Boiberik Reunion 1998

Remarks by Etta Milbauer (EE66)

I have always had proprietary feelings about Boiberik -- my grandfather was on the original board, I can claim Leibush Lehrer as a relative, both my parents grew up here, I started camp in the kinderheim as a Yingste-Yingste, allowed to stay for 8 weeks under my brother's watchful eye, and I wore the Boiberikaner costume with pride in 1966. The e-mail forum preceding this reunion has humbled me. My love for Boiberik is no greater, no purer and no deeper than any one else's. I was a camper for only 6 years, as my family alternated camp with travel, but those six years, and the five that followed them when I was a CIT and a counselor, were extremely formative years.

The things I cherish -- Yiddishkeit, education, giving back to the community, cross-cultural understanding, brotherhood and peace, are all embodied in the foundation of Boiberik.

My memories of my summers here are bittersweet, a jumble of good and bad -- I grew up in Boiberik -- so, naturally my memories of growing up are forever entwined with memories of Boiberik.

I remember standing on the top of girls hill looking down at the handy man raising the Felker flats on the auditorium field, and understanding for the first time about the difference between the speed of sound and the speed of light, as I watched and listened to his hammer rise and fall.

I remember the frog dissection in Nature and watching in awe as the heart, disconnected, still pounded on the table as the rest of the frog was dissected.

I remember the night Yanni thought I was a prowler on girl's hill and he jumped out of the pine grove at me. I have never felt the same about walking alone in the dark.

I remember the pain and pleasure of learning about interpersonal relationships, experiencing being both the victim and the purveyor of teasing.

I remember the shame of always being the last to be picked for a team.

These are all things that could have happened any where, but for me they happened here.

I also remember coming of age in Boiberik -- raiding my brother bunk, getting dressed up for Cabaret night, Tami Fern giving us the freedom to ask her anything, the fleeting thrill of my first Vakh, learning to adjust to being a woman rather than a girl, and the thrill of then helping my campers do the same.

The fierceness of my affection for my campers and my desire to protect those campers was my first encounter with the side of myself which has later led others to compare me to a lioness with her cubs. Being allowed the privilege to be counselor to the same bunk of girls summer after summer, after summer, was remarkable.

The summer of '71, with Mark at my side as their Eltste-Eltste counselors, was my last summer at camp. My memory of that summer is filled with recollections of the illicit and the illegal (which I won't elaborate on since both my parents and my children are in the audience tonight). Together, Mark, the Eltste-Eltste, and I found a way to make it a summer that twenty-seven years later still brings a smile to our lips.

From the ceremony of the Indian coming across the lake with the flame to start each camp season to the moment at Felker when the curtain was drawn to unveil the vaiser toyb, I cherish it all. The details aren't important. The gestalt of the experience is unique and incomparable.

Perhaps most of all, the songs of Boiberik stay with me - maybe because this is the one place my tuneless voice wasn't censored. Sometimes I fall back on those indistinct but nonetheless nurturing memories, mourning the passage of time but still celebrating what lives on in our hearts, and I hum to myself about the reassuring warmth of the joy of summers at Boiberik.

Vet Boiberik undz varimen mit licht fun zummer frayd

Zay Gezunt, zay Gezunt!

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