My father had a lot of admirable qualities but was like a bull in a china shop with anything mechanical (he used to claim I passed his abilities at age 5) and I remember spending hours watching him pump our old Coleman white gas lanterns and try to start it. We went through mantles like crazy because he was so rough with the lanterns after getting frustrated they would break. We had more than a few scary moments lighting the stove! I never thought of it before but I guess his father (who could build anything) just didn't have the time or inclination to teach him.
The boxes in the background are great too. Dad dispatched the longshoreman crews so we had numerous box-joint wooden boxes like that with "Nitro-Glycerin" painted on the sides.
My older brother was a scout for a while and my folks out fitted him with a lot of gear. I remember his sleeping bag. I got to use it a few times, which was no big plus. I recall it being very thin cotton, and rather than a zipper down the side it had snaps. Every time you turned over it would suck in cold air. As kids we would camp on the beach during the summer. the bag would also allow sand to drift in. I might as well had just slept on the sand with a blanket over me.
When growing up, the gas lanterns were a household standby along with kerosene lamps. They were our source of light when the power would go out on South Whidbey. This was a regular occurrence after a big windstorm. The lanterns were also used to go out on a minus tide at night and pick up crabs. Along with the lantern was a wash tub and a pitchfork. The lantern to spot, the pitchfork to pick up and the tub to carry the crabs.
I also got to see my uncle use dynamite. He bought a "stump ranch" and needed to clear it for strawberries. I remember the stumps being huge. Big enough for springboard holes. Pretty exciting to a little kid to watch those babies blow!
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