Saturday Night Genealogy Gun: Remember a Summer Day When You Were 12

This week’s challenge for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun brings back all kinds of wonderful memories for me. Instructions for Randy Seaver’s topic for this week are:

1) Remember when you were 12 years old? On a summer day out of school? What memory do you have of fun activities?

2) Tell us about that memory (just one – you can do more if you want to) in a blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a comment on Facebook.  Please leave a link to your own post in comments on this post.

3)  Have you told your children and grandchildren about your childhood memories?  You really should. 

Growing up, I lived in what today is very much an inner city – Passaic, New Jersey – that hasn’t get been gentrified. However, I was very, very lucky as my maternal grandparents and aunt and uncle owned a summer camp in New England.

My parents drove up to Maine for two weeks every summer, including the summer I was twelve. However, life in the camp didn’t differ much from day-to-day through the years, so it didn’t really matter if I was 3 or 12.

Every day was heavenly:


Grandmother and Grandfather’s camp was on Little Sebago Lake in Maine. The cottage was small with a guest cabin. My parents, brother and I all slept in the guest cabin, of which you can see a peek in the photo below.

There was no potable water, no hot water and the toilet was a little outhouse attached to the main cottage. On cold days, the only heat source was the wood burning fireplace.

However, each day brought everything from swimming to picking blueberries:

From the age of 3 until I was 16, this was a mandated routine every summer. Grandmother baked homemade blueberry pies and I was the official blueberry collector, along with my Aunt Barbara.

There were motor boat rides around the lake, which often led to afternoons at a beach on the other side of the water:

View from the Boat

I even learned how to water ski on Little Sebago when I was 12. There were occasionally a few friends around like Leslie, from Wisconsin,  or sisters Judy and Gaye, who lived in Portland and came a few weekends each summer.

In between those visits, I kept busy rowing boats, riding in Grandfather’s putt-putt, walking through the woods and making visits into the small town to buy fresh fruits and vegetables and to help fill up the water containers with drinking water for the upcoming week.

The year I turned 12, the Beatles started the British Invasion of America. Grandfather had a really nice transistor radio which he let me listen to at night. There was no TV in our camp, so the radio was the only connection to world news. No self-respecting Beatles fan wanted to miss out hearing their new songs. After all, A Hard Day’s Night was released that summer, so I was more than excited to figure out that Grandfather’s radio could pick up the signal from my favorite station – WABC in New York City – all the way up in Maine at night! I remember spending every evening sitting on the floor in the dark in the little kitchen, away from everyone talking, and listening to the Top 20 songs of the week.

Life was a lot different back then – they really were the good old days.

Grandfather died in December 1968 and the following spring, Grandmother sold the cottage. I’ve only been back once since then, in 1981, when Dave and I drove around New England. I actually remembered the way down to the water in spite of the roads having no name and fifteen years had passed by.

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