I recently read a story about someone else’s experience with Camp Wildwood located near my home in Normalville Pennsylvania. It stirred my own memories of the abandoned area. As youngsters, my brother Ken and I would ride our bikes up Coal Bank Hill Road and then to Camp Wildwood. It was a quiet place where we could pedal safely away from traffic. Occasionally, people would pull their campers into the secluded area to escape their homes for a week.
Early one morning while the low-lying fog was still clinging to the earth, we decided to ride in the coolness before the heat of the summer sun cooked the moisture and made the day humid and miserable.
In an area alongside the path, was a small camper trailer. Standing in the open doorway was a sky-clad woman who seemed almost as surprised to see us as we were to see her. Imagine a modern day rendition of Botticelli’s Birth of Venus standing on a clam shell appearing before our youthful eyes. The mist swirled around her feet and I instantly became aware that she was truly a redhead.
Other than times of swimming, another memory that stands out to me occurred just after a rain storm. Our neighbor was always working on cars. He was about 5 years older and could drive the cars he repaired. Once when I visited him, he said, “Just finished wiring the car. Let’s take it for a spin.” I quickly jumped in and we headed for his test run track, Camp Wildwood. By now the roadways were overgrown and little more than deep ruts cut by passing tires. That day, in places they were long troughs of water.
Driving along, we spotted a troop of Boy Scouts walking along the edge, staying on the edge of the elongated puddle. My neighbor said, “Watch this.” and pushed the accelerator to the floor. The engine roared and we sped into that puddle with a rooster tail of water fanning out behind us on both sides of the car. I watched as Boy Scouts frantically dove for the weeds. About halfway through the troop, the hood of the car flew open covering most of the windshield. “Aren’t you going to stop,” I asked. But he kept driving and said, “Not in the middle of a bunch of angry guys.”
A little farther along, we pulled over. He lowered the hood and securely wired it shut. After a short rest we headed back home and thankfully, no Boy Scouts were waiting to ambush us.