Thursday, June 30, 2011

At the beach at Lake Nokomis

It’s summer, and the weather is hot and sticky. As I walked past my daughter sunbathing in the yard, I recalled hot summer days of my own childhood.

We lived in what would today be called an exurb. It was the 1960s, and air conditioning was still a novelty. So on those extra shimmery days, there was not much to do except sweat and pray for a thunder storm to cool things down. We didn’t have a pool, and there were no lakes nearby except rural, weedy Lake Alimagnet.

But occasionally for a treat, we’d pile into the car and my father would take us to Lake Nokomis in the city. It was a grand lake with lots of people and big sandy beaches. It even had swings and a snack bar!

But most of all, I was impressed by the teenagers lounging on the float just beyond the roped area for little kids. I’d stare at the girls in their filled-out bikinis and the boys with their baby abs as they lay completely motionless in the sun listening to WDGY on transistor radios. They were so mysterious, and so grown-up! How I longed to be older and join them! I once tried to swim out the float but when I could no longer feel the bottom of the lake under my feet, I got scared and turned back.

Years later I took my own kids to Lake Nokomis. As I splashed near the shore with my youngest while anxiously scanning deeper water for my eldest, I spotted a couple teens lying idly on the float. They looked so relaxed and carefree! I so wanted to join them! I stared for a moment then turned back to my youngest.

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