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#TBT to The Writing on The Wall—by Ben Fink

#TBT to The Writing on The Wall—by Ben Fink

Last Sunday, Appel Farm hosted an amazing Earth Day celebration — which brought over 450 people to camp, got a write-up on that quoted Cori, Tracy, and yours truly, and featured the local band The Killer Beez, who filled the Dining Hall with excellent covers from across the decades all afternoon — including, among many others, “Wonderwall.”


Which got me thinking: at Appel Farm, the music never really goes out of style. Bunk12-1998 wall (top-lyrics)I first learned about Oasis when I came to camp in 1996, and as of 2014, you can still hear the strains of Noel Gallagher wafting through the air as you walk around camp, long after the rest of the world had moved on.

But I’m not here today to talk about Oasis. I’m here to talk about Green Day. When I was a counselor in Bunk 12 in 2008, kids played Green Day all the time. When I was a camper in Bunk 12 in 1998…kids played Green Day all the time. A particular favorite, then and now, was “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).” You know it…

…and if you don’t, you can find the lyrics right here on the wall! (You may need to open the picture in a new window and zoom in.)

Yes, this is a vintage ’90s Appel Farm cubby — which I discovered my Staff Bunk the first year I lived there. It’s just like the ones we use at camp today…except back then (as you can see) they were unpainted, and it wasn’t as big a deal if you wrote on them. (All of today’s cubbies have been re-finished and painted all nice, so current campers, seriously, don’t.)

What’s most interesting about the writing on this cubby-wall, though, is what’s underneath the Green Day lyrics:


bunk12-1998 wall (bottom-names)Yep. Those are the names of every boy in Bunk 12, second session 1998. (Except me. I was so very much not a rebel. Yeah, I know.) The kids I lived with, some of them for two or three years. The kids I did bunk cleanup with (“I call sink!”), sang along to musicals and political comedy songs with (as other kids cringed), argued about shower times with (in the days before shower schedules), played Magic with (yes even then). But in the 15 years since then, I had lost track of all of them.

So a year or so ago, I set out to find them. In the age of Facebook, this proved…pretty darn easy. But no less fascinating. Will, my closest friend in the bunk, is now a lawyer, recently back from working in Japan! Steve is the director of a major Jewish organization in South Jersey! The Kit is a photographer in Philadelphia! Danny stayed in touch with Appel Farm through his family, and I’ve recently worked with his father! And I’m still hunting down a few others…

The point: tracking down old bunkmates is really fun. These are people with a bond that goes way back. And now is the perfect time to do it, because we’ve got lots of exciting alumni events coming up! Feel strange about just contacting someone you haven’t talked with in years and years? Now you can invite those people to…

NYC AF Potluck Picnic — Saturday, May 30. In the NYC area? Join us for a picnic in Central Park! Check out the Facebook page for more details.

Camp Kick-Off Prep Day — Sunday, June 7. Visit us down in Elmer, spend a beautiful June day helping us get the grounds ready for camp, and spend the evening hanging out with alumni friends old and new!

Alumni Evenings — Friday, July 17 and Friday, August 14. Visit camp in full swing, enjoy an early-evening reception, and join us for a Friday Night Concert!

…and of course:

55th Anniversary Alumni Weekend — Friday-Monday, September 4-7. Spend a weekend living in a bunk, taking majors and minors, performing in concerts, and enjoying campfires. It’ll be like you never left! You can register today — even if you need to pay later.

Hope to see you — and your old bunkmates — really soon! And who knows, maybe we’ll play some Green Day or Oasis…