August 15, 2007 Last week I mentioned camping at Lighthouse Park campground. That was in the mid to late 1930s. My love of camping began in the '20s before the time of organized campgrounds. As far as I know, State land along the Thumb shores was open to camping.
My parents had a group of friends my Mother referred to as 'the bunch' that loved camping. As a matter of fact, there must have been two 'bunches.' In Mom's snapshot album are pictures of the Orlo and Hazen Rollins, the Robert Paton and Park families camping. I must have been about four years old. Later it was camping with the Tom Borland, Bruce Bowman and Sam Park families. I remember that trip quite vividly. More so than some recent trips. Why is it? I think it is because those memories went in my mind's memory file first and I have sought them out more times. That file is pretty full and the later experiences are sort of crunched in.
In the summer of 1924 the Borland, Bowman and Park families packed their tents and camping gear for a trip 'way up in the Thumb. We had to go by way of Flint because the Borlands had a new Buick and it needed an inspection...or something. Mary Borland rode with us in our Ford. Daddy called it a 'touring car.' It had isinglass curtains (windows) that snapped in place. They were taken off for our trip. Mary and I rode in the back seat on top of piled bedding. We were playing with our dolls when one of Mary's doll blankets was whisked right out of her hands and into the wild blue yonder. She cried and wanted Daddy to stop but he was afraid he would be far behind the leader and get lost. No cell phones back then.
Our destination was Point aux Barques near the Turnip Rock. The area is now private and the famous rock now seen only by the owners of huge homes along the point. When Bud Guest was still alive I had the privilege of visiting them there. But, those few days we were camping it was all ours for exploring. Mom took lots of pictures of the lifetime friends crawling over the rocks and of the Borland family out on the point of one. In Mom's snapshots I had to smile at the clothing. The ladies and girls in dresses and men in suit coats. I never was allowed to wear jeans (what were they??) Did you ever try climbing a tree in a dress?
Thanks for the memories.
— Country Cousin
Gertie is an Almont native and historian. She has been writing a local column for us for over 30 years. You'll enjoy her friendly and colorful style of writing.