These are memories of the former Camp TA-RI-GO in Fleischmanns, New York.
If you want to add to these please feel free to e-mail me.
Here is the second page of submissions.

The following story is from Mitch Silver...

My Ta-Ri-Go Memories

(From when I was about 6 to 13 years old in the late 60's and early 70's)

Written at 3:00 A. M. on a sleepless night in Indianapolis in 1999.


I remember as a young camper, either Freshman or Pioneer, as the evening activity would finish up suddenly the entire rec hall wall erupt in a loud, deep, heart thumping "S", "S-E", "S-E-N-I-O-R-S"…. It was so powerful that it echoed in my head for years before I even new what it was that they were spelling.

I remember the first day of camp when we would carefully choose which bed we wanted and which cubby. The driving factor for me was that the cubby needed to have strong evenly spaced shelves so that it served as a stepladder to climb to the top of the cubby and onto the rafters. It was like an early version of a discovery zone.

I remember Freighoffer cookies were more valuable than gold.

I remember the rocky back road that went from boy’s camp to the lake. I heard of a famous Indian who walked on sharp rocks to make his feet tough like leather so he never had to wear shoes. I walked barefoot on that road everyday for two summers in the hopes of being the first kid in Yonkers never needing shoes. Man did those rocks hurt.

I remember the sloping hill behind the senior girl’s bunk. We would try to balance ourselves on that hill while peeking through the girl’s bathrooms at shower time. I don’t think we saw too much…but just the idea of maybe seeing something naked made the awkward climb and risk worthwhile.

I remember carnival day when we’d tie rope from the flagpole all around boy’s campus and then we’d knot pieces of colored cray paper to the ropes. Then we’d raise the ropes to the tops of the flagpole creating a carnival tent type atmosphere. I also remember taking it down and wetting the different colored cray paper and blotting it against white tee shirts to make a tie-dyed look…but it only lasted one wash.

I remember lazy day. The first day after color war when we could wear pajamas to the cafeteria. It was the only time all summer I would wear pajamas.

I remember topsy tervy day where everything got switched. Girls in boys bunks, boys in girls bunks, dinner for breakfast, evening activity first thing, and backward clothes.

I remember roller-skating in the rec hall. Metal wheels roaring against the dusty wood floors. Sometimes, when the dust was particularly thick, we’d wipe out at every turn. We also used to set the benches on their sides to make a rink of sorts where we’d play hockey. Although we were never that good…we sure could whack the shit out of each other’s shins.

I remember the biz rock.

I remember the pinball machines in the canteen. Although it always smelled like wet carpet in there, the pinball could get intense. One machine, hurdy gurdy, you could pick up and drop hard to get a free game. Once we dropped it too hard and the glass broke. But we still played it for the rest of the summer.

I remember a color war break where it rained in the rec room. I thought special effects had hit a new standard, which would never be surpassed.

I remember milk call after rest hour. Chocolate or regular and two cookies. What was with those weirdoes that actually preferred regular milk to chocolate.

I remember inspection. Standing at the foot of your bed while the "inspector" felt down you bed for sand. Often a gleam would come over his eyes as he pretended to start away just to grab the side of your bed backhand and flip it into the air. I remember the occasional inspector, usually a group leader, going nuts with power and dumping every bed and cubby.

I remember the hot chocolate that would be served on cold mornings in the silver metal pitchers. If allowed to cool enough there would accumulate a film of chocolate something on the top.

I remember the grilled cheese only had once piece of bread. Not at all like mom’s.

I remember the kitchen help that lived in the house behind the main house. They were black guys that came from Florida. I became friends with some of them and learned that they were the age of junior campers. I remember wondering why they worked instead of being campers.

I remember the buddy boards down by the lake. White tags with silver metal edges and different color markers were used to indicate shallow, deep or intermediate swimmer. I remember how proud I was when I first passed the deep-water test and Bruce Pomerantz handed me my new buddy tag.

I remember buddy calls: "ONE, TWO, TRIPLE THREE,…"

I remember the counselors on dock duty. Standing in the heat holding a giant bamboo pole. Waiting for the moment when "counselor swim" was announced. Then they’d all leap into the water and break every rule that they’d been enforcing all day.

I remember my first kiss right next to one of the girl’s bunks with all the girls in bunk watching through the window. I remember the kiss shot through my like a bolt of lightening. I wandered back to my bunk in a daze.

I remember canteen books with the different colored tickets that could be traded for candy at the canteen.

I remember visiting day when all of camp turned into something else with hundreds of strange faces and tons of food and candy.

I remember catching little orange salamanders and keeping them in shoeboxes. I remember Brad Kule sending one of them up in an Estees rocket without a parachute and earning the nickname Brad Cruel.

I remember peeing into a water gun and going over to the younger kids and asking them if they wanted a drink. I remember getting my butt kicked by someone’s older sister when she found out what I did.

I remember Joey Lacunia had a pair of black sneakers that were completely flat on the bottom…no treads at all.

I remember burning the year on the other side of the lake and watching to see who would be sissy enough to cry.

I remember lying in my bed shaking for fear of Cropsy coming and snatching me in the middle of the night.

I remember the lush forest behind boy’s camp where rocks were covered with thick green moss that was slick as ice if you stepped on it. The floor of the forest was carpeted in ferns in various areas and the sounds of birds seemed to scream through the air. I remember walking into the forest by myself, drawn for no reason I can remember only to find the sounds of the birds and stillness of the trees frightening and I’d end up running as fast as I could back to camp with my ears ringing and heart pounding.

I remember a day camper named Maxi Spier who was a little younger than me. He was very cute and talked with a lispy kind of slur. I remember the older girls just loved him to death and the older boys would teach him to say dirty words and bribe him to say them to the girls. I remember him being punished numerous times for using dirty words.

I remember the camp mothers coming around once a week to shower us and clip our nails. We’d all line up in our bathing suits waiting for her. Even though the camp mother was my real mother, I used to join in the squeamishness of hiding my privates in a bathing suit for the shower.

I remember I joined a secret club one summer. To join I had to climb the rafters in the bathroom and wiggle my way into a small hidden nook near the top of the roof. Once there I had to sing all the words to California Girls without any mistakes to be admitted to the club. I still know all the words.

I remember chasing mice for days on end. Especially after visiting day.

I remember the occasional bat in the bunk.

I remember learning about sex from stories told to us by an occasional counselor on OD.

I remember begging the OD for a bite of his OD sandwich.

I remember lying on my bed during rest hour listening to Neil Young’s After the Gold Rush on my counselor’s tape recorder. The Bunks didn’t warm up until afternoon after a cold night. I remember the coolness of my pillow on those hot afternoons.

I remember those bright orange salamanders that would show up after the rain. I remember collecting them in shoeboxes.

I remember the moldy smell of the nature shack.

I remember when someone would sing about a newfound couple in the cafeteria. Bobby and who… Bobby and who… Bobby and Lisa boop boop be doo. I remember living in fear of being the one they sang about. Funny what a seven-year-old is scared of. I think I was about 10 the first time I ever asked anyone to sing about a particular girl and me. Funny what a 10-year-old is proud of.

I remember playing co-ed Steal the Bacon on rainy days.

I remember the crackle of the Revelee record that lasted almost as long as the song itself.

I remember kids getting paddled at line up for punishment. Usually for going on a raid. "Bend over. Hold your balls. WHACK!"

I remember prank announcements, "Ed Budd, please report to the bottom of the lake. Ed Budd, to the bottom of the lake immediately!"

I remember rainy day "Bunko" which meant hanging out in the bunk. I also remember when the bunk got in trouble we were "restricted to the bunk." One was good, the other bad…but they were actually the exact same thing.

I remember eating "Hockey pucks" as we called them. They were actually veal cutlets and pretty good. They also had the nick name of "Steal Cutlets.’

I remember the Sunday before visiting day we would have lox and bagels for breakfast.

I remember those surf board things we used to take out on the lake. They were wood and fiberglass I think and about 12 feet long…at least they seemed that long. We would paddle them with our hands to the middle of the lake, and sit. We were told not to stand on them…but there was nothing else to do with them. So you stood on them a few times until you got kicked out and sat on the beach the rest of the period.

I remember such clandestine and strictly male activities as…Bonaramas and Schlongathons. I won’t elaborate.

I remember the different colored anorandak chairs on the front lawn of the main house. For some reason, at the time, I hated those chairs…although I’ve been trying to find a couple lately for my patio.

I remember going nuts on days when we would have pizza for lunch. It was unlike any pizza I’d ever known before. It was little squares with a yellowish kind of cheese on it. But it was still pizza…and I loved it.

I remember as an older camper taking trips to Woodstock. There we would eat ice cream at Stuarts and buy flavored rolling papers and cokesnuff at head shops. I don’t remember what we thought the cockesnuff was, but I remember sucking on the rolling papers like they were candy.

I remember fistfights and girlfriends and hiding firecrackers. I remember stealing matches from the counselors and ease dropping on their conversations late at night. I remember laughing with friends, crying alone and beaming with pride the first time I got a base hit in a softball game. I remember growing up at camp Tarigo.

The following story is from Henry Alcalay...

Thanks so much for putting this site together. I went from '61 through '67 and can't imagine not thinking of those days as the most carefree, most idyllic days of my life. I'd be surprised if you remember me: I wasn't much of a camper or an athlete although my sister Audrey was: I think she won All Around Camper at least once. Seeing your pictures on this site makes me think I remember you as someone who was always cheerful, which made me suspicious, I believe...

Anyway, I went back to visit in the summer of 1987. All that remained was the rec hall and the main house. I avoided the main house--it looked intact and perhaps inhabited--and went to the rec hall, which was still standing intact. On the walls were all the plaques and color war banners from all the years gone by: a veritable museum of our childhood. I tried to get some plaques down with my sister's name on them but without tools which I didn't have they couldn't be dislodged. Can you imagine the regret I feel now at not having done whatever was necessary to free them? Whatever became of them? It was such a shock to see those banners and remember the color wars I'd been in: all the songs came flooding back. I was transported.

I went back again in the summer of 1994 and the hall still stood, unchanged, although by this time little A frame houses dotted the grounds where the boys' bunks once were. I went in and walked around and, as on my prior visit, was surprised at how small the hall appeared, particularly the stage, which once seemed so high. This time there were carpenters' tools strewn about as well as sawhorses and half-filled coffee cups, as if something were about to change. On this visit I was by myself, on the verge of starting divorce proceedings against my wife...I walked around and wondered what I was trying to find. I'd been on a weekend retreat sponsored by my karate school not far away and decided when the weekend was over to visit the camp. The lake seemed shrunken too, as if you could swim across in less than a dozen strokes. When I left I went back down the hill to Fleischmans, to the movie theatre, where a film from 1968 was playing: Medium Cool by Haskell Wexler. I sat through it, then went home.

Thanks again for the site. Please add my e mail address to the list.

Stay well,

Henry Alcalay

The following story is from Patricia Bellows Moran...

My name is Patricia Bellows Moran, I just visited the Camp Ta Ri Go website and enjoyed it immensely. It brought back a lot of old memories. I am not a former camper but I lived on Little Red Kill Road with my parents during the late 1940's and 1950's. My father, Bat Bellows, was a personal friend of Lou Wilder owner of the camp. Dad delivered the trunks and duffle bags to the camp every year. He picked them up at the railroad station in Fleischmanns in June. And then the same ritual was performed before Labor Day, taking them back to the station to be shipped back to the city. I guess you could say, he was the "old time UPS guy". He also picked up the mail bags and delivered to the post office. I remember the trucks going up the hill each year and wondering if they would make it, because of the heavy loads. I also remember the buses coming up each summer and again wondering if they would meet a car coming down and if they would be able to pass one another on the winding, hilly road. I used to stand out on my lawn and wave at the kids going up. There faces plastered to the windows in wonderment of what was in store for them. It was this familar site of the parade of buses that reminded the town folks that the summer season had begun. I remember going on some of the deliveries with my Dad and while he was visiting with Lou, I was lucky enough to get some treats from the kitchen. I also remember friday nights when (I thought) counselors were allowed to come into town for a night of fun, they would be coming down the hill laughing, singing and having such a good time. The darkness of the country nights made it kind of eery, with the sounds of the all of the voices coming down the lonesome road. I guess I sort of envied the kids at the camp because they all seemed to be having such a good time. The Wilders were great people and really knew how to treat the kids to a great summer that they they would never forget. Going back to Fleischmanns now, is very sad for me, because it was such a lovely little bustling town back then, with the innocence of the times. Now it is just a shell of a town, with no stores, and a feel of emptiness has settled over it. The website brought back a lot of fond memories of summers gone by for me.

The following story is from Leslie...

The alma mater as i remember it from 58/59
Camp TA rigo
amid green pines
in natures solitude
we dedicate this song to you
with heartfelt gratitude
And when from you at summers end
we sadly do depart
Sweet memories of TA rigo 
will linger in our heart
Hi! My name is Leslie and during my years my late cousin Howie Rabinowitz was the camp hottie. I now live in Margaretville and go to Fleishmanns all the time. If I am not mistaken, the mess hall is still standing as is a small building adjacent that was the little office. A trailer is attached and people live there. 
This past Saturday, they had an open exhibit at the Skene library and I will be donating a group pic of the Debs from 1959. (omg)
I am here in Delaware county because-----------Uncle Pacy took us little kids to the big house and we got to see the view. I remember thinking " Oh this is so pretty...when I get old like Uncle Pacy, I'm gonna live here too!"
And I do!

The following story is from Bill Cooper...

My name is Bill Cooper and I attended Ta-Ri-Go for four years, beginning in 1956 at the age of 12 and ending in 1959 as a liaison. Having only recently found this website, I regret missing the 2000 and 2005 reunions. Nevertheless, I have several memories that I’d like to share. I don’t know why these few events stand out over so many others, many of which are probably long forgotten. Undoubtedly, their preservation says as much about me as the camp. I welcome your responses, whether to reconnect with me, correct me, or psychoanalyze me. I live with my wife of 31 years in Pasadena, CA, where we moved last year in order to be closer to two of our three grown children. Before that we lived in West Palm Beach, FL for10 years and Tenafly, NJ for 20 years. My email is: wcooper993@charter.net


During my first summer at camp, several of the counselors took special notice of me because they knew my two older sisters, who spent summers at my family’s home in Phoenicia, within striking distance of Ta-Ri-Go.

On parents visiting weekend, one of my sisters showed up with two girlfriends. After stopping by my bunk for a quick hello, she asked them if they wanted to see a really cute guy (a rhetorical question), and off they scooted to the area near the kiddy bunk where they ogled over Bob Horowitz. Although I was a bit miffed at being deserted, in retrospect I have to admit that “Bubby” was rather attractive.

During my one and only camp boxing match, I outscored my opponent in accidental head butts and then put him away with a tooth stab to his forehead, causing sufficient damage to earn me a TKO victory. Afterwards, everybody went to the main house for canteen night, but I was pretty shaken up by the damage I’d inflicted and wound up outside on the lawn crying. Mike Buckley must have heard my sobs, because he came over, put his arm around my shoulder, and tried to console me, saying that if he were me he’d be in the canteen gallivanting among the girls. I guess he felt the other guy should’ve been outside crying.

The moment that I’d been dreading arrived. After winning the track meet, I was called by Pacy to the head of the dining room to stand on the chair and lead the Blessing Over the Bread. As the product of a mixed marriage, I’d had no religious training and didn’t know a nickel’s worth of Hebrew other than a few phrases that I’d managed to glean phonetically during the summer. After I returned to my table, I asked one of my friends how I’d done. He said I mumbled a lot.


During junior year, on the walk up Little Red Kill Road after the movies, one of the more erudite guys in our cabin (probably Nessum Levy) said that according to the Kinsey Report, one out of every five males is a homosexual. Doing the math, I calculated that five of us were destined for an alternate life style, and prayed that I wasn’t one of them.

Just before sundown one evening, Jake “The Snake,” the legendary senior boys’ counselor, had a playful encounter with the late Howie Rabinowitz in which he wrestled Howie to the deck of the rec hall porch. Then, while Howie kicked and squirmed like a fish pulled out of the water, Jake undid Howie’s belt and pulled his slacks down to his ankles, in front of a bevy of gawking, giggling senior girls. Later, after Jake was safely out of hearing range, Howie boasted that he would’ve kicked Jake’s bad knee if he’d tried to remove his underpants.

The campers were excited by the visit of a popular former counselor named Ross something and his friend, Columbia University basketball star Chet Forte. We all congregated at the outdoor basketball court where someone tossed Chet a basketball and he took a couple of free throws, although he wasn’t dressed to play ball. Both men wore the chichi Ivy League summer fashion of the day: poplin rain coats over Bermuda shorts and white tee shirts, and tennis sneakers without socks. (Forte later became director of ABC television’s Monday Night Football before a severe gambling addiction ruined his career.)

Several senior girls raided the senior boys’ cabin one night and hopped into the sack with their boyfriends. The next day the news spread through the camp like a swarm of mosquitoes. I couldn’t wait for senior year.

The thrill of victory: In the big color wall softball game, I hit a bases-loaded home run off Jerry Goldblatt’s lightning-fast windmill pitch and rounded the bases to the roaring cheers of the girls in the bleachers, who either didn’t realize or care that my hit was just a pop fly to right field that Stan Schloss misjudged.


During my senior year, most of the senior girls from the previous summer returned as seniors, thereby narrowing the field for our group, because we had to compete with last year’s senior boys, guys like Howie Rabinowitz and Ira Povill, who returned as liaisons. I was not a happy camper.

One of the counselors must have urged me to try out for the camp play, Good News, because I was too shy to have done it on my own initiative. I was thrilled to be chosen for the male lead, and opposite Elaine Halper no less, the camp heartthrob. But I was crushed during the kiss scene when, just as our lips were about to touch, Elaine turned and gave me her cheek.

Freddy Berins, from Cuba, was the only one in our cabin who wasn’t a virgin, because his father used to take him to Havana brothels. I suppose every culture has its different customs. My father used to take me to baseball games. Too bad I didn’t have a choice. (That was Freddy’s last summer at camp. I’ve always wondered if he got out of Cuba after the revolution.)

On the bus ride back from Woodstock one nnight with the senior girls, George Bornstein played a prank on Marty Weinstein. George, who along with Elaine Halper, was sitting behind Marty, reached in front and grabbed Marty’s hand. Believing that George’s hand was Elaine’s, Marty rode back to camp holding his hand and didn’t realize it until the bus pulled into camp and the lights came on. Everybody had a good laugh. To Marty’s credit, he managed to force a few chuckles. I don’t think that I would’ve been such a good sport.

Happily, I landed a girlfriend, and a very pretty one at that: Carole Smoler from Far Rockaway. How I cherished holding hands with her on our walks back from town on movie night, followed by a few painfully brief moments necking on the main house porch.

The agony of defeat: I ran the final leg in the color war relay race. When I got the baton, Barry Schneider already had a huge lead on me. But I managed to close the gap to within a few yards just before the finish line. Calling up my deepest reserves, I surged forward with such velocity that my legs outran my upper body. I finally passed Barry, but by that time he’d already crossed the tape and I was rolling down the track like Evel Knievel after a motorcycle spill.


Although I was a liaison, I got the day off in order to play softball and volleyball with the seniors during inter-camp games, because I didn’t turn sixteen until August. It’s great to be young.

I was the envy of my fellow liaisons, because as the only one assigned more or less to a permanent he same cabin (thanks to the campers asking for me), I collected tips on parents visiting day. Upon returning to the lodge afterwards, the other liaisons clamored to find out how much I pocketed. It was a whopping $20.

During color war, I held football practice for my team during rest hour. Mike Buckley didn’t appreciate my dedication. In the middle of passing drills, he came over and asked me where I was going to work next summer. I didn’t apply back to camp.

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