Happy memories of Y camp

July 25, 2013 

My memories of the former YMCA campgrounds in Belleville are good ones. This is where the "Gringos" played co-rec volleyball.

In the 1970s and the '80s the Gringos, which organized to play fast-pitch softball at Fox Park and Forest Park in St. Louis, and also in East Saint Louis at Jones Park, had barbeques at many places to raise money. Club members got together to celebrate life and competed in volleyball at the outside facility.

My friends Charlie VonGruenigen, Gene Pitra, Nelson Jenkins, Ron Zorko, Barry Gauen, Bob Podraza and our wives won championships, playing volleyball at night. What a great memory.

We could jump back then. Now we are in our 60s and 70s and some are gone. My best friend Nelson Jenkins passed away many years ago as did Bob Podraza but I can still remember him setting that volleyball to me and me to him. We did the same thing in Nelson's back yard every year on July 4. I miss those good old days at the YMCA and in Nelson's back yard.

Michael Ray Dillier


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