Kyla Merwin

Author • Editor • Custom Publisher

Camp Gramma

Cover wo borderHere’s a little bit about the memoir I’m cobbling together these days…

I wasn’t exactly raised by wolves, but I didn’t have a conventional upbringing, either.

I was raised by a crazy lady. And her soft-spoken husband. Otherwise known as Gramma and Grampa.

Let’s talk about Gramma:

Depending on what she was up to, and who happened to be in her line of fire, Gramma (all 4-foot 11-inches of her) might be any or all of the following:

Ball of fire, whip man, cleanup batter, fixer, inventor, puppet master, magician, storyteller, comedienne, trickster, baker, butcher, and builder of dreams.

We really lived a charmed childhood, my brother and I. Gramma and Grampa pretty much let us do anything within reason––anything, that is…

…that we could afford, or cobble together from scraps of wood, rummage-sale finds, cast-offs, and our own imaginations. (As long as our homework was done.)

We spent every possible moment we could 30 miles outside of the city, and five miles down a dirt road: At Camp Gramma, a squatters’ paradise along Ashby Creek, in a cabin crafted from a firecracker shack. No kidding. (And when I say “squatters” I mean it, literally.)

Some people these days call me “high maintenance,” but what do they know? I could gut a fish before I could spell. I could shoot a beer can off a fence post from 50 paces with a .22 rifle before I was wearing a training bra. I could chop wood, carry water, poop in a bucket, and bake bread on an outdoor cook stove.

I’m more than I seem (and closer in the mirror than I appear). Here’s the truth: Everything good about me I got from my Gramma. I loved her with all my heart. And this is our story.


Stockmans SketchSummer 1963

The first time I walked into a bar and had a mixed drink, I was four years old.

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Excerpt: Leftovers & Castoffs

Sketch firecracker stand

Would you believe me if I told you that I spent my free time as a child squatting with my family in a firecracker shack by a creek in Western Montana?

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Excerpt: Clomping Through Life in Alligator Pumps

Alligator pumps sketchAmong the accouterments Gramma brought to the playhouse were the most beautiful, most elegant and refined pair of shoes my eyes had ever seen, before or since: alligator pumps.

They didn’t fit me, of course. They were far too big. But I coveted them. I stuffed them with tissue and clomped around in them, waiting for the day my feet would grow into my dreams.

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