Wednesday, October 7, 2009
What appears below seems to be something out of LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. It is really how we went camping on the outer banks c. 1962. When I was about 13 was the first time I saw the Atlantic Ocean, or any other ocean in fact. It was an awesome sight for a land bound girl
We had to wait until my youngest sister was "out of diapers." I had a long time to wait for the first vacation. This was pre disposable diapers, what a good invention I must add.....
We took off in the '57 Chevy and my dad drove to NC, the Outer Banks to be exact. This was the days of Pre Interstates. Actually, I have no clue how we got there, but, I suspect it involved in driving around Washington DC and south on Route One. I am not sure, but I think that may be the one.
At that time we had to drive through every one horse town from PA to NC. What I remember mostly was a two lane road from Virgina down through the rural south. We passed many small farms, the houses were dilapidated and run down. The dwellings were wooden frams and the farms were behind them. It was the type of places that had furniture and washing machines on the front porches. These people were poor and trying to eke out an existence growing tobacco.
Upon our arrival there were very few houses to rent and a lot of the "Old' style beach cottages, which were weathered, dark grey and had large green hurricane shutters that would lower and cover the entire windows. Air conditioning was non existant. Very few motel/hotel existed, and the ones that did catered to fishermen.
A campsite was found at Oregon Inlet, and the nomad style tent was pitched. I do not remember the exact sleeping arrangements but I think the girls slept in the car. My father had devised window screens to fit the car and he had two level sleeping quarters in the back of the wagon. The boys slept in the tent. Over the back of the wagon was installed a mosquito net to keep the insect at bay.
One of the highlights was that they was a indoor shower, sink and toilet. The downside was there were a lot of spiders also in there. Each evening a truck would come and spray for insects. This was aerial spraying and probably DDT. Some of the other camping kids would go and run in the mist. My mother would call us and make us stay in the tent or go to the beach until the toxic mist has cleared.
There was one little grocery store and we would buy the provisions for the next days. One of the highlight of the week would to go to the fishing pier in the afternoon and watch the fishing boats come in and the men would have their pictures taken with their catch of the day.
During the day time we would go on little jaunts to explore the islands. From Oregon Inlet to Hatteras Island a ferry was taken, then another ferry went from Hatteras Island to the furthermost island where Ocracoke was located. Some plans had been made to junk the first ferry and a grandiose bridge was planned and built. It was almost finished when some hurricane (who remembers the name it had) came along and changed the shore line and most of the bridge now covered dry land. The bridge was finished and now you can drive along most of the coast.
Posted by Claudia at 7:46 PM