Catskills Vacations: Cultural Rituals

The men would arrive at the bungalow colony in the Catskills every Friday night to spend the weekends with their families. They would take over the pool, and expect a big dinner, and would entertain one another with stories about how difficult the traffic had been, and whether it would be better to leave late Sunday night or early Monday morning so that they might most easily get back to their jobs in the garment district or the post office.

After dinner, the men congregated on the lawn again and talked candidly, or so it seemed to an eavesdropping teenager, about growing up in the Depression, and the paths not taken. The furrier had trained to be a lawyer; the civil servant took an examination that would settle his life just because some friends were taking it. The wives sat on the arms of the patio chairs in skirts and sweaters listening attentively before going off to put the children to bed. The men would stay up longer, exchanging smutty stories and confidences about their bosses before joining their wives and their sleeping children in the little cottages that surrounded the central lawn.

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