Thursday, April 30, 2009


(Jo Maas)
Sun 4/26/09 9:59 PM

Thank you for remembering our family at this sad time. We didn't know how much we all loved Dick or how much he did for all of us until he was gone. I know he is in a better place but that doesn't help the void in my heart. We are a close knit family and able to work together so I know we will make it through this hard time.

Hope to see you in July. Jo Maas

RE: Dick‏
From: Stephen Kappesser (
Sent: Wed 4/29/09 3:20 PM
Hi Mrs. Maas -
You are welcome, Jo.
I hope and pray your children are OK. You will see Barb and I in late June too - we will be attending the SCCS Alumni Banquet. We have not been to the Pond since the summer after may Dad passed away. Barb beat cancer in 2006, recuperated in 2007, and I had a wicked corrective surgery last year. Now we are OK and looking forward to visiting this year. We might stay at the Wigwam, not sure yet - do they have decent rooms there?
I'm glad you like the Sandy Pond Memories site. I have only "scratched the surface" there...I needed to create something for my children and my grandchildren (#4 grandchild is due to be born any day now).
Please remember our thoughts and prayers are with you and yours!
Steve and Barb


Sandy Pond - The Maas Family‏
From: bernard carr
Sent: Mon 4/27/09 5:08 PM
2 attachments

Good Morning Steve,

Today I have been visiting your "Sandy Pond Memories".

As much as I have surfed the net, querried "Sandy Pond", walked Lakeshore Rd, and visited the beach; it is a wonder I do not know your name. Then maybe I did, and with aging memory it is just somewhere locked in that area between my hair and neck that no longer functions as it once did.

You and I definately have some in common. Sandy Pond of course. Sailors for sure, although I am sometimes referred to as the "shallow water" version. (In reality that was not so true, as 1/2 of my service was literally in the mid-Atlantic) Definately 50's R & R. I was also at Bob's Birthday party as I live about 5 cottages West of his. I too have corresponded with Jack Majors. (you may have read my stories on his site.)

I recently became friends with the Maas family. Although we first met last year, the connection was immediate. One of the things I looked most forward to this year, was to visit with them when I returned from Florida. When I saw Jo last week she told me the bad news. On the following visit she told me about your site. She emailed me this AM and here I am.

First, I would like to have your permission to place a link to your "Sandy Pond Memories" on my website.

Next I have attached a picture I took of Richard and Jo last Fall. I will resize for sending as it is very high resolution.

Finally, I have also attached a scan of a letter from the Navy I received last year. I was surprised how highly they must value us "Coasties" to make such an offer to someone my age. (After I checked out the latest recruiting poster on your site I just had to send it.)

Bernie Carr

Dick and Jo Maas

Letter sent to Bernie by the US Naval Reserve to ask him to re-enlist for big money ($20k) "do it for your country, your family, your career, for yourself."

(I used to think that NAVY is an acronym for Never Again Volunteer Yourself...)


RE: Sandy Pond - The Maas Family‏
From: Stephen Kappesser (
Sent: Wed 4/29/09 3:02 PM
To: Bernie Carr

.logs and Websites are in the public domain so legally no permission is necessary to post a link to it and I am guilty of doing just that out of expedience, but thanks for asking - that is polite of you.

Of course, you can post a link even if I said NO. HA HA!

Yes I will be there the latter part of June for the Sandy Creek Central School Alumni Banquet weekend and we plan to visit Mrs. Maas. I enjoy your site too. Yours and Jack's helped inspire me to do mine! Take care and I hope to meet you maybe someday.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Annual Break-Up

Come think of it, the spring ushered in a most spectacular transition every year, and I now regret taking it for granted: the disappearance of The Ice on Sandy Pond. God could really put on a show with this.

I understand that The Ice on the pond was unusually clear prior to it's break-up this year, and there were some fools out fishin' on it up to just a week before it slid under the whitecaps on a blustery day.

It always takes a blustery day to usher The Ice out. There were often some "icebergs" remaining after the blow that gave me an opportunity for play many years ago...

This was emailed to me by Denise Yerdon (Miles). Apparently these fools were fishin on this ice-raft on Oneida Lake...

Women can be foolish too, believe it or not! (I mean this in a GOOD way...)

When I was about 12 or 13 yr. old and ignorant and I'm sure my Dad would have tanned my hide if he ever knew that I did this:

I would motor out to the ice floe and push the the huge slabs around for no good reason. I'd motor the boat up onto them part-ways and climb out on to the rafts. Some people fished from them. I would even try to break up the thin ones, imagining I was piloting an ice-breaker through an Alaskan seascape. It was glorious!

All this activity was accomplished with me piloting my intrepid Lonestar 14' aluminum boat that weighed maybe 150 lb. The Lonestar was equipped with a massive 4 1/2 horsepower Johnson 2-stroke outboard motor and a 6 gallon fuel tank that enabled me to run for DAYS without re-fueling. I still have that motor and a slightly larger Starcraft aluminum boat in which to play here on the Chesapeake. Trouble is I haven't ran it in over 30 years. Boating is recreation, you see, and I have not devoted much time to frivolities. Maybe when I get old, I might get-r-goin' one of those days.

[Invariably a foolish pilgrim "from the big city" (which I used to think Syracuse was) would venture out on the thinning mass in his vehicle...]
The ice was much different on The Lake. The ice hills along the shore that were formed by the incessant wave action became caves to explore. We would motor out onto the lake and cruise down to Sandy Island Beach. There we had an audience in case something went wrong maybe somebody could save us from our own doom.
We would bring the boats in and around the ice hills, which were hollow. Some were open like caves and we could go in and marvel at the structures. Only God could fashion these. Some were very low and and could barely fit under them while others were like huge domes.
That was fun but looking back at it now I realize it was dangerously foolish. We had no Cabela's safety equipment, radios, helmets, life-jackets etc. and our parents did not know exactly where we were or what we were up to. No cell phones back then, scooter - we were on your own relying on our own grit. My only regret is that I wasn't into snapping photos yet so I have nothing to show for it.

Then came the grisly part part of Spring: those poor fisherman who broke through the ice, drowned, and got listed as 'missing not recovered' during the winter season would make their appearance after the ice disappeared...
As a kid I remember a puffy-looking corpse of a man being discovered on shore near the location of the Comfort establishment. The Sandy Creek Fire Dept. (or as we affectionately called them - "The Sandy Creek Cellar-Savers") Fire Chief and a State Trooper car came screaming down to the Pond with sirens wailing as word spread quickly. Whole families gathered around the surreal scene as officers covered the corpse with blankets and wrote things down on clipboards. Nobody said much until an old woman said a prayer for the poor man's soul...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Spectacular Sunsets at Sandy Pond

Looking from where the "Comfort" nightclub used to be...

Looks like a view from Seber shore.

View of the Lake from in front of where the old Sandy Island Beach concession stand used to be.

this photo by Jack McCain, 2005

Sandy Pond has spectacular sunsets. Situated on the eastern shore of the Lake, the vibrant sunsets are attributed to the low average humidity of the climate, which enhances the clarity of the air. I think...

Every time I visit I am taken aback by the vivid blueness of the sky. It's rarely that blue here on the Chesapeake Bay, where the humidity usually very high and unbearable. When it is blue we call it a "Sandy Pond Day", especially if there are cumulus clouds and cloud-shadows...

Also, I like watching Northern Lights and the Milky Way at Sandy Pond. Best viewing is mid-February when it is zero degrees and zero humidity out in the middle of the Pond laying on the ice. We had a 250x Stellar telescope for those nights. Spectacular show courtesy the Almighty Himself...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Photos From Jack McCain

Thanks for these precious photos, Jack.

Rob Smith tries to get Bobby Newton, um, wet.
Summer 2000

Pete Kappesser reads a space-navy adventure book. "Space-navy" - sounds so cool. I never read this one but I understand it was a good book...(2000)

Kip reads. Notice the book title. He's still challenged by his spinal injury...(2001)

Bobby Newton and Ross McCain try to get each other wet...(2000)

Ruth and Ed Kappesser enjoy another sunset at Sandy Pond. They enjoyed over 18,000 sunsets together...(1990)

Ross McCain, George R., Bobby Newton, & Rachel Newton scream across the Pond in the over-powered boat...Bobby loved SPEED and POWER...(2000)

Caption by Jack McCain...(2000)

OK what is going on here? XTREME driftwood collecting?

"The Mighty Castle". The next day the Nature Conservancy arrested everybody who built this hideous structure and put them in eco-jail...(2000)

Kip arrives in his duck-boat...(1989)

Jean and Rege Cannon enjoy the water's edge...(1989)

Patty Newton enjoys an adult beverage while working on another vicious sunburn...(1989)

Rex climbs aboard the dreadnought "Mother Goose"...

All full ahead, matey, on the Multi-Use Aquatic Party Platform Vehicle...(2000)

Beachin' it...(2000)

Kip Kappesser, Bob (Hoppy) Hopkins, and Rex Newton enjoy some time together...(1989)

Elizabeth Smith, her friend Sully, and Ross McCain at the beach...(2001)

Ready to go home...(2000)

Friday, April 17, 2009

More Sandy Pond Stuff

email from Jack Majors - -

Sent: Saturday, April 11, 2009 11:38 AM
To: stephen.kappesser
Subject: More Sandy Pond stuff

I just read your Sandy Pond blog and got a kick out of the Bartlett stuff. I remember the bait shop. Anyway, one of the new stories on my website concerns an uncle, Tony Kane, who indeed was a rum-runner who drowned after his boat was hit by gale-force wins in January 1931 near Main Ducks Island (which was new to me, despite all my years of going to the lake). I finally found some stories about Kane's "accident." Though the Coast Guard wasn't chasing him at the time – only an idiot would be out in the weather that came through that day – they did list his death among rum-runners they had successfully pursued. What I I got a big kick out of was the way he was listed in some stories as Capt. Tony Kane, just because he had a boat. However, he was only a crewmember on his fatal voyage.

From: Kappesser Stephen
To: Jack Major
Sent: Mon, 13 Apr 2009 7:53 am
Subject: RE: More Sandy Pond stuff

Hi Jack- Great story!May I have permission to add this story to the Sandy Pond Memories site?Thanks.

From: Jack Major
Sent: Friday, April 17, 2009 12:12 AM
To: Kappesser Stephen
Subject: Re: More Sandy Pond stuff

Check out the full story. Just go to, you can't miss the Tony Kane tale. Do with it what you will, but I wouldn't have found it if it weren't for the website I credited.... I think it's If you haven't found it before, try it. The guy who does it must work with libraries. On this site you can access an incredible number of old newspaper pages from small publications in New York, including a paper in Mexico.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hello From Marie Mitchell Rieger‏

Today's correspondence:

Hello From Marie Mitchell Rieger‏

Sent:Thu 4/16/09 10:21 AM
To: Steve Kappesser (

Hi, Sure you can post my email. Molly (Milner's) mom was killed in a car accident quite awhile ago. The father also passed away. Molly is married to Dick Wilson ( His parents had a cottage on the sandbar up from Milners. He had 2 sisters, Janie and Joni. Their cottage was the last one before all the new building took place and they play together in the band Ontario. On Saturdays they were at the Wigwam and Friday at Rainbow Shores. If you and your wife get up north be sure and look them up. I'll check for pictures when I'm up north.

To: Marie Mitchell Reiger
Subject: RE: Hello from Marie Mitchell Rieger
Date: Thu, 16 Apr 2009 09:46:56 -0400

Hi Marie -
I always wondered what happened to Molly Milner and her Mom. Her Mom was such a pleasant soul. As a youth I did a lot of odd jobs for the Barrett Family, whose camp is located on the base of Hog Nose Point (now the Murphy camp, Mr. Barrett's daughter). Molly's Mom would visit often and she was so nice always with a smile and something funny to talk about. Nice to hear from you. Nice to hear your Dad made it that night. My Dad never mentioned yanking him out of the water. Yes, the current was a challenge sometimes and I should have mentioned that in the posting. May I have permission to post your email on the BLOG? I am looking for photos of the old Bayview Hotel, The Comfort (remember Joe Ferrara?), and Sandy Lodge before it became The Lodge. Do you have any and can you send them? I will scan them for the BLOG and send them back immediately.

My address:
Stephen Kappesser
312 Philadelphia Road
Joppa, Md 21085


From: Marie Mitchell Reiger
Subject: Hello from Marie Mitchell Rieger
Date: Tue, 14 Apr 2009 14:15:51 +0000

Hi Steve, I just finished reading your blog about smelt and it brought a story to mind. My dad, Bill Mitchell, was quite a story teller and one important story that he loved to tell was about "going smelting with Ed at Port Ontario." My dad and your dad would make plans at the Bayview and then late at night after closing the two friends would drive to Port Ontario. I don't know if you went with them or not. On this particular night the creek was swollen from melting snow and the water was moving rapidly. They began walking the bank and netting the smelt. All of a sudden my dad lost his footing and fell in the creek. Dad was not a good swimmer and also the water was moving at a fast clip. Dad thought this might be it. All of a sudden Dad felt a hand on his shoulder and he was quickly thrown up on the bank. Ed said, "Where do you think you're going?" After the near miss the two friends called it a night as both were cold and wet but planned to go again in a couple days. I'm really enjoying your blog. I spend summers up at Sandy Pond so will look for pictures for you. Last summer we spent many a Saturday at the Wigwam listening to the band, Ontario. Molly Milner sings and plays a guitar with her husband. I also ran in to John and Jim Beach. That's how I got in contact with Mariann Beach after many years. So glad to read your memories.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Heartfelt Condolences to the Maas Family

My heart was suddenly saddened this morning to hear that Mr. Maas had passed away. Dick Maas was one of the best friends and neighbors anyone could ever ask for. He taught me how to paint a vehicle the "old-school" way when I was an ignorant youth and even let me paint our '55 Volkswagen microbus in his heated garage one spring. He was always there to help if you were in a bind. I will miss him.
Jo, Brenda, Jerry, Pam and Dan - my prayers are with you this week. I hope to visit this July. Take care and may God hold you in His hands and comfort you...
Here is a piece that I have pinned next to my parent's photos in my office:
"Do not stand on my grave and weep, I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow, I am the countless glints in the snow.
I am the sunlight on the ripened grain, I am a gentle Autumn rain.
When you awake in the morning hush, I am the swift uplifting rush.
I am the birds in circled flight, I am the bright stars shining at night.
So do not stand on my grave and cry,
I am with God... I did not die."
(Mary Frye 1932)

Monday, April 13, 2009


Every Spring after the ice disppeared Dad would get out the Coleman gas lantern and clean it up and burn in a new mantle on it. His Coleman lantern burn unleaded gasoline. In those days unleaded gasoline was not sold at any gas station - you had to buy it at the store in 1 gallon containers much like Coleman fuel comes in today. Unleaded gasoline was also called "white gas".

Thus when he burned in a new mantle I knew it was time for smelting. Dad jokingly called them "SHMELTS" with a thick Sargeant Schultz German accent. The Kappesser ancestry is German-American and we in that we consider ourselves fortunate...

Some readers may need to become familiar with smelts. They are little salt-water fish that look and behave like Atlantic Salmon. And they are tasty. Every Spring they used to come in from the North Atlantic Continental Shelf, all the way up the St. Lawrence River through specially constructed fish-ladders around the Seaway locks, and into the Great Lakes. Then they would swim up all tributaries: stream, creeks, & rivers to spawn and die.


From Wikipedia"..."smelt dipping" is a common group sport in the early spring months (generally late April, when the stream water reaches approximately 4°C, 40-42f). Fish are spotted using a flashlight / headlamp (the best smelt dipping is in the middle of the night from 10:00pm – 2:00am) and scooped out of the water using a dip net made of nylon or metal mesh. The smelt are cleaned by removing the head and the entrails. Fins, scales, and bones of all but the largest of smelts are cooked without removal.

Many of these streams were narrow enough for a person to straddle and get a good catch of smelt by dipping a bucket. Smelters with their bright Coleman lanterns would line both shores some nights, almost elbow to elbow. Nobody complained about "personal space", we all just wanted to fish and enjoy it.

Elbow to elbow along both banks we fished...

One year circa 1970, Dad went up to the the Lacona Supply and asked Mister Tanner to special order a 20 foot fur pole for him. He affixed the biggest smelt net he could find the end of that pole. I could barely lift it but it was no problem for Dad. He used his mega-net to gain another 8 foot advantage on reach over any store-bought net.

Typically we would smelt along the mouth of the Salmon River near the old Selkirk Lighthouse or the inlet at Selkirk Shores State Park. There would be dozens of other people there with their families dipping away with an occasional shout, the smell of Coleman lantern fumes everywhere. I love that smell.

Selkirk Lighthouse, also called Port Ontario Lighthouse.

This is the inlet at Selkirk Shores State Park where we used to go smelting. This photo was taken July, 2005 while we rented a cabin there.

Dad trained me to be his bucket-man. He would dip the mega-net in a long fell swoop against the current and bring up the floppy little fish sparkling in the moonlight. I would be positioned nearer shore within his reach to empty the net into a big 5 gallon bucket. I had to seperate the moon-eyes from the smelt. He always say "hurry-up, hurry-up". Then he would dip the giant net again. This went on for an hour or two. It was glorious.

On a good night we would bring home 4 or 5 buckets of fish. He wouldn't catch more than he could clean. Mom and Dad would clean the smelt for hours into daylight, sometimes having them for breakfast.

Later, typically on a Friday or to treat some friends or family, Mom cooked 'em up in a deep fryer with her secret breading. We would dip 'em in Tartar Sauce. They were eaten bones-in matter-of-factly. You could not find fish better than that in any restaurant, anywhere, I don't care who you are.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

More Fun With "The Pittsburghers"

Bobby, Regis, and Doc. This boat was Doc's joy. I remember when Alice handed Rex the checkbook and strongly suggested that he buy a new motor for it. Alice believed he was spending too much time fixin' the old motor...but I suspect that was fun to Rex. (1984)

The "Kappesser Kids" 1984

Kap and what's-his-name, Clambake, 1984.

Under the Bigtop at the Clambake. Barb and I were on 30 days leave from US Naval Facility Argentia, Newfoundland.

Waterfront shot - August 1994.

Mom wore a Statue of Liberty costume to the clambake one year. This is the sign she carried. Mom was one-of-a-kind.

The big Whiffle-Ball game at the boat beach.

Midgets Sherry and Bob frolic with Rob.

Egg-Toss, summer '83.

Dangle-Ball competition, Summer 1983. Think this would get a few hits on YouTube? NOT!!

Amy and Me in my crackerjacks. Summer leave, 1984.

Not sure what Kip is doing in this snapshot. I'll leave that to your imagination. Summer '84.

Patty freshens her beverage-of-choice. Unc. Geo worked beer-keg security that day.
Summer 1984.

Egg-toss. Kap's wearing size 13 vintage NIKES, when the swoosh was BIG.

Amy enjoys the Clambake, Summer '83.

By the water, summer '84.

A couple of birthdays celebrated, Summer '84.

Lake Ontario yields another beautiful sunset. Summer '84.