My parents bought a 1940-something Ford school bus in the early 1960s. My dad, Russ, and his best friend, Snick, gutted it and transformed it into a wood-paneled camper on wheels. The rear of the bus has two double-sized bunks across the back. There are more built-in bunks and even a bathroom, fridge, stove and sink.
Snick and his wife, Tina, my mom’s best friend, also had a bus, and our families camped together for years. We have cherished memories of the big campfire set up between buses for roasting weenies, boiling giant pots of farm fresh sweet corn bought on the roadside for the fish fry, Tina’s homemade potato soup; making molded pies and, of course, roasting marshmallows.
Best of all was the evenings when young and old sat around the fire playing spoons and tambourines. Some would hum on kazoos, too, or sing. Russ’ passion and love of fishing carried down to his children and his grandchildren most of all.
When the campground on Lake Marion near the cities closed down, my aunt offered to let us park the bus at her place on Island Lake near Tamarack, Minn.
Sadly, Aunt Jean is gone and so is my father. Jean’s kids have graciously grandfathered us in, and my sister and I and our children are the only ones that still go to the bus some 40-plus years later. It’s the most beautiful haven nestled on a lake with private access in the Savanna State Forest. We still have Dad’s dock and his fishing boat, and we cherish every single minute we visit. My sister, Chris, and I go together as much as we can. Our annual fall “Sisters-Only Weekend” is our favorite.
To us, the camp is the coolest and most-sacred place ever. We like to call it “The Magic Bus!”
Dawn Walker, Hastings