I'm taking a break from the walk down memory lane via Kodak Avenue, to tell you story.
I present... Shake-a-Puddin.
Watch the commercial. Please. Then you'll know why it was a thing I had to get/make/shake/eat.
One summer, my family set out for the vacation to end all vacations. It had to be the summer of 1971, because I'm told that Disney World in Florida opened October of that year. We traveled there and did absolutely everything a family could do in the Sunshine State - but Disney.
We set out in a truck with a camper on the back. At the time, it was legal to travel in the back as long as there was a communication device between the camper and the cab. Armed with a sort of corded intercom, (that would later run from my room to the kitchen, so Mom wouldn't have to yell at me to turn my music down) we set out. My sister rode up front with Mom and Dad (she got car sick), and Denny and I had the camper to ourselves. (John was either in the Army or at school, and didn't come with us.)
It was the best vacation of my childhood. I don't remember how long we were gone, but it had to have been a really long time. Look at everything we did!!
- Stopped my Mammoth Cave in Tennessee. The only thing I remember is banging my head on the wall of the cave hard enough to see stars.
- Drove through the Smokey Mountains. We saw a black bear cub there, and a lot of people were throwing food to it. I wanted to stay, but Dad wouldn't let us. He knew there was a protective Mama bear around somewhere, and she wouldn't be too hospitable to the people throwing things at her baby.
- Toured St. Augustine. I would love to go back there. I don't remember anything about it, but I know I liked it.
- Toured Cypress Gardens. I don't know if they still have pretty girls walking around, all dolled up in hoop skirts with parasols, but they did then. We all teased Denny about "being sweet" on them.
- Rode an airboat through the Everglades. How cool is that? I felt like a regular Marlin Perkins!
- Hit the beach, on the Atlantic and Gulf sides. I got caught in a big wave on the Atlantic side and didn't know which way was up. Pretty scary. But Denny was a hero on the Gulf side, and saved a kid from drowning!!! The boy got too far out and Denny returned him to shore, piggy-back style. We camped on one of the beaches and Denny liked to sleep outside the camper - that was until the Night Of The Dreaded Sand Fleas. There was itching... lots and lots of itching.
- Marineland, probably because Sea World wasn't open yet.
The absolute best parts of the trip? Riding in the camper. I got to ride in the part that goes up over the cab of the truck, and Denny and I were stocked with snacks and Mad Magazines. I was in heaven.
And Shake-a-Puddin. I was the Shake-a-Puddin queen of that vacation. I made it an subjected the rest of my family to it after almost ever evening meal.
After scanning the scrapbook for photos, I only found one. You would think an incredible vacation like that would produce a hundred photos! If so, I don't have them. Probably because when I put the scrapbook together, during one of the big snowstorms of the late 70's, I was only concerned about photos of myself.
So after the best vacation of my childhood, I give you... this.