Book Reviews, Cat Reviews and Life Reviews

Welcome to my blog! Check out this site for recommended books, stories about my cats, and stories from my life (real and sometimes imaginary.) Have fun! Unless noted, all photos have not been edited in any way. All content on this site is copyright INAMINI. All rights reserved.

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Location: Washington State, United States

03 August 2006

Vacations Past

Yesterday, my sister and I were remembering some of our family vacations when we were children. We usually went camping in a different part Washington State every year. Our family (four kids, two adults and a Black Lab named Sheba) all packed into a red 1969 Volkswagen bus. It was amazing that all our junk, including a couple tents, all our clothes and food fit in it. VW buses are notoriously underpowered, so we didn't get anywhere very quickly. The amount of noise coming from the engine in the back, even with added insulation, made for poor conversations. I recall one time that we got ice cream cones, and we were in the bus eating them. Someone's ice cream fell off the cone and landed on Sheba's head. A dairy bonus for the dog.
My sister and I especially remember camping at Lake Cushman, which is in the Olympic National Park on the Olympic Peninsula. These were the days before reservations were needed. We basically had the whole campground to ourselves. Our special camp-spot was at the end of the road, and it had a little trail to the lake. There was a tiny beach area. We had one of the old canvas tents that had the umbrella-type interior pole system. It collapsed a lot of times before it actually connected correctly and stayed up, but we had to be really careful not to hit it accidently or down it would go. There was no such thing as a rain fly, so we made do with a plastic tarp attached to trees. It didn't always work very well. There was no electricity, so out came the Coleman camp stove. My dad would always make oatmeal, and he would invariably let the milk boil over or burn, Yum-yum.
We had an inflatable canoe that we would take out on the lake. Lake Cushman is a man-made lake (made in 1920 as a reservoir for Tacoma,) so there were stumps sticking out of the water. I always felt it sort of made a weird moonscape. Water safety was not really practiced at that time, so we went all over the lake without life jackets. Sheba loved the canoe. She was able to jump out and clamber back in on her own. She would also let us hold on to her tail while she was swimming. A very patient animal. Those were also the days before there was fear that kids might be kidnapped, so we had a wonderful amount of freedom. I'm sure the feelings of freedom descended on our parents while we were running loose.
The campground was very forested. There were a lot of Douglas Firs (you can tell a Doug Fir by their pinecones- legend has it that there was a forest fire and the chipmunks ran into the cones, and their back legs and tails still appear on the cones) and cedars, so it was relatively cool. In that tent, it made a lot of difference. When it did get hot, you couldn't breathe in there, and that canvas could sure smell awful.
A few years ago, I went back to the campground, maybe to recapture some of my youth and happier memories. I could barely recognize it. It was filled with RV's and Satellite Dishes, and nary a tent. Every spot was taken or had a reservation tag. I guess now you have to reserve spots sometimes a year ahead of time. I had trouble finding our old spot- it wasn't as forested as before, and the campground looked so different full. What a let-down. I really didn't like being in what was essentially a crowd.
I guess memories are sometimes just that, memories.

This is a story of a woman who inherits her small family cemetery in Oregon. She becomes the sexton (caretaker) and this her story of her family and also the stories of the other people buried there. It's a moving book, and an introduction of how a small cemetery survives.


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