After my grandparents had gotten a summer home in a community called Lake Adventure in Pennsylvania, I looked forward to my trips there each year.
I always thought it was so cool they had another “home” for the summer, and plenty of room for us to visit.
I remember feeling so rustic when I was there. We would sleep all together in little bunk beds. (How fun being the oldest where I always got the top!)
I can remember walking into the trailer, and to the right were two small rooms, both with a set
of bunk beds each in them. Of course, I was spoiled and insisted on having the one room to myself and my sisters having the other—but since neither one of them were comfortable in the other top bunk, I was forced to share. But at least I got to stay up later than them, so that made up for it. I was such a brat at times.
My parents stayed on the pullout couch (which always fascinated me how it doubled as a kitchen table and chairs, too). Then there was the little kitchen, which somehow was always stocked with our favorite foods. Then the bathroom, and on the other side of that, my grandparent’s “master bedroom.” It was very small, but very cozy. None of us seemed to mind the close quarters, because we were all together.
I loved how at night, our family would gather together outside. We would have delicious barbecues, eating in a tent under the stars, roasting marshmallows on skewers. There was no television (and of course, no cell phones and computers), and for some reason, I always did love when that stuff wasn’t around and we sat around as a family. All night we would all tell stories, hearing about my grandparent’s childhoods, or adventures my parents would go on, or even things we did as babies.
This was the kind of history that fascinated me—knowing where my family came from and what they were like growing up.
I can still remember the teasing and joking and boisterous laughter back and forth between all of the adults. There was so much joy and love on these trips.
I remember looking forward to seeing the community events calendar as soon as we got there to see what kind of activities were going on. Although the pool was always open, I wasn’t one for swimming. (Translation: I never learned how, and was too scared of drowning to be taught.) Instead, I liked checking out what the Rec Hall was doing, from playing bingo and making arts and crafts to movie time and nature walks. I loved playing bingo with my Nanny and trying to win more “money” than her. Oh, and the ice cream socials that they would have, where we got to make our own ice cream and then talk with other kids, were also a highlight.
But the best adventures were the ones I got to take myself; where I was allowed to venture out on my own within the park, and travel my own trails.
I would walk down to the water, or take a new way to the Rec Hall, and come back around to my grandparent’s trailer from behind. I don’t think I ever took the same path twice, because I was always curious as to where one path would lead me. It was so freeing—and I would just let my imagination run wild as I was on my own. There was definitely singing and skipping when no one was looking. It was a place to let out my inner performer.
But I think part of the fun was actually the trip there. I knew we were close when the roads became empty, and we had to slow down as we passed the deer on the side of the road. And about 10
minutes before we were at the entrance, there was this little deli that we went in to get sandwiches to bring for lunch. They had the best tuna fish ever—and I think my silliest yet fondest memory of these adventures was the fight my Poppy and I used to have over who would get the end of the bread with the last of the tuna fish. (To date, I have never had a better tuna fish sandwich.) Ah, these special little family connections make the best memories.
We only were able to spend a few summers there before my grandfather got sick, and it became difficult for my grandparents to travel back there. But for the few summers I was there, I relished every moment. My cousins had since moved close by, so I also had the added enjoyment of getting to see them and be
the little sister again. It was a place I treasured so much that it set the foundation for what I thought was a love of the state of Pennsylvania—where I went to college, and ultimately moved for two years.
Little did I know it was not about the place, but about the people, who made it touch my heart so profoundly.
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