Summer Days


When I saw this picture it brought to my mind a memory of a lake I frequented during the summers of my youth. The name of the lake was Norway Lake which was near our home in the middle of the woods of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Those years were a magical time to grow up because the lifestyle was still rather old fashioned.

 It was at some point during this time that phone service was finally installed and everyone shared party lines. Oh the excitement was very high when phones were finally brought to our very rural area!!! In the beginning, someones phone was always ringing and someones child was always listening in, much to the dismay of the caller! Most of our families and friends lived a life that was not much changed from the generations that preceeded them. Life was simple. Televisions, if you were lucky enough to have one, were black and white and sported a rabbit ear antennae on top. Fathers worked and Mothers stayed home and were called housewives. They tended to the domestic side of life and kept an eye on the children

When I was growing up, I was blessed to be raised in an era and area of the country where we children would run all over the local countryside and weave our way through the tall stands of woods taking a shortcut to Grandma’s. (YES, really! ) We hung out with our multitudes of cousins and we swam in the local lakes with a total freedom granted to us by our mothers. There was no fear whatsoever for our safety. There was never anything reported about danger lurking  in the news (or maybe we didn’t have a t.v. yet to make anyone worry.)
In the summers we would very often sleep in late and would wake up to the aroma of something delicious cooking in the kitchen. We would sit down to a hearty plate of pancakes or eggs or cereal. When we were satiated, we would race and jostle each other on our way outside, pushing open the wooden screened door and hearing a snapping sound as the spring pulled the door back and slammed it against the frame.

Summers were exciting to us because our many city cousins would come up and stay a couple of weeks, breaking the routine of our sleepy quiet countryside. I was one of about 44 cousins so we never felt alone or lonely. Not a chance of that! It was a like childs dream to have so many related childhood friends to play with. Everybody knew everybody else so you couldn’t really get away with much if you were inclined to misbehave, and we usually knew better.

There were also families who owned seasonal lake homes who would come up for vacation. The lake near our home would spring to life with an abundance of children of all ages laughing, playing, flirting and having fun.

Most days we would hit the beach early and would stay there playing and swimming until dusk because the summers in the U.P were glorious but brief. We wanted to make the most of it. My Mother used to tease us that we were sure to grow gills with how much time we spent swimming like fish.

We would arrive at the lake right after breakfast and spend the whole day with our friends swimming out to the raft which was anchored in the deeper water. We enjoyed playing “King on the Hill” and I loved the feeling of dropping way down in the water as the “King” pushed me off defending his spot on the raft. We all became such good friends as we dove and plunged and were pushed time and time again into the clear sparkling water on those warm, sunny, fun filled days.

I can still see those summers in my minds eye and with absolute clarity. I can see us in constant motion as we ran, swam, and jumped with abandon. No wonder we were so skinny in those years! Ah, the innocence of youth! We were so blessed to have lived our childhood in those days. This was where I felt my first crush for a boy from out of town. The difference between a good day of swimming and a GREAT day of swimming was fully dependent on whether he was there or not. ❤ He never knew, and that is o.k. 😎 Those were much different times…we were a lot more discreet about our feelings in our youth…or at least I sure was!

At the end of the day, with the sun beginning to set, we would walk down the road towards home with bare feet and our towels slung over our shoulders. Mom was always waiting and the house always greeted us with the usual home cooked aroma wafting in the air. Not long after dinner, we would slide in between sheets that had been hung to dry outdoors and the lovely scent would just surround our sleepy heads.

And, every night we would say our prayers:

Now I lay me down to sleep,

I pray the Lord my soul to keep.

If I should die before I wake,

I pray the Lord mu soul to take.

If I should live another day,

I pray the Lord to guide my way.

Amen! 

We would then drift off to sleep with a smile and a vision of our beautiful lake lapping at the fringes of our consciousness.

Oh yes, I am glad I am THIS age right now, because it means I grew up in one of the more ideal times for children. It was a time where we were free to roam and explore!

How did I see my world in the summers in those days? I saw it just like the picture above! I still see it that way now! I am glad for the memories that grew out of those times.

Nighty night folks!

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