Tub O’ Soda, 10″ x 10″ Oil on gessobord
Original page from Michne Camping Log, 1971
My father kept our camping log all the years we camped. This page has the story of the day I won the “floating mattress!”
It was July 16, 1971. The perfect summer day as I recall. My father was hosting the annual work picnic. I won a green raft that day for my athletic ability in the egg race! It was my biggest claim to fame as a 9 year old. I remember reaching into a tub of iced cold soda with what seemed like every variety ever invented. It was sheer heaven- all the FREE SODA I could drink! Pull the ring tab- wear it on your finger for a bit before carelessly dropping it somewhere in the grass. Take that long first sip…..ahhhhhhhhhh. Life was good.
Who’s Thirsty? 10″ x 10″ Oil on Gessobord
We didn’t have water bottles- there was no sippy box, pouch or fancy energy drink. If you were outside playing, and you were thirsty, you would simply turn on the spigot, bend down a bit, wait for about 10 seconds until the cold water reached the end of the hose, then take a long, long gulp swallowing, swallowing and swallowing. Of course, you would then offer the hose to the next sweaty, out of breath neighborhood friend. If you were on your game that day, you might remember to turn off the hose. Or, your father might step in huge puddle and yell out ” Who left the dam hose on?”
Hoffman’s Playland Boats, 6″ x 6″ Oil on gesso
Nothing is more regionally familiar to local families as Hoffman’s Playland, or should I say the boats at Hoffman’s Playland. It was practically mandatory for kid growing up in the area. Even with the recent move of Hoffman’s, I am sure the bells on those boats are still clanging! There was something mesmerizing about watching the boats glide round and round through the galvanized pool of water. We would grab the steering wheel and turn it with one hand, while ringing the bell with the other. It was about 3 minutes of nautical bliss…for a six year old!
Where’d It Go?, 6″ x 6″ Oil on gesso board
Every time I see a golf tournament on TV and they are near the hole, I wonder if these guys practice on mini golf courses? In the Adirondack,s there are a few real gems that would guarantee help their handicap if they tried them out! Some have spectacular fountains and windmills, others are more simple like this one in Long Lake. It’s not much of a course, but don’t tell that to a six year old. I remember hitting the ball and then it disappearing. Where’d it go? We would hunt around and sooner or later, we would finish the game, return the club, add up our scores with out tiny pencil, then get an ice cream cone. Night made.
Come On 50, 6″ x 6″ Oil on gesso board
In case of rain, there’s always the Arcade. And in case you hate Arcades, at least there’s Skee-Ball! I’ve never been a bowler, but get fiercely competitive in a game of Skee-ball. For .25 cents, you would get about 9 wooden balls to roll/throw to hopefully landing them in the 50 point hole. Like bowling, the sound of the wooden balls harkens back to a time when life was simple…and .25 cents brought at least 90 points of fun. Lake George still has Skee-ball, except its .50 now. It’s the perfect summer game, rain or shine!
Book and Blanket, 6″ x 6″ Oil on gesso board
Getting my first library card was as good as winning the lottery. I remember selecting a pile of books, including some Ranger Ricks and Highlights Magazines. Summer was set. I could read, do some puzzles, and read about my favorite critter, the chipmunk. I may have read the Bobbsey Twins, but honestly, I don’t remember. I do recall, however, the feeling of walking out of the library with five or six books, and a few magazines. Summer was set. What adventures would I have before me? What new mysteries could I solve? Next was picking the perfect spot to read, definitely on a blanket, shaded by a nice maple tree. Sounding perfect, right about now….
Life Preserver, 6″ x 6″ Oil on gesso board
There was no avoiding it. At some point during the summer, you would be tied into an orange life preserver. If you were lucky, it had dried from the previous wearing. You would put your arms out wide while your parent would strap you in and make it as tight as they could. Then, with your chin to the sky, they would tie it around your neck. It may have saved you from drowning, but I always felt suffocated! And the smell! They always had an aroma of sweat, Coppertone and mildew. But I’d give anything to smell that again!
PS. I was on a quest to find a life jacket for this painting. I did find one on eBay in it’s original wrapper, from Sunny’s Surplus from 1960 for $2.99. Hanging with honor in my camp!