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« Death, Betrayal, and Insanity: Another Birthday Post | Main | Days of Repentance »

September 08, 2007


I just added "51 Birch Street" to my Netflix queue. Sounds fascinating! As it's true we will perhaps never know our parents for who they really are, I think all reading this blog would agree that YOUR MOTHER was not only Stunningly Beautiful and stylish (of Super Model proportion), but equally as clever a writer! Guess your gift of expression can be easily traced back to her..

I really WANT to sit at a kid's table at Grossingers! Danny, let's book one.

My parents went to Grossingers every summer....WITHOUT me and my sister! I always wanted to go, but that was "their" vacation I guess!

P.S. I sat at many a kids table at The Raleigh, Nevele and once at the Concord, but never Grossingers. Long live the Jewish Alps!

Wonderful post. I wrote a post a year or so ago about the secret lives of parents. Since I was an orphan by the time I was 10, all I have are photos to help me get to know my parents as an adult. I have a hazy memory of my dad being jealous of our neighbor throwing my mom into the pool, and it still makes me uncomfortable.

Your mom would have made an excellent blogger.


I've kept a journal since I was 11 years old--that's 34 years. I still have them all. Until I moved to Belgium, I had every letter I had ever received from anyone filed in cardboard boxes by year. When I moved, I tried to pare down the collection.

Words--my own and others--are precious to me.

And yet I wonder about the fate of my journals, how much personal history do I want to survive me? I often used my journals to vent the fears and sadness that I was feeling, so reading them might give a distorted impression of who I am.

My daughter, who is almost 10, is very interested in everything I write now and is always ready to peer over my shoulder or delve into my e-mail. I appreciate her hunger to know me better, but also see the need to protect her from TOO MUCH information.

Another great blog. I love your old photos of your Mom and Dad, and other family members. Grossinger's brought true horror into my husband's life as that is the place where my in-laws met, giving him the step-mother from hell. The Bar Mitzvah sounds like a true gala ball, considering how far everyone had to travel to get there... to enjoy one of the best hotels the Borscht Belt had to offer with great Glatt Kosher food fit for Itsche Meyer and Alta Toba.

Actually, just to clarify, my mother's joke about setting up tables for the kids at Grossinger's was even more telling because my brother's Bar Mitzvah was NOT at Grossinger's—it was at the nearby Pioneer Country Club. She was suggesting we stash the kids at Grossinger's to get them out of the way! Does anyone remember the Pioneer? I believe it was much smaller than the big resorts in the Catskills but it seemed huge to me in 1967. I can't find anything online about it. Is it true that ALL of the old Jewish hotels in that area are gone? Do some of the buildings still stand? Oh, hold it—I just did another search for the Pioneer Country Club in Greenfield Park, NY, and discovered it's now Camp Horim, and I also found the obituary of the former owner, Leo Gartenberg. I think my family had been going to the Pioneer for decades so it must have been orthodox and very kosher.

In some ways, i so wish I would have known my parents better. It would have saved me years of therapy in dealing with my relationships. I have written many journals, and I hope that someday my son will read them and say, "Dagum, she was just as nuts as I remember her being."

only now we call them blogs. giggles.

Danny, yet another great post! Your text and graphics complement each other so well. I really enjoy seeing the vintage photos and artifacts.

By the way, tonight my 7 y.o. daughter said "oy" several times, which made me think of you.

To me it's all about what to tell them when, not what not to tell them. I remember the shock on their faces when I said, For sure, I've smoked pot. What did you think? It's a TERRIBLE drug, don't start.

They were teenagers. They never smoked pot. Five adult kids. None of them touched it.

People generally avoid telling kids things that they're ashamed about. But it's those very things that pop up again in the next generation, tahkeh(really) BECAUSE they're there, somewhere, in their messages.

Great post, Danny. Chasivah v'chatimah l'tovah.

I don't know if you remember my name or not. I graduated form Von in 1976 as well. I have just found your articles out here. I just got done reading your one about the 30th reunion. I have never been to any of the reunions. I just never saw the point I guess. IF there is a 4oth and I find out about it I may go out of curiosity. I really enjoyed your article. If any one who reads this remembers and wants to say hi. the e mail is [email protected]
Alex D. Kabak Sr.

A Very Happy New Year To You And Kendall, Danny....May this year bring all good things....And, May ALL Your Dreams Come True!

Great post. I'll be looking for 51 Birch Street. L'Shana Tovah, Danny.

First of all, belated Happy New Year!

Regarding your post, I think it is as it should be. We all have regrets, or guilt. And, for me, so much of it surrounds my parents who I love deeply and the feeling is mutual.

But I think you're right when you say there's a part of us that needs to see them as those perfect beings that can take care of us no matter what. That our lives were paramount in their lives and little else mattered.

And while this is probably true for most of us, it's amazing to be sitting on this side of life and realize that I was born when my parents were younger than I am now. How could they have been so perfect when I can barely survive?

The truth is they're not. None of us are. But we don't have to know that about each other. If we find out, that's okay, but we don't have to know it. If we're even slightly successful (and I mean that in terms of not living in a carboard box somewhere) much of that success must go to our parents I feel.

Regardless of how flawed, or human they may be or have been. To most of us, they are or were superhuman. And that I think is also as it should be.

As always; terrific posts that make me think and reflect and sometimes sad. But always worth reading. Thanks again for sharing your life.

hi dad!
i'm in computer class!

It is amazing. You think you know your parents...When mine got divorced, I got a glimpse of the skeletons that were rumored to be hiding in our family closet. I found out things about my parents that, as a child, were inconceivable to me. I won't name any here, of course. Still too close to home for me, I think. But the image I'd forever had in my mind of growing up as a happy family shattered. I wondered if, when I saw my parents kissing and acting happy together, it was all just a facade. I have tried to ask my parents about the skeletons but, of course, they refuse to talk about it. God forbid they reveal their humanity to any of us kids. :) One day I will find out the truth tho. Call me Harriet the Spy!

Danny: This past weekend I watched "51 Birch Street" it was very interesting and very thought provoking. I just wanted to say thanks for another great recommendation!

Danny, I just saw your post about the Pioneer County Club and the Guttenbergs, the final owner of the hotel.

The original owners were the Cohen and Walterman Families, my great-grandparents.

My Mother, Eleanore Cohen, was born on the site of where the swimming pool was installed. Her folks had to go get the doc, who came on the horse and buggy Oct. 19, 1917. She had many pleasant times there, judging by the pictures of her and the busboys, etc. I wouldn't be surprised if Dirty Dancing had some relevance to her life.

Danny, (is it all right if I call you Danny?) In a moment of nostalgia, I was looking for anything about Gartenbergs' Pioneer Country Club in Greenfield Park NY and came across your blog. As another writer mentions, there isn't much about it. I found some old postcards and the obituary mentioned of Leo Gartenberg. I was an employees (chambermaid) in the summer of 1970. For a goyim girl from a farm in Oregon it was quite a summer. One I'll never forget. The Catskills at that time was a thrilling place to be. There were hundreds of college kids from all over this country and even some from Great Britain working at the numerous resorts. I believe the Pioneer was the last Orthodox one and it really was straight out of "Dirty Dancing", right down to the talent shows. Thanks for the update on Camp Horim.

Always glad to hear fond memories of the Pioneer Country Club. My grandfather was Sam Schechter, who owned and ran the Pioneer for some time. Anyone have any memories or stories about when the Schechters opperated the Pioneer?

I have great memories of the Pioneer Country Club I also knew uour grandfather. I used to go there in the early 60's for passover also my father had a bungalow colony a mile and a half away on post hill road in mountaindale. Spend many summers there and always went over to Pioneer Country Club it was a great place

I knew your grandfather and his brothers Harold and Jerry; in fact, their father was my great-uncle. My father was a Schechter, and the extended family often got together. I spent a week vacationing at the Pioneer one summer when I was in college (probably 1960) and had a terrific time; also met two future lawyers and a future dentist who were waiting tables there.

I remember the Pioneer. My uncle and aunt got married there the same Sunday that the Woodstock festival was taking place in nearby Bethel. I went there again with my family several years later for Sukkot. After the following Passover, I hears that the main building burned down. I passed through Camp Horim a few years after that, picking up one of my cousins on our way back to Long Island.

My name is Joel Schwarz, living in Cleveland, Ohio, where I was born. My Mother's mother - my grandmother - was a Berkowitz (Esther Miriam Berger). I believe Sam Schecter's wife was a sister to my grandmother. One Summer, when I was about 5 or 6 years old (around 1953/1956), we drove from Cleveland to the Catskills along the Old Route 17, and spent a week at the Pioneer Country Club.
As an architect I worked on the nearby Bethel Woods Center for the Arts - the site of the Woodstock Concert. I drove thru Greenfield Park on one of my trips to Bethel, and wondered where the Pioneer was. I know now that it's Camp Horim.
Joel Schwarz, 24712 Wimbledon Rd., Beachwood, Oh 44122

My great grandmother mother was Hencil Berkovitz (Married Ostreicher) she was killed in Auschwitz,
She was a sister to Yaakov Schechter's wife Celia Berkovitz the founder of the Pioneer Country Club.My grandmother was born in Sighet and survived Aushwitz
I have some interesting family facts recordings with my grandmother about the Berkovitz family history. My Email address is [email protected]

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