The Time I Met Lewis Mitz
As I arrived at Kiwi Lawn to videotape the sunrise on my ‘last morning at camp’ (at a camp reunion in honour of a close friend Adam Diamond), I bumped into another excited ‘camper’, making his way to the ski docks to capture his own sunrise for posterity. He was a few years my senior, glasses on the tip of his nose, wearing an old-school K-Way and black converse sneakers, holding a digital camera by the strap. He asked me about the object in my hands, and I cheerily told him about my drone, a gravity defying quadcopter that records full high definition video and photos from the sky. We chatted briefly, and he told me he used to attend White Pine back in the 60s. Having attended for near 20 years myself, I asked him what his last name was, I was sure I would recognize it from the scorn of names graffitied all over the old CWP Cabins. “Lewis Mitz” he proclaimed. “You must be Lexi’s father” I answered, “I grew up with Lexi at camp, she’s still close friends with a good friend of mine Sarah Lubelsky”, “Yes that’s the one”, he replied cheerfully. We exchanged names of people we had grown up with, many of his friends were my friend’s parents – something that is not uncommon to discover when playing cross-generational Jewish geography at CWP. Lewis shared that he and a group of friends have a tradition of returning to camp every year, to catch up, share stories and spend quality time together. I was immediately overcome with excitement as I considered that possibility for my group of friends for many years to come. Lewis continued, “No matter what’s going in our lives or where we are in the world, we always make time for one another”. There’s a shot at 1:08 with Lewis and I looking skyward (taken at about 6:45am).
Lewis and I went on to share camp stories over coffee for the next hour. We talked about our lives, families and plans for the future. When I was pouring sugar in my second cup of coffee, I asked Lewis if he had loosened the sugar container top on me, a classic camp gag which results in thunderous applause from your cabin mates when executed properly. He shook his head no, stating that when he went to camp, “people weren’t cruel enough to ruin a friend’s morning coffee”. After the hour or so of chatting, we exchanged contact info and said our goodbyes; I got back up to the TV village just as the boys were waking up. We cleaned the cabin we were staying in, packed our cars, did the man-hug thing and headed out.
I had a great drive home with a close buddy Rory Barrs (pictured at 1:00), where we exchanged camp’isms, jokes and memories the entire way. We talked about our shared concern for the impact technology was having on camps and their families; sending prayers out to the universe that ‘kids today’ would have the opportunity to experience the same type of magical moments that summer camp had provided us for so many years. We agreed that although the current incarnation of White Pine is vastly more beautiful than during our tenure, it still looked and felt the same to us. A place where bonds were formed, memories were made, and a whole lot of chicken burgers were eaten (potato chips inside the bun).
As I sat at my desk editing this video, I couldn’t help but think about my new friend Lewis Mitz, a man I had never met before this weekend, but made a meaningful connection with, rooted in shared experiences and a unified commitment to keeping our camp ties strong. This video is not a promotional video for Camp White Pine, it’s a tribute to Lewis, my camp friends and all the people that have passed through the red gates over the years, who also consider Camp White Pine their home.
A big thank you to Dana, Adam, Sarah, Joe & Doreen who’ve given me and so many others, the chance to be a part of the White Pine family.