Family Camping Trip – 1950s style

Let me tell you, today was one heckuva day. 

Now I’m here in bed with my laptop, surrounded by the driftwood (If you are a faithful reader, you know of whom I speak.), and I have a serious case of writer’s bloc.  Yet I promised I would write every day!  I’m going to cheat a little and post a recollection from my childhood that I wrote a few months ago. 

This is a blog about living simply, among other things. 

Well, this story takes place in simpler times, so I hope it will be okay to put it here.  It’s not great literature.  The ending is predictable.  I just want to give you a glimpse of my childhood and maybe it will bring to your mind a family vacation of years ago.

Each summer during Dad’s two weeks off from work . . .

. . .we made the big trip to Maine to camp along the coast.  Dad, being an impatient sort, would be half-crazy getting the family, plus all the camping gear, loaded into our green Ford station wagon.  “C’mon, let’s go.  C’MON,  get  in the car!”

Under no circumstances could The Rule of Road Trips be broken:  You must get an early start.

Finally, packed in with the musty, canvas tent, coolers,  lawn chairs and such — Mother and Dad in the front and we three girls on the bench seat in the back –off we’d go! 

Just as the Ford was hitting its stride – In other words, we’d made it to the main road, which meant we were off the dirt one –  Mother wondered aloud, “Hmmm, you know George,  I can’t remember if I turned off the iron.”

In those days clothes weren’t “ready to wear.” 

They came off the clothesline stiff and mean. Almost everything needed the iron to make it wearable, even some of the clothes you’d wear to go camping.  No doubt Mother had ironed early that morning.

Dad hit the brakes.  “What?” 

“No, no, George.  Now that I think about it.  I did turn it off.  I’m pretty sure I did.”

Well, at that moment Mother could have acquired perfect recall and it wouldn’t have made any difference.  Here we were leaving our house unattended for two whole weeks.  And the iron might be ON!!!

We sat in the Ford with staring eyes as the horrible action movie played.  

The iron grows hotter and hotter.  Flames ignite the ironing board cover, creep into the laundry basket, pirouette across the dining room into the living room, and roll up into a huge fireball.   Up the stairs it goes, into every bedroom and closet, busting out the windows, until the entire wooden house and all its contents are a roaring blaze.

Dad sighed.  “We have to go back.”

Next year, with inexplicable optimism, we piled into the Ford again, eager for those precious two weeks that brought sunburn, exhaustion and the inevitable Car Trouble.  And of course, Mother, several minutes later, as if starting to recite her lines in a very bad theater production, wondered aloud, once again. 

“Gee, I can’t remember if…”

Dad, happily guiding the Ford along in cruise control, was reassuring.   “Never mind, Irene.  The last thing I did, after everyone was in the car, was unplug the iron.” 

“No, it’s not that, George.”

“Well, what is it then?”

“I can’t remember if I turned off the stove.”



About rvsueandcrew

Fulltime nomad
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3 Responses to Family Camping Trip – 1950s style

  1. kayjulia says:


    Oh ya sounds like something that would happen in my family too.

  2. Lew says:

    Your writing is addictive!

    My guess is that after you pick-up your Casita…’ll find more time to write, at least I hope so!
    God Love you and protect you with your dreams!
    In Christ’s Love,

    • rvsueandcrew says:


      How sweet of you! “Your writing is addictive”: what a wonderful compliment!

      I try to make my blog interesting for my target audience (rvers, fulltimers, wannabes, dreamers, savers, adventurers, etc.). It’s difficult sometimes to write about the RV adventure when I don’t even have my Casita. People keep coming back anyway which thrills me to no end. Why, I don’t know. It just does!

      Thank you for the blessing, Lew.

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