Auburn Campground Manager Says Farewell
Carol Galiani began her work as a campground manager during a weekend of the Iron Bowl, the traditional season-ending football game between the University of Alabama and Auburn University.
Now, 14 years later, she will retire after assisting her campers during one last Iron Bowl, the Opelika Auburn News reported.
“My first one, I wasn’t even here a whole week,” Galiani, manager of the Leisure Time Campground, said. “The lady that was training me decided just to leave, so I was sort of thrown into it, but it worked. It always works.”
Galiani has called the Auburn campground home for the past 14 years. As manager, she lives in the apartment above the campground’s office.
In a couple of weeks, Galiani will pack her things into three plastic bins and load them into her pickup truck. She’ll begin the trek to San Antonio, where she will visit a friend for a few months before heading to Missouri to be closer to her son and granddaughters.
“I’m going to miss my colors in the fall and my toadstools in the spring,” Galiani said. “I just love it. I just love this place. But I’ve really got to do what I’ve got to do.”
“It was time,” she added of her retirement. “This is not an easy job. It’s a fun job, but it’s not an easy job, always.”
Day after day Galiani answers the phone, takes reservations and makes sure her campers are comfortable.
But those who stay at the South College Street park say Galiani’s real service to its residents is her friendship.
“Ever since I moved in, we’ve just become friends,” campground resident Bonnie Preachers said of Galiani. “She’s friends with everybody. She’s got that personality.”
Preachers came to Auburn with her husband six months ago from Opp. Preachers said she had originally planned to visit for just a few days at a time while her husband trained at Hobby Lobby, but ended up staying because of Galiani.
“I thought I would miss our home,” Preachers said. “But Carol has made it so comfortable and kept us busy … I said I’d stay up here. I’m happy. We love it here.”
Galiani said she enjoys getting to know her campers.
“As far as people go, there are no better people in the world than campers,” she said. “They are awesome. They’re friendly. They take care of their stuff. They’re considerate of one another. It’s amazing. It’s just amazing. That’s why I’ve been here so long.”
Despite missing the campground and the campers, whom she calls “family,” Galiani said she is ready to move on. “I’m so looking forward to just getting behind the wheel and driving somewhere …” she said.