Blog Update

The Chic-a-Lac Blog is finally undergoing renovation, rehabilitation, revision, renewal, reorganization, revitalization and resuscitation. All of this is happening in stages. Some of the old features are gone, such as the Virtual Patio Message Board which is no longer supported, some have been updated like the Youngsville weather thingy, many of the links, like the Camp Album, in the right sidebar and in the posts themselves need relinking in order to work and some new material and features will be added. So please bear with us if some of the things just don't seem to work right. And please feel free to pass along your thoughts, ideas and even a minor criticism or two. You can always reach the blog by clicking on this button Ca. Chic a Lac Mail Thanks for your understanding.

November 18, 2019

"A CHILDREN'S PARADISE" (Write for Booklet T.)
Classified Ads from the NYTimes 1955-1966(huh?)

Remember the pages full of classified ads for summer camps in the back of the New York Times Magazine? Was that how those few of us who were not related to the Meltzers or the Rattners first heard of Camp Chic-a-Lac? Well, I found scans of many of those complete pages that contained ads for "A Children's Paradise" from a search on ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times, clipped those individual ads, and combined them on one page. Each of the original full pages had a header with a date, presumably the date of publication. It is that date that I used to identify each of the clips. Unfortunately missing are 1957, 1962, 1963 and 1964, but you'll find a surprise bonus on the second page.
To view the collection click (maybe double-click) on the CHIC-A-LAC thumbnail below.

When you are finished looking at the individual ads have some fun by taking a look at some of the full pages (some partial) with all the summer camp classifieds (click). Wonder how many of them are still around.

February 4, 2014

Summer 2005 Reunion

August 19, 2011

Phil Schaap

In 1961 and 1962, I had a camper at Chic-a-Lac named Phil Schaap. When I tell this story about Phil, many people remember that he was related to Dick Schaap, probably the most famous sports writer and personality in the New York area at the time. I always wondered what became of Phil, but it wasn't until a half-century later that I had my answer. Phil is one of the foremost jazz historians in the country, and there is no better expert on the life and music of Charlie “Bird” Parker then he is. For more than 35 years, he has produced and hosted a daily morning show on WKCR, the radio station of Columbia University, entitled "Bird Flight", devoted mainly to the music of Charlie Parker. He is also the Curator of Jazz at Lincoln Center. He has also won seven Grammy Awards. There is a wonderful article on Phil on Wikipedia, which gives his biography, and lists all his many accomplishments as a jazz archivist, record producer, educator, author, and critic.
Being a recent born again music nut, I began listening regularly to Phil's radio show on the way into work, and was delighted to hear that he occasionally hosts a drop-in all day and evening open house in the atrium at Jazz at Lincoln Center in the Time-Warner Building, where jazz aficionados can and do hang out with Phil and his well known musician guests, and talk jazz.  A while back, I did just that – I dropped in and joined about 40 or 50 other people, all of whom knew much more about jazz than I did. While I was there, Lou Donaldson, who played saxophone with legends such as Milt Jackson, Thelonious Monk, and Clifford Brown, and was a member of the Art Blakey Quintet, and Delfeayo Marsalis, who besides being a member of the incredible Marsalis family of jazz musicians, is a gifted trombonist and producer of acoustic jazz recordings, dropped by. It was wonderful to hear them swap stories with Phil and many of the old timers in the group. During one of the few lulls in the evening, I sidled up to Phil and told him that I was there for two reasons: the first, because I love hearing him talk about jazz, and the second because I was his counselor at Camp Chic-a-Lac 50 years ago. It was great seeing his reaction and spending some time with him.
Of course I took some photos for the blog and am finally getting around to posting them.  Then make sure you play the JALC video. 
[click on any photo to enlarge]
The informal jazz drop-in

With Lou Donaldson

With Delfeayo Marsalis

August 17, 2010

OMG! Chic-a-Dee! For Sale?

Originally listed at just $179,900. 
(The picture is from original listing)

It was sold for $189,000. We should have bid and held our reunions there. Can you just imagine? 

August 1, 2010


This picture captures so much of the joy Morty obviously got from reuniting with everyone from camp, and how much of that joy he was able to impart to us. That joy, that laughter, that warmth, was infectious and will remain with us always.

July 30, 2010


Of  the many wonderful things that came out of that magical 2005 reunion, reuniting with Morty, and for 5 years being able to laugh with him, reminisce with him, hug him, kiss him on top of that head, and just to be with him, was one of the very best, even if it means that I cry today. But the memories of all that laughter, and all that warmth, at camp nearly a half century ago and over the past 5 years, will make all of us wipe away the tears and laugh again.  With Morty, you just won't be able to help yourself.
[click on the photos to enlarge]

And less than 3 weeks ago, when we laughed together for the last time

And damn it Morty - I don't care what you do. I was the Waterfront Director in 1963.

July 21, 2010


On July 11, "The Committee" met in Deedle's meticulously kept and always spotless dining room, to plan for the next reunion based in large part on the responses (23) to the Reunion Survey. Morty looks and sounds great as you can see in this candid, unposed, and casual photo taken lovingly by Betty Steuer.
[click on the photos to enlarge]

Morty brought with him a moldy box of slides. Unfortunately, they were not dated. But we had them scanned, and they now reside in a Picasa web album. To see the slide show, click on the ungapotchke "View Morty's Album" button under the sample photo, and you should be taken to album page. (Don't know if you'll have to first sign in with your google account). The click on "slideshow". Hint - if you click on the F11 key, you'll see all the photos in full screen. Please, please help identify everybody (and dating the shots) by clicking on the word "comments(s) " at the end of this post. And keep watching your e-mail and this page for more details about the reunion.

March 19, 2010


Last Saturday evening, March 13, Gary and Rhonda Nestle came up from Orange County to join my brother and sister-in-law, Les and Judy, and me at Charlie O's in Valley Glen, in the San Fernando Valley. Charlie O's has been voted by Downbeat Magazine as one of 100 best jazz clubs in the world three years in a row, and that night it certainly lived up to its reputation. It attracts the best jazz musicians in the area. We were lucky enough to see, hear and enjoy Chuck Manning, an incredibly talented saxophonist, playing with the John Heard Trio, with Andy Langham on piano, Roy McCurdy on drums, and John Heard, who has played with every famous jazz musician in the world, on bass. For years, Gary has been playing drums professionally, and his enthusiasm for the music and the quality of the musicians was contagious. The New Castle Brown Ale wasn't bad, either. It was just a great evening. I kept shaking my head at the thought of what I would have said if someone had told me during my last summer at Chic-a-Lac that in 47 years I'd be sitting in a jazz club outside Los Angeles enjoying great music and having beers with one my campers and his wife. Mind boggling.
[Hint: click on the highlighted links above for more information and to hear samples of some great jazz!]

[click on either photo to enlarge]

Les, Judy, Rhonda, Gary, and me

Andy Langham, piano, Chuck Manning, saxophone,
John Heard, bass, Roy McCurdy, drums

So, if you live in the L.A. area, or are just visiting, and want to hear some classy, live jazz, head over to Charlie O's -- you'll enjoy every note. And check out the Charlie O's site for some great jazz links.

January 18, 2010


December 6, 2009. Somewhere in New Rochelle, New York.  
[click on any photo to enlarge]
Is anyone listening to me?
I move we adjourn to eat the cookies.

Is that thing on?

I got it! We'll play "Spin The Chicken"!
Quick-someone say something funny!
That's better.

December 21, 2009


[Hint: click on the highlighted links to learn more]
Who of us who attended the July, 2008 Reunion can ever forget Uncle Mortie's exhibition of his priceless Chicken Memorabilia Collectibles, so artfully arranged on the Tchotchke Table, purchased over the past 45 years during his exhaustive hunt at every 99 Cent Only Store in SouthWestern Connecticut and which he so selflessly donated as door prizes (and for which he took a healthy charitable deduction). Each piece was rated at least an 8.5 (out of 100) on the highly respected Chicken Crap Spectator Scale. Only one clandestine photograph of this priceless collection--taken at great risk to the photographer--exists:
[click on photo to enlarge] Alas, all but one of these magnificent pieces have gradually disappeared. Some drowned -- or were drowned -- in the bathtub, their little duckling squeaker giving one last lifeless, pathetic, gurgling little quack. Some were simply tossed into the garbage by boorish, unappreciative, uncultured spouses, muttering "Where did you get such DRECK?!" And some, sadly enough, were confiscated by the EPA for containing so much lead paint that they could have been used as a hencil, uh, pencil. Recently, the last remaining bird, which was last seen hidden in the shadows at the back of the Reunion Tchotchke Table, hoping against hope that he would not suffer the indignity of being chosen as a door prize, was discovered squawking frightfully and running for his life from a hallaf-wielding maniacal shochet at a glatt kosher slaughterhouse near Liberty, New York. After a bath, a pedicure, a combing and a nine piece meal at the Colonel's, Mortie's, uh, rooster once again stands tall, thick, proud, firm, and smooth in the safety of his new home, an alabaster-colored specimen of Herculean proportions, with a proud, erect head, never again having to fear falling into the wrong - or right - hand.
[click on photo to enlarge Mortie's Rooster]

January 26, 2009


Geoff was one of the corral counselors in 1963 (the other was Rusty-anyone remember Rusty's last name?)
[click on any photo to enlarge]
Sometime in 1968 or so, Neil went to see Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant and recognized Geoff as the actor who played Arlo's sidekick, Roger. It turns out that Geoff and Arlo were friends since their early days in Brooklyn, and later attended the Stockbridge School together, where they formed a band.
Steve Elliot, Geoff, Jeff Boverman, and Arlo (dig Arlo!!) performing at the Stockbridge School gym in 1963

Anyway, in my attempt to find Geoff, I came across some great photos of him over the years, and some great multimedia-type stuff which I thought would be fun to share with you. By the way, I heard from Niles Fuller, who took the 2004 photo of Geoff, that as far as he knew Geoff was still living in Austin.

Geoff as "Roger" in the Stockbridge
jail with Arlo,
from Alice's Restaurant, 1968

Arlo and Geoff, Austin, Texas, 1988

Geoff, 2004 [photo by niles j. fuller © 2004]
On the 40th anniversary of his "Alice's Restaurant Massacree", Arlo tells the story behind "Alice's Restaurant" to Debbie Elliott of NPR's "All Things Considered". To listen to the entire interview, click [here] to open the NPR page, and then on the NPR Listen Button button.
Finally, Geoff appears in the original 3 1/2 minute movie trailer. Just click on the Play Play Button Button in the middle of the image below, and see how many times you can spot him.

[Hint-if your computer is relatively new, try watching in full screen mode by clicking on the little rectangle below the word "YOU" in YOU TUBE]

September 10, 2008


I've starting doing some rummaging around in the NY Times archives - they go back into the 1850s - and have been absolutely amazed at the infinite amount of material waiting to be rediscovered. I thought I'd share a couple of my early Chic-a-Lac related finds. First, I came across the 1953 obituary notice for Rachel Meltzer, mother of Elaine Rattner, Carl, and Faye Posner, and of course Rocky and Ronni's grandmother. Click on the thumbnail image below to view it in its original form. As Roy knows, one of my favorite pastimes is poking around the internet to see what dirt I can find on him. Seriously, Roy is an easy subject because he has left so many historical and indelible "footprints" during his incredibly lustrous, lengthy and varied career. What I found was a quote in an obituary of a friend of his, a gentleman named Henry Laskau, who died in May, 2000. While I'm always happy to see Roy's name in print, I found the story of Mr. Laskau's life fascinating, and I thought I'd share it with you. Again, click on the thumbnail below to read the full article. (You can read more about Henry Laskau, and also learn something about race walking, by reading the first "Comment" below).
Speaking of "finds". I'm putting together a post based on a real "Eureka" discovery that I hope will surprise and delight everyone as much as it did me. Check back in a few days.......

October 30, 2007


[click on photo to enlarge]
On October 24, 2007, Marcy Silverberg Pulewitz, Rocky Rattner, Carol Deedledum Galetz, Vic Greenhut, Paul Auerbach, and I got together at the "Catskill On Film" discussion at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, in Battery Park City, New York. The event was hosted by Prof. Phil Brown of Brown University (rah), founder and head of The Catskills Institute, and featured Shelly Altman, screenwriter, Sweet Lorraine; Pamela Gray, screenwriter, A Walk on the Moon; and Joan Micklin Silver, director, Hester Street and Crossing Delancey (click here to see a detailed description of the program and the museum exhibit). Carol, Rocky, and Paul Auerbach particularly have had strong family ties to the Catskills, with Paul's family having owned the Lesser Lodge in White Sulphur Springs. The movie clips were classics and caught much of the essence of the Catskill culture. As always happens when Chic-a-Lac refugees gather, we had lots of laughs and a wonderful time, although we felt a bit constrained since Dr. Ruth was sitting right in front of us. For the next mini-reunion, how about renting both movies and inviting Shecky Greene?

October 9, 2007


Grab a pencil. Make sure your sound and speakers are on. Then, after each bugle call, click on the button, or if that doesn't work, try clicking on the button. Listen to the bugle call (patience - you may have to wait a few seconds or hit a "Play" or "OK" button to get going), and jot down your best guess at its name. When you're all done, click on "Comments" at the bottom of the post. Copy your answers (and leave any other laudatory remarks) in the box that opens up, MAKING SURE TO LEAVE YOUR NAME, if you want to claim your prize. Answers may one day be posted in the "Links" section of the green sidebar. And who knows - prizes might even be awarded at the 2008 SUMMER REUNION.
Lots of luck!
Bugle Call #1
Bugle Call #2
Bugle Call #3
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Bugle Call #5
Bugle Call #6
Bugle Call #7
Bugle Call #8
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Bugle Call #10
Bugle Call #11