(I was reminded of this story by my Niece Lynda, whom I’m sure has fonder memories than I do)
It was the “Summer of Sam”, 1977, when I took my first and only trip to Frank Davis Resort on the Salmon River in Moodus, Connecticut. My Aunt (Dad’s Sister) had been going there for years, when she finally convinced Dad to join her for a week in August. I was newly single and looking forward to spending time at a “resort”. I’d never been to a resort before, and my imagination was working overtime.
In addition to Me, Mom, Dad and my Aunt, my Sister and her family were joining us as well. This was shaping up to be a fun time, until I got there. It seems they didn’t have a liquor license, so it was a b.y.o.b establishment. And the rest, well, there was one boat for water skiing, a few canoes, paddle boats and rowboats for puttering around, and a pool. While my imagination had conjured up something like “Dirty Dancing”, this was closer to “Ballroom Dancing”. About the only interesting thing that they had going was “Coo Coo” the clown (Roy Duka). The rumor I’d heard when we got there was that “Coo Coo” used to be Clarabell on Howdy Doody’s show (which was not true). This was before clowns were officially deemed “creepy”.
Anyway, Coo Coo was the emcee at Frank Davis, and every morning he’d lead a parade of guests (anyone that wanted to join) throughout the resort, waking everyone to be sure they got to the dining hall in time for breakfast. He’d arm his band with drums, kazoos and, what turned out to be funny at first, a large set of cymbals. The rest of the time he’d lead the daily activities, none of which really appealed to me, except for the volleyball games.
After having spent most of the first day settling in (and going to the liquor store for supplies), I went down to the entertainment room to see what they were doing that evening. It seemed to me to be geared more toward the “older” crowd, so I ended up going back to the room and getting to bed early. The next morning, I could hear the band coming, so I made sure I was up before they got there. It kept getting louder and louder, and seemed like they were right next door. That’s because they were. It seems my brother-in-law had partied hard the night before and the band wanted to make sure he got up. And right there, at the front, about 2 feet from his head, was my niece Lynda, slamming the cymbals with both gusto and a big grin on her face, while my brother-in-law pulled the covers over his head and “hunkered down”.
It was a pretty funny sight, to me anyway, and I laughed right along with the rest. But as we all know, karma can be cruel. That day there was a volleyball pickup game, and it was one of the few things I was looking forward to. Since I’m tall, I played the front – with a group of people I’d never met. Well, things were going along pretty well, we were racking up points, when the ball shot up just over my head. With a big sweep, I spiked it down – unfortunately it shot right into the gut of the guy on the other side, who immediately sprawled out on his back. As his buddies came to aid, I apologized for what must have been an overzealous shot. They were all smiles and laughs though, assuring me that I’d done nothing wrong, except to “shake up about a case of beer” with the shot.
That night, the entertainment was geared more toward the younger set, so I stayed and drank for a while, getting to bed late. Do you remember what I said about karma? Well, it found me the next morning. As soon as I heard the door open I knew I was screwed. And, learning from my brother-in-law the morning before, I just pulled the pillow and blankets over my head until they went away. I’m sure Lynda was the one still banging the cymbals – she’s never been a quitter. And me, well, even after a shower things were shaky.
The rest of the stay at Frank Davis was pretty much uneventful – otherwise I’d have more to say. It was geared for families or for the older set, not for early 20’s and 30’s. The resort is gone now, replaced by a park. The New York Times did a nice write up. It’s worth the read – Sunrise Resort – it was my Aunt’s favorite vacation spot.