“The Power of Moments”
On any given summer day, amidst the Deerwood pines, one can find energetic and happy campers down in Toots Shor. It is in this place campers eat their meals, give out baseball scores from the night before, have letters airmailed out the window, find canoes relocated there from the waterfront, hear “Hey, back to the sack!” on a rainy day, scream to have a counselor thrown out, or get a surprise visit from Batman. The walls are lined with championship banners showing the name of the captain of the winning team from the Blue/Gray rivalry over the years. In 1970 Brad Mott was the Captain of the Blues and I was the captain of the Grays. Brad and I were campers together for five years and went to the same school in Connecticut from kindergarten through ninth grade.
In the book The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath, they posit that friendships are made up of moments. Deerwood provides the atmosphere and opportunities for countless moments of connection and shared experiences for its campers. I believe the moments Brad and I accumulated over the years as campers created a friendship.
At Deerwood we were always in the same cabin due to our age. Every year we chose beds next to each other, much to the dismay of our counselors as we played many pranks on them. Once we ran fishing line from the light switch to our beds. When the counselor turned off the lights, we could pull the line to turn them back on. Since the line could not be seen, it took them quite a while to figure out what was going on. On group overnight camping trips we climbed mountains, canoed down rapids, and did some of the dumb and risky things memories of youth are made of.
Even at a young age, Brad was at his best when entertaining others. His enthusiasm brought people together, like when he “directed” our Sunday Tree Talk skits (including many song parodies by Allan Sherman). I’ll never forget his infectious laugh. After our senior year at camp, Brad and I went off in our different directions. Whenever I read about his acting in Chicago theater or watched him in various movie roles, I remembered the laughter and positive feelings he brought wherever he was. I imagine many of you reading this have had similar camp experiences and relationships with fellow campers. What surprised me when I learned of Brad’s passing was the depth of my sense of loss. The connection created by the moments we shared all those years ago went deeper than I knew and were not diminished by the passing years.
Good-bye my friend and fellow Captain. Thank you for the moments.
Captain of the Grays, 1970
Here is a link to Brad’s obituary Obituary in the Chicago Tribune