Saturday, August 18, 2012

Grandma goes camping

In the summer of 1914 my grandmother, Loraine Gunzendorfer, went camping at Arbolado with the Hitchcocks.  Since she wrote that they went "down" to Arbolado, I can only guess that they were at the camp in San Bernardino National Forest which is at approximately 6600 foot elevation, but I'll never know for sure.

For anyone who knew my grandmother, the thought of her camping is a complete contradiction and my mind just can't quite grasp the concept.  Loraine was a very proud woman - her favorite place to shop was Saks Fifth Avenue and she was always dressed to the nines.  I have a very vivid memory of her from my last visit with her before she passed away in 1982.  She suffered a stroke in February and I was able to surprise her with a visit in late March.  When she accidentally learned that we were in town, she dolled herself up for the visit that she knew was to take place.  We arrived at the nursing home to find her right inside the door in a wheelchair, dressed in her very best silk suit and a fresh application of lipstick on her lips.  Even in sickness, Grandma always wanted to look stylish.

So imagine my surprise when I ran across this spread of photos in her scrapbook describing her camping trip.  Grandma wasn't always great at labeling her photos (darn her, anyway) but this time she was - yay for me! 

"The other camp, Salinas Hitchcock's.  In the foreground is our bon fire where we sat every night."
"The camp in which we enjoyed every evening."

The other camp - "her" Hitchcocks would have been from Monterey so the Salinas Hitchcocks must have been relatives.  I'm having trouble making out the bonfire.

"Aren't we the affectionate ones, though.  Ha and I."
Her friend is Hallie Agnes Hitchcock, one of her schoolmates.  I believe John Elbert Hitchcock, another schoolmate, was Hallie's brother.

Looks like Grandma and Hallie had some fun with the wildlife!

"Our picnic was at the falls - Billie certainly has a distance look.  We had a fine time that day."

Looks like they had fun at the falls with Mr. & Mrs. H (Hitchcock).  I'm not sure who Billie and Doris are as I don't see them listed in the school documents.

I will admit that when I saw these photos of them hiking I thought it was a little more like Grandma's kind of camping as they were in dresses!  I've racked my brain trying to think of a time in my life when I saw Grandma in a pair of slacks and the answer is no - some things just never changed.

"We took this at the beach - we surely look sleepy.  Hallie asleep as it is.  The four of us had an awfully good time that day.  We didn't get a fish but -"

I wish I could figure out who Matt was as he's in quite a few pictures in her scrapbook - must have been someone important.

"Here we are again - on the beach.  The natural bridge in the background.  We have just 'landed' - it's windy, too."

"Just after we finished our lunch I snapped this of Matt, Billie & Hallie."

Hmmm, scared? Here's Matt again.

"The day before I came away the men brot [sic] into camp this big catch and one trout was 24 in. long."

This is the second time I've seen her mention fish.  Another thing I can't picture my grandmother ever getting excited over is fish.  I'm sure she loved to eat it but clean it?  Not on your life!

It's so fun to see her at play as a young woman, even though I still can't get over the thought of her camping!


  1. I love the old pictures! This is inspiring me to write about my grandmother.

  2. Great post, Debi. I can't imagine my Granny camping, either, but she did get up to some antics and was good at fishing! Jo :-)

  3. Your grandmother may be a bit like me. I would rather "camp" at the Marriott. But when I am actually forced to commune with nature, I actually have a good time. After all, you can't live in Colorado (or California) and not enjoy the outdoors, right?