|Betty and Chuck, Glacier Park, Continental Divide|
Thursday, September 21, 2017
Family and friends favorite vacations
The dog days of summer are dwindling down to a precious few. Sunny days and vacations will soon be a distant memory but those times will never really go away. I became aware of that as a group of my friends gathered for coffee and conversation. The subject of the moment was our childhood vacations. Nostalgia and laughter reigned as we shared simple stories from 40-50 years ago.
Two of the women’s vacations always included big family reunions. Barb’s mother was one of 9 children and her father was a teacher. Fortunately, her family had time to drive across country to Minnesota and visit relatives every summer. She said it was a wonderful opportunity to meet in a park for a huge picnic and get re-acquainted with all those cousins.
Kaylen’s favorite memory was of family gatherings at Shasta Lake in No. Calif. Her mother was one of 8 children. Sometimes there would be as many as 100 cousins, aunts, uncles, shirt tail relatives and friends of the family camping on one of the islands with the ski boats on the water ferrying kids and kin around.
Other favorite vacations included Sandie’s annual trip to a primitive cabin in the Sequoias without electricity or water. Lynn’s family trip to Disneyland shortly after it opened was one to swoon for. Shirley’s family didn’t go on vacations but she made up for it when she married Ernie and they discovered cruise ships. And finally, there was Toni’s mother who randomly declared vacations by announcing that Toni and her siblings didn’t have to go to school—everyone was going to the beach for the day!
That morning with my friends got me wondering what vacations my kids and grandsons found most memorable. Due to space limitations, I can just print a few of their responses but you’ll surely find something that you can relate to.
Our daughter Kathy was the first to chime in and make me laugh. To set the scene— In the 1970s we owned a tent trailer. The five of us toured National parks and the entire state of Calif. in that rig. My husband hated it. Betty, Kathy, Jeff and John loved it. We didn’t have to tow it or set it up.
Kathy says, “My most memorable vacation as a kid would be our tent trailer in Yosemite with the boys sleeping in a tent outside and us (inside) hearing a bear.” Oh, yes. I remember it well. Kathy woke up in the middle of the night whispering, “Mom, there’s a bear under my bed.” The boys were outside probably with food in the tent! I elbowed Chuck. He flung open the tent door, looked around and said, “Nope. No bear here,” and went back to sleep. The next morning, we found remnants of the bear’s feast from the picnic basket that we had conveniently left outside! Yikes!
Son-in-law Tim’s favorite vacation was a toss-up. “For me,” he said, “It was at Hume Lake, riding motorcycles in the Sierras and target shooting. In 1976, it was going to the east coast with the Calif. Cavalcade of Bands (I played saxophone). We began in Boston and ended in Washington, D.C. on July 4th with fireworks in the Mall.”
Our daughter-in-law Betsy is a Middle School Teacher and classes started last week. She still had time to type this: “My favorite summer memories are at our mountain cabin. Swimming in lakes during the heat of day, eating an ice cream cone as it melted down your arm, staying up late, playing cards and sleeping outside. Doing all these things with the people you love the most. It doesn't get much better than that!”
Paul, is our first grandson, 26 years old and an EMT. His memories mimic that of the other three who had similar experiences. “My favorite childhood vacations were always going to Hume Lake. Being by the lake and surrounded by all the trees was the best playground a kid could ask for! We got to go swimming, play on “the log”, hike, explore and watch all the animals. The great part about being at the lake was the pace was always up to us. We could decide to lounge around the cabin and put together puzzles, or we could go explore a new to us part of the National Park that surrounded us.”
Grandson Matthew is now 23 years old and a graduate of Pt. Loma University. I like to think that he speaks for all the boys when he said, “My favorite vacations as a child were the escapes to Oregonland! From the mystery adventures, to building tree houses, racing tractors, and beyond. I knew in Oregon there would always be something special waiting for me. Being a Southern California boy the thought of snow, rain, and big green trees out the window seemed so magical. Top that with donuts, trips to U of O, and even the 99 cents store what more could a boy ask for?!”
Thanks to friends and family for sharing. Now, dear readers, it’s your turn to share some good time vacation memories with each other.
Betty Kaiser’s Chatterbox is about people, places, family, and other matters of the heart.