“Kessler does not raise flags. Kessler burns flags!!!!!” And so that was that. There would be no flag-raising today, and the flag pole stood unadorned all day. No one batted an eyelash. Such was life at Camp Da-Ro, a summer camp, populated by about 400 Jewish campers and counselors…and me.
Before you get all up in your righteous flag respecting, My Country Tis of Thee rage keep in mind this was 1970. These counselors, like Kessler, were faced with the draft and possibly going to fight in a war. A stupid war, an insane war. Kessler was a big intimating guy from Brooklyn and if you didn’t like what he had to say, he’d just as soon bust you in the mouth.
And so there was no flag that day. But the next day there was, and the day after and so on until the end of the summer. We were only 13 years old in our cabin, and so we did not quite get the significance, but the other counselors did.
Kessler had said his piece, and overseas young boys continued dying and civilians continued to be caught in the crossfire. And we rode horses, and we water-skied, and we had color wars, and we launched panty raids. I got a little teasing for being the only non-Jewish camper, but they mostly didn’t care. I remember the other campers being whip-smart and the adults being kind. The camp is closed now but if you visit the Hudson River Valley around Germantown the grounds are still there, undeveloped. It’s a lovely spot. And that was a wonderful summer spent with kind souls living in the midst of a crazy world.
© Glenn R Keller 2020, All Rights Reserved