03 February 2013

Same Ocean - Different Location.

So, now we move on a few years to another location on one of the Oregon beaches.  This one is Gearhart Beach - three miles north of the well-known Seaside Beach.  It was the location of the Episcopal Church's summer family camp. 

I don't have a lot of separate memories about the years we attended this camp - I just know that I loved it.  My family was happy there.  My parents had friends who they were able to socialise with and everyone seemed quite relaxed.

Most of the families stayed in a huge two or three story building named The Scott House (thanks to my sister Candace for this memory of the name).  Neither Candace nor I are sure what this building had been used for, but we think it was some kind of a nunnery for the Episcopal Church or maybe it had been Catholic. 

It was made of wood with shingles on the outside and there were many rooms that were the same size and they were very plain.  One could hear through the walls - I remember friends being in the room on the other side of the wall - and we could talk back and forth at night while our parents were downstairs drinking wine and having religious discussions.

The main camp was a couple of blocks from Scott House.  There were cabins and a large dining room.  There was also a large yard where sports were played. 
Close by was a church/chapel where daily communion was held in the mornings - early.

Last but not least, there was the beach.  It was beautiful during the summer with large sand dunes and  rolling waves.  After morning classes held separately for the kids and adults and then lunch, most people would go to the beach for the afternoon.

By the end of the week, I was usually sunburned and being careful with cuts and bruises I got from walking on the large pieces of wood (old trees, etc...) that had been thrown up by the ocean onto the beach.

One afternoon - I was probably ten or eleven at the time - while at the beach with my family I decided I needed to go back to Scott House - can't remember why.  It wasn't too far away and my parents said to just go and come back as soon as I could.  I left the beach alone and was bare foot.  I had a towel with me and knew that I didn't want to take the long way back - I would just cut through the open lot that separated Scott House from the beach access.

This lot was not well cared for - it was a mass of prickly weeds and  rubbish.  I started to cross it and suddenly realised that I wasn't going to get very far with bare feet.  It was a hot day and I started to panic in the heat and seeing that I was in a predicament.  I could only hope that someone from our group would see me - when they were coming or going to or from the beach -  and help me.  No one came - no one saw me -

What to do?  The only thing I could think of - I put the towel down on the weeds length-wise in front of me and walked to the farthest end, somehow turned the towel around so that the end  that was behind me was now in the front position and walked to that new position and kept doing that the whole length of the lot - mostly on my knees with my hands spread on the towel to keep the action in motion.  That's what painful weeds will do to you.  Forget walking on a bed of hot coals using positive thinking - where there's a will-there's a way.  I do not think that I ever told my parents about this - I was mortified that I had to do it - dumb.

All the camp meals were shared in the main dining room.  The food must have been fine and the mothers didn't care anyway.  They didn't have to make it.

The only problem was the Friday night dinner.  It was observed as "fish on Fridays" - so we got served clam chowder.  This was not the deluxe type one might  serve or be served today with a beautiful base, etc... No, this was something that looked like grey goop and it smelled pretty bad, too.

The third summer we attended  camp my father did something extreme.  Friday afternoon he informed us  that we were not eating dinner at the camp.that night.  It seemed quite radical to me.  He was taking us to Seaside to eat - I believe that he thought no one would see us there.  Of course we ran into other camp families  who were also escaping the clam chowder -

In thinking back over this, I believe that either my sister or I had got sick the second year after dinner on the Friday night - real sick....or maybe it was other people who did.  My father decided that we didn't have to go through it again....or he used it as an excuse -

Of course my whole life wasn't spent at the beach.  Most of it was spent attending school during the year.  Sunset Valley School outside of Beaverton, Oregon -

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