Camping In The 70's
Growing up as a pre teen in the 1970s was a great time for me. My family didn’t have a lot of money, but we had enough money to do things. One of these things was we used to go camping. Now it’s not what you think when I say camping I mean, we had a camper with a bathroom (though small) a sink, a fridge, heat, hot water, and it slept eight, even though there was only four of us most of the time. It had a TV, but back then you only got so many channels, but we never watched TV that much anyways. We used to park seasonal we called it which meant we would park the camper in the same spot every year, for the summer. We would go there every weekend, but sometimes we would go there during the week too. It was a home away from home so to speak.
We would leave Friday night after my parents got home from work, usually we were packed and ready to go, but we didn’t need much, a lot our stuff was already there, even some food. We would leave my two older brothers at home. Looking back now I think, how they got so lucky. Your parents are leaving for the weekend, almost two days alone, and this wasn’t one weekend it was every weekend all summer long in the 70’s.
We started doing this in 1972. I was five years old. I used to mostly hang around the campsite with my parents. We would roast marshmallows by the fire at night. We would sleep in our sleeping bags in the trailer or outside by the fire.
As I got a little older I was allowed to do more things. When I was six or seven I would go explore the woods. There were paths and trails everywhere. I would get lost for hours, but always found my way back. There was a small river than ran through the campground that fed into the lake. I used to catch frogs, tadpoles, salamanders and crayfish. I would be gone for hours doing this.
The lake was a good size lake which was deep in some spots, and there were three beaches along this lake. These beaches even had beach sand, yeah we were roughing it. The beaches had these ropes around them. You know like a barrier that you can’t go past. There was a rock in the middle of one the main beach where you could swim out to and dive off of which the water was over my head, but I was a good swimmer so I had that going for me. I grew up next to my grandmother who a 20 x 40 in ground pool. So I knew how to swim. Yes my friends and I would swim out to this rock and we would spend hours in the water.
I remember fishing a lot I used to go fishing all the time. My parents got me a boat, it was a dingy I remember I called it The Dolphin. I even painted a sign and stuck it to the back of it. This boat leaked, not a bad leak but it leaked. My dad made me a scoop where I could scoop the water out when the boat got too full of water. So I used to take this boat out on the lake, by myself, with no life jacket, fishing pole in hand, and I would spend hours out there. Then I would have to scoop the water out, remember now I was ten years old at the time.
When you go camping every weekend, other people do it too and you have another set of friends that you hang out with every weekend. It was cool, because you didn’t see these people during the week, but when you went camping on the weekend. You would hang out again, at the end of the summer usually Labor Day to the beginning of October, the camping season would end. I remember this as a sad time, because it meant the end of summer and the beginning of school again, and we wouldn’t see each other until April or May, the next year.
Time used to stand still back then, but at the same time it went by fast. It was a great time to be a kid. It’s sad that kids today can’t experience this kind of freedom. I must admit looking back now, I think my parents were crazy to let me do all those things, or maybe drunk. I would literally be gone for hours, and I could do what I want. I had no worries, bills, problems or anything else adults have to worry about.