This watery playground was a constant source of amusement, danger, and adventure for me, and every day of my life was made more magical because of it. But once I hit my teenage years, summer on the lake meant one thing: water skiing.
Here's how my average summer day went down:
I'd roll out of bed around 10 a.m. to watch a few game shows with my brothers, and have something to eat. By noon, I'd put on my swimsuit and start looking for my friends. We might call each other, but usually on those long, lazy days, we would just wander over to one another's house and take it from there.
Eventually, we would gather together our whole gang of ten or twelve kids, and someone would convince their dad to hand over the key to the speedboat.
And then we would spend the rest of the daylight hours water skiing. Yes, there would be a lot of swimming in between each person's turn, and by dinnertime, we would often seek out some parents who might be willing to feed us. There might be a run into town to fill up the gas tanks. We might even take some time to plan a bonfire or beach party for after-dark amusement.
But mostly, we would just ski. The boys would all show off, with their jump starts in ankle deep water, and their bold talk about trying to ride barefoot. The girls were all good skiers too, but we mostly smiled and let them brag. With surprisingly little drama and a reasonable amount of safety, we would weave our way around the lake forty or fifty times in an afternoon, giving each one of us plenty of time to fly back and forth across the waves, rip up some rooster tails, and more likely than not, take a few nasty spills that left us all laughing and enjoying the day.
Those were some very good times. And even though these photos were taken a while after my idyllic teen years had ended, you can see that water skiing still makes me smile.
P.S. These photos are not edited at all. Yep, they were taken on old school film, originally printed with these rounded corners, and their colors have been slowly distorted over the years. I'm so vintage.
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Ready for more stories about Michigan, my mitten-shaped home state?
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More stories of my magical childhood adventures: