There are lots of memories. It’s really interesting to listen to my other siblings. It helps me remember more. The whole family looks them and says, “Now I remember that… We did this…” That sort of thing.
My strongest memory is when I was four or five years old and sleeping in the camper. I woke up and nobody was in there and I freaked out. They had locked the camper and I couldn’t unlock it. I was screaming. Finally my mom and dad opened it. We were in Lansing on the Mississippi. That was my strongest memory because I was in complete fear. Where did everybody go?
There’s a picture of me and a birthday cake. My birthday is in mid-July, so we were in summer. In so many of the photos, we had badges on because we were at the RV shows dad was working. We have memories of shows because of the shenanigans going on.
We camped with a lot of dealers like Bob Johnson from Illinois. We’d go camping several times in the summer time, meet half way in Wisconsin with friends and their kids. It was a good time. We both had boats and motorcycles. We rode horses at some of the campgrounds.
Dad changed campers a lot. We’d use the delivery trucks. My dad would load one from the yard and go. We’d keep a camper for a season and then get a different one. Dad always had a camper. As I was going through the photos, I saw some from Christmas time. Through the windows you can see a Texson camper in the driveway.
My brothers in the photo are Ryan and Rik. Ryan is the shorter one to my left and Rik is the taller one and he’s my oldest brother. For a few years in the eighties they were involved with the business and then it got pretty lean. In fact in 1981 I worked for no pay, so that we could make it through. I remember telling dad, “I’ll be there till the very last day whether we close or not. I’ll never walk away from you”. I was living at home with them in my twenties, so I didn’t have expenses but didn’t have any fun either.
I was giving my dad some crap about his clothes in the pictures. In one photo he’s wearing a white belt and white shoes. Then, half an hour later, there’s my brother and I with our white belts. I told Rory, “You’re taller than I am”. I really like that photo of Rory holding me up. He’s five or six and I’m one.
The only other family that’s been involved with truck campers as long as ours is the Ward family. They’re definitely right up there with us.
There are so many memories. Every memory that I have is here. That’s truly the difference with my family in that we camped and ran the camper business. That’s how simply boring we are. Campers are our life. There is no question about that. Everything evolves around the business, Texson or Northstar campers. We’re pure bloods.