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by Rhonda Spivak, December 4, 2011

It is five thirty in the morning as I write this and I have not yet been to sleep. While putting on the final touches of this edition of the Winnipeg Jewish Review, I remembered that I haven't gone through all of my mail--the volumes of which keep growing.

Lo and behold, I found a letter from Sophie Tapper, written to me on November 25th, a copy of which is reprinted below at the end of this article. I have not heard from Sophie in oodles of years (since before  my children were born for sure) but I was rather thrilled to hear from her, and  to know that she is now  a subscriber to the Winnipeg Jewish Review.

Sophie has a special place in my heart since many years ago I rather enjoyed pranking Sophie while she was the voice of reason and responsibilty at Camp Massad in her capacity as  Administrator of the Camp.

The main perk that came with the job was that her cabin was one of the very few which had a flush toilet in the days when the rest of us common folk went ot the  B.K.'s.  

As I write this I am starting to recall the many pranks  I initiated and supervised at, near, on, under, or around Sophie. One of my personal favourites was when I locked Sophie in her cabin. This wasn't so simple. It involved convincing the maintenance staff at Camp Massad to put  a lock on the outside of her door in the middle of the night, while she was sleeping, and ensuring that she would not be able ot identify the culprit?culprits.

Then in the morning when the rest of the Camp was assembling at  the Toran Hadegel (Flag Pole),I remember standing outside Sophie's cabin with a few other staff (in other words the Camp actually paid me a  salary to conduct my pranks !), while we watched Sophie repeatedly try to push the door open. She tried and tried and huffed and puffed as she got increasingly more frusterated-all to no avail.  The door had a screen on it so she could see us on the other side. She told us that enough was enough and she huffed and puffed some more, but wasequally unsuccessful.

I  had no regrets about locking her in, and told her we would deliver her breakfast directly to her cabin.Room Service was a luxury that no one at Camp recieved.

I also had no regrets about locking Sophie in her cabin because at that time Sophie's cabin was where the Torah at the Camp was kept. My memory of it is that there were two beds in the main room of the "Eemah's" cabin. Sophie slept in one of them, and  the Torah slept in the other. Since she  was unable to get out of her cabin, I told Sophie that it  there would be plenty of quiet time for her to begin reading the Torah--it is after all, a rather long book.

The occasions in which I was involved in toilet-papering Sophie's cabin are too numerous to recall. Sophie was always concerned with the Camp budget. My memory is that as long as I didn't tinfoil her cabin ("You don't know how expensive tin-foil is", she would say) she was a good sport about having her cabin, both inside and outside, toilet papered.

However, she was surprised (as were her neighbors ) in Garden City when I engineered several Massad staff to  toilet paper her house in the city. This skilled operation was also conducted under the cover of darkness. We even toliet papered the trees in her front lawn I recall.  

Anyways Sophie, I have enjoyed receiving your email, and  look forward to seeing you in person real soon. I'm an adult now--I'll spring for the three ply, not the two ply,for our next visit.

Below is the text of  Sophie Tapper's email dated November 25, 2011. Note that in her  email Sophie says,
"I would like to ask that the paper also be sent to my work address."

I can't believe what Sophie has just written to me. She seems to be requesting that I toilet paper her at her work place.  After all these years, she hasn't forgotten

Hi Rhonda,

I was very excited to receive your email edition of the Winnipeg Jewish Review at my home. Harry just forwarded it to me at my office and I’ve happily just finished looking briefly at some of the contents.

It was a pleasure to be able to read these articles on line, and I commend you for the excellent way that the paper is set up.

I hope all is well with you and your family. It’s been many years since we have seen each other.

I would like to ask that the paper also be sent to my work address, as that is where I have the time to look at my emails.

Thanks a lot and continued success with your paper

Sophie Tapper,

Finance/Adminstration Coordinator of Hopice and Palliative Care Manitoba


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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.