Stories From My Family Camp: Stories Inspired from Camping with my Children Michael J. Stilwell

ISBN:

Published: May 29th 2012

Kindle Edition

226 pages


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Stories From My Family Camp: Stories Inspired from Camping with my Children  by  Michael J. Stilwell

Stories From My Family Camp: Stories Inspired from Camping with my Children by Michael J. Stilwell
May 29th 2012 | Kindle Edition | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, AUDIO, mp3, ZIP | 226 pages | ISBN: | 4.36 Mb

Some of my fondest memories involve camping. When my children were young, we would try and go camping during the summer vacation or during their winter break. Sometimes we would just stay in a cabin or motel and other times we would tent camp.

I didnMoreSome of my fondest memories involve camping. When my children were young, we would try and go camping during the summer vacation or during their winter break. Sometimes we would just stay in a cabin or motel and other times we would tent camp. I didn’t have much money at the time so our daily activities usually involved hiking and exploring the nearby areas. We would occasionally visit a beach or river area where we would picnic.In the evenings, I was often persuaded to tell stories. The older kids always loved “scary stories” while the younger ones preferred tales of fantasy.When my oldest son Michael was about age 8 and my daughter Stephanie was 3, we vacationed at the Big Sur Lodge along the California Central Coast.

We stayed in one of their upgraded cabins located in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. One evening, the family started playing “Mad Libs”. This was a booklet of very short stories and essays. Some nouns, verbs and adjectives had been omitted from the story.

The idea was to fill in the blanks prior to reading the story. Your only clue was to fill each blank space with a noun, verb or adjective.When the story was later read out loud, it was usually nonsensical and humorous in nature. It didn’t take too many stories before my son Michael realized that if he chose “fart” for every noun and “farted” for every verb and “smelly” for every adjective, he would create a story that perfectly fit his 8-year-old sense of humor.

After several of these classic pieces of literature had been created and shared, it was apparent to any adult that we needed to change the source of the evening’s entertainment. Although the “fart-humor” was appreciated by the kids, to the adults it got old real fast. We needed to change direction- we changed to storytelling.I don’t remember exactly which stories were told but I do remember how my son enjoyed tales of monsters and axe-murders while my daughter preferred “fairy tale” type stories.Many years later, I took my two youngest children, James age 7 and Stephanie age 12, winter camping in Big Basin Redwoods State Park in California.

I had rented a tent-cabin- my son and daughter each brought a friend. It rained for three straight days. The kids were hyper and restless due to the lack of physical activity- cabin fever hits children rather rapidly. I was the only adult on the trip and by the end of the second day- the demands on me were beginning to take their toll.We had finished cleaning up after dinner and the rain started to pour heavily. I built a fire in the cast-iron stove which was located in the far left corner of the 12’ X 14’ tent cabin.

I sat on a bench that was near the front of the cabin at the built-in table. The children sat on the two single-sized beds which were positioned against the left and right walls of the cabin- a narrow aisle ran between the beds. The four of them were all extremely restless, especially the 7 year old boys. I sat exhausted and at my wits end. I put my face into my hands and said a small prayer, “Please help me get through this somehow. Please tell me what to do.”It suddenly popped into my head: Simon Says. I lifted my face from my hands and ordered all four children to stand in the small aisle.

“Simon Says, ‘Jump on your right foot only’.” I kept them jumping until I could see the exhaustion in their eyes. “Simon Says, ‘Stop!’”.I continued the game of Simon for more than a half hour. At the end, the kids were ready to settle down. As they lay on their beds, gathering their breaths, they asked me to tell some stories.

I felt a bit under pressure from this request, since I did not consider myself a story teller or a man of creative imagination.



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