Sunday, May 25, 2008

Just one Chapter

I do not intend on posting in perfect chronological order. I will just post items as I recall them.

This brings to mind camping. My fearless mother would load all eight kids in the family station wagon. That car was a necessary evil. Large enough to accommodate the huge family but not the most comfortable if you were relegated to the back seat.

My first memories of camping were at a private lake camp ground owned by my father’s company. It was on Eagle Mountain Lake and called the Bee Hive. There was an A frame house and a few boat houses that housed the sail boats and row boats. Everything was there for use by all employees and their families.

The opening of the season was marked with a celebration called Splash Day! That day for me was as great as Christmas in the summer. I recall large containers filled with Mrs. Bairds and Hostess cakes, cookies, sno-balls, every kind of sweet pastry and cake imaginable. Then another huge container iced down with hundreds of soft drinks of every flavor. Literally a child’s paradise. Since I was too young to help with the cooking and etc. I’m not sure how the food part worked

. I think everyone was responsible for their own breakfast and dinners. My older brothers would run and grab a sail boat and cruise the lake with what seemed to me expert precision. My younger brothers and I would play in the sand digging paths from the water up to the dry part of the sand making castles and moats. We wandered the shores barefoot and look for clam shells. By the end of the weekend we usually had a large “priceless” collection that we felt sure we would keep forever.

Two of the scariest memories I have relating to water happened at that lake. One time my brothers and I were playing with a float in water that was probably only 5 feet deep but my toes barely touched the ground. I somehow got momentarily stranded underneath the float and could not get up for air fast enough. After drinking in half the lake I burst through the surface of the lake gasping for that sacred breath that eluded me. I was hysterical. I saw my short life pass before my eyes and vowed never to enter the water again. After some coaxing from my siblings I went back in the next day. It seemed like my lungs had water in them for a week after that!

Then next horrifying water experience involved my brother David. He is 2 years older. One time while playing in the water right at the edge of where it was too deep for me to stand, he pushed me a foot further out than I could stand. I had to bounce on my toes to catch breaths of air. I was taking in water every time I screamed for help. Again felt sure I was going to drown and screaming like a banshee Indian, my mother came running and yelling for them to get me out of the water. I was relieved to be rescued only to get scolded by my mother for screaming like a wild animal. I felt sure the theatrics were justified in order to save my life but she disagreed! Ha, I felt like David got away with attempted murder!

Mom continued the camping tradition even after the divorce. We would go to a rental place and rent a tent and some of those black tire inner tubes. I know we made several trips to Grapevine Lake to camp. The kids would scatter on picnic tables and in the tent and back of the car. Mom would even let some of us bring friends with us. I can’t believe what a fantastic job she did raising us on a shoe string budget to say the least and providing us with magical get a ways that rivaled a $5,ooo trip to Disney Land.

On one disastrous trip to the lake, we were struck with the worst luck one could expect. Mom had a boyfriend help get us all loaded up and out to the lake. I can’t remember the details but I think our plumbing was out at home and mom was three shakes from a nervous breakdown if one more thing went wrong, so he suggested the camping trip for the weekend.

Again, my memory is sketchy but I remember the muffler falling and dragging the ground making sparks and a hideous noise. We stopped and somebody wired it up with a coat hanger. We finally got to the perfect spot to unload and set up camp. Some of the kids ran to the lake immediately to cool off and take a dip. I wandered off in the woods to explore. I had Keds tennis shoes and no socks on. I felt something snap against my left ankle and looked down to see a section of my flesh missing. It was about the size of the mouth of a snake!!! After my blood curdling scream, somebody whisked me up and carried me to the picnic table for first aid. At that moment one of the kids stepped on a piece of glass and sliced open their foot. It was obvious this trip was doomed. I think I remember the boyfriend telling mom that this was more than he signed on for and suggested we all load up and head home. I did feel awful for ruining everyone’s weekend

. On the way home we hit a dip and the muffler fell completely off and we didn’t even stop this time. (laughing my a** off now) We kept on driving sounding like a Mack Truck rolling through the neighborhood. An unforgettable weekend for all, I’m sure!!



Mom8 said...

Julie D....I didn't know you started this blog up again, why didn't you mention it? I know, just waiting to see who would find it, huh? Well, thank goodness I did, I had such fun reading it, and I LOVED the Erma Bombeck part! I'll be shopping for a purple hat in 10
You go girl.....LOVE the posts!

Anonymous said...

I love your stories. I come from a large family also. I am #6 out of 7
It is amazing what my parents managed to keep everyone fed and clothed and still take a vacation every year.
(sorry about your camera, I am sure you will find just the right one)
Have a good day.

Jules said...

Thanks Ma! I saved some of the original posts on Microsoft word and just reposted them. I didn't have all of them tho. :(

ga.farmgirl~ Isn't it great coming from a large family! It sure gave us some strong legs to stand on in tough times (like now) with the economy so bad.....
Thanks for dropping by!!

tashabud said...

Hi Jules, It's me tasha. I got to peek a little around your new site. What a nightmare that must have been for all of you. But at least those kinds of experiences made your life and the rest of your family's lives more interesting. Never a dull moment, it seems.

Jules said...

Hey Tasha....
It's funny. I love being from a large family. My brothers and sister and Mom are my best friends. And I chose not to have kids? I'm odd.

Even tho my Mom and Dad were divorced. My dad arranged group family vacations in the last years of his life including my stepmom and my mother. I can't tell you how special those memories are to me.