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NYFS Newsletter 1998-vol19-no4-1
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Voices: The Journal of New York Folklore




Fall/Winter 1998
Photo of hunters

Campers and catch at Camp 13, Dry Brook, 1982. Photograph courtesy of Melissa Ladenheim. “Just a good old Catskill Mountain hunting camp," is how Bob Hubbell, an annual guest at Camp 13, describes this isolated camp located deep in the woods at the end of a narrow valley near the village of Margaretville in Delaware County. Organized in 1933, the camp takes its name from the number of founding members. The camp is still owned by the original families...” Read the story about the capture of a bear recounted by the campers.

Farewell from the Executive Director
After nine good years as executive director of the New York Folklore Society, I have decided to move on and will be leaving the society in January . . .

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Meet the NYFS Board: Kathleen Condon
I decided to pursue a career as a folklorist when I was just eighteen years old and have worked with traditional and community cultures for over twenty years now . . .

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With Greenspace for All
Laura Hansen and Steve Zeitlin

There are no gazebos, and no cappuccinos are served at the Rincon Criollo casita and community garden in the South Bronx. But on any given day, while midtown crowds lunch, stroll, or listen to music on the "great lawn" of Bryant Park, the members of Rinoconc Criollo, their friends, and anyone who happens by perform and teach bomba and plena music, play dominoes, . . .

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Herbert Haufrecht, 1909–1998
Virginia Scheer
Herbert Haufrecht, composer, pianist, author, folklorist, and long-time resident of the Catskills, died on June 23 at the age of 88. I met Herb when he came to our house with an Earthwatch group to collect Catskills folk stories from my late husband Walt Meade . . .

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Voices Fall/Winter 1998 The themes of this Voices are hunting and winter—appropriate fare for a fall/winter issue. Deer and bear seasons begin in mid-to-late fall, depending on which part of the state you hunt in, and continue into early December. The stories here are drawn from the Catskills and the Adirondacks—prime hunting grounds in the state. Traditional knowledge and practice (not the least of which is storytelling) are essential to hunting, and it is the traditional aspects of the sport, as well as the excitement of the chase and its culinary rewards, that keep people hunting year after year. Readers should keep in mind that most of the stories in this issue refer to a time when game meat, both in and out of season, was a major source of food for many rural families, and one they could not have done without. Even now, a few hunters kill merely for sport; game ends up on the table, prepared in delectable ways according to family recipes.

Stories from Camp 13: "Just a Good Old Catskill Mountain Hunting Camp"
Melissa Ladenheim
"Just a good old Catskill Mountain hunting camp," is how Bob Hubbell, an annual guest at Camp 13, describes this isolated camp located deep in the woods at the end of a narrow valley near the village of Margaretville in Delaware County . . .

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In the Bear Den
Harvey Carr
I was out hunting right out back here, right here out of Blue Mountain Lake, back over the ridge and up on Blue Ridge, pretty good hunting country. I was tiptoeing along up there and all of a suddent the ground dropped from under me. . . .

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The New Game Warden
Bill Smith
One time, my mother decided we were going to have this big gathering and somehow a dead deer ended up in our kitchen . . .

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Wintering in the Adirondacks
After cold weather or snow in our store it’s a big competition in the morning to come in and say what temperature you had or how much snow you had. And it seems like exaggeration is the key to winning the game. . . .

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From Our Readers

Dear Editor:

When Ken Starr weighed in with 36 boxes of evidence against Bill Clinton delivered by armed guard to Congress, I was reminded of the fabled scales of justice, symbol of the judicial system throughout human history. According to the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, Bill Clinton’s soul would be weighed against a feather. At the trial of souls, a person’s heart as placed on one side of the scales, the ostrich feather from the Goddess Maat’s beautiful headdress on the other. The feather represented justice and truth. An ideal heart would be neither too heavy nor too light to balance against the feather. If the scale tipped to the left or the right, the heart failed the test and was immediately devoured by Ammit, "eater of the dead," a ferocious animal with the head of a crocodile, the body of a lion, the rump of a hippo, and the voraciousness of Ken Starr.

Our folklore abounds with stories where a person’s good and bad deeds are weighed against one another in the court of heaven—the rhetoric we are hearing from Congress suggests these high-minded folk metaphors. But the attitude of most Americans seems to suggest that the best parables for the mess we’re in may not be the tales of God versus the devil and good versus evil, but the more gutsy stories about real life, such as this one told by 92-year-old Abe Lass about a butcher on the Lower East Side. Schwartz, the local butcher, saw Mrs. Cohen examining a chicken for freshness and quality. She lifted it up, turned it over, examined the underbelly, opened its legs, examined the rectum, and then shook her head in dismay. "No good," she said. "But Mrs. Cohen," the butcher pleaded, "Could you pass such a test?"

Steve Zeitlin, Director, City Lore

Dear Eniko,

I recently read the article in New York Folklore [Summer Newsletter] about you and the documentation project you are conducting among the 56’er Hungarians in Ithaca. I felt I had to write and at leat tell you of the project I conducted among a single family from Montclair, NJ, who also left a few days after the failed Revolution.

I am a folklorist,and while living in North Carolina I met members of a Hungarian American Club in the Raleigh area. One member, Barcza Benedek Judit, had escaped Budapest a few days after the Revolution. I began recording her oral history and after two years of interviews, conversations, trips to Hungary, and writing, we produced what turned out to be my thesis, and a book

Her story reminded me of the ones published in the Folklore Society Newsletter and will probably sound familiar to you. Judit’s family was gentry, and at the end of World War II she was 16. Her father was imprisoned because of his background, and she and her sister set off to earn a living to help support their mother. Judit was sent to an aunt in Budapest where she remained until December 0f 1956. She and her sister, together with their children, escaped over the border into Austria and made their way to America where Judit was reunited with her husband who had escaped earlier.

What I found interesting about Judit’s story was that most of it was memorialized in family objects. She had taken care to ensure that family photographs and other small items eventually made their way to America. In fact, when I asked her what she carried in her knapsack across the Austrian-Hungarian border she replied, "My family photo albums." And, like other Hungarians I’ve met, Judit went to great pains to decorate her home as a Hungarian home.

I share this with you because, like you, I recognize that little research has been done on this community, and I am glad to see your project supported. I am also still very interested in the topic of Hungarian women’s escape stories, and look forward to hearing more about your project.

Kelly Feltault

The writer of this letter, Kelly Feltault, welcomes letters from others interested in this topic. Contact her at Cultural Crossings, 12508 Spring Harbor Pl., Germantown, MD 20874, e-mail kellruss@juno.com

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