Avoca Blankets: Evoking the Generations

avoca-img_20170202_085016In the summer of 2001, a few months before September 11, my daughter and I took a trip to Ireland. The trip was sponsored by her all-girls Catholic school. About ten mother/daughter pairs went, along with two teachers. The school had arranged several such trips over the years, but due to shenanigans on a previous girls-only trip, mothers were required to participate with their daughters the summer we went.

Some mothers participated for the mother/daughter bonding time, some to learn about history, some to see the scenery, some no doubt because of the Guinness. I went for most of these reasons, though not for the Guinness, which has never really appealed to me.

Most of the mothers and daughters probably had some trepidation about enforced togetherness for ten days. Each mother/daughter pair was required to share the hotel rooms in the various stops we made as we motored about Ireland. I was no exception on the trepidation issue—my sixteen-year-old daughter could be testy on occasion, and often took it out (mildly, but pointedly) on her mother.

It turned out to be a wonderful trip. There was some drama, some fatigue, some hurt feelings at various occasions for one and all. But overall, I had a delightful time, and I think my daughter did, too. Ireland is the only place outside the United States that I have visited where I felt I could really live happily. (Well, Canada is fine, but it’s too cold. And the little bit of England outside of London that I’ve seen would probably be all right. And Copenhagen came close.)

One of the places we stopped for a midday break was a touristy gift shop that sold Avoca wool products. I had never heard of Avoca before our trip, but their website now proclaims that Avoca is “an Irish family-run business that spans one of the world’s oldest surviving manufacturing companies and Ireland’s most exciting stores.”

My daughter and I didn’t buy anything in that gift shop, but a few days later when we were shopping in Dublin, we came across more Avoca products in another store. They had the most beautiful woven wool plaid throws. We each decided we needed one as a memento of the trip. I bought a blue plaid with a stripe of pale pink for myself, and my daughter selected a green plaid with a goldish stripe for herself. We squished them in our luggage for the return flight home.

I don’t like wool next to my skin—too scratchy—but that autumn I discovered my new throw was the perfect weight for snuggling under while I read or watched TV. Or a light extra layer on the bed when another blanket would be too heavy. For years now, during the winter months, it sits at the end of our bed, and I throw it over the comforter on chilly nights. I’ve had it dry-cleaned several times, but it still looks lovely, with the fringe only just starting to unravel.

m-at-xcountry-meet-w-avoca-blanket

Daughter at cross-country meet wrapped in Avoca blanket

My daughter took hers to cross-country meets during her high-school years. In college, it went with her to rowing regattas and on picnics and hikes. When she got her first apartment, it went on the back of her couch for reading and snoozing. She is now grown and owns her own home, and the Avoca throw is still on her couch. It has had a fair amount of heavy use over the years, so it’s shabbier than mine, but still looks pretty nice.

I was so taken with my Avoca throw in 2001 that when Christmas came around that year, I decided to see if I could buy more of them for Christmas gifts. I searched the web and found an Avoca source in the U.S. I think I ended up buying three more, but the only recipient I can remember for certain is that one of them was for my mother. I got her the same blue plaid design I had bought for myself.

My mother kept hers on the back of a couch to use as a cozy cover for reading also. When she went into assisted living in January 2013, the Avoca throw went with her. Unfortunately, the caregivers at the facility put the woolen throw in the laundry along with her other clothes. It felted and shrunk to half its size. When I saw it, I almost cried. After my mother died, my father gave her Avoca throw away with the rest of the things she’d had with her in assisted living—it wasn’t worth keeping.

So when I see my blue plaid Avoca throw at the end of my bed now, I remember a lovely trip with my daughter. I smile at my daughter’s growth from high-school student, through college and law school, and into independent adulthood—and of her green throw that has accompanied her at every step. I mourn my mother’s decline from cozy reader to Alzheimer’s patient and then her death, and the destruction of the Avoca throw that reflected her deterioration.

All these memories speak of continuity from one generation to the next, and they speak of the inevitable changes that occur through our lives. All these memories fill my heart because my daughter and I were taken with these pretty woolen blankets.

What do you own that symbolizes change for you?

Infrastructure, circa 1962

Troutdale - Dodson 1957 Columbia River HwyThere’s been a lot in the news in recent years about infrastructure. Which projects are “shovel ready”? Which will create more jobs? How do we bring our aging roads and bridges into the twenty-first century?

When I hear about infrastructure, I think of the development of the interstate highway system in the late 1950s and early 1960s. I was a child living in the Pacific Northwest in those years, and my family traveled regularly between our home in Eastern Washington and the larger cities of Seattle and Portland. The old highway to Seattle meandered through the Cascade Mountains, and the Portland route took us through the Columbia River Gorge. Both routes were under construction for my entire childhood, it seemed, as I-80 to Seattle and I-84 to Portland replaced the older roads.

My earliest memories of these trips are of the two-lane highways that crept through one small town after another. We only stopped in those towns if the car needed gas. My father’s philosophy was that our bladders needed to be as big as the gas tank. We left home before dawn and arrived at our destination by early afternoon—no need to pay for a meal on the road.

The routes to both Seattle and Portland were scenic, though those pre-interstate roads included some hazards. The mountain highway twisted and turned as it climbed to the passes, with huge drop-offs next to flimsy guardrails. Every so often, a guardrail would be missing, and I would wonder what had happened. Rushing mountain streams ran at the bottom of those drop-offs. We might see patchy snow any month of the year, but in the winter when the roads were covered with snow and ice, we had to stop at a turn-off near the pass so my father could put chains on the tires.

The river route couldn’t deviate far from the Columbia because of high bluffs rising near the banks, but this road offered views of dams and tunnels and waterfalls. My brother and I used to count the waterfalls—in spring there were well over thirty cataracts spewing over the high cliffs down toward the road. Some were mere trickles, but some were real gushers. We agreed not to count the spots where the cliffs were simply wet and no water flowed.

ellensburg_cleelum-postcard-1940s

Between Ellensburg and Cle Elum in Washington. Postcard from the 1940s, but not much changed by  1960.

When the interstate construction began, the length of our trips doubled. Every few miles, we stopped in interminably long lines of cars. Our family sedan was not air-conditioned, and in the summer we baked in the heat, with dust from the jackhammers wafting into the vehicle through open windows. My brother and I sat in the back, bored and cranky. I tried not to fight with him, but what was I supposed to do when he encroached on my half of the bench seat? I couldn’t read in the car without getting nauseated, but during those tedious waits, I pulled out my book. Then we would start up again, and I’d have to put it away.

When we finally reached the head of the line and passed the construction worker with the flag, my father gave a jaunty salute, and the man in the hard hat nodded.

Only as I neared my teens was the interstate completed, and the trip became easier. The scenery was still lovely—we still counted waterfalls and held our breath through tunnels. And we still had to put on chains in the winter. But no more long lines of cars.

Now, fifty years later, so many of our roads need repairs. I live in Missouri now, and the state of I-70 is a frequent topic of conversation. I agree we need another infrastructure push, but I don’t look forward to the jackhammers and delays.

What do you remember about childhood road trips?

Chihuly Garden and Glass Gallery

20160930_134435-001

Room-sized Chihuly glass sculpture

I’ve done a fair amount of sightseeing in Seattle, but I’d never been to the Chihuly Garden and Glass Gallery until a trip this autumn. The gallery and gardens sit under the Space Needle, but somehow I’d always passed them by. This time, I made a special visit just to see them.

20160930_134627-001

Chihuly glass piece based on Native American basket

I was disappointed in the gallery itself. Not that the glass pieces aren’t fabulous—they are. But they were displayed in dark rooms, the museum was crowded on the day I went, and I couldn’t spent the time examining the works up close and at length, the way I wanted to.

Plus, I was hungry and thirsty.

So I rushed through the eight rooms in the gallary and found my way to the cafe. There I sat for awhile with iced tea and panna cotta, while I listened to the online audio program of what I’d just seen. [link]

I should have done the visit in reverse—eaten first and put some caffeine in me, then listened to the audio program either before or while I went through the galleries. I should have gone through the museum at my own pace despite the crowds.

glasshouse-w-space-needle-20160930_142742

In Chihuly glasshouse, showing proximity to Space Needle

But at least I did the gardens right. After my snack in the cafe revived me, I walked through the glasshouse outside to the gardens, not really intending to spend much time there. But it was a lovely fall afternoon, mid-60s and sunny—Seattle on its best behavior. I lingered in the gardens, taking many pictures.

The gardens are a fantastic and fantastical blend of natural and man-made treasures. A juxtaposition of nature and of art.

20160930_143752-001

Log and glass

 

20160930_143456-001

What is natural? What is man-made?

20160930_143802-001

What is natural? What is man-made?

I took whimsical “selfies” of myself with the Space Needle mirrored in glass globes.

 

20160930_143330-001

Can you see me?

20160930_143313-001

How about now?

I definitely recommend a vist to the Chihuly Museum and Gardens. And to the cafe. But take your time. And go on a sunny day.

When have you been surprised by an art experience?

On Glaciers, Goats, and Change

I’ve written before about the family hike we took in Switzerland in 1998 when my kids were teenagers.  It was a good experience, but far more strenuous than I enjoy. My husband and (now-grown) kids recently took another hike in Slovenia and came back raving about the scenery. I had declined to accompany them, because I’d learned my lesson—no more hikes labeled “strenuous” for me.

But it took more than the 1998 Swiss Alps experience to convince me I don’t do well on mountain hikes. In 2001, my husband talked me into hiking in Glacier National Park. The park is beautiful. I love the calm lakes and soaring peaks in the park. The Going-to-the-Sun Road offers tremendous vistas, with stunning surprises around every corner.

I first went to Glacier with my parents and siblings in 1966 when I was ten (my youngest sibling wasn’t even born yet). We went on day hikes, drove all over, and I saw my first glacier. I went to a foreign country—Canada!—for the first time.

T halfway up to Sperry Chalet

Me, halfway up to Sperry Chalet

My husband’s proposal for our 2001 trip was that we spend most of our time in a real hotel, but take one overnight hike—beginning at Lake MacDonald and climbing to a back-country chalet where we would spend the night, then hike on up to a glacier the next day and all the way down. It didn’t sound too bad, and for some reason he thought I owed him one. (I don’t remember why, but I thought at the time he was right.) Despite my reluctance to undertake another hike after my Swiss experience, I agreed.

Then I saw what the hike really involved—a 3400 elevation gain straight up the mountain over a 6.2 mile trail, followed by an additional altitude gain of 1600 feet in 2.5 miles the second day, and then all the way down. I tried to back out, but I couldn’t do so gracefully.

So off we went. We flew from Kansas City to Kalispell, then rented a car and drove to Glacier. One day we took the Going-to-the-Sun Road from Lake McDonald to Many Glacier and St. Mary’s. We did a little day hiking to acclimate ourselves, but mostly we drove.

There was a bear problem in the park that summer. There are always bears in the park, but several grizzlies had been sighted in the higher elevations near the human areas, and we were advised to make a lot of noise and carry bear repellant. Thankfully, we did not see bears, though deer approached quite close to the visitors’ centers.

There was also a big forest fire in the vicinity. Some areas of the park were closed, though not on the side of Lake McDonald where we were staying. The sky was hazy, but the sunsets were beautiful.

Izaak Walton Inn, where we stayed near the park, was quaint but pleasant. After a night there, we started the hike from Lake McDonald up Sprague Creek to Sperry Chalet, our bed for the night.

Up, up, up we went. And up some more. Every time I thought we were almost there, we had another climb ahead. Finally, we reached Sperry Chalet at the top of the mountain and checked in. Our room was set up for comfortable sleeping, but there was no electricity, heat, or running water in the hotel building. The restrooms were in a separate building—with cold water, but no showers or hot water.

I was tired and ravenous when we reached Sperry Chalet. Dinner wasn’t being served yet, but I bought a snack. After two bites of the candy bar, I felt sick. I don’t know if it was fatigue or altitude, but I crashed. I didn’t eat dinner. I slept dreadfully in our spartan chalet room with the bathroom down the path.

Have I mentioned the bear sightings? How much noise was appropriate to ward off bears but not inconvenience other hikers when I staggered outside with a flashlight at 2:00am?

A at glacier

Husband at the glacier

In the morning, I decided I did not want to hike up to the glacier. My husband cajoled, but I refused. Off he went up to see Sperry Glacier on Gunsight Mountain. The chalet had packed us a picnic lunch. My husband took his half, and I kept mine. I sat outside Sperry Chalet and read a book. When noon approached, I ate my lunch.

Sometime after lunch, my husband returned, waxing poetic about the glacier and the mountain goats he’d seen.

Not to be outdone, I told him, “I saw goats, too. In fact, I had lunch with a baby goat.” While I sat on a rock in the sun eating my sandwich, a mother goat and kid had wandered into the clearing around the chalet. The mother calmly grazed, and the baby goat pranced around. At one point, he saw his reflection in a basement-level window in the chalet and tried to butt it. The reflection goat ran right at him, which stirred him up even more.

The attempted battle continued for about fifteen minutes, until mama goat decided she’d had enough foolishness and took her boy off to the woods, where perhaps they had a conversation about what’s important to focus on in life—such as food and safety—and what is not—such as imaginary foes.

I had a better tale to tell than my husband, though he got a picture of his goat and I didn’t.

Al's goat cropped

My husband’s goat photo

And then we hiked down. Down, down, down. All the way back down to the car. Going down is harder on the legs than going up, though not as hard on the heart and lungs.

That was the last strenuous hike I took. God willing, it’s the last I’ll ever take.

We flew home uneventfully and returned to our routine.

Less than a week later, on September 11, 2001, planes flew into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania. Flying has never been the same.

We’ve been back to Glacier National Park again. In 2007 a niece got married there.

But for me, our trip to Glacier in 2001 was a dividing point in time. Before, I was an occasional hiker and preferred to breeze into the airport terminal with my carry-on as the plane was boarding. After, I no longer would do any hike labeled “strenuous,” and airports were necessarily time-consuming and stressful places, where it was easier to check luggage to avoid slow security lines.

Before, while I wasn’t as youthful and innocent as the baby goat I saw, the world was a simpler place. After, it seemed clear that the greater danger we face comes from humans than from bears and forest fires, that our foes are not imaginary but real.

Do any trips you’ve taken strike you as turning points in your life?

The Summer of ’64: Pacific Grove

PG house 1963

My grandparents’ house in Pacific Grove, 1963

I’ve mentioned spending summers with my grandparents in Pacific Grove, California. It seemed like I spent several idyllic summers there, but there really weren’t that many.

Only twice did my brother and I spend long vacations with our grandparents. In 1963 we spent a month there, but our mother was with us, so that didn’t really count. In 1964, my brother and I were there by ourselves for a month. In the summer of 1967 we spent a week or two there, but our mother and toddler sister accompanied us. There was a Christmas trip to Pacific Grove also, but since it was too cold to go to the beach then, that didn’t really count.

PG view 1963

The view from my grandparents’ living room, of the Pacific Ocean and the golf course where my grandfather played

So really, when I think of spending summers in Pacific Grove, most of my memories come from the summer of 1964, when I was eight and my brother not quite seven.

Our dad drove us from our home in Richland, Washington, to Portland, Oregon. The interstate highway along the Columbia River was under construction, and the drive was long and slow, but we saw lots of waterfalls cascading from the hills above us toward the river.

After spending the night with my dad’s parents in Vancouver, Washington, my brother and I flew all by ourselves from Portland, Oregon, to San Francisco. (It wasn’t our first trip on an airplane—we’d flown from Pasco, Washington, to Portland the summer before.) After our solo flight, our grandparents picked us up in San Francisco and drove us to Pacific Grove, about 90 minutes away.

And then we had four weeks on the beach before our grandparents drove us home to Richland.

T in PG 1964

Me, dressed for church in Pacific Grove, in 1964. We didn’t get to go to the beach on Sundays.

What was so wonderful about that summer of ’64 was how unstructured and undisciplined our time was. Papa Gene, our grandfather, was strict, but he was away playing golf most days. Nanny Winnie, our grandmother, loved the ocean. She took us to the beach almost every day. Pacific Grove had—and still has—a sheltered cove with a public beach. I’ve been back in recent years, and the stone alcove where Nanny Winnie and her beach buddies sat is still there.

We built sandcastles with ocean moats, wondering why they never lasted from day to day. We swam in the water and body surfed in the waves, though we were supposed to stay where we could touch the bottom. (Sometimes we ventured out farther.) We caught hermit crabs and took them home in our plastic buckets, but even in a pailful of sea water with a little sand and seaweed they died by the next morning.

Lovers Point Park Beach PG

Beach in Pacific Grove, showing stone alcove where my grandmother sat, and on the right, the stone jetty for glass-bottomed boats

We stayed on the beach until we were hot, sandy, and cranky, and then we had to trudge the three or four blocks back to our grandparents’ house, with our heavy pails sloshing against our legs on the days we caught hermit crabs.

Back in Richland, things were changing without us. My parents had a second telephone installed—it was so weird to talk to them both at the same time when they called long-distance on Sundays. But what annoyed me the most was the things that changed that they didn’t tell us about—like adding carpet to the stairs to the basement, which was a surprise when I returned. I wanted my world to stay the same while I was gone. Even then, I thought I should be consulted about such things. Or at least informed.

The biggest change was in my mother. I knew she was pregnant when we left, but when we returned in late August, about a week before school started, she had this big round ball in her belly. My sister was born in mid-September 1964, just a few weeks later.

In wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized my brother and I had probably been shipped off to our grandparents not for our amusement, but because of my mother’s pregnancy. She had had several miscarriages between 1960 and 1964, and this pregnancy with my sister was not an easy one. Having us gone meant she didn’t have any childcare responsibilities for a month and could rest. And deal with new telephones and carpeted stairs.

I never talked to my parents about why they sent us to stay with our grandparents, but I’m sure that’s why we spent so long in Pacific Grove that summer. But I saw no reason to feel any resentment about being sent away. My parents, my brother, and I all benefited, and I have wonderful memories. Pacific Grove is still one of my favorite places on earth.

What have you realized as an adult about your childhood that you didn’t know then?

Highland Fling or Irish Jig?

In June 1992, the same month that my kids spent at camp in North Carolina, my parents toured the British Isles. In fact, part of the reason we sent our kids to the June camp session was so they could visit my parents later in the summer, after my parents returned from Europe.

Unfortunately, my mother fell while visiting a church in England and broke her ankle. As I understand it, there was no guard rail on the church steps, and she went off the side when she missed a stair.

Then she experienced the British health care system of the 1990s up close and personal. She was X-rayed and casted with minimal fuss and given a cane to help her navigate.

And off my parents went on their tour. My dad reported later that Mother accompanied him to all the tourist stops after resting her ankle for a day or so. (Though they didn’t do any hiking.) He took this picture of Mother with her cast and cane outside of an inn or pub in Scotland.

I found this photo a few weeks ago while looking for snapshots of my kids to include with other posts. My mother had sent me an envelope of pictures from their trip, and this was one of them. She wrote on the back of the photo,

“Was it too much Highland Fling? Or not enough Irish Jig? Scotland, June 1992”

MFC in Scotland broken ankle June 1992

When I saw the picture again and read what she had written, so many thoughts and images rushed through my head.

How young she looked. (Younger than I am now.)

What a sense of humor she had. (Which she didn’t show much of when I was a child.)

The white owl pin on her sweater (Which I now have.)

How much she changed before she died. (The last pictures of her, taken when her Alzheimer’s was quite advanced, reveal none of the vitality that this snapshot depicts, even when her leg is in a cast.)

And what a sense of history and connectedness I felt imagining her in Scotland.

Her references to Highland Fling and Irish Jig reminded me how proud she was of her Scotch and Irish ancestors. Actually, her father’s family came from England, with some ancestors arriving in Massachusetts before 1700. Later generations of that branch of the family emigrated to Oregon in 1848. But her mother’s father’s family was from Scotland, and her mother’s mother’s family from Ireland. The Irish branch of the family arrived in California in 1849, along with thousands of other Forty-Niners. The Scots came a bit later, in the mid-1880s.

I thought in particular of her maternal grandfather, James Strachan. He was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and immigrated to the United States in 1884 when he was twelve. His wife, my mother’s grandmother, died young, and he was a widower for many years. My mother remembers him visiting her family when she was a child and dancing a jig. (Or maybe it was a fling. She always called it a jig when she told me the story, but as her note on the photograph indicates, jigs were Irish, and flings were Scotch.)

“He was a short little Scotsman and danced a jig with a pillow on his head,” she told me.

I wish I had a picture of him dancing whatever he danced with a pillow on his head. I would pair it with this picture of his granddaughter—disabled, but still dancing. Then I could see life coming full circle across the generations.

What humorous images do you have of your parents or other ancestors?

Loneliness and Pampering at Summer Camp

I wrote last summer about my son’s first overnight camp experience, at the YMCA’s Camp Wood in Kansas. He loved it and wanted to go again. His little sister was eager to go to camp as well. My husband and I had been less impressed with Camp Wood than our son had been, so for the summer of 1992, we decided to look for other camp possibilities.

Their cousins had been to Camp Mondamin (for boys) and its sister camp Green Cove (for girls) in North Carolina on several occasions and raved about how wonderful those camps were. In 1992, our daughter was seven (barely) and old enough (barely) to go to Green Cove. The cousins were going to the long session in July-August, but that didn’t fit our schedule. If we chose those camps, our kids would have to go to the shorter June session. They would each be alone at their respective camp, no sibling or cousin to hang out with.

Green Cove June 1992 M

The littlest camper

I worried about homesickness. Our son had had his Camp Wood experience, but our daughter had never been to camp. She didn’t even like bed-and-breakfasts with a bathroom down the hall—how would she cope in a spartan cabin with other girls and showers in another building? And because her birthday was just a few weeks before camp began, she would be one of the very youngest campers at Green Cove.

“They’ll be fine,” my husband said. He was an old camp hand, and had attended two or three camps a year throughout his childhood.

I, on the other hand, had been homesick after the first day of my first overnight camp, managed to get sent home, and never tried it again.

Still, both kids begged to go. Both children had been away from us for at least two weeks before, but only with well-known relatives, and mostly with each other for company. After some discussion, my husband and I decided they could handle a three-week, far-away adventure. So we signed them up and paid our money.

My husband bought the kids Army surplus trunks of the appropriate size to hold their camp accoutrements. He painted our son’s trunk camouflage green and our daughter’s bright blue. We filled each trunk with clothes, a sleeping bag, and all the other items on the camp list.

We labeled everything with names, as instructed. My daughter, who had been called by her nickname since birth, decided she wanted to be known at Green Cove by her full 8-letter first name. I hadn’t realized some kids start exploring alternative personalities at age seven, which is what my daughter did. I should have remembered that at about the same age, my sister insisted on being called “Prudence”, which is not her name.) I fretted more—our daughter would be off at camp, all alone, without even a familiar name to call her own. But I labeled her possessions with the name she wanted.

In early June, we loaded everything into my Sable station wagon and began the two-day drive from Kansas City to North Carolina. Our itinerary was as follows: Drive to the camps where we would leave my car in North Carolina, my husband and I would fly home, we’d share my husband’s car for the three weeks the kids were gone, we’d fly back in time for the gender-specific parent/child campouts, then drive home. The transportation plan worked, though sharing a car with my husband for three weeks required a lot of negotiation.

I dutifully wrote the kids often while they were gone to let them know I loved them.

As their return letters arrived, I realized our daughter was fine. She listed the activities she’d done and assured us she was having fun. Her letters were short, but she was only seven. We had reports from her counselor also. No problems reported.

Our son was the homesick one. Maybe it was the lack of mud to dunk his head in—his major achievement at Camp Wood. But more likely, it was the lack of a friend to pal around with. Some of the campers had been coming to Mondamin for several years and had cabin-mates they knew. Our son’s letters sounded lonely. He didn’t describe group activities, only the nature hall, where he played with turtles and snakes.

The three weeks passed, and my husband and I flew back to Asheville for the parent/child campouts and the drive home.

Have I previously written that I don’t like to camp? But my husband really wanted to go on the Mondamin Father/Son campout, and my daughter wanted the full Green Cove experience, so I gamely agreed to go on the Mother/Daughter campout.

When we got to Green Cove, I found out how pampered the youngest campers had been. My daughter had lived in a cabin with three other seven-year-olds and two counselors. The whole camp mothered those girls and treated them like princesses. No wonder she loved it.

But we didn’t have much time to tour the camp. Our brave group of mothers and daughters (of all ages, not just the littlest campers) were soon bused from North Carolina to South Carolina, then we hiked to Georgia. Actually, we swam to Georgia. Our campsite was on the edge of South Carolina, across a creek from Georgia. Nothing would do but that we wade across to Georgia. Though I don’t swim well, the creek was only about six feet deep at its deepest, and I survived. So did my seven-year-old, who had a blast.

Green Cove June 1992 camping

Mothers and daughters, before we swam to Georgia

The strangest experience was not swimming to Georgia, but hearing my daughter referred to by a name that heretofore had only existed on her birth certificate. I, of course, called her by her nickname, and her cabin-mates had no idea whose mother I was.

My son survived Mondamin, but never wanted to go back. His sister had loved being a pampered camper and yearned to return to Green Cove. But out of loyalty to her brother, she never asked.

When did you do something because of what your sibling wanted?