Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Vacations (7) - Provo Canyon Reunion

One of the Family reunions I remember best was the year we all went camping up Provo Canyon. I was about 5 yrs. old. My parents have movies from that trip taken with Dad's old 8mm camera. It's interesting to watch the film and see myself and older cousins all as young kids. Our parents were young - 20s and 30s, and our Grandparents were still in pretty good shape.


I think we only stayed one night, but it was eventful. I don't think anyone had any tents, but some of the adults built a huge wall and overhang out of tarps. All the bedding was laid out under the "half tent" side by side, so it made one huge sleeping area, with everyone's heads next to the tarp wall. The kids all slept next to their own parents, so there wasn't any giggling, etc. Sometime during the night, Uncle J snuck away from the tent and threw Grandma Smith's fur coat over his head. He came back to the tent area, growling and rustling the bushes and scared the you-know-what out of a lot of adults.


One day, whether it was the previous day -or the next day, I can't recall. . .but something happened that I will never forget. You see, Aunt D, my mom's eldest full-sister had a weak bladder, and the fact of this was well known by family members and others. There was a story, that she actually "lost her grip" (as my dad would say) years earlier when she was sitting on the lap of one of her dates.

It just so happened that there was a playground near the campsite and all of us cousins liked to play there. Well, my mom and her 3 full-sisters decided to play on the teeter-totter. Now when you are 5 yrs. old, and your mom and a bunch of "old" ladies start playing on the toys - you want to watch, and I did.

The teeter-totters in those days were made of a plank of wood with half moon cutouts for one's legs on either side about a foot from the ends. They were fastened to a wood or metal device in the middle so riders could move up and down with ease. (I think there were two half-circles of pipe that were bolted to the top of the board on each side of the middle with the curve running under the pipe or wood that held the plank up at the middle.) Regardless, for those of us who grew up in the 60s, these teeter-totters were common. [When I was in grade school, I used to play at the school on the weekends, and I loved to run up the teeter-totter, and stand in the middle and make the sides go up and down - Or run up one side and tip it so I could run down the other.]

Back to the ladies. They were trying to decide who would sit where. (And none of the other 3 wanted to sit by Aunt D, because they knew if she started to laugh, she would also leak.) Finally, it was decided that my mom and one of the other Aunts would sit opposite of Aunt D & the other Aunt. I can't remember which of the other two Aunts sat where. I was glad my mom wasn't sitting next to Aunt D, because when you are 5 yrs old, you know better than to wet your pants and you are old enough to be embarrassed by such "accidents."

So the ladies started to teeter-totter. Up and down they went. I felt sorry for the Aunt who was sitting behind Aunt D, because they had all started laughing. Up and down. Laughing and laughing and laughing. I was standing close by my mom's side of the teeter-totter, and I was laughing right along with them. Then my mom and her sister, who were on the side opposite of Aunt D, decided to hold her up in the air. They knew that would really get her going - and it did.

There was one thing they didn't count on. They were laughing so hard, they couldn't push their end up into the air. Next thing I knew, a trickle started down the teeter-totter. It followed the grain of the wooden plank and slowly snaked toward Mom and her sister. I kept thinking - "You need to push up. You need to push up." They saw it coming closer and closer, but they kept laughing harder and harder, and trying to push up with their legs. It was too late. They couldn't get off the ground, and both of them were soaked through!

Finally, one of them crawled off and let the other side down. The Aunt who sat behind Aunt D, climbed off before the water reversed itself, and was the only dry one. She had been forced to sit with Aunt D, but escaped the consequences, because she sat behind her and water runs downhill.


Anonymous said...

Camping makes wonderful family memories!

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Jackie said...

Your aunt would probably kill you if she read this! Maybe your mom would, too! LOL But it is sooooo funny - I can just see these women on the tetter-totter.
On a more serious note, that was a wonderful thing for you to see as a child....the adults having fun, enjoying each other, laughing. Great memory you have there.

Pinehurst in my Dreams said...

Coleman: Camping memories are great. I don't have many - so I remember them pretty well.

Jackie: I hesitated to put that in my post as Aunt D is still with us. . .Mom has been gone for 17 years now. I actually think my Aunt would just laugh. It was unintentional revenge.

You are right about it being good to see the adults having fun. My mom and I had a strained relationship for a lot of years. I was so different from her growing up, that she thought there was something "wrong" with me. It's funny, because I am so much like my dad. . .but I guess she couldn't see it. We never fought, but she was always trying to make me more like her.

Pinehurst in my Dreams said...

Needed to finish my thought:

Regardless, I could see that Mom had a lot of friends, sisters who loved her (she was the baby of her family) an adoring husband, and all my friends thought she was cool. It helps me to remember that she was human, like all of us, and my perspective as a child and our relationship didn't encompass the entire picture of who she really was.