I wasn’t going to join in the linkup this week, but Kathy’s entry inspired me. I had the most fabulous childhood! I was the eldest child, with a brother 4 years younger. We always lived on one farm or another with my dad as the farm manager plus another job as a long-haul truck driver or a college professor. He now owns the farm he grew up on (well, sorta – his ex-second wife still lives on the property, too) and he still teaches college classes. He’s in his seventies and does more work in a day than most people do in a week. My Mom was a business school grad when she met Dad, and worked full-time at a hospital until my brother was born. A few years later she went back to work as an office manager. She retired at some point, but never stopped telling people what to do. It’s kinda her thing, and since she’s 75 years old and weighs less than either of my dogs she can get away with it!
My maternal grandmother passed away at age ninety-nine recently, and I took a chance and traveled with Mom and my step-dad, Greg to North Carolina for the funeral. I saw family members I hadn’t seen in nineteen years. I got to spend time with my cousin Michelle and her husband and two sons. She also has one brother (older) and our families used to vacation together in our fancy (for that time) RVs at a campground right on the beach at Myrtle Beach, SC. My little brother had a bell on his tricycle, so I didn’t have to worry about him at all – the grown-ups listened for the bell!
Michelle was older than me, and I always thought she was much more mature and sophisticated. Now that I have everyone’s exact birth-dates it turns out she’s only a couple of months older than my husband!! I wish I had pictures to share, but I suspect they are creating mildew topiaries in Dad’s second wife’s basement. He was all about having everything developed as slides, so there are almost no pictures of me until junior high. There are school pictures and some my grandmother took, but she had Parkinson’s Disease, which doesn’t make for great photography.
Anyway, I very casually mentioned the campground to Michelle, because I wasn’t sure she’d remember it as fondly as I did. To me it was like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory – but just that fabulous musical scene – no Oompha-Loompas. But she DID remember the same things I did! Renting a paddle-boat and paddling right up to our own campsites to say Hi and then paddling around and around until our legs were all wobbly. Running into the water fully clothed as soon as we got there in celebration. Waves so massive they’d turn over four adults in a life-raft. Squirrels so tame they’d eat out of your hand. And trudging back down the beach after you’d ridden in on a wave so you didn’t have to hike a half-mile back after several waves.
I remember crawling into bed at night, brown as a biscuit and exhausted from fighting the waves all day. It was wonderful to be a kid back then!