A Ten Year Old Dreams A Little

David's Writing

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When I was growing up my parents purchased a small cottage on a lake about

ten miles from our home.  Originally it had just been a bedroom with a

kitchen wrapped around it and a bathroom on one end.  It had two large

windows facing the water and my parents added a porch in front of the windows.

During the summer months we would sometimes live in our little cottage. It

didn’t have a bathtub or shower so we would all gather down by the water

with a bar of soap.  The sand went out a ways and there was a small pier at

one end of the property line.  And so the limits of our bathing area were

well defined.

Early morning was the time for this ritual. And then we would walk up the

hill and through the trees for breakfast.  It was my three younger sisters

and my parents sitting around a large round oak table that I remember. It

was located on the porch and it had wheels.

Next to it was my portable bed. And the windows between the porch and the

kitchen were permanently open.  So the smells of eggs and bacon cooking

floated through the porch on their way out the large screened windows and

down to the lake.

There were no curtains on the porch and it was flooded with light at

daybreak.  And then the squirrels would start running around on the roof.

There was little chance that I could sleep under such circumstances

but it didn’t matter.

Because the lake was a mirror in the early morning hours.  And the fish

could be seen under the end of the pier.  I would stumble out of bed and

arrive with my fishing pole beyond the shore and in the middle of a

glistening surface full of mystery.

I would fish for awhile caught up in my own thoughts and the excitement of a

catch.  And then I would hear the sounds of my family as they awakened from

the various corners where they slept and headed down to the lake for a bath.

The combination of noise, splashing and Ivory soap did not do much for the

fishing so I would dive off the end of the pier and join them.  Then we

would troop up the hill and have breakfast.

And then the magic would end.  Motor boats would begin running up and down

the lake.  Often they would have skiers behind them slapping the waves. The

sun would rise in the sky and we would retreat under the trees to avoid its

hot rays.  And the glassy lake would become choppy with the wind and the

wakes from the boats.

I would retreat into a book.  My father built a small platform on 2 X 4’s in

about eight feet of water.  My contribution was to paint faces on rocks and

somehow lug them out there.  He came in from a swim one day laughing about

the strange faces he found staring up at him while he dove off the platform.

My father worked at a General Motors Plant in a nearby town. He started out

working on the assembly line and rose to a prominent position just under the

plant manager as the years passed.  I don’t think he ever understood his

only son.

Eventually all the children grew up and the summer cottage was sold. Someone

bought it and encased it with another layer of rooms top and bottom.  It’s

huge now and you don’t have to go down to the lake to take a bath.

My mother enjoyed a few years of peace and quiet on Cape Cod before cancer

took her away at a relatively early age.  My father still lives  there

although he sold their home and bought another one.  He added new shingles

himself in his late 70’s applying them one or two dozen at a time on nice

days.

My sisters are scattered around the country with their families.  We hardly

ever communicate.  Perhaps I have not done my part in this regard.

And I live in Virginia with my wife Beth. I spend a great deal of time at

the computer writing, pasting my photos  or trying to figure

out how various plugins work.

And somewhere in central Massachusetts there is a lake that shines like a

mirror as dawn sends a shiver through its depths.  It holds too many

memories.

There are rocks on the bottom that could tell.  But their mouths are shut

and their eyes are blind.  Mud has covered their faces and they will sleep

until the dirt is delicately scraped off by an archeologist fifty thousand years

from now.

He will ponder what strange tribe worshiped rocks in the middle

of a desert.  And somewhere far away a little boy  will hear his thought and whisper . . .

“Don’t think too much about it. It’s just a child with a can of paint

and a brush. You have been out in the sun too long. Why don’t you take a

nap and dream a little ?”

5 thoughts on “A Ten Year Old Dreams A Little

  1. David,

    I happened to read this post on a day when I’m not feeling at the top of my game. Your post is rich in sensory details that carried me to that peaceful setting on the lake and I regret that the cottages were sold and that families grow distant. I can relate. We used to visit a cabin in northern Wisconsin. At least we have the good memories and I thank you for sharing yours.

    Donna

  2. Now this post brought tears to my eyes, not just because I too grew up on a lake. It’s more than that. I loved the poignancy of that little boy and the things he felt and saw and did that were his own little private world. I relate to that. Although I often played with my four brothers and one sister I spent a lot of time alone in the canoe on the lake or sitting on the edge of dock looking into the water watching sunfish and waves and lost in a young woman’s dreams. There are too many memories for me as well on the lake of my youth. Many many beautifully amazing memories and others more sad, long ago embraced by the water. But that lake is part of me and always will be. The place is long sold and the land has changed but in my mind and soul it is still the same. I cherish it.

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