Tall Timber Tales
Indifference to Poison Ivy
by Bob Solomon
July 13, 2006

I was at Tall Timber, though hardly ever at camp.

It was my job to pick berries, although how I knew to do that is a bit of a mystery. Like most campers, I was a New York City child, from parents who grew up in the City as well. My parents never ate wild black berries or black raspberries, they were a bit nervous about eating something wild that did not grow on a truck. They weren’t sure that what I was eating wasn’t poisonous, and they tried to discourage my wanderings.

Bobby Solomon
Bobby Solomon awaiting turn
for the big musical show. Song:
“There is Nothing Like a Dame”
I had little talent for athletics, and less interest. I wandered away from far, right field. My absence was often not noticed for an inning or two, after which I was safely away, in the woods, the swamps, or up in a tree. Indifference to poison ivy was a distinct advantage.

I actually did do well at croquet, and won some points in a color war. Was I on the red, or blue team? Ah, but then, it was not a political question.

My wanderings from camp, and stubborn, ill temper when thwarted, made me a thorn in Uncle Mel’s side. I hated the conformity of camp, but I sincerely regret the trouble I caused him, because my perspective on those memories — some fuzzy, some clear, and all undoubtedly rusted by time — is that he was energetic, kind, and more patient with me than I deserved. He was innovative and tried to motivate us to have fun, sometimes against our will.

Tall Timber was not immune from the effects of Viet Nam. The 60s was a rebellious time. And there were other troubles. There is a tale of the bungalow colony owners, Joe and Molly’s son, Art, back from the war, wandering around one night with a rifle, his mind still back in Asia, taking Marshall temporarily prisoner at gunpoint. Or so the rumors went.

My father and I came back to Tall Timber some time after it closed. We saw the Marders when we came to collect some possessions that we had left behind. The especially tall oak at the far end of the Long House leaned a little more precariously over the sandbox, though it seemed less destined for an imminent fall than I remembered.

I remember all the camp songs. I was pleased with myself for learning them as a young child. I mocked their silliness, and resented knowing them as a pre-teen. Now, I find myself humming them, from time-to-time.

I never thanked Uncle Mel. I owe him that, and would gladly thank him. In many ways, he was the architect of that experience, for which I was too young to know I was loving it.

Article © 2006, Bob Solomon

— Tall Timber Tales —
            Tall Timber Tales - An introduction by Demian
            My Dad - by Demian
            An Exhausting Winter’s Tale - by Demian
            Summer Camp Emergency - by Demian
            Tall Timber Drama - by Demian
            Thanks for the Plaque - by Jay Leites
            Indifference to Poison Ivy - by Bob Solomon
            A Boy Called Jacob - by Peter Berkrot
            The View from Far Right Field - by Peter Berkrot
            The Time of Our Lives - by Debbie Levy
            The Choice - by Jeff Gilbert
            Tall Timber Alumni - Notes from the campers
      Photo Galleries
            Summer Camp Kids - Photos by Demian
            Jack’s Kids - Photos by Jack Ritterman
            Roza Photos - Photos from Barbara Roza Iannotta
            Rucker Photos - Photos from Brian Rucker
            Arthur’s Photos - Photos from Arthur Marder
            Robin’s Photos - Photos from Robin Melasky Sloma
            All-Camp Mug Shots - Photos of the entire camp
                    1961 All-Camp Mug Shot - Who’s Who - Indentities
            Group Mug Shots - Photos of individual groups
      Reunion - Aug 15, 2009
            Reunion 2009 Photos by Jon Broz
            Reunion 2009 Photos by Jay Leites
            Reunion 2009 Photos by Michael Melasky
            Reunion 2009 Photos by Gary Solomon

Entire contents © 2015, Demian
Seattle, WA