“We were a Navy family,” writes RVWheelLife.com reader Irma Smith of Norfolk, Va. “We were in our early 30’s, with two sons, Bill, 9 and Blaise, 11. We got orders in December 1978 to move from Patuxent River, Maryland, to Norfolk, Virginia.
“We moved out of Navy housing. We hooked up our 21-foot Sunline travel trailer with 19 feet of living space with no slide-outs to the Chevy Nomad station wagon. We packed in our kids and two dogs for our trek to Norfolk.
“In Norfolk the motels were way too expensive for us, the list to get into Navy housing was way too long, and apartments to rent for our family were scarce. We decided to try living in our RV Trailer with two kids, two dogs, and daddy working rotating shifts of Days, Mids, and Eves until we could get Navy Housing in ten months. It was the best financial decision for us but Christmas was only days away.
“What do you get for Christmas, for two sons, that fit’s in 19 feet of space? Where do you put the Christmas tree? Would that little oven cook a feast for Christmas Dinner? Yes, Yes, and Yes!
“Santa got the boys brand new fishing poles and gear, my mom sent them three-foot coloring-books, we bought them board games like Monopoly, stockings were hung under the small tree on a table in the living area. The boys could not believe that Santa found them. They were worried about that. It was a great Christmas morning!
“That little oven cooked a small ham fully dressed with pineapples and cherries. The ham was complimented with sweet potatoes, corn on the cob, and cranberry sauce. Best Christmas Dinner ever. No RV is too small to celebrate Christmas.
“The following October we moved into Navy housing. We sold the trailer to another Navy family when the kids got older, I started work, and no one had time to camp.
“Ten years ago we bought a Class C and use it for RVing. It was because of all those memories of long ago that we wanted to go RVing again. Those months living in the camper are the best memories for the boys and us. Nothing can ever match the years of fun in that little travel trailer.”
— Irma Smith, Norfolk, Va.
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Photo: The Smith Family, (front) Bill III (8) and Blaise (10); (back) Irma and Bill. Christmas 1977 in Patuxent River Maryland Navy housing. Illustration source: Squidoo.com