolbear came to KK as the first baseman on the Factoryville Town Baseball Team. Later, Uncle Aub asked me: "Do you think he would be a good Head Kounselor?" I spoke highly in favor. Next year he began his 26 year career as H.C. He enjoyed KK so much. He often said, "If we could have our school students 24 hours a day as we do the Kampers, we could help them so much more."
One summer Bob Sheplar had Philadelphia Bobby Wolf in his tent, On the mid-season Parents' Day, Mr. Wolf said, "Is Bob practicing on his saxophone? Sheplar: "What saxophone? I didn't know he played one." Mr. Wolf: "The only way he came here was on the promise that he would practice it every day." They found the sax in its case under the bed. Sheplar: "I often wondered what he had in that case!"
Cliff Straus, Kounselor on duty after taps on a night of full moon, baying mournfully at the moon as other Kounselors left to go to Fleetville Hotel or to Dino's in Factoryville.
Broom Polo - what a game! At midnight on a night of full moon, Kounselors marched off 2 goals from third baseline to right field; each picked up a broom from the tentline. A soccer ball or volleyball was used. As Kounselors drifted back into Kamp, some joined the fun. Joe Wood elected to play against me. He was a bit unstable as he had lifted his arm too often at the bar. I enjoyed sweeping at the ball, sometimes catching him behind the knees - he buckled, fell on the ground as I brushed the ball toward the goal. He said: "You will be sorry. I will get you for that." I was scheduled to play the cello on Saturday evening, play night in the lodge, After we played a few measures, Joe moved a half-step up on the key signature, I was surprised, but moved up as soon as I could, Up he went again - and again - and again. I gave up in laughter. He leaned over and said: "I told you I would get you!"
On evenings of boxing or wrestling in the Lodge, Joe really came into his own. He was escorted to the ring by several Mafia characters. All wore the traditional Zilch Bros. full-dress
coats. The padded gloves were fastened on Joe's hands as he chomped nervously "at the bit," eagerly looking for a victim. The match began. The opponent landed a punch on Joe's mouth. He began to gag. One of the seconds held a tin wash basin to his mouth, and at least 64 "teeth" rattled into the basin. Later chemical study found them to be pebbles from Kewanee Kampers.
One noon hour Joe didn't show up for lunch. Someone sent a Kamper to the Theater Guild room to search for him, "including the little closet." When the closet door was opened, Joe's inert body, with a rope around his neck, sagged out against the startled searcher. Joe loved that trick,
Leo Pelton was the all-time Never Defeated champion swimmer of the Kounselor Staff, from tank to diving platform. The challenge to all others in the race was to start late and swim so slowly (even back-pedaling) so he would remain King.
Nature hikes - many directions, based on the Kamper's choice of a project. Favorite spots were: Butterfly Corners on Swiderski's land; Butterfly Corners #2 along the road past Rudats' farm; Cow Pie Island across Lake Manataka; roadside across from Dr. A's woods; the lane to Jim Rodney's farm; roadside fields from Stubles' toward Fleetville. A famous One Time Butterfly Hike was taken by Walt Davis, Eddie Chiampi, Jimmy Giordino, and Dave Sechrist. Jimmy G. cried: "I got a Black Label!" (beer can, of course.) Specimens caught were displayed in a case on the Nature Room wall.
Dave used his open, no-curtain jeep to transport Chiampi, Walt Davis, and Zavacky after taps to Palumbo's. A cold night - they almost froze to death.
Blueberries! During late July and early August they hung heavy on the bushes - up above the football diamond; across the field toward Lake Kewanee; at Butterfly Corners II. Ruth and our 4 boys enjoyed those blueberry muffins she made.
Cal Landau spent a summer helping Mr. Rudat on his farm.
Early morning bird walks led by Marty Eshleman, Later, Dave and Pete Greenbaum went out, ended with a swim in the tank before reveille.
Helping to winch the tank from its winter resting-place to the Lake, pull it into position, tie it to trees, load the corners with stones, then reversing after Kamp was finished.
Gellis' friend giving a demonstration of trick shots on the pool table at Palumbo's.
Nick Del Gevio, boxer supreme from Yale. I saw him win at Penn State. Began at KK when I did. One day at noon meal - no Nick and no Herbie Wertheimer. A Kamper found them on the tentline. They were wrestling; Nick found a hold which immobilized Herbie and didn't want to break it.
Nick, with his dark skin and goatee, looked like a foreign emissary. He dressed up, tails and tie, took a retinue to Scranton to a restaurant. The henchmen formed a double line to the door, escorted Nick stiffly to a table. All eyes were on them.
1934-1935. The 2 German young fellows who spent the summer at Kewanee; Jimmy taught them to play "Guggenheim."
The unforgettably moving experience in the Lodge, with lights dimmed, a U.S. flag in the background when a refugee boy from Germany sang: "God Bless America!"
The half-hour services in the lodge each Saturday before lunch. Previously, Mrs. A had placed fresh flowers on the mantle above the fireplace around Dr. A's photograph; and Willy cleaned the room and arranged the benches.
The special Sat. A.M. service following Jimmy A's death. H.C. spoke and Dave spoke.
The Nicholson Hike for seniors, led by Marty. The many overnight hikes.
Trips to Pocono Playhouse; to New Hope; to West Point, Niagara Falls, Canada; to World's End; Keystone; Rocky Glen; High Bridge.
Camp meets. At first, we seemed to be enemies of Camp Vernard. Later, almost the whole Kamp went to Camp Susquehannock, Camp Susquehanna, Pinemere, Camp St. Andrew. (I stayed back at KK with the non-athletes.)
Marionette Shows. All the creative activities leading up to it. Marty in charge. Trips out-of-camp to Tunkhannock Methodist Church, to Pinemere, to --- . A great activity; Mayer Abramson as M.C.
Chink Affelder - "Trees." Demonstration of Cake baking. Mrs. A shuddered as he broke an egg, let the contents fall on the floor, threw the shells into the mixture.
His lecture on Elderberries and Youngerberries.
Skinny Ennis - "Paul Revere's Ride."
Movies - "Come on, Saaam!"
Jimmy A's movies on KK past seasons. Jerry Hahn pushing the lawnmower; then reversing it, with the grass springing up after the mower,
Before Kamp opened - Jimmy A giving instructions to several workers to spread Calcium Chloride on the ball diamond. On his return from Scranton, he checked. It had been spread - but on the grass, not on the basepaths.
Mrs. A throwing the ball to a catcher to open the baseball season.
Dick Griswold -
Trudging to Kamp early morning, to Fleetville at the end of the day, in his barn boots. Evading Mrs. A during the day, to escape chores. Dropping in at the Nature Room for conversation, or to look at a book or magazine from the shelves.
Standing outside the H.C.'s cabin - rest hour - for conversation.
Standing at the flagpole, giving an excellent demonstration of the Lewis (?) "boys" from Fleetville.
Collecting coat hangers from the tents after the season, transporting the tangled mass to be stored. "You know, Dave, they are the devil's own invention to straighten out."
The time he and the H.C. represented each other in the masquerade.
Pitching horseshoes after supper. Sometimes the 3 Negro brothers - Reuben, Earl and Leon - could be persuaded to join in - and they could throw nearly 100% ringers.
The long time Negro chef, who was chef in U. of P. dorms, then at Kewanee for the summertime. He kept a cleaver at hand, to chase disturbers from the kitchen. I learned recently that he lived at Stuble's farmhouse during his first year at Kamp.
Zavacky and (?) with their "talking pitchers" act in the Mess Hall.
Activity at the Ping Pong table in the Mezzanine. Card games by Boni, Eddie Chiampi, Dennis, Johnny Ludd after taps. Trips to Shadowbrook, Palumba's. Buttered toast at the kitchen stoves.
Alice helping youngsters to read. Her jewelry craft. Gathering and preserving flowers, leaves, plants as fall approached.
Jimmy A's whistle call to his mother.
Frank Twing singing Yale songs at mealtime.
Pianists - Hutch, Bob Stephens, --- so often at mealtime -singing.
Abe Samuels at the piano in the mess hall or at the Kounselor party, with his inexhaustible memory of songs.
Sunday Nite Nature Programs for many years. Sometimes good ones:
Movies and talks by Dr, Richmond (?) of Moravian College in Bethlehem on "The Susquehanna River," his lifetime study.
Gerry Schaefer (so often) with his snakes from U.S. and foreign countries. His rattlesnakes and his "snake stick." Bob Stephens once sat at the back door, but when a rattler slipped off the "stick" he made it up the hill in one jump.
Barbara Dymond, winner of a National Science Foundation (1st place) Award, and with an article in Natural Science on "Snow Crystals" (and Crystal Farms).
Manny Gordon and his Pa, Department of Forestry employers;
Myron Shoenmaker of Laceyville, Pa. Fish Commission.
Skinny Ennis and his father and brother, 2 years with beautiful displays of rocks, crystals (and talks), including black light illumination to show phosphorescence.
Kamper competition on leaf and plant identification; magnification of live one-or-few celled animals and plants on a screen.
Benn Weeks' plant collection.
Leo Pelton - story of his boyhood farm and its many caged animals. Leo and animal traps, cages he made, Leo tanning skins.
Bob Feller's famous lecture on "Butterflies which Got Away," holding an empty Reber mount.
Dr, Vecchierello, of Keystone, an authority on bogs of N,Y. State (he enjoyed a trip with us to Kewanee Bog near lake Kewanee - pitcher plants, sundew, orchids, poison sumac, quaking bog.)
Dr. Davenport and son Malcolm - slides and talks on their horseback rides in the Quetico-Superior region.
Veterinarians Dr. Al Lock, Dr. Jimmy Towers, Dr, John Cashin, Victor Avery of Tunkhannock.
Curator (?) Hay Aug Museum in Scranton.
Pres. of Lackawanna County Bird Society.
Bird slides by Mr. and Mrs. Gardner from Factoryville.
Mr. Summermacher, head of Regional U.S. Weather Service.
Glen Ayers, Dick Cleveland and helpers - archery - with Kamper-Kounselor participation.
Dust devils, blowing whirlpools of air, dust, leaves over the ball diamond.
Pleasant evenings "in-the-round" after taps, with Jimmy A and Alice, later Doc F and Joan, Much conversation.
Pleasant evenings with Mrs. A on her patio, hearing her stories of the beginnings of Kewanee, the development over the years, the neighbors, Kampers and Kounselors, I wish I had recorded them.
Jimmy's story - the Head Kounselor in 1918 was a graduate of U. of P. - President of his class, captain of the track team, captain of the combined U. of P. - Yale track squad which competed against [a] squad in England. After 2 or 3 weeks in Kamp he was called for military service, His religious beliefs forbade war, killing, so he protested. There were no alternatives then. He was sent to Fort Leavenworth Prison for the duration. The things he saw and experienced there caused him to vow that after his release he would work for prison reform. He did engage in that activity.
Marty Eshleman, a man of peace, a philosopher, was called into the army, His months there were torture, Finally, he received a medical release, spent a couple more summers at KK. I visited Marty at his home in Ephrata twice. The first time, in his garden, the second time, in his home, with his elderly sister Fannie. It was a beautiful experience for me. We had tea and cake and conversation. Then, at their request, I played the cello for a while.
Then to Marty's Shangri-la in the basement. His room, used to read, to study, to meditate, to write, to enjoy stereo music. With joy he showed me an album - given to him by relatives - -the Nine Symphonies of Beethoven, played by the London Symphony, under Sir Joseph Krips.
Then, his ultimate jewel, a bound book, 8 chapters, written by 8 of his former Philosophy Students at Carleton College - each of them going on to teach Philosophy. Each one had written in appreciation of his teaching, and of his influence on their lives, and of his friendship. How he treasured that volume! A few months later Marty died.
He was the most outstanding person in Kewanee's history. How often I heard him say - "Did you look up at the beautiful clouds today?" Or - "Open your eyes as you walk (or as you live.) There is much of beauty, often in small things. Don't be blind to it, Keep your eyes open."
What a blessing to know him!
Ted Pawloski's cigar butt. -- I'm sure the same one lasted all summer - but was it used the next year?
Leo - The difficult things we can finish today. For the impossible ones you may have to wait until tomorrow,
Sam - "The canteen is ready to open - but not until you are quiet and in line! Hey there, Nehru! Don't cut into the line!"
The old days - at reveille, all came out of bed, lined up for calisthenics. Chronic tardies might go thru a double-jeopardy line first. Then dip was open.
Joe and Penny out, ready. At the sound of the bugle, Penny headed for the tank (Joe for the sack.)
The few-day pest of midges, with clouds of them near the water fountains, ready to settle.
Dave on his hands and knees watching mud daubers load up on mud near the H2O fountain, fly to their nest-building area.
Dave shaving in 10-00 washroom. "Bob white! Bob bob white!" The call came. Outside, a quail walked down the path to the Nature room. "The only one I ever saw while in Kamp."
At night, coming up from the nature room, I often stopped at the single light at the corner of 10-00 to watch a spider weave its web. Fast, accurate. The main web was sticky. The strand leading from the spider's hide-away was not.
The mornings when thousands of flat spider webs spread across the plants.
Small spiders poised on a plant - a strand of web from each body floated out. The wind caught webs and spiders and carried them off.
Epidemic of insect bodies being eaten in the nature room at night on the drying line. We finally blamed the daddy-long-legs.
At midnight, standing shallow water along shore. Penultimate stages of mosquitoes and midges came to the surface, up on a small plant, split down the back, emerged, wings filled out, flew away. Once I saw about 150 dragon flies go through that maturation process.
Using field glasses, looking at the pine or hemlock trees along the tent line. There were small, shining colored spots on some. I finally decided this was moisture with a tiny bit of tree sap in it; sunlight was refracted, spread when it hit them.
Saga of the Post Office Box. HC Dolbear had used it for a while near the door of his cabin. HC Joe left it in the cabin. Penny often slept inside with her master. A wet dog is detected easily. An odor developed, growing in strength. Joe sniffed, hunted. Finally the sniffs led away from Penny, and to the P.O. box. What was this in it? A fish! Life departed, flesh going - well, the way of all flesh. What a stink! Who was the dastard? I was in my tent. Joe came to the tent - not a word -just holding up the P.O. box, watching facial expressions which might reveal the perpetrator. I said: "What's that?" No answer. Was the one who nailed H.C. Frank's shoes to the floor now being rewarded for it? On he went, slowly - with no success. The P.O. box followed a zigzag path for a few days. One day I woke from a nap, found it on the tent platform, a few inches from my nose. Phew! A small tribute from a friend. Barber Zavacky, blaming proximity to 1200, almost moved the location of his Tonsorial Establishment - but someone discovered the P.O. box hidden among the lotions. Others along the tentline were victimized. Did Joe ever solve the mystery? Well, he leaned strongly (no pun) toward Bob P., who later inherited Joe's crown.
Long, sometimes painful meetings to arrive at the Honor Plaque names.
The Kewanee site is returning to the soil - tent platforms sagging with dry rot, steps broken, light-lines swinging in the wind, weeds on the ball diamond (only Gordy could now scoop a grounder cleanly), the Mess Hall burned to the ground, buildings open with contents strewn or locked (10--, 11--, 12--00) .
But the memories live on in the hearts and minds of hundreds who found friendships, games, laughter, habits formed, courage strengthened in the days spent there.
Kewanee - We Love You!
DAVE SECHRIST was born in York, Pennsylvania on June 12, 1903. Educated at Albright College, he taught Chemistry, Physics, and biology for forty years at Factoryville and Tunkannock high schools; upon retirement, he taught an additional ten years in Avon Park, Florida. Dave played cello for the Scranton Philharmonic for three decades, coached and refereed a variety of high school sports, and, as his official obituary proudly states, "was a summer counsellor at Kamp Kewanee Boys Camp for thirty years." He had been married to the former Ruth Owens for more than 68 years at the time of his death, which occurred on November 4, 1995. Dave left four sons, twelve grandchildren, and sixteen great-grandchildren. He will also be remembered with the greatest warmth and affection - by tens of thousands of his former students, Kampers, friends and colleagues.