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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • Couple camping at the Lake for 50 years

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  • WILSONVILLE - For 50 years, the Wilsonville Campground has been like a home away from home for Jack and Sally Fielding. A trip that began in 1964 when the Fielding's were trying to choose a family vacation, led the couple of 62 years to the campground where they saw their children enjoy many summers and friends come and go.
        Jack says he never expected his wife would like camping. But she did, and the family of four started with a tent, a few sleeping bags and cots, Sally says “because we didn't know if we were going to survive.” But, through the years the family's equipment grew, going from the tent to larger campers, to their present 44 foot camper. When the family first arrived, they didn't see a need for a boat. But the following year, they got one.
        Before cellphones, Jack says the family was able to escape to the campground to get away, leaving their home in New Jersey after finishing work Friday and staying till Sunday. Only living an hour away, he adds that the campground's location was convenient. Since their first cross-country trip in a popup camper in 1989, the couple has traveled across the United States 30 times.  
        Most recently, the couple sold their home in Arizona and now aside from their camper, Jack says “we're basically homeless.” With children on the east coast and because they are both in their 80's, Jack says it was time to come back. As long as the weather is warm, Jack says he wouldn't mind just staying in the camper. Last winter the couple stayed near a granddaughter in Georgia, and this year that may be their winter residence. Having traveled so many times, Sally says they've had enough.
        The 50 years, Jack says have snuck by fast and activities like swimming and water skiing are just a few of the many things their children learned how to do on the lake. Through the years, the couple agree there have been many changes, some for the good and some not. Originally there were no campers, and the camp was divided because people could only get electric up on the hill. But, the settings changed in 1982 when the campground was remodeled and every campsite was equipped with electricity. It wasn't until 1980 though, when seasonal camping started and Jack says there was a bumper to bumper traffic on Fridays as families wanted to camp. That's not the case now, he adds.
        When the couple first started camping the cost was $1.00 a night, $5.00 a week or $10 if they wanted electric. There were no flush toilets either. But once Bill and Laurie Hopkins took over the campground, Jack says things changed for the better as Bill did a lot of work around the campground.
    Page 2 of 2 -     Both agree, that the peace and quiet are something they enjoy about camping, especially during the week. Sally likes not having to clean a house, and the small yard work they have, is easy to take care of.   
        Jack says the biggest change to camping is the modernized equipment and there are more people camping in tents today, then there were five years ago. But both agree that the economy has affected camping with gas being expensive. Together the couple share one cell phone, and Jack says the family is trying to “get through life without getting into computers.” To which Sally replies, “neither one of us like computers.”
        Although the lake has kept the couple at the campground, they don't use it much anymore. Both agree that campfires are an important part to camping, “because of the coziness of it,” says Sally. The fires, she adds draws people together.
        All of his life, Jack says he wanted to travel and if not for camping, he believes the family would not have traveled across the country, visiting sites like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Park.
        With Oscar the fish from the Wayne County Fair, who has traveled from Georgia to Arizona to Pennsylvania, Sally says the couple will camp as long as they can because she likes “feeling free.” 
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