The Family Grows and Goes on Vacation – Karen, Part 4 of 10

Note: please see previous posts to catch up – they are a series that all tie together!

Finally, Karen and I are fast friends. And the great news is, Karen’s not done having babies! Yes, we lost Tara, but Karen is ever hopeful and soon she is preggers again. It is 1978.

Naturally we are all concerned because we don’t know why she couldn’t carry Tara to term and on one level we are all holding our breath for the new baby to get here. And again, I want to have a baby shower because we are all so excited. I did and soon Jamie Jo made her appearance on October 13, 1978. What a joy it was to welcome her! Jim and Karen were thrilled and showed her off every chance they got. What a happy time it was.

Then, a few years later, Karen is expecting one more time. We are all a bit surprised because now Karen is 32 years old – and will turn 33 just before the baby arrives. Isn’t this a bit old health-wise? At the time, it seemed so, but I have to tell you, that is no longer a concern today. My daughters’-in-law didn’t even start their families by that age – let alone be having some sort of “late” or “mid-life” baby. But that was the thought back then. And I was worried.

However, Miss Julie Justus arrived on January 19, 1982 and was healthy as could be. And unlike her previous sisters, Julie really favored her dad. She even had what my kids called an “upside-down mouth” that gave her the cutest quirky smile.

Both girls were a delightful addition to the family and oh what fun we had for years to come!

Something we all did as a family was take an annual vacation to the Lake Erie shore each summer. Years before, our family heads, Bill and Betty used to rent a cabin near Vermillion Ohio. Now, as it turned out, this little family-owned rental place had a total of 5 cabins on their property. And what we would do is rent all five for a week to make it a Daubenmire getaway. It was not only right on the lake, it was just a few minutes drive up the road to Cedar Point for a day trip so the kids could go the park for a day.

Now let me tell you, a Daubenmire excursion is One. Big. Deal. My father-in-law had to rent a trailer just to transport all the things we would need to survive for the week. And that was in addition to the car and truck-loads of stuff everyone else brought! We had everything from fishing poles to charcoal to croquet sets to Frisbees to electric skillets to beach towels and foodstuffs for an entire week. We were literally loaded for bear.

Not only that, Bill and Betty would squeeze her parents, Grandma and Grandpa Tisdale in the back seat to stay in their cabin with them. Next to them was a cabin for me and Bill and our family. On the other side was Rick (Peanut) and his wife and family. Across the way was Karen and Jim and the girls and the other cabin had dibs between Mike, Kristen and visiting relatives who would come up for a day or two because they were afraid they’d be missing something if they didn’t.

TV with rabbit earsKaren, of course, was notorious on these trips. She was a master packer and would sneak in a portable TV so she could watch the weather or the news. She also had an extra box packed that was purely her personal “stash.” It usually contained chips and/or chocolate that she didn’t really want to share.

At first we didn’t know she was doing this. But it didn’t take long. Someone figured it out and went in and snagged a bunch of her stuff. Later, as we were all sitting on the deck watching the sun set we heard a loud bang…. It was Karen throwing her cabin door open so forcefully that it hit the front of the cabin before it swung back shut.

All of us turned to look to see what was happening.

“WHERE ARE MY HO HOs???” Karen screamed.

We looked on from the deck in amazement. Who knew she even had Ho Hos???

There was no immediate answer so Karen slammed the door and locked herself back inside.

It turned out later that the youngest sister Kristen had been snooping and found the ho hos and got into them. Which meant Karen had to find a new hiding place… which meant Kristen would keep snooping. It was a never-ending circus.

Big Bill, the patriarch, nicknamed Karen “Miss Congeniality” and it stuck.

But the best part for me was Karen was a master at ditching everyone and sneaking away into town and she would usually take me with her. She loved to poke around the little gift shops and then go to the Root Beer Stand for a chili dog. So I’d be on the watch for a signal and off we’d fly. Later, when we returned, some of the others would say “where did you go?” And “why didn’t you tell us you were going into town?”

Karen was innocent as can be when she replied, “oh! I didn’t know you would want to go! Next time I’ll tell you…” Then she would give me a sideways glance and grin.

Root Beer Stand2

But she always rounded up everyone for the excursions to Cedar Point. That’s when she was Leader of the Pack. She was the only one who could coerce my timid boys into riding the BLUE STREAK and later the CORKSCREW. I certainly did not get on it with them but somehow she convinced everyone else it was what they had to do. She would send me off for a little private gift shop time with a wink and a smile. And I didn’t need my arm twisted for that! Of course she expected to be paid with some homemade fudge from the old time candy store that was on my way to meet them when they got off the roller coaster. We both knew the deal.

ho hosLater she would shoot down the mine ride with all the kids and come off soaking wet but cool as a cucumber. The kids were crazy about her and she rewarded them with more rides and plenty of junk food. She really never stopped until she got back to the cabins and retreated to her darkened room lit only by the TV with the rabbit ears and her hidden stash of ho hos…

Here’s a photo of Karen sitting outside her cabinat the lake2

And one of her outside Bill and Betty’s cabin with infant Julie

Karen and Julie2

And another trip when we all stayed at the Hotel Breakers at Cedar Point

family hotel breakers2

Here’s Karen and Jim fresh off the mine ride

Mine ride2

And Julie and Jamie on a kiddie ride

Jamie and Julie

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