We are now on the final leg of our road trip. We are staying at Wolf’s Camping Resort for the last three nights. It is the campground I spent the most time at during my childhood.
I have told the boys many stories about my trips there. Often these conversations occur after they coming flying down the big hill on Pollard Road. I tell them about how I destroyed my favorite outfit — a very late 1970s matching terry cloth shirt and shorts my grandma had gotten me for my birthday — and shredded my skin when I didn’t listen to my parents and went flying down the big hill at Wolf’s on my brother’s bike. I have told them about pick up basketball games and swimming and running around playing tag with large groups of kids.
Before we headed to Wolf’s, we had breakfast with my mom. We spent most of the time planning for the move. Our target date for her to get to NJ is October 15. I put together a list of things we need to do prior to the move. I told her I would help her. We talked about having a last gathering at her house before we sell it. We talked about how nice it will be for her to be close to us. We didn’t finish breakfast until noon.
In this era of social distancing and social turmoil, one of the things I have most come to appreciate on the road trip is the little everyday interactions we have had that are reminder that life in this great country is less fractious and isolated and people are more caring and cohesive and generous than it seems from the news. While my mom and I were talking, a nice African American family (two elderly parents and their adult son) sitting near us struck up a conversation with us about the boys. They said how much they enjoyed watching them play together and how wonderful they are. We talked a little bit about kids and appreciating all those little moments of happiness.
Later, I was talking to the cash register guy about school reopening and how I can’t believe the kids’ classrooms are going to have plexiglass barriers (he was behind a plexiglass barrier himself). He asked what school they went to and I told him we were from out of town but my mom lived here. He said he thought we lived here because he had seen me at breakfast with my mom and the boys so many times. He said he enjoyed seeing them play together because they always looked so happy. Plus, he thought it was funny how the “little one” tries to boss the “big one” around. I said, “you should see him try to boss me around!”
Once we got to Wolf’s and set up camp, we headed to the pool. Wolf’s is not the whirlwind of kid activity it was during my childhood. It is also showing its age. Short stay campers with kids have been replaced with permanent campers and mobile homes with fixed decks, personal accessories, and golf carts. The buildings look more tired. The site utilities pole leans like the leaning tower of Pisa.
The pool looked much more like a scene from Cocoon than the pool scene from Caddyshack, as it does in my recollections. They was a sizable party of retirees in a circle talking endlessly about the restaurants in western PA and giving tips for making their favorite home-cooked meals (meatloaf made in a slow cooker, for example). One of things the sociologist that still lingers in me has noticed on this trip is that there seems to be a sizable group of retirees who have set up permanent or semi-permanent camp at various campgrounds and RV parks throughout the country.
I also later learned from the life guard that schools in the area returned to school today. Despite the lack of “new friends,” the boys had a good time at the pool, running around like I did as a kid.
After the pool, we headed to the arcade and then the playground. Some of games at the arcade were old enough that I would bet they were there when I was a kid. The fact that they are $0.50 a game suggests that this would be a better bet than my previous bet with Will. The playground equipment is the same sets from my childhood, and which means they are bigger, a little more dangerous, and much more fun.
It rained on the way back to the motorhome for dinner so we decided to stay in for the night. The boys watched Detective Pikachu, and I tried to get my inbox to zero before we get back to Mountain Lakes.