45 years of travel trailer hilarity, friendship

The cake was almost gone and the coffee cups were empty when Sandy Schreiner got up with her list of eyebrow-raising questions.

Anyone eavesdropping on the Everettes Trailer Club’s 45th anniversary celebration would have heard more raucous laughter than solid answers.

“Who was nicknamed ‘Glitter Buns’ at a recent outing?” Schreiner asked the lively group gathered Wednesday at the Everett Senior Activity Center. Everybody knew it was June Miller, so named because her jeans had sparkling trim on the back pockets.

“Who was thrown in jail at the Walla Walla outing?” came the next party-game question.

This one needed clarification. Schreiner later explained that a trip to Fort Walla Walla, once a pioneer settlement in what’s now southeast Washington, included putting a few club members in the museum’s original territorial jail cells.

Old friends chimed in to answer gag questions that included “Who once danced on a tabletop at a party?”

What stood out was how much they all remembered. Clearly, this group has shared not only miles on the road, but years and years of happy times.

“I’m a second-generation member,” said Schreiner, 53, of Stanwood. She and her husband, Gary, followed in the travel-trailer tracks of her parents, June and Ernie Miller.

The club’s start is described in a 1962 Everett Herald article that today reads like a relic of a bygone day: “Mrs. Thomas Kerr, state organizer of the Travel Trailer Clubs of America, will be in Everett next Thursday evening at 7:30 o’clock at the William (Bud) Willard residence to assist in formation of a travel trailer and camper club.”

Betty Browning has remarried since her husband Bud Willard died. She and her husband Wendell Browning are still part of the group that started with that meeting in Betty’s garage on Oct. 11, 1962.

In the same way the Everettes Trailer Club’s name has a retro ring to it, enduring friendships seem a throwback to a more neighborly time. Schreiner recalls couples in her parents’ generation getting together for coffee and card games. As a girl, she loved outings with whole families.

With gas prices as high as they are, the group of about 32 members doesn’t stray far from home. Washington’s coast and the Wenatchee area are popular destinations. Once, the Everettes took a three-week caravan trip around the Olympic Peninsula. Most trips are several-day jaunts, about one a month through the summer, fall and spring.

“It’s hard to get younger people involved,” Schreiner said. “People seem to have less time but more money today. It’s easier for them to go on cruises or to Disneyland. Forty years ago, people couldn’t do that.

“It’s just a fun bunch of people,” she said. “I wish more people would try it.”

For June Hansen, the people have meant more than the trips.

“So many of us have been friends for years. We’re all about the same age, we’re World War II people,” said Hansen. An Everett widow, she and her late husband traveled often in their 26-foot Terry trailer. She hasn’t gone far without him, but cherishes the club’s camaraderie.

Ninety-six-year-old Helen Jasmin, the oldest member, couldn’t make it to the party. Club members Doug and Pat Coleman planned to stop by to tell her all about it. “Helen’s joy in this whole thing are the people who have done so many things to help each other,” Doug Coleman said.

“Everybody should put a feather in their cap for keeping this thing going so long,” said Pete Peterson, club president. An Alaska transplant who now lives in Granite Falls, he and his wife Phyllis have been members just four years. “To me, it’s the association with people,” he said.

June Miller, Schreiner’s mother, agrees.

“I have a good time regardless of where we go,” said Miller, 79, of Marysville. “As long as I have my friends around, I’m happy in my back yard.”

Columnist Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460 or muhlstein@heraldnet.com.

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