“All I Evah Thought I’d Do”

by Bill Lerman on November 16, 2020

When I was a kid back in ’62 I used to beg my dad to go to work with him on Saturdays to work in the factory AKA Boston Athletic Shoe Company – AKA BASCO. We made ice skates and athletic shoes. I loved the environment of the factory and the diversity of the people. I used to make boxes, pack cartons and even wait on customers in the little walk-in store at the factory in east Cambridge Massachusetts.

One day in ’64 Big Al came home and told me that BASCO was liquidating!! I was crushed, it was all I evah thought I’d do. I even had a company at the factory named after me and my cousin, the Steven William Co. Although crushed by the news I figured I would just get after the work thing myself and began snowblowin and mowin lawns. All the neighbors would tell kids that wanted to shovel their yards “no way we’re waiting for Billy.” I had my own business cards and began to do any “odd jobs” I could make a buck doing.

Round about 3 years later my dad said we are going to Maine and we’re going to buy a summer camp!! Summer camp wow, I only went to overnight camp for 1 month when I was 15!! 1 month when I was 15!! Not a seasoned camper at all but my folks certainly were. Soooo off to Maine and after looking at 4-5 physical plants, Big Al decided on the “Bou”, Camp Caribou Winslow Maine. First year, CIT, 2nd year counselor aide and 3rd year full counselor teaching swimming. I kept the same bunk for seven summers, “Apple” (Julian Aptowitz), “Dumag” (Richie Dudek), “Arnold” (John Slosberg), “Soroff” (Dan Soroff). I’d take em on “maneuvers” throughout the 200 acres. When Big Al needed help with a project, the bunk would rally and we would dig out a septic field, fill in the potholes in the road and cut wood. There wasn’t a job we wouldn’t take. Now, most of my campers had never spent much time working in the woods or shoveling gravel but they came to love it. I would make it fun taking them on the flatbed trailer and tractor. We would play king of the mountain and they would all try to and take me down, wrestling.

Bout 10 years ago I hear from one of my boys online and we had beaucoup fun reminiscing about “our bunk” “Hook’s Holy Rollers” or the “The Savage Six.” In closing Arnold said to me “you know I loved everything about the Camp Caribou program but what I learned from you was how to work hard and take pride in what you can do.” He runs his own chiropractic company in the pacific northwest these days. Those comments from former campers make you feel like it’s the best job evah.