Thursday, August 10, 2006

Choir Camp

It’s August. What happens in August? Choir Camp!!!

I recently sent out an email to everyone I could think of asking what their favorite Ogontz memories were. I was curious to see if people remembered specific events or general feelings. I wasn’t looking for a specific answer or format – just the first things that entered people’s thoughts. Well, I received some great responses, and it got me thinking. How do you describe your fondest memories to a stranger? For the next week or so, I’ll attempt to do just that, incorporating as many responses as I can. If anyone reading this gets the inspiration to write an Ogontz story, send it over & I’ll post it.

Here’s my first one:

Junior Staff. There is a distinct hierarchy at Ogontz: camper, counselor, junior staff, senior staff, Charlie, Bunky, Lynn. I transitioned from Cabin Counselor to Junior Staff around 1990. I was king of the world. Becoming a member of the Junior Staff meant that you were not a kid anymore. You were almost an adult, and thereby inherited certain privileges.

Of course, it also meant that you became a slave to whichever adult had a job that required young, strong backs – unloading mattresses piled twelve feet high on the back of an old pickup, clearing brush and trees loaded twelve feet high on the back of same said old pickup, cleaning buildings that would have been better off being burned, etc.

But after the chores were done, or at least after you managed to escape, there was more free time to be spent getting into trouble. Junior Staff were allowed to stay up past taps. The adults actually conversed with you (to a point). It was the high life.

I spent most of my first week as a Junior Staffer strutting around with Ben Parent, Danny Spano, and Matt Cornelion, yelling things like “Arrogance Rules,” and “What? More Beef? Better Taste?” and “Miss Tessbacher!” Why did we find it necessary to yell these totally nonsensical phrases? We were teenagers. Why else? I dread the day when I have three of them. I imagine it got pretty tiring for everyone else to hear, and that was part of what fueled our voices.

Father Provenzano asked Ben to do a reading for church on Sunday. We all assembled at the flagpole under the morning sun. Ben took the bible and you could see his face twist. The reading, Ecclesiasticus 10:7-11, began, “Arrogance is hateful to the Lord and to mortals. . .”