June 19, 1969: Let’s Meet the Players!

This was all Mom’s idea.

Mom, a.k.a. Maw

Driver, cook, nightly construction supervisor, navigator, personal shopper, cruise director, protector, provider, saint, miracle worker. And it was all her idea!

I asked her recently: Why? Her answer: “I wanted to go to California, and this is what I had to do to get there.”

Dad, Pop

Pop hopped a flight to LA to meet up with the rest of the family for a few weeks of our west coast swing. As Mom explains, he simply couldn’t take the whole summer off. Dad was an avid and talented photographer, so his time on the road is better documented that other times. Alas, there is not a rich photographic record of the trip.

Tim, Timbo.

Age 15. The eldest brother. Tim was, dare I say, an obsessive fisherman, and I learned recently from Maw that she selected campgrounds based on access to fishing. Enabler!

He came through in spades! More than thirty documented fishing expeditions in 62 days. But I don’t think we (or, I) used them for sustenance.

Mike, Miko.

Age 8. In her diary, Mom sometimes refers to Mike and me as “the little ones.” Um, okay. It does appear that we were paired most of the time for swimming and gofer-ing. And I guess we were little. So, whatever.
Mike required weekly allergy shots in whatever town or crossroads we happened to find ourselves, events Mom records religiously in her diary.

Doug. Age 4. Cute as a friggin’ button! Otherwise mostly dead weight.

I provided some full-sensory comic relief in the form of car sickness, getting lost and upending pee jars. You are welcome.

The Tent. No frills, unless you count the smell of raw, musty nature. To this day I remember the sensation of rain and storms on the other side of that thin piece of canvas. LOVED IT.

The Chevy Kingswood. Mom and Dad purchased a brand new station wagon for the trip. On stormy nights it also served as our refuge. Behind this we pulled a trailer that carried the tent, stove, chuck box and more.

Read more about the Kingswood.

Mom’s Diary. My bible for reconstructing the places, faces and times we had. Thanks to Mom for keeping it, and thanks to Mom for letting us share it here.

Time change helped getting us up early. Showered and washed my hair. Reached the Arnolds about noon, had lunch and the boys played until about 4. (Mike’s shot) Got to the Meramac State Park and set up. The boys played in the river. Exhausted.

Marge Binder, June 19, 1969

Learn more about Meramec SP here.

It begins and ends with Maw.

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