Dad was a teacher and every summer for most of my childhood the family would get loaded into the wagon (at this time there were 6 of us kids) and we'd head out to Wyoming making stops in the Dakotas and various other states along the way. Then we'd camp for a good 6 weeks straight. No hotels and not even fancy campgrounds. If I had a nickel for every time we had to do our "business" in a hole in the ground I'd have a dollar fifty! The fanciest we got was a weekly trip to the local laundromat to wash everyones duffel bag of clothes. I can truthfully say that as a kid I kind of hated these summers. I couldn't stand, dirt, pooping in the woods, excessive heat or cold, bugs, leeches, ticks (experienced all of these often) and I had so many allergies that I spent a great deal of time with itchy eyes and a scratchy body. I was the kid that dreamt of summers at home with my friends at the park district pool. I was kind of an anomaly within my family. The rest of my siblings loved roughing it. As an adult I've grown to have a much greater appreciation for the outdoors. But I do it my way now. No camping and no real roughing it. More like walks on the beach, nature hikes for photography, country drives, small town antiquing and stays in Lakeside houses with comfy beds and a nice hot shower.
The above photo is one that my dad gave me recently in the form of a slide. My husband surprised me by sending off a bunch of the slides to a place he found online (scanflurry.com) that makes them into photos on a disc. You then print as many photos as you like. They did a great job and it was not very expensive.
I love that in this photo my siblings and I have a slight "help we're stuck in a commune" look about us. Especially Courtney in the yellow and Lara in the white. My brother Sean has a funny choke-hold on Courtney. And the way he has his arms around us you can see he is taking his role of brother/dude very seriously. Also hysterical is the full size playpen set up behind us, with the youngest at the time Adam inside of it. And my mom is behind us not facing the camera. She was probably thinking "I don't have time for photos.... I've got to make dinner for 8 people over a camp fire"Pin It
That is 9 year old me tip toeing around the car to take a peek at a real bear sitting on the side of the road in Yellowstone National Park vicinity. Photo taken by my dad and given to me recently. I remembered the event but had no idea it had been documented on film. This was circa 1976.
Here is another one of the photos (slides) my dad gave me. This one dates to the early 70s as I think I look to be about 4 or 5 and was born in 67. Do you dig my striped pants. I did! I vividly remember this pop up van we had for a year or two as the WHOLE family crammed in there for sleeping and I'll never forget the night we were all awakened by a bear digging around our campsite looking for food. I think I remember it even coming right up to the van although maybe that is my little kid imagination at play. But it really was digging around our site. I had a hard time sleeping after that night. I did feel fear about a giant grizzly claw ripping thru the van and getting me. If the fear of ticks and leeches didn't cement my feelings of despair about camping the fear of being bear dinner sealed the deal.
It's been fun seeing the slides turned into photos and we've now framed the three shown here and since we liked how they turned out we are sending in another stack of slides to be converted. Looking at these images makes me realize that I may not have loved camping and all that it entailed but spending all of that time with my family is part of what made me me and I really wouldn't trade that for anything.