There is joy in Russell Brewer’s voice when he talks about his late daughter, Denise Joy Beach.
The “Sunday Chats,” in which Brewer shares his thoughts on various subjects on Facebook, started because of her in 2009. He has continued to do them even though she died in 2014 of hardening of the walls of the arteries.
“I do it every Sunday morning, and she was the first one to read it. Of course she can’t answer me now, but sometimes I can think what she’d be thinking,” he said. “I’ve had so many people say how they change the way they think. I say stay close to your loved ones because it could change so quick.”
He has been restoring a 1950 camper he calls “The Denise Joy” in her memory since 2012. It was abandoned on property his nephew bought.
“He wanted to get rid of it, so I got it from him,” he said. “When I first got it I thought it would take six months to restore, but no.”
The first owner was in North Carolina or South Carolina, and the next owner was somewhere in Kentucky, according to Robert Price, a previous owner from Louisville.
“That was the individual I bought it from. I brought it here to Louisville. We lived in it for a while in Louisville,” he said. “My mother lived in it in Jackson County (Ind.) for a while until she built a residence and kept it as a guest house and storage. It has had a very traveled life. There’s a lifetime of stories.”
Price is happy Brewer took the camper.
“We expected it to be cut up for scraps,” he said. “Mr. Brewer heard of it and showed an interest in it.”
Brewer had to do a lot of paint stripping.
“Everything was so time-consuming,” he said. “Oxidation gets on them and it’s so hard to get off.”
Beach approved every time she watched her father working on the camper.
“She’d say, ‘Oh, Daddy, it’s looking good,’ ” Brewer said.
It has hardwood floors, a living room with a couch that folds out and table that can be fastened against the wall, bedroom, bathroom in which the toilet and shower are together, kitchen sink, refrigerator, microwave, a radiator for heat and it will soon have an air conditioner. Pictures of Beach are scattered about the camper. She gave him the refrigerator and microwave.
“My wife made all the curtains. I put in the hardwood floors,” he said. “It’s the best gift I ever got. All trailers aren’t designed to be lived in long term.”
The camper has all kinds of storage, Brewer said.
“There’s one over here, one on the sink,” he said, pointing at various places in the living room and kitchen that had drawers and cabinets. “There’s one over back (in the bedroom) to hang clothes.”
Brewer believes the camper is a fitting tribute to his daughter. Bailey’s Point Campground will be the camper’s first outing.
“She had all kinds of energy. It’s been a challenge since she passed. You’re just not supposed to have a child pass before you,” he said. “Faith in God is the only way you can make it. He told us he would prepare a place for us, didn’t he, and I believe it.”