Thursday, July 16, 2020
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Reminiscing about Camp Wabigoon for Boys and Camp Wahanda for Girls


July 5, 2020 --

July 2, 2020.  It's now 59 years since my last year as a counselor at Camp Wabigoon, in Winsted Connecticut.  (Winsted, settled in 1750, incorporated as borough 1858,  and incorporated as city, 1917 -- now described as "an old textile mill town.)  More years have elapsed since I ended my 15 years at Wabigoon (eight years as camper, two years as camper-waiter, one year as regular waiter and four years as counselor) than were the years of the camp's existence (from about  the early 1930's, till about 1971 or so).   But those were wonderful years.   I began as a 7-year old freshman in 1947, homesick the first couple of weeks, and ended as a 21-year old, about to enter his last year in college.  Harry Truman was president my first year, only two years after World War II, and John F. Kennedy was president my last year at Wabigoon.   We have had ten presidents between 1961 and now: Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, G.H.W.Bush, Clinton, G.W.Bush, Obama, and Trump.

The camp was much bigger in 1947, with close to one hundred campers (with three tents plus the 14 bunks).  By 1961 it had dwindled to about 60 boys, with about 60 girls at Wahanda, very close by.  Indeed, the two camps shared the same mess hall.  In 1947, campers traveled by train to Wabigoon and Wahanda. We switched to buses to come home, 1948.   By 1961, I had my own car. thanks to my parents, to get to camp.

The camp season started July 1 and continued till August 26 (an eight-week season).  We were off and running with activities the very next day.   Parents were given the option of keeping their children at the two camps for an extra ten days at the end of the 1949 season, because of a polio scare in the New York metropolitan area.   (That was in the days before the Salk and Sabin vaccines ended the threat of polio, the illness that has crippled President Franklin D. Roosevelt.)

Wednesday afternoons the senior groups at Wabigoon and Wahanda went to Winsted to see a movie at the Strand, The younger groups: freshman, sophomores, juniors, and inters at Wabigoon -- and the wrens, buds, debs at Wahanda went less frequently.  In those years, there was a roller-skating rink in town, and we went there at least once every season, too.

In addition to the team sports of softball, basketball and volleyball, we had individual sports -- tennis, handball. and archery.   For golf, the inters and seniors would to a nine-hole public golf course in Canotn, about 15 miles east of camp.  (The golf course, some years ago, was turned into a shopping mall.  Near hole four or five, the course had delicious cold well-water, drunk from a tin cup.)) For two years, the camps offered horseback riding.

We also had arts and crafts, nature hikes, overnight hikes, overnight canoe trips and dramatics.   The dramatics season ended with a "big Show," a Broadway musical, performed by the two senior groups, who squeezed wo works of rehearsals in August, amid the daily camp activities.  One year, even the counselors of the two camps put on a "Big Show," "Oklahoma, the last Saturday night of the 1958 season, which had the counselors rehearsing after Taps for two weeks.   Hard to imagine, looking back, how we managed to produce Broadway musicals in two weeks' time, musicals, including South Pacific, Carousel, Finian's Rainbow, Annie Get Your Gun, Kiss Me Kate, Damn Yankees, and The King and I. 

From the LPR Archives - July 17, 2005: The Camp Wabigoon waterfront on Rowley's pond as seen from left field on the old Wabigoon softball field. A fly ball in the lake was usually a home run (unless, in going around the bases, the runner missed second, as this writer once did--the one time he hit a ball into the lake.)

From the LPR Archives - July 17, 2005: A view down Main Street in Winsted.

From the LPR Archives - July 17, 2005: Memorial to the victims of the Flood of 1955.

One year, when I was a senior, we also put on Stalag 17 in midseason, and  Mr. Roberts another year. (I even recall playing a dying Stonewall Jackson as a junior or inter, a play that probably could not be produced  these sensitive times.)

The older groups also went to Tanglewood  to hear the Boston Pops under Arthur Fiedler and to the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford Connecticut. 

My Wabigoon years I saw Katherine Hepburn in Measure for Measure, and Morris Carnovsky in Merchant of Venice (hard to beat Shakespeare production like that those.)

Alas, the Connecticut Shakespeare Festival closed down years ago.

In short, thanks to camp directors Phil and Gladys Brandstein and head counselors Rusty Grant and Millie Klotz, the Wabigoon and Wahanda campers got a well-rounded summer experience that included inter-camp games with other camps in the Winsted-Kent area in northwest Connecticut, along with the boys' circus, last Sunday in July, and the girls circus, the Sunday after the Big Show, when Color War broke -- three and a half days' of athletic competition ending with a team "Sing," and including, of course, "Spell It Out," as one evening's competitive activity.

The season ended with a banquet, announcing group awards and the award for best all-around athlete and best all-around camper, followed by the burning of the CW. 

True, we didn't have hot water in our bunks, but we did have indoor plumbing and, of course, the Wabigoon spirit, a spirit that many of the campers have never forgotten half a century after Camp Wabioon for boys and Camp Wahanda for girls became a memory.


Red Line

Added Memories of Winsted, Wabigoon and Wahanda

July 5, 2020 --

Winsted got its name from combining the Win from Winchester with the sted from Barkhamsted. The Village of Winsted, Minnesota was named for Winsted by Winsted native Eli Lewis on July 30, 1857. Camp Wabigoon got its name from Wabigoon Lake, in northwestern Ontario, Canada. Wabigoon comes from the Ojibwe "waabigon" -- marigold, or "waabi-miigwan" -- white feather. 

(Joe Brandstein, one of Phil's brothers, liked to fish and probably fished at Wabigoon Lake. The Wabigoon River flows into the lake.)

While we traveled to places like Tanglewood and to intercamp games by bus, we traveled to town by taxi, Riiska's taxis. 

It might have been the summer of 1953, waiting for a taxi to take us back to camp that the dispatcher pointed to the stream about 20 feet below the taxis shack, running alongside the narrow Main Street , and told us:  "You see that trickle" -- seemingly ironically named the Mad River -- "well it flooded the town in 1938." 

We were impressed, having no clue that we would see the wreckage, in two years, caused by an even angrier Mad River.

In August 1955, a few days before we were to perform The King and I as the "Big Show,"  the rains of Hurricane Carol washed over the area.  The rains stopped shortly before the curtain rose on that "Big Show,"  Saturday evening, August 13, 1955. 

The next day, the skies were clear and we had the Wahanda circus in the afternoon, followed by the Color War break. That was on the 14th. Color War continued through Wednesday, the 17th. 

That night, just as Color War was ending with the competitive Sing, it began to rain again, this time the rain came from Hurricane Diana. It rained all that night and throughout that Thursday, the 18th. 

The skies cleared the morning of Friday, the 19th, and as we made our beds and cleaned our bunks after breakfast, we heard newscasts mentioning our town of Winsted. 

Winsted: on national news!  And so we learned that the night of the 18th-19th, that "trickle" pointed out to us two years before -- the aptly name Mad River -- had flooded, coursing down Main Street, turning the narrow street into a canyon, knocking down some buildings, twisting around others.

And eight lives were lost, including Manny LeShay, the proprietor of the United Cigar Store on Main at Elm, known to most of us at Wabigoon and Wahanda. He had been caught in the floodwaters, along with seven other people in Winsted.  The eight names are on a memorial stone in the center of town (See image above.)   

The Flood of 1955 proved even more deadly and damaging than that storm of 1938. After the wreckage had been cleared from Main Street, all remaining buildings on the Mad River side of Main Street were torn down, and the street widened, with the effect that the multi-lane highway that replaced narrow Main Street became an invitation for motorists to drive through town, rather than stop for in-town shopping. 

It's been some 15 years since I last was in Winsted. My last visit, there were not a few empty stores in town.

We left camp for New York on schedule, August 26, 1955, but before we returned home, the seniors at Wabigoon walked down Spencer Road (perhaps a two-mile walk) to see for ourselves the devastation Winsted suffered by the two-fisted hammering of Hurricanes Carol and Diane. 

No, there were no Riiska's cabs to take us to town, or back up Spencer Road that last Sunday of camp, 1955.  The image of the devastation has remained in my mind's eye these 65 years. Also in mind's eye is the aurora borealis I recall seeing one camp summer night. (Wabigoon was located on top of Smith Hill, where Smith Road met Spencer Road.)  More frequently -- that is every night but a cloudy night, the sky above Wabigoon displayed a stellar panorama, featuring the Milky Way, the Big Dipper, the North Star, and Orion among the constellations. 

What a heavenly bunk cover we had above the Wabigoon campus.  And what bright nights, when the full moon glowed above the camps (lighting the way for sneakouts, but that's another story.)

A person sidelight. My mother, Anna Zukerman, with other parents, stayed as a guest at camp, that week that began with Color War and ended with The Flood. My father had planned to drive up to camp that Friday night, August 19.  A great many roads had been washed away, bridges too had become impassable, but somehow, going from one back road to another, he made it to camp, very early on the morning of the 20th.  That was an amazing feat for anyone and I never did learn how he quite managed to make it to camp, but Sol Zukerman accomplished the treacherous trip and I remain proud of him for that journey, worthy of a highly-professional driver.  It was several days later that the National Guard constructed Bailey bridges, where washed out bridges once stood (including making it possible for us to get through Torrington, CT and home to New York City).

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Red Line

On the Guiding Essence of the American Spirit

July 5, 2020 --

On June 29, Twitter "temporarily restricted" the twitter account for Sidney Powell, lead attorney for Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, now waiting for federal Judge Emmet Sullivan to dismiss the case brought against him by the government that the government now agrees should be dismissed and that the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals also has held should be dismissed.

In brief, the circuit court, by a 2-1 majority rules that the case should never have been brought and that there was no need for Judge Sullivan to grant "leave" of dismissal.  The appellate court ruled on June 24.  LPR writes more than one week since the circuit court handed down its ruling, without appropriate action by Judge Sullivan.  LPR's reading of Rule 35 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure suggests that it is unlikely that the 17-member appellate court will consider the Flynn matter en banc.   Does this mean that, if Judge Sullivan continues to resist the direction of the D.C. circuit court to dismiss the Flynn matter, the three judge panel will have to act to dismiss on its own.  LPR recalls the action of the French Supreme Court in exonerating Capt. Dreyfus itself, rather than send the matter for dismissal to the court that had held him guilty of treason.

A tangled op-ed from former federal judge J.Michel Lutting, who wrongly considered the need for Judge Sullivan to grant "leave" for dismissal, concluded that the case "will not be decided by the rule of politics. It will be decided by the rule of law."   LPR is not convinced Mr. Luttig agrees that the appellate court's two judge majority followed the law.   He is misguided on that point.  Clearly, it is Judge Sullivan who is rule pursuant to politics, not law.  It is time for Judge Sullivan to follow the directive of the appellate court, or for the appellate court to act for him.

As for the action taken by Twitter against, Attorney Powell, LPR understands  that Ms. Powell's account was reinstated after she complained that all she was trying to do on Twitter was "to stand up for America, to stand up for honesty, for respect, for decency, to protect our statues and our cultures, to protect our freedoms, individual property rights, everything that America was built on...."

Clearly, attorney Sidney Powell is not only an outstanding, eloquent spokesperson on behalf of justice for her clients, she is an outstanding, eloquent spokesman for the spirit of freedom in America, "a spirit," which Federalist Paper No. 57 declares, "which actuates the people of America -- a spirit which nourishes freedom, and in return is nourished by it."   And let these following words in Federalist No. 57 stand as warning to the current, troubled generation of Americans: should the American spirit be debased, it will mean that "the people will be prepared to tolerate anything  but liberty.

Those in society who now would proclaim free speech is hate speech, silence is violence, common sense is racism make clear that they "tolerate anything but liberty." Those are not the words of LPR; those are the words of our founders, men who are denounced as mere slaveholders, racists.  

As we celebrate the 244th anniversary of our Independence, do not listen to the crowd that would destroy the symbols of the history of our country, literally and figuratively. Stay mindful that FEDERALIST PAPER NO. 57 MAKES CLEAR THAT THE GUIDING ESSENCE OF AMERICA IS LIBERTY, not racism.  LPR asks its visitors to convey that message to family, friends, neighbors, associates, co-workers.  (And yes, by also calling attention to!)


Red Line

Evidence that The New York Times has become The New Pravda

July 5, 2020 --

This organ, maintaining the new right of journalism to confuse and divide the people, mentioned in its June 25 story on the order of the D.C. appellate court to dismiss Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, that the FBI was acting to close its investigation of Flynn before the matter of his phone conversations with Russian Ambassador Kislyak "arose," referring to those conversations as a "new concern."

Why is this an example of "New Pravda" journalism?"   LPR is just a lone pamphleteer in The Bronx, relying on little more than common sense, stirred by the spirit of American liberty.
Common sense demands that readers realize that the FBI had tapes of the Flynn-Kislyak phone conversations as soon as they were held, with transcripts shortly thereafter.   

How could there be "concern" about a legitimate conversation between a incoming national security adviser and an ambassador of any country, let alone Russia?

LPR submits, and urges a visitor to LPR call this to the attention of the Trump administration that for the New Pravda to say there was reason for "concern" about the Flynn-Kislyak phone conversation is to spread DISINFORMATION among the American people and continue the Russian hoax lie.   But that, certainly, is what the New Pravda is now doing, spreading disinformation about Russian bounties offered for the lives of American troops.  Republicans in Congress should surely be aware, by now, that there are no depths below which the New Pravda  (leading the Resistance) will not go to deceive the people of American for the purpose of installing a truly authoritarian regime at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.


Red Line

Unsolicited Endorsements

July 5, 2020 --

Late last month, LPR ended more than three months of isolation in the northwest corner of The Bronx, and traveled by bus and subway to shop in a section of Manhattan below 23rd street. How liberating the traveling and shopping was.   

And how pleasant the store personnel at Old Navy, Sixth Avenue and 18th Street; Container Shop, Sixth and 19th; Fishs Eddy, Broadway and 19 were. Indeed, LPR went to these shops on succeeding days to repeat the pleasant experience.

By the way, travel by  bus became pleasant as far back as March, when New York City, to keep passengers from being near the driver, required passengers to enter form the rear door --- and without paying fares. Fares are still required for the subway, but, then, the trains seem to be cleaner than in pre-COVID-19 days.

Alas, along with the requirement that the citizenry go about their city travel and shopping wearing masks, the city's sidewalks have acquired new litter:  masks (and gloves).  Why would anyone drop a mask on the sidewalk -- unless as a kind of protest?


Red Line

Is the President Using the Rope-a-Dope Strategy

July 5, 2020 --

Rope-a-Dope is the strategy used by Muhammad Ali to defeat his opponents.  He would lean on the ropes surrounding the right, and absorb the blows of the opponent until they were tired out. Then he would come off the ropes, and pummel his opponent, and win the fight.  LPR wonders if President Trump is using that strategy to defeat his enemies.  For all his campaign talk about draining the swamp, it doesn't seem to LPR that the president has made a lot of headway against the deep state. 

His enemies began with the Russia hoax, including the Steele dossier, then impeachment by way of Ukraine.  Next came COVID-19 and accusations the president was killing people.  Next unemployment.  Then the manufactured protests that led to arson and looting.  Lately the specious claims of Russian bounties for dead U.S. military personnel. And the litany of polls predicting an anti-Trump landslide on November 3.

The president has absorbed a great deal from his enemies in the Resistance and the Never Trumpers. It seems to LPR that he really has yet to bounce back to pummel his foes.   

Will Rope-a-Dope be effective for the president once the Durham report is disclosed? It is difficult for LPR to think that U.S. attorney John Durham will not deliver a report that points to former President Obama as the architect for a transition that would make President Trump's tenure in the White House as difficult as possible for a long as possible, until the campaign to destroy his presidency was successful.  By these lights, rope-a-dope would be certain to rally the people round the president to ensure his re-election.


"A vote that represents free will is never wasted"
-- David Zukerman

Red Line


July 5, 2020 --

Just as LPR was wrapping up its July 5 posting, it caught an item on-line informing that  the manipulative  Democrat (is there any other?) James Carville was predicting that Republicans would force President Trump to drop out of the presidential race. 

If any Republican listens to the wily, manipulative Carville, he -- or she -- might as well relinquish the right to vote to become a megaphone for turning the entire country blue. 

And that is what the country will be --- blue, as in deeply morose -- if Republicans take advice from the likes of Carville, and not from our Founding Fathers.

Carville singled out Sen. McConnell for an act of perfidy against the president, worthy of a Benedict Arnold.  Well, Mitch, it is now the moment for you to laugh off Carville and declare to the American people that you trust in God and in the spirit of America, not in James Carville.

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July 5, 2020 --

A Recommendation From LPR to
GOP House Republican Whip Steve Scalise …

House Republican candidates should run for office, this November, as a national team, committed to the spirit of American liberty, against the dark forces that would undermine our freedom and reduce the American people to serfs of oppressive socialism.


If we don't speak out against economic bullying by Oil, Credit Cards, Municipalities, WHO WILL?

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