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Photos, Poems and Videos
from the celebration
of Ben Kimball's 100th Birthday

Tributes to Ben Kimball and Camp Dry-Kye

Remembering Ben and Dry-Kye

By Peter Caroline, Arizona

What a marvelous tribute to an unforgettable mentor! I was at Dry-Kye from 1949 through 1952, and I can sincerely say that Ben Kimball was the defining figure in my life. Prior to Dry-Kye, I had no knowledge of opera or classical music, no interest in cuisine other than as fuel, and no real friends or acquaintances other than my suburban (Newton Centre) Jewish milieu.

Ben changed all that.

Our counselors were M.I.T. students from India and what became Pakistan. We enjoyed the cuisine of a wide variety of cultures, in addition to the heavenly fried clams at Brookside. I developed my shooting skills (much to my parents' horror), and actually earned my NRA Jr. Sharpshooter's medal with several bars, using my old Stevens .22 rifle, which Ben had christened "the Crud Cannon." David Ogden and I used to make our own muzzleloading pistols and black powder at camp, and somehow managed not to blow ourselves up in the process. This early exposure to firearms led to a lifetime hobby and vocation. I currently write for a firearms publication, I've written ads and collateral material for a wide variety of firearms manufacturers, and currently own about 200 guns and associated reloading equipment.

Ben had been all over the world, done everything and had a vast storehouse of knowledge, some of which was apocryphal. He taught us, by indirection, that just because a grown-up or authority figure said it, did not mean it was gospel. An educated level of skepticism is a necessary survival tool. He taught us that life should be lived as a grand adventure.

Recounting my adventures at Dry-Kye, I have heard comments from politically correct, liability-phobic individuals that this must have been a frightful place. Comprising a mixed bag of Jews, Italians, Greeks, Yankees, Asians and whatever, we campers happily greeted each other with ethnic epithets that today would result in our crucifixion by the guardians of diversity and multiculturalism. We ran with knives, played with guns, smoked anything that would burn, hitchhiked into town, and settled arguments with sword-and-dagger duels (actually tree limbs hewn to shape). We all survived, and prospered.

Today, at 73, I still wear my Dry-Kye T-shirt proudly, and remember with love and admiration the man who made it all possible.

 

 

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