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Tunis Lake

 
 The fact that I came across this website randomly, let alone on Father's Day, which has quite a huge camp significance to me is quite remarkable. For the better part of the past 25 yrs. Father's Day was when I loaded up the car and drove up to camp for Orientation. I've worked as a Director of Tennis at a couple of outstanding traditional sleep away camps in New England, one in Maine, one in New Hampshire. It is absolutely the most intrinsically rewarding job
    that I've ever done in the tennis profession.

I never worked at Tunis Lake; I was a bit too young. I started there as a 5-1/2 year old in 1962, the only child of divorcing parents. I many years later discovered in the original
divorce decree that my mother made it a point to have it say that ''the father's visitation rights should in no way interfere with the child's summer camp experience. '' I loved camp and presumed that I'd be going there forever. Where else would I want to go during the summer? I must've presumed that I would become a counselor there one day.

I went there for 9 summers and was crushed when they informed us that Tunis Lake wasn't going to be open that fateful
 
    summer after my Bar Mitzvah. They merged with another camp but half a summer there told me all that I needed to know. It was no Tunis Lake. I was already starting to play competitive tennis/USTA tournaments, so summer camp faded into
 the background and eventually disappeared altogether as I was already working as a pro at various country clubs in Westchester at the age that I would've been ready to become a counselor.

Somehow, camp came back into the picture when I was 35 as a friend who'd been a lifer recruited me to come up to work as Director of Tennis at a very elite, very expensive, predominantly Jewish, boys' camp in Maine. I had a little trepidation about it since I was already
working as a Head College Tennis Coach, and I wasn't sure if this was gonna be like what I remembered camp to be like. Regardless, I trusted my friend, and it turned out to be a fantastic experience, almost a re-birth/flashback to what must have been what I loved about camp in the first place as a kid.

It may not have been Tunis Lake, but it was certainly a top-notch place, a traditional style residential camp where I worked with a lot of wonderful people from all over the world, none of whom would I have ever met unless I had ventured back into the camp world. I worked at another outstanding boys camp in N. H. For another 15 years after that until 2013. So when you add up all the years that I worked at camp along with the 9 summers that I was so fortunate to have attended Tunis Lake as a child from 5-1/2 to 14, I've spent more than half of the summers of my life at summer camp.

While she passed away fairly recently at the age of 95, my Mom, Edie, as a single working mother with limited education and a Holocaust survivor's mentality, found a way to somehow send me to camp (and to a wonderful one at that) on a waitress's salary. I'm convinced that somehow by doing this, it probably was the single best thing that she ever did for me in my entire life. I think it may have set the wheels in motion for my eventual return to the camp world years later, as well as provide a respite from the harsh reality of what was in store for me in the future as an only child with a full-time working mother and no father figure or male adult role model around.
It's almost like I had the camp gene in my DNA and that I was destined to return to that world somewhere down the road. I wish it could've been at Tunis Lake where I would've run the best tennis program imaginable at a place that had not been previously known for it. My first love at camp was basketball,and I clearly remember Bobby Sands giving me a butterscotch candy at the end of a tough practice as encouragement, whether I'd done poorly or not. He was the kind of wonderful knowledgeable revered coach that a young boy needed.

I could tell you a few other stories, but the one that stands out the most was when I was called into Don Kusel's office (the Head Counselor) because I was cursing too much. He lectured me and told me that if things didn't change, I might have to go home. That's the last thing that I would've ever wanted to happen, being sent home from camp. I probably started shaking and crying in his office, pleading that I would stop, please don't call my Mom, and promising that it wouldn't happen anymore. My behavior changed instantaneously. To be told that if I didn't get my act together and that I might be asked to leave somewhere that I really liked a lot and where I wanted to be scared the hell out of me. In my mind, going home was not an option, whether I was 5-1/2 or a punk going through adolescence, that's where I wanted to be, case closed.

I still have a lot of materials, pictures, momentoes of camp since I tend to not throw away stuff. I even have pictures from when we went to Expo '67, The World's Fair held in Montreal. I would be glad to donate all of them to anyone who'd be interested in curating this stuff.

All you have to do is contact me:
Jeffrey A. Greene
75 White Oak St. ,Apt. #4-C
New Rochelle, N. Y. 10801
(914)633-8514(H)
(914)565-3195(C)
jagreene56@hotmail.com Says Jeffrey A. Greene

TLC 56 to 60. Best summers  of my life.  Swim in TL every summer. Best since 1975. Marty London was my counselor.  Presently a physician  in NJUNE 9735409513 Says HENRY SHERMAN

I was at Tunis Lake for several years beginning in the early thirties. I remember the prominent athletes who were counselors. Says Herb Schuman

I was at Tunis Lake from 1966-69. Great memories! My brother Lee was there too. I remember some very cool counselors; Bobby Silverman, John Epstein as well as my close summer friends Lance Miller, Steve Dworin, Jeff Kahn Scott Moroff, and Scott Granet Don Kussel was a teacher at White Plains high school, and I would always stop by to chat with him. Saying goodnight at the white whale, color war, water skiing, friendly midnight visits to the girls side, intercamp trips, scary stories on the other side of the lake.

Fond memories that have lasted a lifetime. Best wishes to all my old friends. It would be fun to reminisce old times (artinno@optonline.net) Says Danny Doernberg

I went to Tunis Lake from 1951 to 1958. I still remember the Color War Alma Mater  from 1953.53 Gold the  summers end is nigh etc. My sister Marge can remember a lot more including UNIS from Tunis. The three of us have such fond memories especially watching our brother Sandy the youngest camper marching with Uncle Sam. The three of us all live in Florida and would love to get together with any one from our era. My brother Sandy has several eateries down here. Give me a call at 561 367 3573. Says Sue Weiss Land

I went to Tunis Lake in 1966 and '67.  Was only seven years old the first year and cried myself to sleep every night. The second year I was brave and didn't cry at all.  My older sisters, Susan and Patricia Kahn, also went there and were in  some of the plays. I look back at those time with delight. I learned to swim, water ski, enjoy vanilla wafers, row a boat, talk back to my counselor (Steve Seber) and much more.  We live in the same neighborhood as Whitey Kessler in Suffern, N Y. I just found the camp record for the summer of '66.  If anyone wants me to burn them a CD of it just call me at 917.693.1399. I live in White Plains, NY. Says Laurence Kahn 1966-67

I was at TLC in 1957 and 1958 with my sister Phyllis. I was only 4 the first year but my mother, Ann was the camp mother for the girl's side. I vividly remember the color wars and the Golden Aztecs of 1958. I remember the time Buster Crab the famous swimmer came up to give lessons for his friend Bunny. Danny was there too. Great memories for a small kid. Says Ira Lefkof

Went to Tunis from 1951-1961 along with my sister Susan and brother Sandy. My bunk mates (at least the ones I remember) were Pat and Midge Frankel, Pat Spirn (Tommy's daughter), Karen Wolin. Taffy, I remember when your mother was the camp mother. Wish I could go back now! Says Margie Weiss

Whenever I am asked what part of my life I loved most, I instantly go to ''camp. '' The joy I experienced at TLC for those summers felt like I was in another world (1959-1965,that final year in ''The Lodge'' with Rochelle Towers, Deena Scharin, Cathy Ringler, Rima Kirschner... A gang that was together all of those years, including winter reunions). I absolutely loved Color War and still have my old ''fake book'' of Tunis songs. I've enjoyed a rewarding career, beautiful, loving kids, and my own share of life's ordeals. But at 67, thoughts of Tunis Lake is like saying '' Calgon, take me away... !'' Such fond memories of Tommy Spirn and then Judy Kessler as our Girls' Camp Directors... George and Bunny. If anyone would like to connect, I would so love it. My email is chorwitz@wpi. edu.

Thanks for this forum, Whitey... I remember you well too :-)

Best to all,
Connie Peck Horwitz
Massachusetts Says Connie Peck Horwitz

I have some of my fondest memories of Tunis Lake. I went there with my brother, Marc, from 1965-1968, and friend Steve Miller.  Steve also had his brothers, Jeff and Lance in attendance,  as well as cousins,  the Goldmans. I can share lots of stories about Donna ''Dance'' and Betsy Shriever. ''Hello'' to Jamie Milton. Says Rob Perler

Was at Tunis Lake in 67-69. Easily some of my best memories from youth took place there. Great friends and times that somehow don't seem as long ago as they really were!!! Would love to reconnect with those that remember the fun we had there. Says Bob Machlus

I went to Tunis lake in 49 and 50. I was 4 and 5, but I can recall they changed the pledge to under God my second year and last year. Says Andy Needle

I went to tunis lake when I was 4. My mother Muriel was the camp mother. That was 1950. My last year was 1959. Says Taffy Wanderman

It was so nice to hear the wonderful memories everybody has about TLC. I am still in the camping business. Own and direct Camp Ranaquois. Check it out. Says Whitey Kessler

Hi! Enjoyed three beautiful summers at Tunis with my brother Roger and my late Mom who worked in the office. Remember Whitey and Judy as a young couple before they married. Loved Oscar and Bunny. Says Jackie Roth

I was at TLC from 1964-68 with brothers Stuart & Andrew for most of those years. As you all, wonderful memories and happy times. I recall nightime ''raids'' setting loose the canoes and the animals from the nature shack (among other raid activities). Says James Morris

My brother Ronald and I attended TLC from 1966-1970. There are so many wonderful things that I remember: watching the first lunar landing on a small BW television with the entire camp at the ''canteen'' (the highest and only point on the site that had TV reception); waking up to ''Jeremiah was a bullfrog'' instead of Reveille every day (5-6 times/day!) for an entire summer; the white whale; ''quiet please: dedicated to...'' at meal times; color war (e.g., 1966 Blue Britons, 1967 Golden Gauchos); ''TU'', ''NI'' and ''S'' water depending on your swimming ability; ''doing a whale'': swimming around the lake once; ''double whale'': twice around; Whitey and Marty; mass softball; stoopball off of the bunk steps; bug juice; all-day suckers; running down to the office to take a call from your parents when you heard your name on the loud speaker... Would love to reminisce with any old bunkmates...counselors, etc. jjlevy@indiana.edu Says Jay Levy

The summers spent at Tunis were the best in my life! I remember when Morty and Whitey both came to our home to talk to my parents about what ''Camp Life'' would be like for their four children. I remember Sandy the cook with the sailor hat we all got to sign, the Indian on the bottom of the plates we all looked for during meals, bug juice, counselors from other countries, Janet Moses, Bob Kessler (he also taught at my high school)the white whale (where I got my first kiss from Randy Bring), water skiing, taking swim tests, horseback riding, flag folding, arts and crafts, newcomb, volleyball, croquet, chains made from gum wrappers, Cepacol throat lozenges from the infirmary, care packages, visiting day, color war and so many other fantastic experiences shared with so many wonderful friends. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Says Ellen ''Weiner'' O'Connor

T-U-N-I-S, Tunis we love you. Frances Kaiser Cook, Nancy Kaiser Prager, Richard Kaiser and Jeff Kaiser. 1954-1965 Says Nancy Kaiser Prager

We are now 77 and73. Roberta and I met at Tunis in 1956 and have been married for 55 years, and they have all been great years. Our buddies were Freddy and Jackie Friedman, Whitey Kessler, Eddie LIpman, Stan and Diana Nayer, Liz Zeikel, JoanSpirn, Ira Madris, Diane Halpern, Judy Newman. The list can go on and on and on. And of course special memories to the people who made this happen -- Oscar Newman and Bunny Kaye. We now live in White Plains and Aventura Florida. We like to hear from anyone so that we can share these memories. 914-358-4688. Says Marty London and Roberta Berman London

Does anyone have a picture of the camp tee-shirt? Yellow and navy Says Rainy

My mom was camp mother at Tunis Lake Camp with Janet Moses!! Our whole familes spent our summers at Tunis!! What a great experience and a lifetime of wonder memories!!! Says Beverly Panzer Roach

I attended Tunis Lake Camp from @ 65 till its close. I grew up in that camp since I was only 6 when I started. My brother Roy was a camp counselor and my cousin Tom was head of the waterfront. My cousin Robin also went there and she was a senior/CIT. I still have my trophies for all around athelte I earned. I remember the layout of the camp, that long rocky walk to the waterfront where I fell and tore open my knee (I have the scar to prove it). I attended two other camps after this one closed, but they paled in comparasin. Says Robin Gilbert

Finally found this site. I was the musical counselor there for 3 summers from 1965 through 1967. Lots of memories and I got experience you couldn't buy that started me on my career.

I remember Whitey and the Eagles. And of course Judy and I would write the colorwar songs together.

When I first got there Uncle Oscar had me working in the kitchen, while I learned the camp songs from the previous Music C. We did Fiddler and I was Tevye. They recorded an album of that show. I don't have it so if anyone has it let me know. Just this past summer I met Sheldon Harnick (he's 88) who wrote the music for Fiddler.

After that show, I then became the Music C. And remember that we did Best Foot Forward, The Boyfriend, Sound Of Music, Mary Poppins (I still don't know how they got a script for that one), Mame (don't know how they got that one either since it was just on BWAY). There were more but I can't remember which shows they were. Maybe someone out there remembers.

In my last summer there (1967) when I was 16, a waiter named Sandy (who 2 years earlier had played the Constable in Fiddler), gave me a book called the Borscht Belt by Joey Adams. It inspired me to work in bands at hotels. So the following years that's what I did and caught the end of that era. But I couldn't have done that at that time without the summers spent working at Tunis Lake Camp.

Invaluable ! Says Dave Gross

Hi everyone, my parents the late Bunny and Ginger Kaye owned Tunis Lake Camp from the early 50s until the early 60s turning the torch over to Whitey Kessler. I am not familiar with the Engels? Dad put his heart and soul into Tunis which was not just a business for him. He used to lead from 200-250 children in song and playing sports taught us all team work and character. A part of Mom and Dad will live on through the souls of all that follow. Glory to Camp Tunis! Says Joan Kaye Wishkoff

I loved the 2 summers I spent at Tunis Lake. (1965-1966) When the temperature in Miami starts to skyrocket, I think longingly of the cool lake and beautiful mountain air. Would love to get in touch with any former bunkmates. Says Jamie Milton

Went to Tunis Lake from 1965 -1969, so did my brother Jonathan Satin. Fantastic memories. Peggy Blefeld was in my bunk in'65, Jeff Kahn I also knew you summer of '68. Look for me on Facebook. Says Doreen Satin Bernknopf

Hi whitey I was a blue samurai and my brother Louis was a gold Arabian? His team won color war that year..what fun? Says Carol Sumberg

Happiest of memories were my summers at Tunis Lake from 1952 through 1962. What fortunate children we were. Enjoy the memories. Says Rochelle Towers

Some of my earliest memories are from Tunis. I've taken my family back several times so they can ''see'' the stories I tell about ''the glorious days and the games we have played'' in the shadow of Mt. Pisgah. Says Larry Engle

I went to Tunis Lake Camp from 1933 to 1939 and loved every minute Says Irwin Talbot

Tunis Lake Camp was a wonderful experience, and i think about it every year when the summer comes. 1965-1968 Says Jeff Kahn

I went to Tunis Lake Camp from 1936 through 1944.(I am now 81 years old). Says David I. Wells

Tunis lake camp was wonderful---what made it so were the staff and all personnel. Says Gene Lanton

I loved my summers at Tunis lake camp. 1965-1968. Unis sang an africana on the social hall piana. Says Cary Bagell

I went to Tunis Lake in 1964-1966. I was just in Calicoon and FOUND the land. Unfortunetly nothing is there but the beautiful lake. The Engels who were the owners lived down the street from where I grew up. Morty and Janet. Great times Says Peggy Blefeld

Tunis lake camp on Tunis Lake was a great overnight camp till the early 1970's Says whitey kessler



Memories from Tunis Lake - Jeff Greene
BIGGER SIZE PICTURE HERE



Memories from Tunis Lake - Jeff Greene
BIGGER SIZE PICTURE HERE



Memories from Tunis Lake - Jeff Greene
BIGGER SIZE PICTURE HERE



Memories from Tunis Lake - Jeff Greene
BIGGER SIZE PICTURE HERE



Memories from Tunis Lake - Jeff Greene
BIGGER SIZE PICTURE HERE



I went to TLC from maybe 1962 to 1966; I don't remember exactly the years. I can't describe how much. I loved those summers. TLC was a major influence on my pre-adolescent development. Rather than, ''December 1963 (Oh What A Night)'', as sung by Franki Valli, I could say ''August 1963 (Oh What A Night)'', because I had my first kiss there one night in the movies. What fun was that! Picture is me in 2015, at age 62. - James Gordon





      


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