The Unexpected Present

A Kinderhook Revival Reunion for Campers

Yuri@Kinderhook NY

It was Saturday night, April 25, 2009, when the band Kinderhook’s rocking revival reunion with the campers from the 1970s took place. Like the rest of the crowd that filled the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Whippany, New Jersey, I anticipated a night of returning to my youth during the Plast Scout Camp years in East Chatham, New York, a stone’s throw from their namesake Kinderhook Creek. That night, Yuri and I met. Eye contact.

I was transported back in time to the 1970s. Back to the days of Vovcha Tropa – Wolf’s Trek, scouting life and camp activities, living with Nature (for some, it was whether you liked it or not), the starlit dome of summer nights, the bonfires searing the deep blue of sky vastness, the guitars strumming tunes we learned in the daytime and being treated to some original poetry in the lyrics. Oh, the singing that came out of those boys in their Boy Scout shirts and shorts. The harmonies! You always tried to find the spot where somehow you could make an encounter, an introduction, an accidental stumble, or eye contact. You can’t help but fall in love. Eye contact.

Exhale. That night, the band performed their magic, taking us back to a time long gone chronologically. However, in our heads and hearts, we still found those heart-and-soul kids before tumbling into the parallel world outside our diaspora of Ukrainian communities. The transition could be shocking, so having the sororities and fraternities who formed tight bonds became a safety net for people to attend these events. Come back to the garden comfort. Then there was that fateful day of one such massive get-together—a worldwide scouting jamboree—when Yuri heard music coming from the fields where cars parked wherever to make a camp. He sought the harmonious sounds and joined Andy and Jerry, singing Eagles tunes. Kismet.

Yuri@Kinderhook Creek
Kinderhook Rise

 

I found the news article in The Ukrainian Weekly 2009. It was this weekend fifteen years ago. Who can forget Pontelemon Pupchik? This intrepid reporter, who hilariously interviewed the week-long participants, traveled across the country to attend the camp fundraiser. The entire evening brought out the thoughts, emotions, and memories that make us who we are, how we connect, how we are similar, how different, will be accepted for who we are, and how we turned out to be since our youthful breaking out of the proverbial Ukrainian immigrant shell that kept us safe and provided a base from where blast off into adulthood however you want to define it. Some didn’t launch. They didn’t grow up, but it’s different for everyone. Change is inevitable. It’s impossible not to change. Change is what makes us live and laugh, not always right away, but one of Yuri’s favorite quotes that he lived by is, “When enough time goes by, tragedy turns into comedy.” Alle to Komedia.

 

At the afterparty that night in the bar, Yuri and I made eye contact. At our age, there was no mistaken call and response. He called. I responded by walking over to introduce myself, but he already knew who I was. He got the details from whoever sat next to him. I swear, Yuri was always prepared like the Scout he remained for life, preparation that meets opportunity. I suggested we do a podcast. What’s a podcast? (It was 2009 when podcasting was not as easy as it is now). We had such a great conversation that I had to break it into two parts. His passion for making his original music went beyond what he felt he was able to do with Kinderhook. It was a different path that he explored, created, conquered, recorded, and, most of all, performed live. That was his passion and his life’s purpose.

I didn’t mind that he was married to his music, and I eventually married him, thus becoming the other woman. It was an immersive experience, and I will forever be grateful that he never discouraged my interest and, in appreciation, included me in his world and took me along for the ride. In the summer of August 2022, Yuri and I spent a weekend in Chatham, New York, visited the Village of Kinderhook, and found the Creek where it all began. He was very proud of the work Kinderhook produced and their accomplishments as one of the great Jersey bands of the 1970s. A plethora of his original work will forever be kindred to the band that still rocks on. And, it is ingrained in the various fortunate people who have experienced a genuine Yuri Turchyn performance. He always considered himself fortunate to perform for a live audience. That’s who he was. Killer eye contact.

Yuri@ Kinderhook Sign
Kinderhook Speed Limit

Related Articles

Yuri in Nature

Requiem and Repast for a Renaissance Man


Memorial Day is Opening Day of the summer season, yet for the past two years, Yuri and I spent the weekend and weeks following in the ICU. This year, on Saturday, family and friends gathered at a morning memorial service, requiem, and repast commemorating the 40th day since Yuri’s spirit and essence left his physical self, ultimately melding into the universe of our collective consciousness.
Sviato Yuri icon

On Name Day, It’s All In The Name

Today is Yuri’s name day. May 6 is St. George’s Day. Name days, these traditional feast days, hold a unique significance as they commemorate a particular holy person, often a saint or martyr, and celebrate an individual's given name. They are not just collective holidays marked by national calendars but personal celebrations
Yuri Turchyn Violinist 2024

Yuri Notes: Wake Me Up From This Dream

I am sleepwalking and still reeling from having to write the words that Yuri Turchyn departed this world peacefully in my arms on Sunday, April 14, 2024. Time of departure: 15:05. Sail away.
full moon

Standing on the Edge, Living in the Moment

Spring is in the air—rebirth, renewal, and a return to the garden. Having a birthday in Spring always gave me a breath of fresh air. A March wind cleansing, although at times the winds can be fierce, wreaking havoc
CK+YT @Woodstock

Telling Our Story

We find a purpose in life, not just a lifestyle to live by, taking on life’s challenges with words, music, time stamps and postcards.

HOW IT STARTED
Air Guitar Wedding

Who, What, Why Is This Happening?

ambulance

Grammarly Stands with Ukraine

Together with the UNITED24 fundraising platform, Grammarly is raising money for ambulances in Ukraine. We invite you to join the fundraiser by donating
HERE

 To all of Ukraine, we stand with you and are sending aid. To everyone else, we ask you to declare your support for the people of Ukraine, who continue to resist the unprovoked Russian invasion.

UA flag
EXPLORE