My husband Jerry was living the life as a senior in BTA’s super garbage class in 1973. Things could not have been going better, as he was naturally fun-filled and irresponsible. Then, a series of indelible events occurred, starting in the spring of 1973 which changed his perspective and expectations forever.
First, he was shocked when he didn’t get into Yeshiva University. Throughout high school, he and his best friend, Normy Gold, planned on being roommates and dreamed of how much fun this would be. When he didn’t get into YU, he couldn’t bring himself to tell his close friends, who all planned on continuing their fun-filled adventures together in YU. They used to say that BTA was their day camp and YU would be their sleep-away camp. Then, something else shocking happened. He was notified that he would not be invited back to camp Raleigh, as a counsellor, after 6 summers, where he loved to spend great times with his camp friends. In a couple months time, he felt exiled from the life and the friends he expected to spend the next few years with.
Upon hearing this story, my first response was, “Are you kidding me? Why have you been withholding this one? I had to resort to talking about my kids the last few articles, and you know how much they hate that!” Next I asked him what could have been so terrible, that he did as a junior counselor, that they would refuse him a job as a counselor, he being the only one not asked back. It went something like this…
His summer as a JC began with his mom accompanying him to the bus (the only staff member, to have his mom there for the send off) that would transport all the kids to camp. His mom was heard telling Jerry’s counselor, Robert Honig, aka Hodge, who he would be working with, to make sure Jerry got a haircut while in camp. And so his summer began. He instituted BTA cutting and compliance programs on Hodge’s day’s off where they did what the kids wanted, and cut arts and farts (as they called it), learning groups, and anything else they had no interest in. The inmates ran the institution on Hodge’s day off.