By: Michelle Hailey
A place where as a child I found joy and peace
A place where my family was close at reach
A place where my cousins and I would swim and play
A place where I could stay everyday
A place where I learned to ski
A place where I learned a great deal about me
A place where I longed to bring my friends
A place I thought my journeys to would never end
A place where long conversations were had
A place where nothing ever seemed really that bad
A game-room where we would all play cards
An early morning lawnmower trimming the yard
A boat that took us all around
And those shopping trips into town
A place where so much noise was heard
And yet nature left undisturbed
A walking trail that yielded many sights
A chair on the porch on cool and stormy nights
And those stairs on which we all played
All these are things I wish could have stayed
This will always be one of my most treasured childhood places
Filled with lessons learned and images of smiling faces
Those times we shared will forever remain
But as the saying goes nothing remains the same
*Growing up summer and The Lake were synonymous, you couldn’t have one without the other. I can remember that was my favorite part about summer was going to Lake LBJ located just outside Marble Falls, TX. This was my summer home my oasis the place where cousins became ‘siblings’ and outdoor play was a way of life. No one had to tell us kids to go outside and play if anything they had to drag us indoors to rest. Now the Lake-house isn’t the home pictured above. Truth be told by the time that picture was taken to much time had passed and the memories were too precious to attach to the hollowed out shell the physical building had become.
In its day though my childhood play home stood two stories a bright yet worn blue with a big patio on the bottom where a porch swing would creak as you swung back and forth. It is on this swing that the great ‘sardine’ prank was played by my Uncle on my Mom when he put a sardine in her coffee as she had her head turned watching the sunrise over the old boathouse. The worn deck above had slits just wide enough for us kids to dump ice water on any unsuspecting adult that dare seek a relaxing moment on the swing when we (kids) were eager to head out on the water. We pulled this prank countless times over the years and admittedly had it pulled on us though only once…maybe twice.
Downstairs there were glass doors that opened revealing our play/rest area where we played Hot/Cold with the neighbor kid and where we would play BINGO (though improvised since we only had the call letters). It’s where once a day our parents called us in out of the HOT Texas summer sun for rest hour where we could read or play quietly and they could regain their sanity upstairs. The stairs, a rod iron spiral stair case where the boys would race cars and Barbie would hurry to meet Ken for an important date and where on one occasion Zach (my beloved cousin, though a bit of a trouble maker) managed to get his head stuck. Now as a group we were pretty resourceful kids and convinced we could handle the situation, but after a few failed attempts and some tears we had to involve adults, butter and peanut butter to get his head out of those stairs. Even Zach didn’t try that again…
Upstairs was where games were played and dinners were shared, treats included. My family is not overly competitive, but bring out SPOONS and it was all out war…LOL. Another favorite for the youngest of the six was charades, though he was always the same thing, an egg. It didn’t matter; we were all together so it was fun. When we were all together it was normally around July 4th so another guarantee was that we got our annual treat. See July 4th is my Aunt’s birthday and rather than a birthday cake she opted for Fruit Pizza which is this delightful combination of a sugar cookie with cream-cheese frosting topped with fruit; a recipe I make to this very day. As a kid though that was the adult pizza, and for us kids we got to have Dessert Pizza, topped with every junk food item you can imagine, every kids’ dream, and with 6 kids there were 12 hands adding ingredients so you can imagine the finished product. Looking back I can only imagine how awful and sugar-laden this thing really was, but at the time it was like being on cloud 9 and we all stood in that little 4×4 area next to the oven waiting, watching while our concoction cooked.
I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything in the world…It may have just been a Lake-house worn and weather-beaten, but it’s where I learned to ski, drive a boat, where ghost stories were told, fish were caught, naps in a hammock were shared, king/queen of the dock was played, the floating pier was reached, I learned to sail, went jet skiing, walked with my ‘siblings’ every day after dinner, 1st saw the Colorado River border, watched the fireworks over the damn, counted falling stars while the boated rocked me to sleep, watched Keri Strug land her Olympic Winning vault, it’s where I grew up and it’s where my cousins became my brothers and my sister which is the most precious connection I could have ever received. The Lake House was my childhood and though it can’t be my future it plays a fundamental role in what I want my future to consist of.
Did you have a favorite childhood spot??? Share your memories…