I grew up in Hamilton, Ontario, but my second home was Grand Bend on the shores of Lake Huron. On the last day of school, we would pack up all of our belongings and head to our mobile home in Turnbull's Grove, just north of town. Because my mom was a stay at home mom, we got to spend the whole summer at the beach. We would arrive at the 60 foot long black and white trailer around noon. The first order of business would be to remove the chain that crossed the driveway. My siblings and I would stand in a row and pull like a tug of war contest. Once the car was parked, we would unload everything. My Dad was particular about the car and it was usually packed carefully; he made the best use of space in that station wagon. Then, everyone had to go to the bathroom at the same time after the two hour trip. We would unpack our clothes in the wooden dressers built into the bedroom walls. Then we would eat a meal in our kitchen, complete with "saloon doors" to separate it from the living room. Mom would unpack the cooler and put the perishables in our green fridge. Then she would heat up soup on our green gas stove, after much fiddling with the pilot light. Once the meal was eaten, we would head to the beach, our towels hanging over our shoulders and our suntan lotion in our hands. Down a hill, past our friends, the Thornton's who were usually sitting in front of their trailer, we would stroll. Mr. Thornton would bring us up to date on what was happening in Turnbull's Grove. Past the creek we would walk and then we would reach the beach where we would lay down our towels. We would spend the whole afternoon at the beach. It was my Mom and the three Tufts girls, all sunbathing side by side. I learned how to swim at 2 years of age, the year we first bought the trailer. I was the type that wanted to be under the water rather than above it most of the time. Sometimes we would go for a long walk along the beach, looking for rocks or for seashells. I don't ever remember being bored at the beach. At supper time, we would head back to the trailer where Mom would make supper, maybe corned beef on rye bread that she bought from the Grand Bend bakery. Often we would have watermelon for dessert; I used to sprinkle it with salt the way my Dad did. After supper, we would sometimes head down to the lake for an evening dip. Often we would stay to watch the sunset. There is nothing like a sunset over the lake. At dusk, we would head back to the trailer where we would play a board game or read a book (our black and white TV only received one channel). Tired from our long day in the sun, we would put on our pajamas and climb into our bunk bed, listening to the crickets chirp under our window. It was the start of a perfect summer in Turnbull's Grove.
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