Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Shelter from the Storm

When I first saw Jasia's prompt for this edition of the Carnival of Genealogy I immediately thought about our camp In Sylvan Beach, NY which is located at the east end of Oneida Lake. It wasn't beach front, it was very small and for ten years it was our wonderful summer home.

I used to love to take the kids to the beach as a storm was starting to roll in to watch the dark clouds form and the lightening flash. As the storm moved closer we'd retreat to the front porch to continue to enjoy the show. Storms were frequent, I remember well a hail storm that left dents all over our cars. I never thought of watching a storm from the porch as dangerous until the year of the tornado. It was a little one that did considerable damage just a block away. After that watching the storms from a narrow little room surrounded by glass never seemed like a great idea - at least not with the kids. To this day I love to watch a good storm.

There was virtually no back yard and the front yard faced the main street through town so our days were usually spent on the beach. We had a cart I used to carry all of the kids beach floats, sand toys and our beach blanket. I still have the beach blanket, actually an old quilted bed spread that came with the place. Every time I use it I think of days spent playing on the beach and evenings under the stars watching the fireworks displays or enjoying a fire and roasting marshmallows for smores.

There is a small amusement park in the village that we visited on occasion. We walked everywhere - to the grocery store, park, or down the street to get an ice cream.

The place came furnished, a real mismash of fabrics and styles that seemed just right for a camp. The two sofas with scratchy upholstery each pulled out to full size sleepers that were well used by friends and family. Card games were played here and many books were read. Laughter bounced off of the walls.

It had the smallest kitchen I have ever seen, too small for the refrigerator which sat in the dining area. We made good use of the outdoor grill and meals were made for the five of us and often a dozen more.

After moving to western NY the kids entered their teen years and we decided we were not using and enjoying our little haven enough. Trips to camp became a chore so we decided to sell. We found a buyer and closed in September. In October John was told that he was being transfered back to central NY. That seems to be how it goes for us.

I hope my children's memories of camp are as fond as mine. We haven't talked about the place in ages. Maybe next summer we'll take the grandkids to the beach and on a trip down memory lane.


  1. Such wonderful memories you have of your's a shame things change. We had a camp while I was growing up and I also have such wonderful memories of it...lots of summers spent there:-) xox

  2. places like that are so special. i have many fond memories of my gandparent's mountain house like that.

  3. I get that same warm feeling everytime I pass my grandmothers old house. The people living there now don't take very good care of it but in my mind I can picture every room and tell you what was in every small space. I have returend to some of my childhood vacation spots with my children but it just isn't the same. I don't know if they have changed that much or I have. Thanks for the memories.


  4. Apple, I love to watch a storm, too!! Even snowstorms, have me at the window, just staring out. In the summer, I love to go out-before the rain-when the wind is just gusting thru the trees and you can smell the rain coming!

  5. What a wonderful camp full of precious memories. Loved seeing the pictures. It's such a shame you sold it just before coming back to the area.
    We had a camp at the beach when I was a kid too. Lots of wonderful memories!
    I like to watch storms too...and smell the rain, like Sissy.

  6. This reminds me of two camps: one was Camp Gifford, where I worked for five summers during my teens and have memories of going outside (under the trees - yikes!) and watching the summer storms. I had no idea how dangerous that was! The other is the little resort my husband's family visits every summer. We and his brother's family each rent a cabin, and besides all the regular camping and lake fun, we spend the entire week playing practical jokes on each other and trying not to be the victim of the others! Thanks for a great post, Apple!