Thursday, June 21

Mama Kat Thursday: Good Ol' Days Lake Swimming

The Mama Kat blog writing prompt I chose today is to, "Tell about a lake I used to swim in as a kid."

Growing up in rural Indiana, lake swimming was definitely a thing.
There were two lakes we swam in as kids:
 Patton Lake and Lake Shakamak.
Patton Lake was close to where we lived and I remember going there with our 4-H club at least once. I also recall my Dad taking me there once to teach me how to "cast" a fishing line.
 Patton Lake is actually a reservoir with a public park portion and the swimming area there was typical for a lake: brown sandy beach with a designated swimming area roped off.
On the 4-H trip, Mother, who doesn't know how to swim, bravely donned a suit and got in the water with us. Floating on the water to play on was this giant tractor tire inner tube everyone was sitting on. I think it was near a short wooden pier, which is how we could get on it without having to walk through the water.
I can remember Mother perched on that inner tube, her legs on the inside, in a blue print one-piece swimming suit, enjoying herself--until she unexpectedly slipped off into the water.
The water wasn't actually deep--maybe 4 feet, so as soon as she put her feet down and stood up, her head and shoulders were easily above the water line, but, being a non-swimmer, the experience was scary enough she swore off ever trying such a thing again.

The other lake was Lake Shakamak Park in Jasonville, Indiana.
4-H Camp was and probably still is held there every year and we stayed in cabins, played games, did crafts and ate in this huge mess hall.
Swimming down at the lake beach was, if was nice, a daily activity, I think. For safety, since there weren't any lifeguards, we were required to have a "swim buddy," and to stay together, so when the Camp Counselors called a "buddy check," we could clasp hands and raise our arms to prove we were paired up.
This lake beach was typical: brown sand with a roped off swimming area. Beyond the swim area, on the other side, the beyond the rope was a wooden pier and dive tower with 3 levels of height with diving boards one could dive from. It was for advanced, expert swimmers.
My swimming days at Shakamak was in 70's. Sometime between then and now, that dive tower was torn down and a large clean pool with a beautiful water slide has replaced the lake-side beach.
Probably a good thing. I can't say I was ever very fond of the slimy feel of underwater sand, weeds and fish nibbling my toes that comes with lake swimming.
I always preferred the public pool.

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What was your swimming spot when you were a kid?


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