As I look back on my childhood it verifies the fact that kids can not be left on their own, someone needs to be with them every second to keep them from doing dumb shit.
On the south side of Dad's bar was the men's restroom, the woman was on the west side. The back half of the east side was an open room where the washing machine was kept. It was the kind that had the roller on top, the one that when you run the clothes through would also take your hand in with it. Yes, that happened more than once but only once did it get my whole hand, most of the time it would be my fingers. I hated that machine.
The women's restroom had cardboard cigarettes, they would be in the wastebasket or on the floor. The middle sister is 2 years younger than me. We would play with these cardboard cigarettes, holding them between our fingers and yes puffing on them. Dad saw this and blew his stack, he did not tell us what they were, I was maybe 6 years old and did not understand why he was so mad. I thought it was because we were pretending to smoke. But that is not the grossest thing we did.
Mom had made my sister and me identical dresses they were red and white vertical striped like a candy cane. we were wearing them one day when we found this mudhole to play in. Not wanting to get our dresses dirty, we took them and our underpants off and jumped in the mudhole. It was about waist deep, we had a good time playing in it, diving under, jumping and splashing each other having a great time. After playing our little hearts out we did not want to put our dresses back on because we were covered head to toe in "mud". We ran home nude. I was in the shower and heard Dads' voice, he was questioning my sister as to what was on her and where was she. I heard her tell him and then I froze, I heard her say, well Cissy was in it, too. Why would she say that? I was already clean. We got into big trouble and he said what we were playing in was an old septic tank that had fell in.
Living in Florida we had never seen snow but we had two big hills of white sand and an old windshield from a boat that we used as a sled, we spent many hours with camping kids sliding down the hill, it worked and we never had shattered glass. The hill was also great for playing king of the mountain, I was thrown down it many times but never got hurt.
Dad sold tackle in his store but he did not know that we were climbing down all the rocks on the jetty and getting wads of fishing line with lures, hooks, and sinkers. We would sell them to fishermen for sometimes getting a quarter for but most of the time getting a nickel.
I think it was around 1967 or 8 when a telephone booth was installed and also a newspaper machine. I found if I kept hitting the change return lever on the phone it will give me money and I would put a dime in the paper machine and take a bunch of the newspapers then my sister and I would play Christmas. We would go around and whatever we found we wrapped in the newspaper and gave to each other as a gift. It could be anything from a neat piece of wood to an old shoe and we would tell each other how much we loved the gift. The mess we had in the woods where we played looked like a paper landfill. There was also a pile of all the junk we had collected.
When we had a lot of rain Dad would not let us swim in the inlet the water hyacinths would flow from the Sebastian River and pack around Dad's dock making a big island. we got into trouble but we loved to jump off of the dock onto the hyacinths and try to run to shore without falling in between them. Dad would tell us there could be water moccasins hiding in them but that did not stop us, as soon as Dad was gone we were at it again. When we were not allowed to swim we went about a half of a mile from our house to the flow well that flowed into a pond, it was sulfur water and we use to swim in it, this was before we own a bathing suit and by Dad saying we could not go swimming we did not want to go home with wet clothes on so we would skinny dip. It was all innocent we were too young to think of anything sexual so we did not care boys and girls swam with us.
Five miles from our home was another campground called Long Point, we would walk it sometimes but most of the time a car would come by and give us a ride. We liked to go there because they had two big lakes that were fed by flow wells. They had a big slide and a smaller one the slides had water that flowed down them that kept them cool. They also had two diving boards a tall one and a regular one, swings, and a jungle gym it was the coolest place around. We would play most of the day and pray there would be a car to pick us up because that was a long walk home.