#52Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Joined

In the early-1970s, my parents* bought a motor home. We’d had a trailer before we went to Scotland, and before that, we had a tent. My parents enjoyed seeing the sights and camping was an inexpensive way to travel.

Not too long after we got that camper, which I believe was about 28′ long, my parents, Bill and Zenova Hahn, joined the Good Sam Club. They were members of Low Country Sams in Charleston, South Carolina, and later they founded the Conquistadors in Pensacola, Florida. For years, we went camping with the local chapter once a month. I was quite often the only child there, but I had plenty of fun. We would usually take my cat Midnight and my dog Snoopy, once he joined the family. The campgrounds usually had a playground or swimming pool or other activities. Saturday night was the potluck dinner; I was a picky eater, but I always found plenty of good food to eat. Sunday morning with the Conquistadors we always had a simple church service and sang hymns.

Bill & Zenova in front of their camper.
Bill & Zenova Han in front of their camper. My mom sewed the flags. The one on the left was for the Conquistadors chapter and the one on the right was for the Low Country Sams. The stickers on the Plexiglas shows the places they’d traveled in the U.S. and Europe.

We often went to state or national Good Samborees, which were campouts on steroids. There were goody bags with advertising premiums. (I loved my Black Velvet plastic keyring, though it was probably entirely inappropriate for a little kid to have a liquor-based keyring). I remember one national event that was in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and the campground had a fenced-off area full of prairie dogs. I loved that! I believe it was on that trip I got to tour Mammoth Cave, although I may be mixing it up with the caves in Marianna, when we were at a Florida state Samboree.

My dad reached the pinnacle of his involvement when he was elected the assistant state director for Florida.

From 1979 to 1982, my dad lived in the camper in Panama City; he was stationed at the then-Naval Coastal Systems Center, while my mom and I lived in the house in Pensacola that they built when they first got married. I don’t remember if that’s when the camping started to taper off. After my dad retired in 1982, he and my mom used the camper to travel around the country to craft shows, so they definitely didn’t do any camping during those years.

I know that eventually the members of the Conquistadors got too old to go camping every month and the chapter folded. Many of the Conquistadors were old friends. Some of them had been teachers with my grandparents years before they had motor homes, so they always stayed in touch.

We did other traveling in the motor home, visiting family and friends. One time my dad had some Navy business in Washington, D.C., so we all went along and we were going to spend a few days and do some sightseeing, but a snowstorm came along, so as soon as my dad’s business was done, we left.

Even though I was never an “official” member of the Good Sam Club, I have good memories of those times.

*I say “my parents” bought the motor home, but really it was my mom. I think the advertisement in the paper said $8888 for the price, and when she got to the dealership, they told her it was a misprint. She dug in, and the manager eventually relented and sold it to her for the listed price. We were talking about it recently and mom said that when they eventually upgraded to a bigger model, the were able to get pretty much the price they paid for it on the trade-in.

About Taminar

When I grow up, I want to make movies and write books. Now in my 50s, I wonder if I'll ever really accomplish the dreams of my youth. I have made two short films, one for a college film-making class, the other for an MTV-sponsored contest. I have written short plays that have been produced, and a few short stories and reviews that have been published. I also perform and direct for community theatre. My working life has included stints in local TV news, public relations, retail management and cashier, and for a couple of years, I made the rides go at Walt Disney World. I have two cats and a husband.
This entry was posted in Genealogy, My Life and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to #52Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Joined

  1. Barb LaFara says:

    The monthly camping trips and Samborees sound like fun. Thanks for sharing.

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