To me, verbal reminisces are not enough. After hearing about their past ventures I have been trying for a couple of years to have my beach friends document the experiences of their past 50+ years of camping, especially at Lakewood Campground in Myrtle Beach, SC where we have enjoyed ourselves for 24 years. This lovely couple have not been able to travel there for the past two years and we all miss them very much.
I cannot tell you how excited I was to receive a three page letter from "Betty Jo" recently and she even enclosed an old camper's receipt from 1962! I dug in my photos and came up with two to go with this blog. If I had thought ahead, I most likely could have asked her to send some of hers for me to scan and return, and she would have, but the letter she sent covered just what I requested and I'm happy to share it.
I have typed her letter here, as it was handwritten. GMR
Remembering Lakewood Campground
Written by Betty W. Magee
When my husband Morris and I were married in 1950 in Roanoke, Virginia, we went camping with my parents, Lelia and Norwood Wharton. They had a station wagon that they slept in and we slept on cots beside the station wagon with a canopy over us.
In Virginia we would camp on Shenandoah River and Craigs Creek where we fished. We camped at the Peaks of Otter on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
We would camp at the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We would go to Hollywood, Florida where my uncle lived and fish in the canals there. We drove to Canada in 1957. My dad died that year and my mom in 1959.
Morris and I would take two of my nephews, age 10 and 12, camping at the Peaks of Otter in Virginia and the Smokey Mountains in North Carolina. They enjoyed seeing the bears and hiking the mountains.
Morris and I went to Lakewood Campground in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina when they first opened. After entering, there was a small trailer and a young woman taking the money for camping, which was $1.00 for the night.
The roads were just sand. People were always getting their vehicles stuck at their campsite and other campers would help them get out.
Our first camping trip there we were on a site, now No. 1209, and had a pup tent. We left to drive and get something that was not in campground. We left the flap up on the door of tent as the weather looked good when we left. Some campers that we didn't know came over and put the flap down when a rain storm came. We really appreciated that.
We've found that campers are the nicest people and we've made a lot of friends camping at Lakewood for over fifty years.
One time when we went down, we thought it would be warm the whole time but turned cold. We went into town to find a jacket but the stores only had T-shirts and swimwear. We knew next time to take warm clothes too.
There was a path from Lakewood into the woods that led to a lake. A dog was tied near the lake and would bark when someone went down the path. On the north side was all wooded area and had several horses that ran loose in the woods. One day a man camper went to get water out of a spigot and a Copperhead snake was on the spigot.
Going down to Myrtle Beach it was a 2 lane road, Rt. 501 from Conway, South Carolina to the campground. We would always go to Murrells Inlet for a seafood supper.
After camping near entrance at first, we gradually moved closer to ocean. We liked it better on sites close to inlet so we didn't have to walk very far and we could fish in the surf. We had camping trailers after a few times in tents.
When we first started surf fishing, a nice man told us to get little mullet and fillet them and use half on one hook. We did that and caught a lot of fish. Morris bought a throw net and caught our bait instead of having to buy it.
Several times we would be on the beach and army troops would come to shore on boats and run up into woods. It would take place South and North of the campground. Other times a soldier would get out of boat into the water and a helicopter would pull him up into helicopter as a practice of rescue. A boat would pull a target behind it and another boat would shoot at the target, They left shell casings out in the water and when they came back in the afternoon to pick them up, someone from campground had swam out and got one and brought it back to campground. The army men went to every campsite looking for the shell casing.
One evening the sharks were almost beaching themselves at the inlet trying to catch fish.
We enjoyed seeing the Sandpipers, Terns, Sea Gulls, Great Blue Herons and Egrets. The white Ibises would walk down the road beside the campsite eating something out of the ground, They were so pretty. Swans would fly from campground out over ocean then fly back. A Bald Eagle would sit on top of a tree at the laundry. You would see Dolphins swimming out in ocean very often. We saw Pelicans flying over ocean and Osprey diving in ocean for fish.
Several years ago there were a lot of stray cats in campground, If you left anything edible outside they would get it. One evening we had some fish bait out on a table that was screened in and a cat tore the net screening to get to the bait. Many years later you didn't see the stray cats.
Lakewood would have an ice cream social and you could have ice cream for $1.00. You had to bring your own bowl.
In September Mr. Perry would have a fish fry for all the employees. When gasoline was scarce the campground put in a big tank and a gas pump and sold gasoline to campers. We could fill up there before going back to Roanoke.
A flock of Viceroy Butterflies would fly south over the sand next to the ocean. They look a lot like Monarch butterflies.
One year after a bad storm had washed things on the beach we got some nice driftwood and a piece of coral. We have it in our backyard. The birds enjoy standing on it. One looks like a shark nose and is about 3 feet tall. We've found over a quart of sharks' teeth through the years.
For health reasons we haven't been able to go to Lakewood in 2011 and 2012 but we have good memories of camping there for so many years and the wonderful friends we looked forward to seeing every year.
1962 Receipt-Front and Back
September 21, 2009
2008 Red Drum Fish