Home It's Personal Vacations in the Fifties/Sixties?

Vacations in the Fifties/Sixties?


Vacations as a child — I honestly do not ever remember going on a bonafide actual vacation. I never realized it before, but now that I’m think about it.  Nope. never. 

But one thing we did do as a family, for a few years, was go to a lake in New Jersey almost every Sunday. The car would be packed up, my mother would make lunch/dinner to take. I remember lots of potato salad and fried chicken . . . (it makes me wonder today about food going bad!!!) My two aunts and their husbands would meet us there a few times a month. 

It seems like we went almost every weekend in those summer years of my mid-teens, but my memory is probably a bit faulty. The car would be loaded up with kids and food for the trip in the old clunker of the moment. Unbelievably I don’t ever remember anyone getting sick with food poisoning or many car breakdowns. (seriously)

Anyway.. We went John’s Lake Park!  I will never forget the name. It was less than an hour or so by car. A small lake with swimming and loads of picnic tables. Sunday afternoons would be spent swimming while the adults played poker on the picnic tables.

This is also where I met my first husband Bob. He was a tag along with family friends of my Aunt Helen and Uncle Jerry. So he went along to the lake with a high school friend and started coming along a few more times. Soon he asked me out and that was it! 

New Jersey was also the spot where we would go visit the Gingerbread Castle Park during my elementary school years — it would be a once a year treat and just so magical at the time. And around the same time the family would go to Far Rockaway beach for the day, a better spot than Coney Island. Coney Island was just for visiting the original Nathan’s when parents had a few extra bucks to blow on hot dogs and the best fries in the world. 

So when reading and talking to people about family vacations today, I’m just as guilty, trying to make it as special as possible for the grandkids. Maybe to make up for the times we never even dreamed of doing vacations as a family, but since we didn’t know better, was never missed. 

We did have a Brooklyn swimming hole right outside our stoop! All it took was some sneaky guy in the neighborhood with a huge wrench to open up the fire hydrant on those hot NYC days — so we did have something that most small town kids missed!