Brendan Whitt

WHEN BRENDAN WHITT THINKS...

Meet the main characters of Camp '67

In 1967 Cathy Wilkes created Camp Hopenoke, an engaging safe space where children of all races or creeds could come together and learn to be friends in a world that was severely, racially divided. While the camp at large may not have had a lasting impact on all of the campers there were a few who took something away from their time at Camp Hopenoke… 

Nicky was shorter than most of the boys and even some of the girls in his grade. He didn’t care much about his appearance or his hygiene. Mr. Amoretti was a rather large man with a thick mustache and a head full of graying hair that he kept manicured. He owned two small car lots, a smoke shop, and was preparing to open up a bar. Sitting in the passenger seat was his wife and Nicky’s mother, Mrs. Amoretti. She was a very stunning woman for her age with brunette hair and a keen eye for fashion. While her husband worked Mrs. Amoretti played homemaker, happily raising their family in a sumptuous suburban lifestyle.

Nicky’s oldest brother Luca was 25 years old and lived out of town with his wife and newborn son. The Amoretti’s middle child Mike was preparing for his freshman semester at an out of state college in the fall. Nicky was very close to Mike and imitated everything he did. He looked up to his big brother like most boys would. Nicky wore the same jersey number Mike wore during his first year as a member of the town’s junior high football team. Even Nicky’s resemblance to Mike caused many of his teachers to mistakenly address Nicky by his older brother‘s name.

On the other side of the lot was Milton Williams. He was sitting with his mother as the other campers got to know each other. He was still tired from the walk he and his mother had taken from the final stop of the bus line. Milton was a tough thirteen year old who wore his hair in a short black afro. He liked to hear about the Black Panthers and all of the good they did for Black people, especially the youth. Milton’s burgeoning thoughts were inspired by the likes of Huey Newton and the now deceased Malcolm X.

He lived with his mother in a two bedroom apartment where he and his older brother Travis used to share a room. Travis joined the Navy as a way to help take care of Milton and his mother. Travis was set to return home after finishing up a tour in Vietnam but deferred to continue fighting so he could continue making money to support his family.

Milton and Travis’ father had disappeared not long after he was born. Leaving his then eight-year-old brother as his acting father figure. With Travis a half a world away, Milton was angry and alone

Johnny was raised in a very liberal household.  His father was a lawyer who was a pro Civil Rights and an anti-war proponent while his mother was a pediatrician who worked in a privately run hospital that catered to destitute inner city residents. He was raised to be accepting of all people. Johnny was better suited to understand Milton’s anger than Nicky was.

Ralph was a very astute kid. Hr had two working class parents and a three-year-old sister. He wasn’t oblivious to what was going on in the world around him. With both of his parents being college educated they taught and reminded Ralph about his history constantly. The neighborhood he and his family lived in had a few white families. Ralph knew all whites weren’t like the images on the news and in the paper.

Camp '67 will be available on Amazon and from the Kindle Store October 11.