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Flashback Friday ~ Summer Vacation

Linda of Mocha With Linda has started her very own meme. This is how she describes it:

This new meme’s purpose is to have us take a look back and share about a specific time or event in our lives. It will be fun to see how similar – or different – our experiences have been!.

I am enjoying this meme a lot. Grab the button and the link and come play along. Linda’s theme this week is:

What were summers like when you were a kid? Did your family have any particular traditions? Did you sleep ’til noon or get up early? Did you attend camps? Spend lots of time at the pool? Was it a neighborhood pool or in your backyard? Did you take swimming lessons? Did you live near a beach? (And do you call it the beach or the coast?!) Did you attend VBS (Vacation Bible School)? Did your library have a reading program that you participated in? What types of prizes were available? Did you get to buy treats from the ice cream truck? Did your family go on vacations? If so, what is a memorable one? Do you associate any particular songs with summer?

I am willing to bet my childhood summers were waaaay different than everyone else’s. My mom died when I was three and my maternal grandmother raised me.  During the school year I lived with Gram exclusively.  In the Summer I enjoyed a variety of different homes.

Always I spent a week at Camp Ne Wa Lu on Lake Coeur d’Alene. The Camp was owned by the Camp Fire USA,   I understand some movie starowns the camp now and has turned it into a private estate.  That made me sad until I read that they have an even bigger, better camp.

I loved camp and used to sell boxes and boxes of Camp Fire Mints every year to earn my enrollment fees.  Gram told me I only had to earn half, but I worked hard and surpassed the full goal every year except the last one — that was the year it was decided that it was no longer safe to do door-to-door sales.

Another highlight of my Summer was spending two or three weeks with Aunt Flo in Portland.  I loved to stay at her place.  We would go yard sale-ing and visit cool museums.  My cousin Scoot and I would walk down to the Dairy Queen everyday for a free ice cream cone from my cousin, Jimmy who managed and then later owned the store.  And the next-door neighbors had a huge pool I would swim in every day.

The best thing about staying at Aunt Flo’s though was that she talked about my mom.  Aunt Flo wasn’t really my Aunt, but she had been my mother’s best-friend since birth (because their mother’s were best-friends).  Aunt Flo didn’t really tell stories about my mom — at least I don’t remember any — but she would tell me how my mom thought and felt about different things.  I know my mom liked Purple Flags (Irises) and Violets.  I know that she preferred pants to dresses and didn’t wear socks in her shoes, and much preferred not to wear shoes at all.  I know little things that made my mom seem more than a character in the stories everyone else told me.

My Summer usually included visits with a sibling or two, all older than me, married and with their own families.  I often stayed with my sisters, Caryl, or my sister, Jean, but because they lived so far away, visits to my sister Jackie, and my brother Harold only happened every three years or so and Gram always came, too. There was something different and fun to do at each place.

And I always spent a week or two, sometimes three, with my dad.  He would often be in a logging camp and there would be other families there, too.  When I was really young the logging camps were the old-fashioned permanent-building kind, but as I got older the logging camps became groups of travel trailers parked in a cluster.

My favorite thing about those weeks was being free to run the mountain at will.  The other kids and I would pack sandwiches and head for the creek or river to fish and swim.  We’d swim down stream, and fish upstream.  For fishing poles we just used sticks with fishing line tied on the end, then we’d add a hook and a worm.  The poles worked really well — and, (especially when we were old enough that we should have had fishing licenses but didn’t) the poles could be dropped if the game warden’s rig came into sight.  Just a bunch of kids tossing stick in the river …

Some of my most treasured memories of summer come from long days spent at the city beach in Coeur d’Alene.  My friends and I would bike to the beach in the mornings for our swim lessons, then we’d stay in the afternoons for free swim.  At 5:00 o’clock when the life guards went home, we’d get on our bikes and leave.  Gram gave me 50 cents every day to get a soda and a hot dog.  My friends would do the same.  Sometimes we would pool our money and buy hamburgers and share them.  A half a hamburger was about as much food as one hot dog, and we’d have fries with it, too.

I have a lot of warm, fuzzy, happy childhood memories.  I’m certain, given some of my tales, it is a relief for all of you to know that.


  1. It’s nice to hear some good childhood memories from you. I don’t know why, but I find it overly amusing how your “logging camps” lined up in your post… You may not even see what I’m talking about.

    1. I see them, Teresa, three in a row! LOL! I don’t know that I would have noticed them if you’d not mentioned them.

  2. I am glad you have happy memories of summer vacation. Mine were spent reading books from the library. I never went to camp, fishing, etc.

  3. .
    Quilly, this sounds like you enjoyed your summers in a fun way with your friends. You changed places often enough that next year all along your route the kids would be waiting for you.

    I never went to camp. I spent my summers working with Dad on the farm. Lucky you!

  4. I´m sure you left out many hard moments in between these good ones. But it´s good to focus on the better ones sometimes. I enjoyed reading this!

  5. Your last two sentences made me smile!

    I loved reading this and the simplicity of the fun kids had back then – homemade fishing poles, riding your bike to the pool. Such a different world it was then!

    1. Linda — we didn’t ride out bikes to the pool. Who needed a pool when we lived on the shores of one of the biggest, deepest lakes in North America?

  6. i talk to my kids about their dad the same way that your aunt flo talked about your mom… whenever something comes up, i normally think out loud how he would have reacted if he was still around. and the kids pick that up.

    i love your post, quilly. 🙂

    1. Bing — that is good. When my dad and my Gram talked about mom, they always told me how wonderful and perfect she was. I thought she must be some kind of angel. Aunt Flo talked about a real woman who thought and felt like I did.

    1. Jeff — even though I have a couple of evil-step-monster stories, I really did have a pretty good childhood.

  7. I’m glad you had many good childhood memories.

    My husband and his childhood friends were more adventurous than I was, but even I and my friends would go all over the place on foot or bikes as kids, as you mentioned — things I was afraid for my own kids to do.

    I went to camps but camping has never been a favorite activity.

    I’m glad you had someone who could give you more of a picture of your mom.

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