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Monday, August 19, 2013

Camp-In-The-Yard, by Vivian L. Thompson

The coolest thing happened to me last Sunday after church. One of the older ladies who has been a tutor for many years said, "Can you come with me to my car right now? I have some books for you." With no notice or warning, I went to the car. She opened the trunk. It was FULL of BOOKS! Picture books, early readers, chapter books, etc. Treasure in a trunk! I swooned! And a took a box home and was elated!

Camp-In-The-Yard, by Vivian L. Thompson was in the box I brought home. It's an early reader published in 1961 and that's obvious once you get to reading it because two twin boys, definitely under the age of 10, are allowed to cook their own food over a campfire without any adult supervision. This book comes from a time when adventures were allowed and parents didn't know that they had to worry as much as we know we need to now. (I can say that in jest even to myself. I worry! I confess it!)

In this story, twins Mike and Tom wave to their brother as he leaves for camp. Their brother, Bill, is only one year older and the boys are sad that they cannot also go along to camp. They perk up considerably when their parents give them permission to create Camp-in-the-Yard and make their own dinner and sleep in a tent. This story follows their escapades as they get the tent down and set up, burn their hotdogs and are met by something spooky and scary after dark (i.e., their neighbor's dog). It's a cute story and my boys loved it. Bookworm1 said his favorite part was when the boys made their dinner. Bookworm2 liked it when they were scared by the dog. I liked it because it's a book about two boys creating adventure.

Part of me acknowledges the fact that boys need to have such adventures and the other part of me hesitates to provide those opportunities (because I worry with the best of them!). Quite frankly, I don't like the idea of camping. I like indoor plumbing too much. I also value mattresses. And heat. I have camped only once since moving to Oregon and I did it with my sibs-in-law back before I knew they were going to be my sibs-in-law. They invited me to go camping with them in the back of their property, roughly in the area where our house is now located. I camped in a tent with a sleeping bag and f-r-o-z-e. I then caught a cold. I decided I did not really appreciate camping.

Still, I think it's important to have adventures and so a few weeks back I thought I'd make it up to my boys that I don't like camping outdoors by having a family camp-out in the living room. I hauled all of our mattresses onto the main floor (oh yes, I did) and opened the doors and windows. We had a yummy dinner and then all climbed in our beds and watched a movie together. Afterwards we attempted sleep. My daughter couldn't get over the thrill of the whole thing and after I had finally managed to fall asleep she leaned over and started whispering in my ear (at 10:30 p.m.-ish). At 3:30 a.m. I awoke, completely f-r-o-z-e-n and got up to close all of the doors and windows after which I was mostly able to sleep. In the morning we made pancakes (a rare but well-received treat) and everyone was happy. We agreed that we would do this every summer. Family camping. In the living room. That's how we roll.

Adventures are fun in books, to be sure, but I think it's important to have real life ones as well . . . to match your own sense of style.

An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered. - G. K. Chesterton

So how do you feel about adventures? Do you modify for the sake of family fun? Or are you hard core and do the real "camping thing", etc.?

13 comments:

RAnn said...

It is amazing the things we were allowed to do as kids (I'm a baby boomer) that we don't allow our kids to do. I'm not convinced it is for the best, or even that it is necessary. I had people raise their eyebrows at me because I allowed my sixth grader to walk 1/2 mile home from the bus stop in my middle class suburban neighborhood--generally most of it with another kid. Are stranger abductions that much more common now, or do we just hear about them more?

*carrie* said...

Free books = fun!

I grew up tent camping, but I haven't gone much (or enjoyed it) as an adult. Eric's taken the older kids a few times.

A living room sleepover is a fun idea--maybe next year when Naomi's a a little older!

Jeremy said...

While I am into the more hardcore stuff (intend to take my kids backpacking as soon as they can carry a pack) I think as far as kids are concerned, ANYTHING is good. It's pretty much all fun and excitement to them, so I'd worry less about the level and just make sure they get some fun.

Also, you can solve the freezing problem with better sleeping bags. ;)

bekahcubed said...

When I was a kid, all of our family vacations involved camping in the old green army tent we got from my grandpa (a retired Army man). Now that we're all older, we don't camp that often, and I think the last time I stayed in a tent was almost 5 years ago.

I enjoy camping and figure it's something I'd like to do more of--but the start-up cost of tents and such can be a deterrent for someone as cheap as I am :-)

Annette {This Simple Home} said...

Delightful fun!

Yes, as we read Betsy-Tacy and other older books, I have to explain that the girls were allowed to do things we don't do.

This sounds delightful. Derek and I camped once. I can't imagine doing it with small children. Your indoor fun sounds awesome...next time you *could* leave the windows closed. :)

Shonya said...

What a great friend!!! That's a perfect after-church-surprise!

And I remember that book well--it's about time to get it down for Easton. Destry enjoyed it so much back in the day. Oh, and the stories I could tell as a result of letting my boy read adventure novels! chuckle

Stephanie Kay said...

Every summer we have a family camp out in a tent in our backyard. We have done this the last five years. Last year was the first year I participated due to having babies that needed to be indoors or a tent too small for a pack n play. I don't think it will happen this year. My husband and boys camped out with other father-sons from church early in the summer. Then he took a son to Cub Scout camp for 2 nights. Then he took a son to Webelos camp for a WHOLE WEEK. He'll be camping with the Scouts again in October so I think he's camped out. I'm ok with this. :)

Sherry said...

We camped a bit before children, but having children and getting older changes a lot of things (like mama's tolerance for being "in the wild"). You might try yurt camping! It was a perfect happy medium when children were young, especially. Heaters inside, clean floors, and a door that locks! :) And children do LOVE adventures and they are our best memories.
I "sacrificed" to go tent camping again when we got one that fits us all and a good air mattress, and now have gone 3x in the last year, just for the adventures. It helps me that they have all been family camps. It's not always easy (especially with a baby and toddler), but music camp for us is SO worth it! I can give you tips if you ever decide to try it :)

Sky said...

I am completely jealous of your trunk-full-of-books friend!
We haven't been tent camping with the kids yet, something I am determined to do now that ZGirl is older. But we lived in a metal box for 6 months! Okay, it was a trailer. But it was cold at night and we didn't have running water.
The key to not freezing is wool, you wear wool, you sleep in wool, you live in wool! Better sleeping bags would definitely help, but they're so expensive! We have vintage wool blankets. (Yard sales!) and some key Icebreaker clothing.
I am all about living adventurously but I think that the adult has to be ok with the adventure in order for the kids to have fun, if no one is having fun they aren't going to be good memories are they? ;oD

Barbara H. said...

How neat to receive a whole box of books!

We used to go camping before my youngest was born - in fact, the last time I went was when I was expecting him. I am not a camper at heart - I like indoor plumbing and electricity and refrigerators and such. But my husband loved it, and he did all the shopping and cooking for it, so it was like a day or two off for me. But after my youngest was born and I began to have to use the bathroom a time or two through the night and didn't want to do that in the dark with a flashlight, and then later had an illness that would have made it very hard, I was glad to call my camping days over. Jim has taken the boys out a few times. Once they were close enough that I drove over and joined them for dinner around the campfire and then went back home to sleep. That was ideal to me. :-) He also camped with them in the back yard a time or two.

I can't remember if we ever camped indoors but we did have a picnic indoors.

My husband and I both used to do things that we'd never allow our kids to do now - walk to the store, ride bicycles all over town, etc. It's sad that there are so many creepy people out there that we can't let our kids roam any more.

Anonymous said...

The whole family has tent-camped twice now with our church group. There is a big pavilion there with many picnic tables under cover. There are two stovetop areas to cook food, some electrical elements for electric griddle (or whatever) and even a sink. It makes camping easier as you don't have to pack the camp stove and fuss with toddlers near the hot food and haul your own water for cleanup.

When we go to my hubby's family's private campground over the 4th of July I send my husband and older children off to sleep in the tent and then I confess that "the BABY would much rather sleep indoors". Thankfully for me my mother-in-laws house is 1/2 mile walking distance away from the private campground. Works well for us; the kids get to camp and I have access to grandma's washer/dryer, dishwasher/shower, etc.

My kids like to sleep in their sleeping bags on the floor in the living room just after we've gotten and decorated our Christmas tree. They like falling asleep to the trees lights. Another fun memory.

Jan W

Cassandra said...

I love camping but my husband loathes it so we don't go. But... the s'mores! Instead we make them in our fireplace. LOL

BerlinerinPoet said...

I'm big on "glamping" actually. Google it. No, I do like camping. I just relish indoor plumbing and not being cold and having a mattress...that's all.
John is a big time camper though, so my like is hopefully going to transform into LOVE. (she says skeptically)

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