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Jeana writes about a camping trip at ten.

November 19th, 2016 Comments off

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Jeana wrote this circa 1950 about a 1920 camping trip to Galveston as a ten-year-old with her brother Ryland, her best friend Marie Lee and her family.

I raised myself on my elbow. The fire was out. The cot creaked as I sat up to see the reason why. There was  a sound of lapping.

My ten years, even with the Lees for friends, had not prepared me. I was on a coot under a tent by an automobile. There were sleeping people around me. But we had all gone to sea! The water was swarming with jelly fish, round, opalescent, transparent pearl jelly. There they were gray, gargantuan quivering pearls bumping the legs of our cots. I parted the sodden mosquito bar [net]. I put my hand out and pushed one. It was cold and resistant. “Mr. Lee,” I called.

His head came up in his mosquito bar. Mrs. Lee’s head arose. Marie said, “It’s too early, shush!”

“Well, we have gone to sea.”

Mr. Lee yelped, and jumped from his bed into the automobile. The car would not start.

Mrs. Lee scrambling out of bed. “We’d better all pull our things back out to the beach.”

We put our feet over into the warm, sticky water of summer at Galveston. The small arisen tide was foaming gently on the hard sand. For three feet in the beach, was a mass of jelly fish that the water was busily moving about.

Mr. Lee ordered us all out to push the car to safety. Gabriel [Lee] and Ryland helped. But the automobile remained exactly as I and the down first saw it, stationary.

There were some net fisherman further down the beach. We were sent for them, to please come.

The whole earth was a replica of the jelly fish, grey sky filled with clouds, which the sun could not pierce. The sands were hard and grey and wet. Far out the water was silver moving in patterns of crinkled foil. Looking down the beach at the thousands of lumps of jelly through which we had to pick our way. I wondered if the car would sink or just wash out.

The fisherman reluctantly returned with us. We found sticks and brutally pierced the globs of jelly and Mrs. Lee took our picture so that the sticks were hidden while the men pushed the car dryward. We scurried out and pulled the cots back also.

“Firewood,” shouted our director. We fled toward the higher sand, and came back with satiny, cream branches which we heaped in a pile.

“Get those jelly fish back where they beyond, and we’ll have breakfast.”

Sand, wet and fish smell faded as the fire ate at the woods. The bacon and eggs were floating in bubbles of fat. We were toasting bread on our sticks, which were now divested of sea creatures.

“The clouds threaten rain,” Mr. Lee stated. “Guess, we better go in after breakfast.

Ryland and Gabriel were gobbling breakfast and objecting. They were already suited for bathing.

“Those jelly fish are knee-deep out there. You don’t want to get mixed up [with] them.

“But, Daddy,” this from Marie. “We just came here last night.”

I was tired. Mrs. Lee had kept the fire going for hours last night. I had awakened many times as he poked and pitched on wood. The waves were there making wind in the pines sounds. I was dirty and thought of home pleasantly.

So, we started the long journey home. Gabriel snuck a jelly fish in under the seat of the car. Mrs. Lee kept smelling and said we all needed baths. We giggled so much, she finally demanded the fish.

Mothers certainly are smart.

Eugenia Hunt (left) and Marie Lee (center) circa 1927,

Eugenia Hunt (left) and Marie Lee (center) circa 1927,

Marie Lee in 1926 at Rice University . [Marie Phelps]

Marie Lee in 1926 at Rice University . [Marie Lee Phelps]