THE RAID (1953)

Barry Fireman

It was a warm July night on Girl's Hill. The moon and stars were shining... perhaps a little too brightly for what we were about to do.  We were seniors at Camp Kinderland and we were the only boys bunk on girl's hill.  We were surrounded by three bunks full of girls... and we loved it.  We were 13 years old, maybe 14, and girls had just become wonderful. They couldn't play baseball, but boy could they get our attention.  I'm getting a little ahead of myself.

We had decided to pull off a raid. This was nothing new at Kinderland (or any other children's camp in the United States), but this raid was going to be different. This raid was to be non-destructive... peaceful, mischievous, and just plain fun.  We had decided to completely switch bunks with the girls bunk two doors away, in the middle of the night. The plan was to wait for everything to get quiet and then at about 10:00 PM two boys would leave our bunk and sneak over to the girls bunk with out "dejourna" (night patrol) finding out what we were doing. Label Shulman was on dejoura.  He was also from my home town, Philadelphia and he was also the life guard. Then one boy would get into a vacant bed and the other boy would escort two girls back to our bunk.  Then two more guys would sneak over and another two girls would be escorted back until the entire switch was made. We had to go under the bunks on the side of a very steep and rocky hill which sloped away from girls hill at a very precarious angle. The idea was for Ruth Rappaport (she was the head counselor) to wake up in the morning  with a bunk full of boys instead of girls. Donnie Gollosman and Anatol (?) would also be surprised to awaken to a bunk full of girls. It took hours for us to quietly make the switch. We started bringing the girls over... Sarah Lee Braverman, Sondra Buchalter, Ruth Mongin, Deena Whiteman, Judy Sherman, Judy Lichtman, Annette Kaplan, Mona Stern, Iris Greenberg, Barbara Gladstone, Micki Tissian, Lorraine Gollosman, Phyllis Mandell and more... the names will come later.  The boys, gentlemen to the last, did their escorting and return trips with aplomb... The Kennin twins Steve and Elliot, Bob Schwartz, Steve Malamud, Aaron Shenkman, Steve Efron, Myron Wollin, Arnie Miller, Ed Goldson, Mike Caldwell, and me Barry Fireman. There were many more and I know their names will come to me in the middle of a sleepless night.

It was well after midnight when we finished and it was so difficult to keep from giggling.  We had pulled it off. Now all we had to do was SLEEP. How do you sleep when your heart is pounding 99 miles an hour?  I remember snuggling into Sara Lee's bed. She was my girl friend and the fact that I was about to go to sleep in her bed and she in mine was very exciting. After all I was 13 years old and I don't have to tell you what goes through your mind when you're at that tender age.

My heart began to slow down and the excited giggling subsided and I remember thinking that perhaps sleep would really come,  when suddenly the lights snapped on... in both bunks simultaneously.  I hid under the covers. I remember thinking, how inconsiderate of Ruth Rappaport to come back to her bunk and turn on the lights when she knew her girls were all fast asleep.

After a moment of silence I felt a very hard smack on my behind and Label shouting at me, "OK Fireman... UP !" I peeked out from under the covers to see Label Shulman standing at the foot of the bed howling with laughter. "How did you know ?" I asked.  He said, "Your shape is nothing Like Sarah Lee's. Even through the covers I could tell it was not Sarah Lee".

Actually, Label knew what was going on from the very start and he just let us do it. As we marched back to our bunk along the road, we said good night to the girls who were trudging back in the opposite direction. We fell into our beds and as sleep began to, once again, overtake me I heard Steve Malamud say, " Let's do it again at 2:00 AM."     ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

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