Chatniss Everstein Saves Sister, becomes 2013 Tribute
Huron, Pa (Aug 7) – What started out as a friendly game of Canadian doubles almost a century ago has turned into one of the fiercest, most competitive Color War traditions in North America. Camp Huron Lake has provided the backdrop for a Color War unlike any seen before.
In 1926, brothers Hymie and Sammy Goldenberg challenged fellow campers Jacob Shapiro and bunkmate Harry Lowenstein to a game of tennis doubles. Lowenstein came down with whooping cough the day of the match but the confident Shapiro decided to play them anyway. The Goldenbergs didn’t want to play Canadian Doubles (2 vs 1) but the ever cocky Shapiro, son of textile factory owner from the Lower East Side, made them a wager. The losing team would have to immediately go home. The brothers, from Scarsdale, NY pounded the younger, outclassed Shapiro who later revealed that he had never played tennis before and was merely hoping that the Goldenbergs wouldn’t call his bluff. The next day Shapiro went home and was too ashamed to return the next summer.
So a tradition was started where a camper would volunteer to play the Goldenbergs toward the summer’s end. In 1935, when there were no volunteers, Camp Director Shlomo Feldstein decided to randomly select one camper to compete against the brothers. This tennis competition morphed into similar events in basketball, baseball, track, swimming and a sing. Thus Camp Huron Lake’s Color War was born.
Like all summers past, the entire camp gathered around the flag pole where current Director Marty Feldstein reached into a large vat, normally filled with grape or red bug juice, and selected one slip of paper containing this year’s tribute.
“Primrose Everstein! Freshman Girls – Bunk 2!!! Congratulations!!!”
A hush grew over the semetic crowd as bruchas and other prayers were quietly spoken. The crush of campers parted like the Red Sea as Primrose, known to her bunkmates as “Rose” walked up to Feldstein, knowing her days of fun loving activities and cultivating life-long friendships would soon be coming to an end. No tribute from the Freshman Girls division had ever come close to winning Color War.
“STOP!” yelled out a feminine yet strong voice from among the crowd. “I’ll do it!!! My sister isn’t going anywhere! She’s got years ahead of her at this camp. I’ll be a CIT in a year!” As she made her way up to meet Feldstein, escorted by bunk counselor Sara Goodman of Manalapan, NJ, to accept this monumental challenge, Chatniss Everstein, Super Teen Girl, knew the next five days would change her life forever.
“Chatniss Everstein! Our new tribute!” screamed Feldstein only to be quickly corrected.
“It’s Chatniss, you dork…you pronounce the “Ch” like if you were saying “L’Chaim”. She’s only been going here for six summers, Marty,” sarcastically explained a snippy senior girl camper.
“Chatnis Everstein! Our new tribute!” a corrected Feldstein yelled to the crowd, spraying the first few rows of campers with saliva. “May the Jewish G-d be ever in your favor!!!”
Immediately following the selection process, Chatniss was whisked away by Effie Trinketberg to the infirmary where a group of camp mothers lead by Cinnawitz, a handsome male singer born to a famous Jewish movie producer father and semi-famous African-American 1970’s actress, awaited ready to prepare her for Color War Opening Ceremonies. These ceremonies were always a grand affair where female campers dress in their finest Galaxy pants, Butter sweatshirts, and fluorescent tank tops. Chatniss would immediately be given a lice check then have access to the finest attire from the Lost & Found containing several decades worth of clothing.
The Ceremonies began with a parade of bunks lead by Girls Bunk 2 who all dressed up in neon green tanks and black Soffee shorts and ended with Boys Bunk 41 parading in black shirts, pajama pants, and Timberlands. Once settled into the stands, Chatniss made her grand entrance. Wearing a blue and white Benetton rugby, a pair of Skidz pants, Keds, and topped off with a Duran Duran painters cap, Chatniss strode to center court and wowed the stunned audience. The confidence exuded by this heroine put the entire camp on notice that Chatniss was not going to go home early without the fight of her life.
(to be continued…)