Through Any Given Door

1.05 Summer Camping

Dad, Larry, Mom at Pinecrest

1945 • Pinecrest, California ~ Every summer the family spent a couple of weeks camping in Pinecrest, pitching a tent and sleeping under the stars at night, boating, swimming, and fishing for perch and bluegill all day. Dad came up on weekends. The kids were free as wild finches from dawn until dusk, Larry and Carleen hanging their lines in the water, Betty and Claudia getting lost in the woods, Mom smoking and hanging out with the park rangers. The two youngest wandered around for hours at a time; Claudia often squatted at the base of some pine tree and cried until someone came along and found her. Betty was happily lost all day; the forest rangers found her most days, admired her lizards, washed her face, bought her an ice cream cone, then delivered the shoeless and grimy five-year-old back to the campsite. Mother wasn’t concerned when any of the kids were missing; she assumed they were off somewhere and would show up by nightfall.

Carleen, Claudia, Betty with Mom

Claudia was three the first time she lost her balance and fell in the camp’s two-seater latrine. Betty, who was two years older and supposed to keep an eye on her, ran for the rangers. The family joke was even though Claudia didn’t know how to swim, that’s where she went through the movements. Both girls were fished out more than once. Betty never learned to swim, but she was strong and able to haul herself mighty fast out of that stinky hole.


Larry went to a weeklong Boy Scout camp two summers in a row. The first year, as a ten-year-old Cub Scout, he didn’t change any of his clothes the entire week, wearing the same socks, underwear, shirt, and pants. When Mom discovered he’d come home with all clean clothes in his bag, she was furious with him that he hadn’t taken better care of himself.

to be continued …

© 2017. Catherine Sevenau.
All rights reserved.

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  1. Love this, and I have the other books. I am your devout folower? Thanks

  2. Our family used to rent a cabin at Pinecrest (Lake Strawberry?) in the summer too… and it turns out, so did Ray’s! Must’ve been the place to go.

  3. James Chatfield says:

    Sounds like your family had quite a time. Reminds me of trying to keep up with my 3 girls when we use to go camping back in the 60s along the California coast and also in Yosemite.

  4. Jean E. McQuady says:

    You have such a gift for words Catherine. Roller coaster ride thru your growing up years.

  5. Pat Brown says:

    What a crazy time that must have been!

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