The great escape for the summer holidays!

Last night we went to visit a friend in hospital who is recovering from a complicated surgery and I could not help notice, how many cars were packed and heading out of town for the holidays.Many obviously geared up for camping holidays down the beach or up in the mountains as they had caravans, trailers and roof racks laden with camping gear, as they made their away along the outgoing freeways heading south to the Peninsula or east to the surf beaches and the alpine parks. Leaving early to avoid the congestion later in the week is a smart move because come Friday night, the traffic will be gridlocked!

It is difficult to believe that this is the beginning of the summer holidays as it is quite cool with intermittent showers unlike the normal start to the end of year school break (4weeks) and Christmas holiday period.I hope the weather improves because it is disappointing to invest so much emotion and money on a trip away with the family, only to have it spoiled by inclement weather( I am thinking of those dutiful parents who could be faced with spending weeks trapped in a tent or caravan  with bored children. LOL). I joked to D about how those cars leaving for their holidays reminded me of the trips we used to have as kids.

When I was a child we would always have an enormous Christmas Dinner at home with extended family and friends, then on Boxing Day, pack up and head down the highway to our holiday house on the Gippsland Lakes. Prior to Christmas, my father who had his own electrical contracting business would sell all the excess copper wiring and scraps , which he would collect throughout the year and this would fund our four weeks at the beach. We were very fortunate that my parents purchased the house early in their marriage and our family and friends could use it as they wished and never had to worry about costly holidays. It was not flash, a besser block house on a double block of land but it had all the basic amenities we required.

Transporting a family of 7 children, a cat, clothes, food, etc for a 4 week holiday was almost a military operation. My mother would drive a station wagon which must have looked to outsiders  like a cattle truck, packed to capacity with “stuff” with arms and legs everywhere , as we kids travelled where ever we could find a spare space. My father would normally take his work van(which was never cleaned out and still carried all his electrical wire, ladders and tools) loaded with things like the lawnmower, the one bike we all had to share and anything else that would not fit in the car. It was convoy- like as we headed out the drive  to commence the two hour journey.Those were long hot summers, which we children would spend at the beach, while my parents would remain home at the beach house and read, ‘sleep’ and generally enjoy some time without us, putting me, the eldest in charge of my siblings. When I recall these times they bring back some fond memories but make me realise the responsibility that my parents put on my shoulders, at such a young age. How times have changed 🙂


8 thoughts on “The great escape for the summer holidays!

  1. Hi Maureen,

    Thanks for sharing these memories from your youth. I enjoyed reading it and as I read traces of my own similar experiences flashed across the picture you were painting.

    My family would go often to the rollicking beach town of Hampshire, New Hampshire (north of Massachusetts) where an amusement park atmosphere reigned, glass blowers, characture artists, toffee shops, steamed clams, and (for us kids) pinball games,shooting galleries, large miniaturized indoor car races and endless sun and surf.

    But other times we went to a quiet place by a pond in New Hampshire or stayed at my grandparents’ summer trailers –two trailers connected together –to create a comfortable little place for two. They would stay there for perhaps 4 months or more summers and shorter stays throughout the remainder of the year, while we would just visit for a week of my father’s paltry vacation time. The US is far stingier on vacation time than most civilized countries, and might have been more so then (mid ’60’s to early ’70’s).

    Anyway now I’m forgetting your story which I loved to hear and hope you’ll have more of these reminiscences to come.

    Take care, James

  2. Hi James,
    Thanks for your comment.
    Your holidays as a child sound absolutely wonderful. What lovely memories you have of those times.
    Best wishes

  3. Hi Maureen,
    Wow, 7 kids, that’s an awesome responsibility. It’s a lot to have on your shoulders.
    I was an only child, so things were probably the exact opposite for me. I always wished desperately for siblings and was very lonely because I was always surrounded by adults and in the midst of other adults and while it could be interesting, it could also be quite boring. That’s how I came to be such a bookworm.

  4. Someday you must see Lake Winnepasaukee in New Hampshire. I left that out, the grandparent’s trailers were in Laconia some 5 or 10 from the lake. The lake is 21 miles long has (according to wikipedia) “at least 253 idlands….and is indented by several peninsulas, yielding a total shoreline of some 288 miles.

    I learned to swim there. You could walk out about 60 yards before it reached your knees. Kind of a nightmare for lifeguards and parents I guess.Yep it was fun. I’ll write something about those summers in a blog now that you got me thinking in that direction. -james

  5. Thanks for your lovely comment Poietes.Both my mother and my daughter are only children too and my daughter in particular, is also a bit of a book worm.
    Best wishes

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