Friday, July 30, 2010

Good Ol' Summertime

First of all, thanks to the more than five-hundred of you who visited my first post. I'm amazed at the response. Your comments are terrific - funny, memory-jogging, and an all-around good discussion about drive-ins - the hub of our teenage social lives. What would we have done without those places to hang-out? Our lives wouldn't have been the same if we hadn't been cruising back and forth between the Triangle and Charlie's with Al's and the Chatterbox conveniently located in the loop. In addition to the good food, checking who else was hanging out was equally important!

If you think of a comment you want to add about drive-ins, by all means go back to the drive-in post and click on comments at the bottom of it. The option to add comments (on all topics) will always be available. We'll be picking up new readers as we go along so keep adding comments as you think of things to say. No topic is finished so go back and read them too.

Continue to spread the word about the blog. I hope we can recruit people from other high school classes from the 50's and 60's. When you visit the blog, be sure to leave comments. As I said before, the comments section is where the action is.

Since we've had our share of heat waves this summer, let's talk about where we used to go swimming - the town pool, lakes, rivers. Which ones did you like and which ones did you not like? Did you go tubing or canoeing or boating? How about Sliding Rock? Back when we were teens, there were no lifeguards, safety features, or dressing rooms. I've heard lots of good stories about Sliding Rock so I know there's plenty of material out there.

A special thanks to those who emailed me. It was great to hear from you! Contact info is on the first page if you want to suggest a topic or just say hello.

I look forward to hearing about everybody's swimming experiences.

Go Blue Devils!

35 comments:

  1. Now this is a post that fits this weather. Like hundreds of others I learned to swim at Camp Straus and will always remember all the good times we had there. Every time I drive by the place I think that Harry Straus would roll over in his grave if he knew that the children of Translvania County were not still enjoying that wonderful place. We spent a lot of time at the Davidson River swimming hole, Franklin Park in Brevard, Stones Lake on the Greenville Highway, Sliding Rock in Pisgah and even did a litle skinny dipping under the Davidson River Bridge in Pisgah Forest. That last is a long held secret ! We would load up in Donald & Arnold Sprouse's convertable and make the rounds. We would hit every swimming hole in Translvania County. All on about two dollars worth of gas. I will always remember that Franklin Park Pools water was colder than Davidson River and that is saying a lot. I really hope all the kids in Brevard have a much fun in the summer as we all did.

    ReplyDelete
  2. My family moved to Brevard in May of 1951. Dad went to work at the new cellophane plant at Ecusta (then called Olin-Mathieson). We lived on Harold Street within yards of Franklin Park and the pool. My first two summers were spent there. I was at the pool in the morning when it opened and went home when it closed. I loved Franklin Park pool.

    The family moved to Fisher Road and that was within walking distance of Camp Straus. My next couple of summers were spent at the lake at Camp Straus. We swam, played basketball and ping pong. Loved those two summers.

    My dad decided that he wanted to farm in his spare time, so we moved to a little farm in Cherryfield, up the Rosman Highway. That pretty much ended my summertime swimming. We didn't have a second car and I couldn't drive anyway. I spent my time farming and playing basketball at the neighbor's house. Those were also great times.

    I never liked swimming in Davidson River. It was, and is, just too cold. Stone's Lake was fun but trips there required friends with a car and took most of a day for an outing. This was an infrequent but fun event.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Becky Class of '58July 31, 2010 at 8:52 AM

    I feel jealous about the swimming comments....I never learned to swim! However, I did enjoy dabbling my feet in the water at Camp Straus and staying in the sun all day--which was NOT a good thing! The sun has caused me problems in these later years. But everybody, who was anybody, always went to Camp Straus. My Mother's family use to picnic there very often. A wonderful place, indeed!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ron brought up a good point about transportation. One of the good things about having an older brother was that between him and his buddies I could always tag along well before I was old enough to drive. It sure wasn't like today with all the vehicles families have. We also walked a lot and didn't worry about walking a couple of miles to Camp Straus for a day of swimming and basketball. I remember trying to get up my nerve to dive off of the high diving board. After the first time It was nothing and I couldn't believe how afraid I had been. Camp Straus was really a special place. Neither of my parents worked at Ecusta, but we were invited to use the facilities every year. I wonder how many children learned to swim there ?

    ReplyDelete
  5. My Dad was an excellent swimmer as were his brothers and I am sure they taught me at a very early age because I can not remember not being able to swim. If they did not teach me, I must have learned at one of the first Camp Sapphire Coaching Schools. Does anyone remember the tiny old wooden "bath houses" across from the band hut...the ones before they built the new bath houses where the old canteen used to be?

    ReplyDelete
  6. I remember those bath houses, Jim. And also, I remember having a bathing suit stolen there. I had left it in one of the baskets; went back to get it; and it was gone! The next weekend I saw a girl wearing it--and I am sure it was mine--but I didn't confront her. Doggone it! She had MY bathing suit!

    ReplyDelete
  7. BUDDY KILPATRICK 57August 1, 2010 at 11:34 AM

    SWIMMING AT FRANKLIN PARK WAS NEAT BECAUSE IT WAS WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE OF HOME, UNLIKE CAMP SAPPHIRE. THE ONLY PROBLEM AT FRANKLIN WAS THE FOOT BATH YOU HAD TO CROSS OUT OF THE DRESSING ROOM. I HATE TO SOUND LIKE A GIRLIE MAN, BUT I WOULD WALK AROUND THE EDGE TO KEEP FROM STEPPING INTO THAT NASTY WATER

    ReplyDelete
  8. I hate to tell you now, Buddy, but that foot bath contained disinfectant to prevent the spreading of athletes foot and other diseases of the foot.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Buddy - was your dad Carl? Sister Wilma?

    Ann

    ReplyDelete
  10. Ooooooooooh I loved Camp Straus - and the Davidson River too.... or whatever stream I managed to 'plop in'....hehehehehehe ..... and having tea with Pat (my cousin) and great friend Judy under the old shade tree....... right Judy? It was sure neat growing up in Brevard .......

    I will try to post more, as I have been lazy and not even on the puter at all. hehehehehehe Bad, bad me.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hey, Ann......Did your cousin, Pat, go to BHS?
    I am wondering about her last name in order to see if I knew her. Are you related to Buddy?

    ReplyDelete
  12. No Becky - my cousin Pat grew up in Maryland ......but came to Brevard and spent a lot of summers with me ........ as far as related to Buddy, I 'think' I am - not sure yet......

    ReplyDelete
  13. It's time for a '60's rep to comment! Oh, my gosh! Ron mentioned basketball and ping-pong at Camp Straus; it was swimming (once you passed the "test"), yep- diving/jumping off the high board, tennis in the Barn when it rained, ping-pong for hours and huddling when the storms came! Stone's Lake was a treat, and the icy waters of Sliding Rock, etc. It is great to reconnect with those who remember these things. What a wonderful idea, Pat - thank you! Now I will spread the word among my classmates. Thanks to Eleanor F. for sharing the info. This is great! Monica, Class of '63

    ReplyDelete
  14. Ann, yes Buddy's dad was Karl and his sister is Wilma. There is also a much younger brother, James. Buddy's mother, Hazel, made the best cornbread (cakes and sticks) that I have ever eaten. I'm still trying to figure out where the Vagabond was.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hey, Monica......Did you work for Transylvania Community Hospital in April of 1962? I think you almost delivered my baby girl. Dr. Sader was rushing into the room as he removed his jacket, but you were in the process of bringing her into the world.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I just thought of this. Some of the high school football teams from South Carolina used to conduct their pre-season drills at Camp Deerwood. I don't know if it was legal or not back then, but we (the Blue Devils) would go out there and scrimmage them. Afterwards, Gordon Sprott (is the name correct, Ron?) would allow us to swim there. We were also allowed there at specific times as guests of the Deerwood summer counselors. Fond, fond memories.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I remember walking the railroad track to Camp Straus...taking a sandwich and staying all day...yes and the old wooden bath houses...and all the swings on the hill...wasn't there a bus that picked us up for Coaching School...that is where I learned to swim...also July 4th....free popcorn and lemonade...cooling off under the trees.

    ReplyDelete
  18. The railroad track was right behind our house on Green Acres and a great short cut. We would cut across Ralph Fisher's cow pasture, walk the tracks up to Joe's Little Store and then walk the road to Camp Straus. If we were on the tracks when a train was coming and we had an extra penny (which was rarely), we would put it on the track for the train to run over. When we picked the penny up later, it was about the size of a quarter and razor thin. Mother also packed lunches for us, probably to keep us out of her hair for the day...smart lady.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Jimmie, I remember the bus (Ecusta bus?) coming to town in the morning to take us to swimming lessons at Camp Straus. My stop was on West Main - there were probably other stops too. Seems like the driver took whoever was waiting to go. I don't think we needed permission slips, did we? My parents both worked so I was on my own for getting myself ready for wherever I was going and walking from Probart Street into town. In the afternoon, I walked to Franklin Pool - I loved that pool. Gerald Petit was the life guard. On slow days, he'd help us with things we were working on in swim classes. Of course, we had to pass tests at Straus and Franklin Pool to go in the deep water. That was a big deal to make that leap! Summer days were something else!

    ReplyDelete
  20. My parents loved to go on picnics and on Sundays Mom would pack a lunch of fried chicken, potato salad, green beans, and of course sweet tea. We would go to the Davidson River campground so we could swim. As you know that is the coldest water in the world. It took forever to get acclimated to it. I remember my brothers and me getting out of the water and being blue from the cold. But what fun it was.

    Billie McGaha

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thanks Jim - yepper - my sister and I are kin on Buddy - perhaps 3rd cousin ... not sure .......

    I sure hope this weather breaks and we have cooler weather this week-end......... love to just get outside without sweltering .....

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week-end.

    Ann

    ReplyDelete
  22. I remember franklin Park stocked the pool with trout and had a contest to see who could catch the first one, the largest one, and the most with your hands. At first the fish were too fast but as the chlorine took its toll even the smallest kid could catch one. I can't remember if it was a one time event or if they did it for several years. Does anyone else remember that?

    ReplyDelete
  23. Straus holds so many fond memories for all of us in Brevard. We didn’t have much by the world’s standards, but we were rich by our standards. My husband and I share our different stories and smile at our experiences. He was a ‘city boy’ and I was a ‘country girl’. He had an automobile to cruise around in and our family walked or rode a bus until our brother got old enough to drive. When he went into the Navy, my sister and I got to cruise also. Funny, Don lived next door to my uncle and I didn’t even know him then. Anyway, he’s told me many stories of his experiences at Straus and how he could swim underwater all the way across and back again; he still swims very well. He and Leonard Poteet used to compete, but I won’t tell that entire story. My family, in the early years, spent lots of time swimming at Cathy’s Creek after we picked black berries; later years, we were always at Lake Sega, as most of us girls worked there. We had a great time and often hiked to Kuykendall and played in the treacherous water there. At least I thought it was, as no adults were with us in case we got into trouble. We were truly blessed as children as we had so many activities to occupy our time and so many adults that genuinely cared for us and looked after us. Straus was the icing on the cake, especially on the fourth of July. I’m so grateful my children were also able to benefit from all the activities there.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I forgot to include a comment about my husband and his brother and how they celebrated their birthdays. They were twins, so they had a tradition of going to Davidson River on their birthday and jumping in the swimming hole. Oh, btw, they had to break the ice once in a while as their birthday was in December. Not exactly a summertime story. lol

    ReplyDelete
  25. Wow, Ruby, but I guess those thoughts of jumping in the ice cold water is refreshing and appealing in this very hot summer! I don't know where Kuykendall is. Please refresh my memory!

    ReplyDelete
  26. One of the best things I remember about Camp Strauss (or Camp Sapphire) was passing the swimming test and being able to go to the "cool" side of the lake ... cool as in where all the cool people were swimming and cool as in the water was naturally always much cooler on the deeper side.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Camp Strauss/Sapphire was also the home of the Ecusta Band Camp (and for a few more years the BHS Band Camp). How easily I remember the envy I had for all of those up in the cool lake water, while we were marching up and down that field at the bottom of the dam. Hot, hot, hot!!!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Becky, I suppose one can drive into Kuykendall today. I've seen signs at the Selica Rd./64W. We went through the woods above Lake Sega and followed a trail. I'd love to hike that again; my father used to hike it and I'd tag along. It was very beautiful with all the mountain laurel and Rhododendrons. The creek was faily large and treacherous and reminded me of Sliding Rock. I spent a great deal of my time in the mountains and hiked a lot of trails.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Well, you have told me of a place of which I did not know! Maybe, I can go with you sometime...just to see it. I am not very good at hiking, though. It sounds very nice! The good thing about all these posts is becoming aware of places in our beloved county that we never knew!

    ReplyDelete
  30. I had almost forgot about one of our favorite places to swim. Cascade Lake in Little River. A big group of us would rent a rowboat. It cost $1.50 for the day and we would row and swim to the upper end of the lake, near the waterfalls. We would spend the day swimming and laying on the huge rocks to get warm. In the 50's Cascade was a very active lake with water skiing and picnicking. The last time I was by Cascade the Clubhouse was a overgrown and looked pitiful.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Cascade Lake was an excellent place to swim and water ski...pretty good fishing also. I have not thought of him in years and years, but the only person who would let my rowdy friends and me ski behind his boat was Charles Wolf, whose boat had two green 55 horse power Johnson outboards on it. I can see it as clear as day right now. He was somewhat of a prankster and would pull us (what we considered) dangerously close to the dam to scare the wits out of us. Loads of fun. Hey Ron, do you remembver when one of our "un-named" friends hosted a party at the Cascade Inn and it burned down sometime during the early morning hours after the party? Speaking of Charles Wolf, he and his brother Howard were big guys, and I can still see them meekly following their mother who was a fairly big woman herself, into Pisgah Forest Baptist Church for "preaching" by Reverend Clarence Rogers! Mrs. Wolf had a different hat for every Sunday. I never knew anything about Mr. Wolf...maybe he has alreadys passed on at that time. Funny thing about Preacher Rogers was that he would almost always announce before his sermon who was going to feed him and his family (Mrs. Rogers, Donald, Joy and Wanda Ruth)that day's Sunday dinner. After everyone got used to that, all the women would (good naturedly) prepare extra food lest they would be short if he chose them. I guess because he lived across from my Grandma Capell and because she was very good cook, he chose her quite often. How I digress from the old swimming holes...Preacher Rogers never laid his watch on the pulpit (like Preacher Julian did) and it was not unheard of for him to still be "preaching" at 1 o'clock or later. Either he figured all of us sinning Bapatist needed the extra lesson or he wanted to give us our money's worth. Do you remember those days Michael?

    ReplyDelete
  32. Jim: I remember Preacher Rogers, Preacher Julian, Mrs. Cheek and all the good people at Pisgah Forest Baptist Church. I also remember the long Sunday services. Someone sent Buddy Julian's Obit to me recently. I hated to hear about him passing. I saw him a lot at car shows and enjoyed talking to him about the things you mentioned. I also remember how dangerous it was to make your turn at the dam when you were skiing at Cascade. I'm really surprised someone didn't go over the edge. I understand the lake and property has been a campground for several years, but I liked it better before. Good Memories.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Jim, the party that you mention concerning the fire at Cascade Lake Inn was a DuPont shift party. You can't really blame any individual. I suspect the Pickelsimers and DuPont came to an equitable settlement.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Shift Party? Ron, I did not know that. I thought it was a bunch of you guys who put it together. When did the Inn burn down? I don't think I was around Brevard at that time. I sure hope Charie (and Joe) got an equitable settlement. He, Charlie, is one of the finest men I have ever known. He gave me (and Jerry and Tom) a job out of the goodness of his heart...twice.

    ReplyDelete
  35. You don't usually hear about anyone swimming in the French Broad River, probably because it had so much silt suspended in it that it appeared dirty. Several of us camped and fished regularly at the mouth of Lambs Creek and the French Broad and always had a great time. We had a 5-HP Mercury Outboard Motor that we would attach to a homemade flat bottom boat and run up and down the river. If you can imagine a bunch of early teen boys with that much freedom. Don't remember who owned the motor, but seems like it was paid for with night crawlers sold at Joe's Little Store. When we camped we would fish almost all night and needless to say we ate everything we caught, which included horny heads, catfish, brim, perch and all the trash fish. We spent many warm summer nights fishing and talking. We never had any adults with us and as far as I remember no one checked on us. We would stay for two or three days or until the food ran out. You can just eat fried potatoes/onions and trash fish for so long. Gosh! The freedoms we had and not much to worry about. Can you picture letting kids have that much freedom today with all the nuts running around.

    ReplyDelete