Note added on 4 July 2014: See this post about a May 2014 caddy camp reunion.
So here's why I went to Cooperstown, NY, two weeks ago - to see some old friends:
Maybe not Hall of Famers, but All-Stars for sure! From left to right: Babe Ruth; Frank Colvario; me; Steve Costa; Fred Forte; Ted Williams; Peter Xeller; and Peter Walsh. You can click on any of these pictures to enlarge them.
With the exception of the Babe and Teddy Ballgame, all of us caddied summers at the Maplewood Caddy Camp (see here as well) which serviced the Maplewood Hotel's golf course in Bethlehem, NH, nestled in the gorgeous White Mountains. After the hotel burned down in winter 1963, we headed to Cape Cod and established a caddy camp for Clauson's Inn (Hatchville, MA), now the Cape Cod Country Club.
The camps were operated by the North Bennet Street School (formerly North Bennet Street Industrial School), located in Boston's North End. The caddy camps (another was at the Lake Tarleton Hotel in Pike, NH) served to get city boys out into the country, giving them the opportunity to earn some money and learn 'life skills.' A great experience.
Here is a picture of the Clauson's campers and counselors from 1963:
The camp's director, the late John T. Dexter, known to us as 'D' or 'Mr. D', was an amazing man who made a lasting impression on all of us. And who could forget 'Ma' Labonte, our cook, who had a ferocious backhand spatula.
I have seen Frank and Peter X. many times since 1963; Peter, a fellow New Yorker, is my long-time childhood friend (since third grade). I had not seen Steve, Fred, and Peter W. for almost 50 years. All the Cooperstown Six, save for Peter X and me, grew up in the greater Boston area - Steve in Somerville, Frank in the North End of Boston, and Fred and Peter in Roslindale.
We are hoping to get many of the 1963 crew together next summer - our 50th anniversary.
So how did two New Yorkers wind up working summers with a bunch of Bostonians? My father, a native of Boston's North End, caddied at the Maplewood Caddy Camp in the 1920s and thought it would be a great experience for his son and his friend. He was right.
And here is a snapshot of the Cooperstown Six minus Two (Fred and Peter Walsh):
"Make new friends and keep the old, one is silver and the other gold." - Girl Scouts motto