Summers at the lake

The "Lake"

Being near a lake, we did a lot of swimming. I learned to swim at the YMCA, my mother took me up there once or twice a week one summer. The Heights had it's own little beach at Gropp's lake with a small dock/diving board. Mostly, we did our swimming at that beach. When we got older we often went to the Lakeside corner store where there was a regular beach with a high diving board and boats to rent.

But at our little beach, my dad would sometimes drive down a narrow sandy lane to the beach to fetch us. We could then ride home on the outside of the car by standing on the running board of the car. We thought that was "neat". From the little beach below the Heights, we swam across the lake to the bridge or over to the dam . The dam overflow formed the little creek (we called it the crick). In retrospect, the little creek probably wasn't the best place to swim. It was fed by the lake but along side the dam was a dump, a lot of the garbage and trash from Trenton was dumped into that dump. It was actively used and you could see rats running around it, sometimes we used rifle to shoot at them. Half the time it was burning and any water that fell on the dump from rain washed right into the little creek so we were swimming in polluted water. The dam itself was fairly sturdy but once in a while in a big rain storm the water would go over the top of the dam in a stream several feet thick and they would struggle to open flood gates to relieve the pressure. After I left home, the dam finally broke and the lake drained. It was empty for several years until a new dam was built.

We did a lot of sledding in the winter, at Bakers Hill and Lockwood but also on the Bluff. The Bluff was the hill that lead from behind Middleton's in the Heights down to the lake. When there was snow and also ice on the lake we could sled down the bluff, which had a nice bump in it, down on to the ice. The lake was a great place to ice skate and we looked forward to the time the ice was strong enough to skate on. We cleared off the snow so we could play hockey.. Sometimes we just liked to skate through the snow. We always careful because there were always a few spots were the ice didn't freeze completely.