Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

December 7, 2009

Among the Freudians

Filed under: Gay,psychology — louisproyect @ 7:57 pm

This year I worked with a couple of people on a comic book memoir about my comic life that should be out in 2011, god willing.

That exercise has triggered a Proustian examination of key episodes facilitated more by Google than a Madeline dunked into a cup of tea. Pretty much all of my strange encounters will be covered in the memoir but one slipped my mind entirely. When I was 14, my parents shipped me off to summer camp for neurotic children. Yes, I know that sounds funny but that’s what it was. Just like there are summer camps for fat kids, Jewish kids, rightwing Christian fundamentalist kids, there are summer camps for neurotics. At least there was in 1959.

Around the time I turned 14, my mother became worried that I never smiled. I suppose if she asked me why, I could have told her that I was tired of being bullied by bigger kids in school and by the mindless materialism and conformity that I was growing disenchanted with. I still didn’t have a handle on my malaise, but reading Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg a year later would help me figure it out. And then a year later, when I turned 16, I went off to Bard College where I became acquainted with 400 other neurotic youth newly liberated by the school that Walter Winchell had called “the little red whorehouse on the Hudson”.

My loquacious mother was asking around about what to do with me, especially during the summer when vacationing Jews from New York flooded into our village, bringing their big-city sophistication up with them. We were rubes by comparison. One of these Jews was Kenny Gottlieb, an Amherst undergraduate who was working summers at the Olympic Hotel. Like thousands of other young men depicted in movies like “Dirty Dancing”, the summer earnings as camp counselors, waiters and busboys helped pay tuition and expenses at places like Amherst and Columbia. Kenny’s uncle was Sam Weiser, the owner of a famous occult bookstore in New York that has since moved to Maine. After I became a fledgling beatnik, I used to make pilgrimages to the bookstore to browse titles in Gnosticism, Kabbalah and other “hipster” religions.

Kenny was introduced to my mom by the people who ran the hotel, who were locals like us. Sizing up my situation, he recommended that I be shipped off to Camp Quakerbridge in Croton-on-Hudson that was run by a psychiatrist named Samuel Kahn whose sister owned the Olympic. So in the summer of 1959, I went to summer camp for the first time in my life. Instead of playing pinball machines, fishing for pickerel in nearby ponds or shooting off firecrackers with my hooligan pals, I was going off to be “cured”.

Most of the kids there were Jews like me and seemed to be suffering from the kind of emotional burdens associated with middle-class life as documented in the novels of Philip Roth. Whether they could be described as “neurosis” or not is open to debate but that did not seem to deter the counselors and social worker/therapists who were steeped in Freudian theory and camp director Samuel Kahn’s particular interpretations of the man he studied with.

A typical day might consist of playing softball from 9:30 to 11 followed by a session with “Mrs. Rabinowitz” (I can’t remember any of their names except Kahn’s) who explained to us kids what was wrong not only with us, but most of the human race. Using a blackboard, she went through terms like “ego”, “superego” and “id” to bring us up to speed. When she came to the Oedipal Complex, most of us had trouble wrapping our minds around that. The idea of having erotic feelings toward one’s mother seemed most improbable, especially when you had a look at some of them who came up to visit on weekends.

I didn’t take the lectures that seriously but was happy to get away from my father’s fruit store for the summer. I was expected to put in a few hours a day waiting on customers who asked in thick Yiddish accents “you got some nice tomatoes maybe?”

In early July, having spent about a month there, I wandered over to the main building where I spotted a group of the counselors and other staff members sitting around in a circle while the camp’s drama director walked up and down in the middle. For a few moments, he was talking about things that were troubling him that would not be of much interest to a 14 year old—like a sense of inadequacy, etc. You have to become an adult for such things to get you down, especially in bourgeois society. But what happened next was totally unexpected. The counselor began to sob uncontrollably about his problems, the tears falling down his face. I had never seen a grown man cry, an act that was particularly rare in the self-controlled masculine world of the 1950s.

A few days later, I received an even greater shock. Dr. Samuel Kahn wanted to meet with me, about what I had no idea. We sat on a bench near the main building and he presented a proposal to me. He thought that I would benefit from living with a couple in Croton-on-Hudson who would be able to “rescue” me from the misery my parents were inflicting on me. Although I was happy to be away from them for a summer, the idea of going to live with people who cried in public and whose lives revolved around discussing the superego was not my cup of tea. I called my mom that evening and demanded to be brought home. Since my father’s fruit store was doing a booming business that summer (the Catskills would collapse only 6 or 7 years later), they didn’t think twice about bringing me home to wait on customers.

Just out of curiosity, I did some investigation on “Samuel Kahn” and “Quakerbridge” on the Internet. This is what I came up with. The NY Times reported on December 28, 1981:

Dr. Samuel Kahn, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who had studied with Freud, died Thursday at Westchester County Medical Center in White Plains. Dr. Kahn, who was a resident of Croton-on-Hudson, was 84 years old.

He was born in Atlanta and was a graduate of Emory University where he also received his medical degree. Dr. Kahn interned in various New York City hospitals and studied in Vienna.

He was a clinical psychiatrist at Mount Sinai Hospital and served as an associate professor at Long Island University. He was the founder and a director of the Quakerbridge School, a youth camp in Ossining, N. Y.

Dr. Kahn was the author of more than 30 books of psychotherapy, of which the most recent was ”Practical Child Guidance and Mental Hygiene.” Among others were ”How and Why We Laugh,” ”Anxieties, Phobias and Fears,”, ”Master Your Mind!” and ”Thanks for a Better Memory.”

He is survived by his wife, Karen; two daughters, Dr. Janice Kahn of Island Park, L. I., and Susannah of Ossining, N. Y.; three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Of even greater interest was a website called http://quakerbridgecamp.com/ (now defunct) that has a bunch of the good Doctor’s musings. The first one that caught my eye was called “Acting Out” – Homosexuality and Bisexuality, a talk he gave exactly 52 years ago to this day. He explains:

A passive homosexual is one who can be made into an active homosexual by special circumstances. Under ordinary circumstances he prefers heterosexuality, but supposing he would get drunk and be locked up in a room with a homosexual, he would have homosexual relations. When the drinks wear off, he again prefers heterosexuality. The largest numbers of homosexuals are the passive unconscious homosexuals. These don’t know that they are homosexuals and they are the ones who get mentally sick. The way to find out whether one is a passive unconscious homosexual is to interpret the dreams. Many times these dreams are symbolic so that the individual himself cannot interpret the dreams and hence, may not recognize his homosexuality or the kind it is. Once in awhile a passive unconscious homosexual may have an overt homosexual dream. This may happen, but it is not so common. These dreams may or may not be remembered. The exact situation may happen to females.

The first time I got an inkling how stupid this was from the comedians Jack Burns and Avery Shreiber who did a skit called “The Conventioneer and the Cabdriver” around this time on television. Burns played the conventioneer as a thick-necked Rotarian from someplace like East Jesus, Nebraska who was in NY for a convention. Shreiber, the cabby, was taking him to his hotel and answering his anxious questions about the visit. Somehow, the conversation turned to ballet dancers that the Rotarian heard thrived in New York. He told the cabby that if any of them ever got smart with him, he’d punch them out. Everybody understood how stupid he sounded, even if the reference to gays was only veiled. 10 years later, with the Stonewall rebellion, most intelligent people in the U.S. would have nothing to do with the prejudices of the conventioneer played by Burns or by Dr. Samuel. As backward as American society can seem sometimes, I have to remind myself from time to time that we are making progress.

38 Comments »

  1. At school I was asked once “Why are you always smiling and your brother never is?” Although I’d never thought of myself as particularly cheerful.

    Do you have an irrational worry that you might be sent back to such a camp again? Presumably the Catholic equivalent would involve a lot of self-mortification.

    I worked with a Jamaican guy in the UK a year ago who said several times that if a transsexual chatted him up he’d feel the need to kill them once he discovered the truth. I’d agree that prejudice has generally lessened and become less prevalent in many places, but obviously it hasn’t disappeared.

    Comment by skidmarx — December 8, 2009 @ 4:21 pm

  2. Although I don’t play the Marxist glass bead game these days, I enjoy these memoirs.

    It probably didn’t seem so at the time, but this vignette is hilarious. Incidentally, when I saw this filed under “Gay,” I thought you were referring to Peter Gay, the Freudian academic.

    No doubt I will die enmeshed in my preciosity.

    Comment by Grumpy Old Man — December 8, 2009 @ 6:17 pm

  3. My mother fancied herself a Freudian, and her pusuit of a master’s degree gave her some kind of license to view me as a pet psychology project. What a horrible cult.

    I turned out gay AND on rare occasions have been known to enjoy a cigar. Without confusion!

    So do you still have trouble smiling?

    Comment by ish — December 9, 2009 @ 2:16 am

  4. This is relevent to this topic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0C6bVckO_CM
    “Making Plans for Nigel” from XTC’s wondrous Drums and Wires.

    Comment by Michael T — December 9, 2009 @ 6:47 pm

  5. DEAR READERS,

    I AM 63 YEARS OLD. I WENT TO QUAKERBRIDGE CAMP WHEN I WAS 8 YEARS OLD, AND THINK THAT IT DESTROYED MY DEVELOPMENT, I ALWAYS THOUGHT THAT, EVEN AT 8 YEARS AGO, THAT SOMETHING WAS VERY WRONG WITH DR. KAHN AND QUAKERBRIDGE. IF YOU WANT MORE INFO., LET ME KNOW! I CAN TELL YOU STORIES…..
    LMG

    Comment by LARRY GOLD — May 9, 2010 @ 4:00 pm

  6. I attended Quakerbridge in the early 1970’s as a young teenager. Dr. Kahn and his squad of belt wielding adult men, had their influence on me…and my behind. I spent 3 years there for the same reasons the author was sent there for and these were the worst years of my life. I never got over the trauma I endured at the hand of the Southern Gentlemen; aka “Doc”. If not for the kind soul of an elder named Jack, my days would have been endless. RIP Jack.

    Comment by LAC — October 16, 2010 @ 10:25 pm

  7. Wow.. Memories of Dr. Kahn and the years that I lived with him and Elaine; his ‘secretary’ on Truesdale Drive…where I started my puberty. The musicals and the public speaking.. and the ‘weekend school’… A very unique man ….study, study study (g)

    Comment by Steven Selmers — December 17, 2010 @ 9:59 pm

  8. I too was @ QB in 1960 and 61 DR kahn couldnt see me 1 day so we left I went to college got married became a tax acct retired

    Comment by DAVID METZGER — December 27, 2011 @ 9:56 pm

  9. On the line, on the line, on the side of the line, we yell it Quakerbridge in the rain or shine. we yell it in the rain and we yell it just the same on the side of the side of the line. I remember singing somthing like that Song.

    I had wonderful time at Summer Camp off of route 9a. Do you remember the restuarant at down the botton of the hill near the entrance to the camp.

    I am truly sorry that the camp did not give you the same great memories I had of this camp.

    S.Zang

    Comment by Steve Zang — February 17, 2012 @ 7:20 pm

  10. many a summer at quakerbridge camp – happy time / skinny time / musicals and a bunch of memories – where is everyone?

    Comment by Alan Cohen — April 2, 2012 @ 8:40 pm

  11. having worked there as a counselor in the 70’s and going in totally oblivious to what this man was doing there – or why the “camp” existed, to this day I am amazed at the damage that was done. I just wanted a summer job. I heard of the belts coming out numerous times as well as knowing that they beat the crap out of six year old boy for peeing on the other kids in the communal shower [which is pretty funny when you’re six]. Only afterwards did I see the damage done, not only to the kids, but long term to the adults who lived there full time. The camp, when it was a camp, was fun. The other stuff that went on was inexcusable. In today’s day and age, arrests would have been made of people who I’m sure would never want their names published.

    Comment by divemaster — May 3, 2012 @ 3:34 am

  12. Wow.. Here I am at 66… I lived with Samuel Kahn and Elaine; (his very busty secretary who he later married).. He wanted to adopt me and also make me a doctor to take over for him… thank God I was my own person.. I was in most of the plays (King and I, etc) and I lived with my diysfunctional family on the second floor of the main building for a while… always involved in weekend school and traveling with the doctor to many hundreds of sessions; where he would often fall asleep playing his expensive violins and having to be wakened by his ‘patients’.. I had just reached puberty and my primary ‘fun’ was watching Elaine’s fantastic ta tas jigeling around the house.. I was ignored and told to study in between.. a very lonely life with him.. Elaine finally convinced him that I needed military school.. so I was gone…. right before they married.. any people who remember those days are welcome to e mail me… Steve at presite3@msn.com

    Comment by Steven Selmers — August 30, 2012 @ 12:54 pm

  13. Hello I am Susannah, Doc’s daughter. I roared w/ laughter as I read your memories of the camp for neurotic kids! I can relate. QB was not perfect but many kids did benefit from it. I was not one of them. Would love to chat further. You can email me if you like- I promise not to psychoanalyze you!

    Comment by Susannah (Kahn) Genossar — February 7, 2013 @ 3:51 pm

  14. further – your writing style is humerous but now I have read the other posts and can sympathize w/ those who were treated cruelly. I too was beaten – only once though at 4 years old in front of a patient- my relationship w/ my father was never the same. He was brilliant but unstable and I have spent many years working out my father and mother from my system. He had many victims and the sad part is most of them (the adults)were willing ones.

    Comment by susannah (kahn) genossar — February 7, 2013 @ 6:21 pm

  15. I spent several years working at QB. Dr. Kahn encouraged education and gave me the impetous to complete my education. I earned a PhD and have been a successful psychotherapist and honored professor of psychology for many years (now retired) at a respected university. There is no question that many of the campers were troubled or were the offspring of troubled parents. He did his best to help many people. He experimented with new ideas, some worked, some did not. I did not and do not agree with a number of Kahn’s ideas. Many of his ideas were stuck in the time that he was reared and educated. He did try to think out of the box. It is always possible to put a humorous spin on any situation. Most of the campers loved the camp experience and were reluctant to go home at the end of the summer. Many campers became counselors when they were old enough. Several did convince their parents to allow them to continue to live at QB or in the area. I am also open to further discussion.

    Comment by Stanley Feist — March 23, 2013 @ 12:33 am

  16. Quite true Stan there was a fun and progressive theme at Q.B. but there was also a dark side. Doc, Dad, was not as together as he may have seemed. My 86 year old half sister can attest to that as well. We can take this private if you are interested in discussing further.

    Comment by susannah — March 23, 2013 @ 3:53 am

  17. Susannah I’m sure that we have much to talk about. I agree that it is better done privately in email or a chat medium.

    Comment by Stanley Feist — March 25, 2013 @ 1:55 am

  18. For many years I have been trying to reconcile my experiences with Dr. Kahn and Quakerbridge….my parents were very involved with the Doctor for decades….we lived directly across the street from him on Truesdale Drive in Croton. Something made me google him this evening, which led to these posts. I remember many of your names and some of your faces. Susannah, I remember when you were born….but had no idea you had a half sister! So many memories….some good, some not so good. Sending you all best regards, Amy Price

    Comment by Amy Price — October 14, 2014 @ 1:59 am

  19. I, too, am reflecting on my years at Quakerbridge as a young child. My parents had polar opposite reactions to Dr. Kahn — my mother was still ranting about him on her deathbed, while my father felt he was helped in many ways. For me the whole thing was quite confusing, especially when my family “left” and I was told that everyone who had previously been our friends and community no longer liked or trusted us. I am interested in hearing about others’ experiences and memories. Please contact me: gailesterman@gmail.com

    Comment by Gail Esterman — October 14, 2014 @ 2:39 am

  20. Hi Amy, your name is so familiar, “The Prices” I have memory of dad mentioning. I have spent the better part of my life figuring out my parents (both) and I have. I would be happy to correspond with you if you would like through our personal e-mails.
    Sincerely,
    Susannah

    Comment by Susannah Kahn Genossar — October 14, 2014 @ 4:01 pm

  21. I too have Quakerbridge memories in my past and a few of you I remember. The good side- memory development, music, plays,arts and crafts, intellectual development, creativity. ALso- kudos to sweet Jack Kirschenbaum who was always so kind at Happy Time. Yes, and Skinny Time- Oh how I wish I still needed to be fattened up with milkshakes. The bad side was a cult like atmosphere,.-You were not “allowed” to leave “The Club” or you would no longer be associated with. My mom was a patient from the time I was 2 and left when I was about 9. Dr. Kahn condoned physical abuse which I was unfortunately a victim of, we often had other mentally ill patients living with us, there were weird psychic discussions-my mom used to like to play with this. I actually believed she could read my mind for a while. Talk about no safe place! I remember a lot of crying kids freaked out on Sadie Hawkins Day (for those of you that remember) when “the preacher was coming and they would grab people out of the audience and dunk them asking repeatedly: Do you repent?” and then breaking into song – Oh you can’t get to heaven… It just added to my completely bewildered state of mind as a kid.I also lived on Truesdale. I think back about how many of his patients lived in our neighborhood in Croton. How did this happen? Fortunately, I remember a lot of really nice people but I wish I could find someone to undo or help me reconcile some of what went on there, I feel like there is some damage I just have no idea how to deal with. No 4 year old should have a working vocabulary that includes psychotic, narcissistic, paranoid, neurotic, and knowledge of Freudian sexually related topics… I’ve been looking at this blog for a few years and just mustered the courage to post something. I feel sick thinking about it. I’m not sure how much I will want to deal with this but for now welcome you to contact me

    Comment by Debbie Salat — December 7, 2014 @ 1:49 am

  22. “I’ve got the Quakerbridge spirit up in my head” Only great and warm memories of QB. It provided stability, creativity and out of the box thinking on human potential. It is my roots. I am however sorry to hear of any corporal punishment. A sad misjudgement. Susannah, I have a vivid memory of babysitting the adorable Suki ( I believe your nic name as a baby) My memories of Dr. Kahn and how he orchestrated this diverse community of talented, brilliant and often damaged human beings I believe are the seed that helped me develop my own project. In retrospect in think it was a longing to return to a time when I felt a real sense of community, love and support even with all of its imperfections. I am so very grateful for the experience.

    Comment by Joan Raderman ( Joanie Selmers) — February 18, 2015 @ 12:38 pm

  23. While net-meandering I happened upon this post and was very amused to read the post and comments. I have mostly very fond memories of Quakerbridge. Although many of Dr. Kahn’s ideas were rooted in a dated and unproven Freudian mindset, he had other progressive and creative ideas of how to bring people together in very positive ways. Going to camp in which mornings were spent in “tact and ethics,” “memory development” (with the redoubtable tachistocsope) and psychodrama had a profound effect on me and probably on many other impressionable campers whom I remember vividly. I do remember Stan, Steve, Alan, and Debbie, and many more. I wonder how many of you were affected by Dr. Kahn’s influence similarly–in grade school I was accused of being “Freud the second” when talking about some rival’s over-active id, but over the years, this early exposure to psychodynamics led to something I hope could be seen as insight. Yes, Quakerbridge did have a dark side, and I agree there was an unsettling cult-type atmosphere at times, especially in the later years, but all in all, I consider myself fortunate to have spent so many happy summers there.

    Comment by Steve Greenberg — March 29, 2015 @ 9:42 pm

  24. Glad to read your comments, Steve. I think you summed it up well. Quakerbridge and Dr. Kahn’s influence in my life began very early in the nursery school that was held somewhere on Spring Street in Ossining if my memory serves, and ran straight through college. I agree that during the later years things began to take on a tenor that Dr. Kahn did not intend. Although not a fan of anything Freudian, there were many other aspects of life in and around Quakerbridge that were extremely valuable, and I am also grateful for the good that came from those things for me and my family.

    Comment by Amy Price — March 30, 2015 @ 2:58 pm

  25. I remember it all too well! I am now trying to put the whole experience down on paper and believe me it is gut wrenching.

    Comment by Cassandra Langer — April 11, 2015 @ 2:28 am

  26. I too have been writing about what I “remember”…my family was involved in the Quakerbridge “community” in the mid-50’s to the early 60’s. Flashbacks first surfaced for me in the early 1990’s, when my grandmother was dying—which freaked me out. I thought they were false memories, they were so horrific. Then, I researched Dr. Kahn. I found many of his books in local libraries—very interesting material that helped me start to connect dots of what might have happened…trying to make sense of slivers of memories that may not even be real. I spent a few years doing this, then packed all the stuff away, and let it go. This past year, something difficult happened which again triggered memories of Dr. Kahn and Quakerbridge. I have been finding more stuff via the internet that substantiates that there is some truth to my “memories”—they at least are similar to others’ experiences. I am receiving EMDR therapy, which is working well. I welcome any communications: Maria.K.Shepherd@gmail.com

    Comment by Maria Shepherd — April 13, 2015 @ 3:56 pm

  27. Wow, talk about a blast from the past … I remember Stan Feist, Gail Esterman (and Andy), of course Amy and Debbie, and also Suki. Steve Zang, I think I remember you and your sister, Myra. And Joanie Selmers! Cima and I were inseparable.

    I’m so glad that so many people have posted fond memories of “Happy Jack” Kirschenbaum. He deserved to be remembered with love.

    My parents’ involvement with Quakerbridge came about because my father had responded to an ad for a band leader. They were living in NYC at the time, and they used to drive up once a week so my father could rehearse the band. When time came for them to buy their first home, Dr. Kahn wanted them to buy in his neighborhood, so at his suggestion my parents bought the house at the corner of Cedar Lane and Nordica Drive. As houses came on the market along Nordica Drive, Dr. Kahn would arrange to have Quakerbridge people move in. I remember growing up in a neighborhood where almost everybody belonged to “the Club”. In retrospect, I think he wanted to engineer a synthetic community where every aspect of our lives would be under a microscope.

    I didn’t experience any of the bad treatment others have described here … although I don’t doubt for one minute that everything described here really happened. I think I only attended the camp for two or three summers.

    I think that most other parents came to Quakerbridge as patients of Dr. Kahn and were probably more vulnerable than mine were because of that initial doctor/patient relationship. Looking back, I suspect now that my parents probably never quite drank the kool-aid. I was never physically punished, either at home or at camp, and I can’t imagine my parents would have tolerated a situation that could put me at risk of that type of abuse. I realized much later in life how unusual — frankly, how bizarre — the whole setup was. The author of this article talks about Dr. Kahn wanting to send him to “live with a couple” in Croton. He very well might have been trying to send the author to my parents’ house. We had this happen a couple of times. My mother tells me that Dr. Kahn would place these guys with us to allow them to experience “normal” family life. As if! Looking back at this now as an adult and the mother of a 19-year-old, I’m a little more disturbed at the number of families he seemed to want to break apart this way, particularly because, as I said, these parents may have been in a very vulnerable position.

    In retrospect, I also think that where we were in history may have been very significant. World war II had ended slightly over a decade earlier, and a lot of the people who sought treatment were Jews who had survived the holocaust with very real and very deep emotional wounds. I believe Jack Kirschenbaum was one of those people. It wasn’t at all unusual for my parents to mention that this or that person lost their entire family in the Holocaust, and these were people who, maybe a decade after the fact, were attempting to be parents to my generation. Against this backdrop, it’s not that surprising to me that Dr. Kahn would have wanted to create what he probably regarded as a Utopian community.

    Comment by Kathy Hixson (now Langan) — April 14, 2015 @ 6:24 pm

  28. I think you are right on about your observations. Poor Jack, dad took him out of an orphanage – I think from GA. Dad was born 1898..2 centuries ago. I learned at about 4 years old that what Doc said was law and there were no exceptions made not even for his preschool daughter. He could be very harsh and even cruel if you went against what he wanted. The great psychiatrist that gave other people advice about their marriage and their children what a laugh he was a rotten husband to at least three of his wives and a rotten father to me and my half sister Janice who was his first daughter nor to her 3 kids. Yes he had a strong intellect and exploted many controversial and esoteric ideas. But he was not balanced and his ego was left unchecked throughout most of his life. Thats the truth of it.

    Comment by susannah (Suki) — April 15, 2015 @ 2:45 am

  29. Suki, I had a story I wanted to tell you but maybe better to take to e-mail. Nothing terrible, just not very interesting to anybody else so I didn’t want to bore people. Do you have an e-mail?

    Comment by Kathy Hixson (now Langan) — April 15, 2015 @ 5:09 pm

  30. Sure. Rialta1010@yahoo.com
    please feel free to write me

    Comment by susannah (Suki) — April 15, 2015 @ 10:23 pm

  31. Hi Susannah–I would like to be in contact with you. I have many unanswered questions about what happened in the mid-50’s to early 60’s at Quakerbridge. While living in White Plains (perhaps before I was born), my mother met someone from Quakerbridge (I think named Sally Senior?). I believe she became involved with Quakerbridge at that point. Until I was 3, my family lived in an apt. across the street from Dr. Kahn in Croton. I don’t remember the name of the road. Nordica Drive? Then, we moved to Benedict Blvd. a few miles away until I was 7. Before we left that place for another town, my father threw a fit and insisted that my mother cut ties with Dr. Kahn and Quakerbridge. My mother, to this day, idolizes Dr. Kahn and quotes him; my father died in 2006, still hating him. Not sure what happened. Have pieces of memories that are unsettling, to say the least. Any light you can shed on what was going on would be deeply appreciated.

    Comment by Maria Shepherd — April 16, 2015 @ 2:32 pm

  32. Happy to chat with you Maria. Please email me rialta1010@yahoo.com

    Comment by susannah (Suki) — April 16, 2015 @ 4:15 pm

  33. Hi Amy the nursery school was on our house on Spring St I’m Ossining . Josephine Mishkin was the director and mother Ruth was one of the teachers .

    Comment by Joan Raderman (selmers) — April 23, 2015 @ 4:23 am

  34. Debby, I remember Jimmy Salat lived with us for a while- played a mean bass… How is he related. Was wad only 5 yrs old at the time …

    Comment by Joan Raderman (selmers) — April 23, 2015 @ 4:27 am

  35. Please contact me if you are interested in a Quakerbridge Reunion. Joan@circleofcareproject.org. Joanie Selmers (Joan Raderman)

    Comment by Joan Raderman (selmers) — August 4, 2015 @ 2:32 pm

  36. My experience with Quakerbridge was during the summer of ’62. Earlier that year my Mom was referred to Dr. Kahn by a friend, and she and my Dad began seeing him for marriage counseling (Dad had already said he was in love with someone else since ’60, but moved in and out for almost 2 years by this time). Dr. Kahn met with them one time and he told my Dad that it was obvious he was a pathological liar (which I discovered, years later, was true). In a private session he asked my Mom why she would suffer him since he obviously didn’t love her. Quite honestly, that helped my Mom develop the strength she needed when the **it hit the fan”. The “fan” was me. Between ages 12 and 15 my father sexually (w/o penetration) and emotionally/verbally abused me…always when my mother was not in the house. I began drinking at age 14. My mother took me to Dr. Kahn who very gently asked me about my feelings toward my father. Never being shy, I told him I hated him. I don’t remember much about the session after that, but next thing I knew I was a “junior counselor” at Quakerbridge Camp that summer. I don’t remember much about the camp except a session where I learned and understood the concept of “reverse psychology”. I was musically talented and performed “Trouble” from the Music Man with a really talented guy named Mitch Cohen playing piano to accompany me. At some point during the summer I became extremely ill and was diagnosed with mono; I was sent home. I thought my Mom continued with Dr. Kahn, but I’m getting a flash of “The Optimist Society”… was this related to Dr. Kahn in some way?

    Comment by Alaine Major — June 8, 2016 @ 3:28 pm

  37. I went to Quakerbridge in the mid fifties. At that time the CITs lived in the playhouse at Truesdale Drive. We all were pretty sure that Dr. Kahn was sleeping with Elaine Toister who also lived there as his “secretary” and we discussed it one night. Little did we know that “The Toaster” was hiding in the humongous fireplace in our room listening to everything we said. For some reason I was singled out as the perpetrator although I was not. So I was banished back to the camp where I had to sleep in an attic in the big house.
    Dr. Kahn was basically a jerk and “The Toaster” was a rally nasty, vindictive person

    Comment by Martha Atkins — June 25, 2016 @ 1:22 am

  38. Dear Mr. Proyect,

    Get your facts straight. Dr. Kahn’s sister lived in the south and she was not in business, as hotel owner, nor anything else. She was interested in charity work and supported Planned Parenthood throughout the years.

    Although, and perhaps un-intentioned, your site is surprising in that it seems to have become a spot for people affiliated with the camp & Dr. Kahn to vent, defend or re-connect.

    Comment by anonymous — June 27, 2016 @ 6:25 am


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