I spent the greatest summers of my life at Camp Woodcliff. A total of eight. Even though I was young when I
first arrived at Woodcliff I was already a seasoned camper, having spent two summers at Camp Wel-Met and one at Timberlake. I was quite young to be spending the entire summer away and I probably would not have
been able to handle it if my brothers were not there too.
So my summers at Woodcliff. Lets see, I started in B-5, then B-7, B-8, B-9, B-11 and then B-12 also known as the Biltmore. At that age you were a part
time camper, part time waiter. The next year is when your camper status ended and you were a worker. I was the Dishwasher…. Well as far as I was concerned it was better then being a C.I.T. When
you weren't washing dishes you were free to do as you please and that included leaving the grounds. And it was better than being Potwasher… ughh!! And that year you lived your dream. To live in the Hilton,
a cardboard shanty smack in the middle of camp, but it was "your" private shanty.
So lets back it up to the earlier years…. What I can remember. B-5 I remember being there but not much more. B-7 was connected to B-6,
where I met Jordan. He chipped his kneecap that summer swinging on a rope into the water… and hitting a rock. He was in B-6 but we were actually close in age. What brought us together? Being cool and
liking girls. Most of the boys back then didn't care for girls. We did. B-8. My only real memory that year was bringing my little Panasonic tape player and having tons of Beatles and a little Grateful
Dead. It took me over a week to even break it out, kids weren't listening to music yet, but once I did my counselors loved it and was shocked that I had the Dead. B-9 B-11 nothing really stands out except
getting to the age when all I wanted to do all summer was just hang out, and be with the girlfriend of the week. Bob and Shirley Saphire didn't like to see you "not at your assigned activity". But that's what I
wanted along with Jordan. And I remember my parents supporting me on this. "Hey he goes to school all year, if he wants to just hang out that's fine with us". So we figured out compromises so that we could just
Some of the great summer events worth mentioning. Message to Garcia… huh any relation to Jerry, probably. Gold Rush Day followed by Las Vegas
night. Trips to the bowling alley, and skating rink. The big rip…. Oops I mean Trip. Making bunk plaques to hang in the dining hall. Singing "oh the lord is good to me he brings me the things I need the
sun and the rain and the apple seed, the lord is good to me" and occasionally "rub-a-dub dub thanks for the grub yea god. Receiving canteen and 35 cents for the soda machine. Costa brand if I remember
correctly. Milk and cookies before sleep. And for me having ten minutes after evening activity to head over to this big tree near the lower ball field to make out. Most evening activities were fun…..
Socials, which meant going in the back of the Lodge and either make out or play spin the bottle, sometimes with the older girls. I think that's where I had my first french kiss. So what else stands out in my
memory's of Camp Woodcliff. Hernia Hill. I remember Jordan and I wanting to build a go-cart to race down it, never happened. Ah yes Telephone for Joel Liebman, Joel Liebman, telephone. (as I got older I was
spending more time out in the woods and hearing that message in the faint distance and running hard and usually making it). This is the end of first activity all campers are to report to second
activity. Good morning campers this is first call, line up will be in ten minutes. Who could forget the bug zappers, and that gross upper lake with the ski machine. Oh I love tetherball, where most camps had
rickety tetherball courts Woodcliff sure did have nice ones. How about spending time in the infirmary. What a drag that was. Rope tours up the Sawkill River. Molly the cook... I'll leave that one alone,
except how did she make scrambled eggs taste so bad…. Wednesday was make sandwich day. Sandwich, plum and a scooter pie. Nature shack always had some funky dead animals in jars with formaldehyde. I
spent a lot time there, actually I chose Nature cause it was in the center of camp and that meant I could "Hang Out". Maybe watch the girls in Dance over by the Lodge. What a neat little camp Woodcliff
was. About ten years ago I drove up into the camp in the Fall. Sure was a lot smaller then I remembered. There were tears in my eyes thinking about how much fun I had there…. That funny little
Saphire house. Now we did have access to the phone and one year someone thought, lets order in a pizza, strange.. how come I never thought of that before, and so we did and that pizza guy drove right up into the
Camp… it was always a site when a car drove up. Shirley was not to happy about that, but she brought us into the dinning hall and let us eat it. Shirley and I knew each other for many years there, and
sorry to say we did have a bad falling out. On what was to be my ninth year there as Head Waiter I was away at college that school year only to return home for about two weeks before I head up to Woodcliff. Well
I had a girlfriend back at home that I didn't really see much during the school year but we never did break up. One day before I was suppose to depart, I couldn't. She meant to much to me, and Shirley got the
call. Well she was not to happy but there was nothing I could do. That was the first summer I spent at home for 10 years. So that was Camp….. except
For life in the Hilton as dishwasher, sharing a room with Jordan and David Osofsky in the next room. Poor David, he sure took a lot of abuse from
us that year. Funny thing there in the Hilton, It truly was plop in the middle of camp and what we did behind those closed doors and never got in trouble. I always tried to push the limits there at
Woodcliff but never go overboard. Never wanted to get kicked out, so the trick was to go on the late night raids to the girls bunks and keep it quiet and cool.
Gosh I feel I could right a book about all of this, but I just wanted to say enough here so that those who do get to read this can remember there
favorite things about Woodcliff.
Hey Peter… don't worry I didn't forget about you. Even though your friends back in Kew Gardens wanted to beat me up………….
What's it all about Alfie
So these are just a smidgen of my memories of Camp Woodcliff. Please email me if you have something to share… pictures too. Joel@jlfurniture.com