Other than school, camp was my first introduction to girls, and I discovered co-ed camp was a lot more fun. As you’ve probably guessed, there were rules. The two sections of the camp included the girls’ cabins and the boys’ cabins with a dining hall in between. Boys were not allowed to pass by the dining area’s “iron curtain” to the girls’ area. Likewise, for the girls but guys didn’t mind the girls coming over which was seldom. Campers had kitchen duties such as cleaning pots or mopping, etc. Nicknamed “Fifi,” Lori and I became buddies. I was crazy about her, and they called me, “Loverboy.” “Fifi” was athletic, pretty and she’d do these beautiful cartwheels for me.
For campers’ safety, we had a buddy system. Fifi and I put our aluminum tags together beside other buddies on one hook on a board situated beside the lake. Most mornings as we eased ourselves into the water I’d dip under as she climbed on my shoulders. We had this game to see who could get the other couple off-balance and topple them in the water.
it was comforting to know that I would never stick my finger in that river in the same spot twice.
With darkness all around the campfire we’d sit on the ground beside someone we liked. Someone would throw another log on the flames as we stared into the fire dreaming of nothing. Some of us joined in a story telling contest to see who could scare us the most. After awhile the fire dwindled to embers, and we’d get up and roast marshmallows. Alas, camp ended too soon. At 21, I moved to a larger city returning home many years later. In my absence, Niagara Falls changed. The city built many large hotels. I heard that the camp was still running. Today the road entrance to the gorge is open only to authorized personnel, and for safety reasons no one is allowed to visit that same place where Sam and I played. A sign on a large stone at the gorge entrance reads: “Daredevils Beware.” Seven years ago, Dad passed away with Alzheimer’s disease. In some ways, it was comforting to know that I would never stick my finger in that river in the same spot twice.©