Friday, September 16, 2011

Vacations & Summer - 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History

Have you ever been fortunate enough to visit a place that becomes part of your soul? A part of your very being? A place that is seemingly timeless? Enjoyed generation after generation? Well I have. As part of my 52 Weeks catch-up, I've decided to combine Summer and Vacation into one post and tell you about my very special place.

My special place is in Puget Sound, Washington; enjoyed by my parents and my father's parents before me, myself, and my children. Spending summers on the beach is one of those wholesome things I wish every child could do: going for long walks and collecting shells, rocks and whatever else may have floated up; throwing sticks in the water for the dogs, playing with your new best friend; building forts and sometimes learning how to overcome boredom.

Some things never change and to this day one of my favorite things is to walk the beach and see the products of hours of scouring the beach for driftwood that washed up during the winter.
Summer 1968

Wood Wars. Building forts is not without its challenges and controversy. Sometimes the kids would come inside all bent out of shape because the boys down the beach had stolen some pieces of wood from their fort. This usually resulted in much plotting and planning to retrieve their wood after dark. Back and forth it would go, with the kids keeping a close eye on their forts in hopes of catching the thieves red-handed.
Other years we would build more of a one dimensional village. It turns out that this was not our original idea.  The author, Alice McLerran visited my children’s elementary school one year. She read her book Roxaboxen, about a village she and her friends built near Yuma as a child. It sounded very familiar to me and captured the imagination of my own children who built their own version that they dubbed The Burrough. They had shops, houses, signs and even money (using beach glass with different colors representing a specific denomination). As the summer wore on, The Burrough grew and grew and became a bit of a tourist attraction for people walking the beach!

To this day, the neighbors still mention our beach fort creations. I can’t wait for an excuse to build more! I still enjoy helping build these beach creations. But alas, my children are now too old for such fun. I’ll just have to wait for some more little ones to come along! In the meantime, I walk the beach and enjoy the creations made by the current generation.
My favorite creation this summer. Someone went to a great deal of effort!
My second favorite creation. Built in the perfect spot to take a break while on a beach walk, and enjoy the ships, wildlife or just relax.

Amy Coffin's series, 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History is a series of blogging prompts that "invite genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants."

Disclaimer: Our family owns several of Alice McLerran's books. You could say we are fans of hers. The books were purchased with our own hard earned money (allowances in the case of the kids).

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum


  1. What great memories, Michelle! Those wood creations are really something. My kids loved Roxaboxen too. I went to Washington for the first time this summer and can see why you love it!

  2. Thanks Shelley, I really wish all children could have such a special place to play and just be children for those few precious years!

  3. This is why it's worth catching up on back reading. Such a lovely post, Michelle. I learned more about a spot I've never been and reflected on our family's New England beach summers. Thank you!

  4. Susan, I'm glad I was able to remind you of beach summers in New England.

  5. I loved this story Michelle. Thanks for sharing. I found the wood wars quite interesting...I don't recall seeing anything like this in Australia. I wonder why? I suspect perhaps we don't get as much driftwood. It's so special that it's a multi-generational memory.