June 3, 2020
In the 1970’s, my parents started camping at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Every summer, for up to six weeks we would go. Leaving Maryland in late August and not coming home until the end of September. Even when we were in school, my mom would get school assignments from school so when we went back to school, we weren’t behind. This went on until I was in third grade, when it got too hard for me to catch up. Then, we left in late July or early August, only missing one week of school instead of three or four.
We only missed one year, in 1979 when my sister was born. She was born in the beginning of August and she was two young to take camping. 1991, the year we got stuck on the island because of Hurricane Bob, was the last year we camped on Hatteras.
In 1976, while my mom was pregnant with me, they went camping. Mom went swimming so much that she was teased that the baby would be born with sand on its toes. The following summer, they took me camping. I obviously don’t remember as I was only 5 to 6 months old. I wasn’t rolling over yet. My mom had brought me over to my grandparents camper, whose site was behind ours. She laid me down on the couch so she could help my grandmother with something. My grandfather asked if it was ok for me to be laying there, thinking I might roll off the couch. My mom noted that I wasn’t rolling over yet…the next thing my mom knew my grandfather was calling her to look at me. I had rolled over!
At that point, my parents still had the slide on camper, which is quite small. I was rolling over, and my mom wasn’t prepared for it. They had planned on me sleeping in bed with them, thinking I would be safe. They had a porta-crib with them, but kept it in the truck, mainly to use on the beach, so someone didn’t have to hold me the entire time. They had to start using the porta-crib at night, so I would stay safe. It got pretty cramped in the slide on, but they didn’t switch it out for a tag-a-long until after my sister was born. It was in 1981 or ’82 that this happened.
I’m pretty sure that I started pulling myself up at the same time. So, now they had a baby that was able to move about, albeit unsteadily, on her own. Somehow, they – we – got through, as I am still here, with minimal damage. It is said that when ever my mom would put my feet in the water and take them out, I would cry. To this day, I love the water, the beach, and can’t wait to at least get my feet wet, when we go any beach.
Anyway, I became quite the fisherman, I wanted to be “just like dad”. Dad would usually bait the hook and set it before handing it over to me. I caught my first fish when I was four years old. I wouldn’t let anyone help my real it in, nor would I let anyone else eat it. Dad did clear seaweed off the line for me as I was reeling it in. But other than that, I reeled it in myself. It was a flounder and was approximately six inches long. Big enough for a four year old to be very proud of.
When I was a little bit older, I talked my dad into letting me go night fishing with him and my grandfather. My grandfather didn’t want to let me go, thinking I would get bored or restless or something. He finally agreed, and I think he was glad he did because I caught bunch of blues that night. My dad had to give up on even trying to fish that night because every time he walked away to set up his own line, I had caught another fish. I’m not even sure if my grandfather caught anything that night. I think they both gave up and watched me fish, coming back to the camp ground early because we/I had gotten our fill.
When the church would have a father son fishing trip, they reluctantly let me join with much pleading by me and convincing by my dad. My dad didn’t have any sons to take fishing. The one time I remember, I was the only one who caught anything worth keeping. Dad got teased, but all we were using for bait were grubs we had dug up from the back yard. Could have been the luck of a girl! Who knows.
The only time I wasn’t allowed to go fishing with my dad was when the deacons from church would rent a charter boat and go fishing on the Atlantic Ocean. Still love to fish, and wish dad was here to fish with me.
my dad and me
Cape Hatteras, North Carolina
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