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Friday, April 18, 2008

Flashback Friday-April 18, 2008

I am flashing back to thinking about San Jose Family Camp, where I spent time every summer of my childhood as far back as I can remember, until I got too old and too cool to spend the summers away from my friends. My great-uncle managed the camp for the city of Oakland for many years. My mom and my grandparents grew up going there as well. It was a dreamlike place, along the Tuoloume (sp?) river and it had two particularly amazing features. One was the beautiful patio that overlooked the river, lined with deck chairs and ping pong tables...big enough for dancing every Wednesday night. You could look over the river and there was an island that we would go explore...it was where the men played horseshoes. The other amazing feature was the pool carved right out of the river. It was huge, and cold....snow melt from the Yosemite Valley filled it, but it was wonderful! On Sundays, the men would play a football game in it with a greased watermelon.

The best thing was that we had this absolute freedom to roam. My cousin Rich and I would buy these cheap cheesie rafts at the camp store in neon colors and raft down the river, from the time we were about 6 years old, with no one watching us. We could wander along the river, play in the fort, run the meadow, play any number of organized games and activities with no adult interference at all.......as long as we showed up to eat when the dinner bell rang. Meals were served in a big dining hall family style. Man....life was beautiful then. There are pages and pages I could write on the years at camp, but for now, I'll just try to control my urge to get to the mountains, which always starts around this time.....only a month more til camp, right after Grandpa's birthday, off we'd go for the work weekend. I get really antsy this time of year and just HAVE to be outside. Anyone from the family have any old family photos of us at camp? I don't have any. Mom, Rich, maybe you could forward this to Steve, Doug, Uncle Stuart, etc.....I'd love to have some. Here is a link to the slide show I put together on photobucket....anyone have any family ones to add? I'd love it if you'd leave a comment of your favorite camp memories.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lesli's post does bring back a lot of memories...Family Camp was a pretty amazing place, and based on the photos, it hasn't changed much. It was a great place to be a kid! Rafting down the river was always a lot of fun! We'd start a at the land bridge, which was a road that literally crossed through the river. The water was maybe a few inches over the roadbed and if I remember right, we drove across it as we entered the camp. Half the time, the rafts would be totally deflated by the time we got to where we were going, a place where big boulders lined the river that we'd climb around on. Other great memories included stargazing late at night. We'd hike up to a clearing with a staff member. They'd talk about all of the constellations, and you could see so many more stars than at home! I also remember my Dad putting a watermelon in the river every year to cool off and we'd have lunch and all be together. The summers were hot and that cold watermelon was so refreshing.
As a kid, you had to be able to swim across the pool, which as I remember was huge and incredibly cold. Once you swam across, you were free to swim as much as you wanted. We'd also go fishing in the river for trout. My Dad took me to Long's Drugs, where he worked at the time, to get my first (and only) fishing pole, which was bright blue. We used salmon eggs that are this weird shade of red as bait and I think I caught a few fish. But it was more the experience than anything. Anyway. Those were good times. It was a place where we didn't seem to have a care in the world.