My vintage camper


Dang. My sister-in-law beat me to it again. She — the queen of dumpster diving and free Craigslist finds — now has an old, needs-to-be-fixed-up, sailboat in her field. A sailboat. Dang.

Ever since my dad took me sailing when we lived in Florida, it has been my dream to own a sailboat. It is one of the few dreams my husband does not share with me. He doesn’t give a rat’s patootie about sailing.

So that leaves me with my other dream. A vintage (50s) tiny camper. Nothing fancy…just a bed and a little stove and a porta-pot will do. And this is the thing I shop for constantly on Craigslist and countless other freebies/cheapies sites. When on the road, I’m constantly scanning junky farms and houses for tiny campers that might be for sale. I saw one a few years on Route 2 west of Delta. Unfortunately, I was late to a meeting in Archbold and didn’t think it wise to stop. But I really wanted to. In fact, I almost went back.

Someday, I will come home towing one. It is the one thing my husband fears most about my traveling for work. He’s sure some night I will come home driving a rented truck and towing a beat-up, REALLY-needs-to-be-fixed up camper. I will park it in our back yard by the A-frame — to the disgust of poor Bill and Susie Swartz who will have to see it every time they look out their window — and I will spend hours cleaning it up, painting it, learning the fine art of renovating a vintage camper. Because it surely must be an art.

My SIL will come for a visit and help me. She just doesn’t know it yet. In fact, if I’m lucky, she might find one for me in one of the dumpsters in the valley near her home in Virginia.

My vintage camper will be painted salmon pink or limey green (yes, that’s the exterior) and there will be curtains and cushions made of vintage fabrics which I will have found by scouring countless antique shops and secondhand stores. The dishes? I’ve already got them…a growing set of brightly colored aluminum — the kind your grandma served lemonade in. Remember the way the glasses sweated?

And some day…I will proudly haul my husband off on a camping trip. I will drive and he will sit bolt upright in the passenger seat, nervously watching in the rear-view mirror to be sure the camper is still there and hoping it’s not.

I cannot wait.

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9 responses to “My vintage camper

  1. Oh yeah, I love it. The whole idea of it. Funny you already have the colors and fabrics thought about. Why a 50’s camper and not a 60’s or 70’s? Send me a picture of one you find on the internet that looks like what you have in mind. I’m so excited about fixing up this boat. Today I bailed water out. I have lots of building to do inside but if you look at the big picture it shouldn’t be that hard to fix up. I also have thought about how the cushions should be made. I can’t wait to show it to you.

    • Pannabecker Steiner Mary

      I’m not quite sure on the dates…might be 60s. I’ll send you a pic. Can’t wait to see the boat!

  2. Lol! Sounds like a fun plan! It would make a great guest cottage in the back yard. You could even rent it out to students during the cold months.

    That would be my husband’s reaction too, but he’s used to me being the redneck in the family. I have a huge raw material storage at the back of the property (we have acres). He doesn’t even go there.

    I am a scrounger too. I love it!

  3. Pannabecker Steiner Mary

    You should see my sewing room if you want to see “raw” material. 🙂

  4. Hey Mary, guess what. Today I found a free vintage camper and I’m going to paint it lime green and put it next to my sailboat. I hope you don’t mind me copying your idea. hee hee hee.

  5. hi, have you found your camper yet? I had the same dream and just picked up a 1966 Serro Scotty. My daughter and I can’t wait to redecorate it. We are going Victorian chic. She has 2 girls so it will have lots of pink. Good luck in your search. Karen

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