Alexandra Brown

Lollo's Lake

For as long as I can remember, every summer for a few days my family would go to Lollo’s Lake. Technically it was called Lake Garfield. But I was five and my great aunt Lollo had a house on this lake. Therefore it was Lollo’s Lake. This lake taught me to swim, canoe, paint, write and even knit. But most importantly, at Lollo’s Lake I first learned to love being on the water.

You see, this house was no ordinary house. A little red cottage, it had two small bedrooms, a not-so-efficiently organized kitchen, a rustic living room, and a sun porch perfect for afternoon naps. Having been built as a boat house, its living room and porch sat in fact on the water. This house had a sliding door like most summer houses, but unlike the others, which open to a lawn or a porch, this door led to the lake. If anyone stepped through it, they would, with a dramatic cartoon style stumble, land in the water. Now, this didn’t often happen. We kept the screen door closed most of the time to keep out the mosquitoes and the “swallows” that lived in the roof. The mosquitoes usually just went around and came in through the holes in the screened-in porch and the “swallows” were actually bats. But Lollo thought they were swallows, and we had given up trying to convince her otherwise.  On the few occasions that it was opened, the door played a vital role in my learning to swim.

No, I didn’t fall out. But if I was very good and well behaved, I would be allowed to jump from the living room’s soft carpet into my dad’s waiting arms. I would stand in the doorway, working up the courage to make that daring leap. After all, if you are only 2 1⁄2 feet tall, 3 feet is a very big jump. I’d look at my dad, and he would smile encouragingly. Realizing that my brother had already jumped, and therefore was about to beat me at something, gave me that little push I needed to launch. I’d fly through the air, a joyful giggle bursting out just before I hit the water. My dad’s arms were around me, gentle enough that I made the satisfying splash, but strong enough that my head didn’t go under water.

For years this was a highlight of Lollo’s Lake. But when I grew old enough to swim by myself, I stopped jumping though the door. For some reason every time I asked, my parents said no. It wasn’t until quite recently that I realized that when I jumped into my dad’s arms, he was standing in waist deep water.


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