Let me off and wander,
Robin song and thunder,
Surrounding me with stained glass leaves
that change with every breeze.
–Chris Rice “My Cathedral”
As I mentioned before, the stream led to a pond. Eddington pond. This pond is where I could be found, at 2 years of age, out on the very end of someone’s wharf, laying down and leaning over, staring at fish while no one had any clue where I was. The old ladies who lived in the house owning the wharf called my family’s house to tell them their little boy was down there leaning over the edge of the wharf (staring into water well over my head). To this day I can remember lying there looking at fish. Apparently it was a big to-do, but I was relaxing, having fun. Let everyone else have their to-do’s; I would rather kick back and relax.
To get to the public beaches from our house we had to cross a dam on a foot-wide walking surface. Sure there was a public access area, but that was a mile up the road and we were too young to be walking on the main roads. We would walk over this crossing as the water washed past our feet. The dam was not very tall (3-4 feet high I’d assume now), but to a little kid it can be scary wondering what would happen to you if you were washed over. Other than a means to the beach, the dam could also be used to fish. Mostly we would catch sunfish, but then we would pop out their eyes to use as bait to catch other fish. I don’t know if this is proper fishing behavior, but young kids will do whatever people suggest to them.
We spent many summer days at the public beaches of Eddington Pond. There were two beaches as I can remember. One was on the far side when coming from our house, though the near side when driving down from the actual access road. There was not much of a path from a small hill to the beach; you had to pick your way down a ~10ft embankment. I seem to remember liking this beach better, maybe because it was more private. Also off to the right there was a rope hanging from a tree sticking over the bank to the pond. I don’t remember swinging of the rope, but other people did (keep in mind, I was under 1st Grade age through all these musings).
The other beach, closer to home but further from public access, was much easier access. The field ran flat to the beach. I remember a couple of things about this beach. The first thing is that the swimming area had two rock piles. Any young swimmer knows that rock piles are an essential part of a fun swimming experience. You swim out to the rock pile and stand on it and amaze everyone by how far out in the water you are, yet you are only up to your waist. Then you dive down and examine the pile. You can add rocks if there are extras around, or try to sturdy up wobbly spots. Back in the day before we had goggles this experience was much blurrier, having the naked eye open underwater.
The second thing I remember about the second beach was that I almost drowned out toward the deeper rock pile. I remember swimming about underwater (those days we also tried to swim underwater like the “Man From Atlantis”, but that is yet another story) and when I came up for air there was some kid in an inner-tube blocking my way. I came up gasping, but the inner-tube bumped me back underwater. So the fun went for a while and I thought I was going to drown. I don’t remember how I got out of that one, but looking back now I can say “why didn’t I just grab the inner-tube and hold myself out of water until I was OK?” Probably because I didn’t know the kid and was shy around strangers…even to the point of drowning, apparently.