Days of December #11…bunny pelts and ice cream money

Crescent Beach

As a child we camped a lot…and one of our favorite places to go on our 2 week vacations to Washington State is a place called Crescent Beach. It is now privately owned as is Agate Beach which is just a short hike  away.

When I heard about it no longer being public land I actually cried, hard. I had a tradition that I carried out every year until we stopped coming here…I would save the money we got to get ice cream or popsicles from the ice cream truck as it drove down our street each afternoon from mid spring. 10-20 cents per day I saved, about 5 days a week. until we took off on our BIG vacation. I had this big purse that Mama was going to toss about the same time I began my tradition. It had pockets… OH POCKETS!!! and compartments and zippers and snaps!! I hid so much crap in that thing that no one knew I was saving my ice cream money. And I packed that purse on trips for years.

The first time we drove from Crescent to Agate Beach my eyes grew wide as there was a souvenir store at Agate Beach. I remember always looking for something from places I went that would remind me of the trip. I had trinkets and baubles that I would bring to my Mama and she would allow me to get just one. I contemplated and thought and calculated in my head what was worthy of being brought back home in that purse. Well my first trip to the Agate Beach Souvenir shop i found a bunny pelt. I remember crying for days on end because the answer was no. It was the softest thing I had ever felt, I held it to my face and knew that it was the perfect keepsake.

With no as my Mama’s final answer, and there was no phoning a friend or asking the audience back then, I was determined that the next year I would get my own bunny pelt and nobody could say no then. HMPH!!! I was almost 5 years old.

Just a month shy of being 6 I had the opportunity to buy my own bunny pelt. I asked my brother Paul to walk me to the store and we took the trail over the “mountain” where there were wild animals and scary noises. Paul was 10 years older than me so I was given permission to go.

I ran to the blue and white Open Road camp trailer and crawled under the table and lifted the padding and wood of the dining seat up and grabbed my purse. Off we hiked, Paul and I, singing together. He and I were often cohorts in childhood crime together, so often inseparable. The pelt I chose was brown and the woman smiled as Paul picked me up to the counter so I could pull all of the money I saved out of that purse and pay for my purchase.

Paul had money in his pocket to buy us a treat when we got there as well as some money he had earned somehow back home. He was ready to buy the pelt for me when I kept reaching into the secret pocket, pulling out dimes and nickels. I paid for the pelt, by myself, all $10.95 of it. The woman smiled as I put my new purchase against my face and thanked her. Paul bought us each a grape Fanta and licorice and we went down and collected agates that gave this beach its name then headed back over the mountain.

Paul asked me why I wanted the bunny pelt so bad and I said “because they are soft like a pet and Daddy won’t let me have a pet to love.” That day my brother and I made a pact, he told everyone that he bought the pelt for me and I didn’t get in trouble for saving my ice cream money. He also started taking me with him when he went to see his girlfriend, their family raised Great Danes and I got to play with dogs to my hearts content as long as I didn’t tell anyone I saw the two of them kissing!

I lost the bunny pelts, and my only other 2 prized possessions, a Peter Rabbit bank that my brother Tom gave me and a plastic “last chance Joe” miner doll that was a replica of the miner on the side of John Asquaga’s Nugget Casino, after we moved to Iran. The storage company that stored all of our belongings while we lived overseas was robbed.

So you see, the reason I cried when I learned the beaches are now privately owned is because I wanted to go back and buy a bunny pelt with nickels and dimes.

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