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Old 09-07-2009, 11:09 AM   #1
David Fried
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 208
Unhappy Thank You Mike !!!

I wrote this and asked Marty to read it on Sunday. I now post it for all to read

Sometime in the late spring of 2002 I did the web search I had done so many times before. I goggled Wel-Met camps and everything wel-met related I could think of.
All the previous times I had tried this same search my results were the same, the Goddard Riverside library entries. This time the result was different. The top of the search yielded a link to a web site with the url of www.wel-metcamps.com. I clicked the link and I was suddenly grinning from ear to ear. There it was, the holy grail. I felt like I was Indian Jones and I had just found the lost ark. I was in heaven, all the names I had thought about for so long, Spider, Moose, Goldfarb, Garf were there in black and white, the pictures, the lake, the stories, the memories.
A window was thrown open, a doorway, a time portal to a land before cars, kids, mortgage payments and lost dreams. It was a time when the most important things were how many onion rolls could you get on Sat morning, which girls bunk could you arrange a sleep out with ,who was going to play third base and did we really have to clean the bunk? But mostly it was about really great friends. Over the past 7 or 8 years I have tried to explain to co-workers, loved ones and adult friends, what my camp friends mean, how they are different. They would say but these were just kids you went to camp with and then roll their eyes and say what’s the big deal . Just kids you went to camp with, right. No these were the friends you had all your firsts with. The first kiss, the first romance, the first dance, the first heartbreak, the first swab Genshin Violet and of course the first spider bite. How can you explain the meaning of Unit 2, Unit 3, Pioneers or the Western Trip to someone who doesn’t speak Ga- Ga?

Well it obvious from the outpouring of emotion and postings for Mike that what was formed in Narrowsburg, Barryville , Sliverlake and on those Western Trips were more than friendships, they were bonds, really strong bonds. No one understood this better or more clearly than Mike.
He built a way back to that earlier time sure, but he also built a way to reweave the bonds that time had frayed. These bonds were never really broken they were just a little dusty from the kids, cars, and mortgage payments. Mike did it without ever once asking for a pat on the back or a bit of praise. He did it Mike’s way, quietly, softly, carefully and always thinking about the other person. That was Mike.

He and I never experienced camp together. I met him when I asked him to entrust the care and feeding of his precious site to me. It was an easy transition because Mike was so humble, his main concern, “David don’t make it too complicated, a lot of these people don’t understand and we always want to make sure everyone feels comfortable” That was Mike. We had an agreement, it was always Mike’s site, he was always on the URL registration, he was the birth parent I was the adoptive parent. This wasn’t because Mike wanted it that way, cause he would say it’s your baby now. Just please just remember keep it simple. But it was Mike’s vision, his leap, and his baby that has brought so much joy. So many bonds dusted off, so many memories.

He has touched so many lives, given so much joy and best part; it just keeps going and going.
So Mike will never be gone, a part of him is alive in this site and he will live on for as long as I have the strength to keep the dream alive.
I know my life is more complete and fulfilled because I knew Mike Alterbaum and they’re almost 1000 others who can say the same. What better tribute can you pay to life?

Thank you Mike, from the bottom of my heart for just being Mike
David Fried
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Old 09-07-2009, 11:49 AM   #2
Roberta Grubman
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Mill Valley, California
Posts: 14

For those who were unable to be there yesterday, this post brought us all a little closer.

Thank you so much.
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