By Charlie Schrenkel, L140050
FMCA National President
Looking at the calendar recently, my wife, Jean, mentioned that we have been members of Family Motor Coach Association for almost 22 years. Wow, 22 years! Not as long as some other members of our association but, still, a long time. Out of those 22 years, we have been full-timing for 16 of them. It does not seem possible that we have been living in a motorhome for that many years. Time has a way of doing that; when you are enjoying something, the days seem to just fly by. We have been fortunate to have traveled through every state in the union so far (except Hawaii), as well as quite a bit of Canada. The motorhome lifestyle is indeed, for lack of a better word, addictive. We experienced trepidations early on when we started full-timing — the uncertainty that comes with moving from a permanent house into a home on wheels, and concerns that we wouldn’t be able to adjust to the moving around and traveling so much of the time. These apprehensions were unfounded. One day just seemed to naturally blend into the next month, next year, and so on.
As I’ve mentioned in past columns, our active involvement with Family Motor Coach Association came early on in those 22 years and has continued ever since.
As I write this month’s column, we are attending FMCA’s 87th Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis. Traveling around the fairgrounds, running into old friends and members from all across this continent, truly brings home the feeling of reuniting with family members. For us, the experience started even before we arrived in Indy. On the way here, we met Bob and Doris Agee, F406184, at the FMCA campground in Cincinnati and had a nice visit.
Here today in Indy, we encountered Edgar Casada, L1404, a longtime member and active national director in Family Motor Coach Association. Edgar has not missed a summer Reunion since 1967!
We also came across Rudolph and Waltraut Fleishman, F318586. We have met at several area rallies and Family Reunions over the past few years. Waltraut always tells me she will not let her husband even glance at the FMC magazine when it arrives each month until she has had the opportunity to read every column in it. Thank you, Waltraut.
The spirit and feeling of camaraderie intensifies as more members park their motorhomes, slideouts are extended, and chairs and tables are lined up under awnings. You get the picture. It’s good to be among such friends.
And speaking of family, Charlie Adcock, F311374, national vice president, South Central Area, and I had plans to travel to visit the American Coach chapter at their pre-rally in Rising Sun, Indiana, the other day. Charlie and I had been helping with convention setup, and we had about 30 minutes to get ready to leave. As I waited for him to emerge from his coach, I wondered what was taking him so long; I had changed and was sitting in his truck with his wife, Gloria, waiting to leave. When Charlie finally came out and got in the truck and we were driving away, I couldn’t help but wonder why he had the A/C on with the driver’s-side window open. His aftershave was a little strong, so I figured that was the reason.
After several miles, 80, to be exact, the truth came out. Charlie had gone in to change and didn’t turn on the bathroom lights in his motorhome. “I’m so familiar with the inside of my coach, I could walk around blindfolded and not hit anything,” he said. Well, he was changing shirts and reached into the medicine cabinet and grabbed the spray deodorant and doused himself profusely. He grabbed his shirt, and as he tried to put it on, it kept sticking to his arms and underarms, and his upper body started to really sting. Turns out he had done a good job of covering his upper torso with Gloria’s hairspray! So, if you ever run into Charlie, rest assured that he has no problem “sticking” around a bit and visiting.
The attendance at the “Formula for Fun” event in Indy is expected to approach 2,000 family member coaches. We have a great lineup of entertainment waiting for us, and many, many indoor vendors who will be sharing their goods and services with us this week. Many of the new motorhomes on display are inside cavernous buildings, making it a pleasure to mosey about in the shade and out of the elements, should they change from pleasant to iffy.
Because of the deadline for this issue, I will have to submit this column to the magazine staff before the Governing Board meets and before the convention actually takes place, so look for more information in the November issue about the 87th Family Reunion, including actions of the Governing Board, pictures of activities, and reports of the fun times that are sure to take place this week.
Tom and Carol Januski, F266041, leaders of FMCA’s youth program, and the other volunteers are geared up with activities planned for these future motorhome owners. Games have been arranged, trips planned, and programs designed for the range of ages — from 2 to 18 — to keep them all focused and interested. The age groups within the program are Tots, children ages 2-5; Tweens, 6-9; Pre-Teens, 10-12; and Teen-Age Travelers (TATS), 13-18. This year, the entire group has been presided over by Ally May, F414212, TATS president; Kaitlyn Brunius, F407563, 1st vice president; Allison Brunius, F407563, 2nd vice president; and Savana Hardin, F389009, 3rd vice president. I mention these young folks because of their interest in and dedication to the children and grandchildren of our members attending the Family Reunion, and the fact that they are an integral part of the success of FMCA’s youth program. Should you be traveling to the next Reunion, in Gillette, Wyoming, June 19-23, 2013, give your children or grandchildren the trip of a lifetime. Pack ’em up and bring them along. You, and they, will be glad you did!
Jean and I realize how fortunate we are to be able to enjoy the motorhome lifestyle. The friends we have made, the places we have visited, and the experiences we have been able to share with other members have been priceless. As I said last month, sometimes the journey is the destination, but sometimes the destination is the beginning of the adventure.