I was a lucky kid.
I grew up on Packanack Lake in Wayne, New Jersey. Packanack is an historic area, not far from the Ramapo Mountain range, named after the Native American Pacquanac tribe that once lived there. Nearby, the homes where General Washington and General Lafayette housed their headquarters during the American Revolution are open for tours.
The lake dates back to 1925 when farms between two mountain ridges were cleared to form a dam and eventually the lake. When you sit on the bank with the mountains in the western horizon, it feels like the lake has been there forever.
But the best thing about the lake? It provided great tween and teen jobs (lifeguarding and snack bar work) and served as the social center during winter and summer (ice skating and ice hockey in the winter, swim and sailing teams in the summer). As a teen, the lake offered year-round friendship and fun. It also offered what I craved most: solitude.
When I was thirteen and had saved enough babysitting money, I bought a sunfish (tiny) sailboat. And that summer, after I passed my sailing and swimming tests, I was allowed to sail out into the middle of the lake by myself.
So this was my summer schedule: Wake up earlyish (for a teenager), ride my bike down the mountainside with my backpack filled with books, my journal, a towel, and lemonade to the small slip where the sunfish boats were housed, and set sail. While my friends (we bought our own sailboats from babysitting money or jobs working at the beach) would race up and down the length of the lake, I would sail to a quiet corner, drop anchor, and read.
Yes, I would hide on my sailboat and read all day long. By myself. It was perfect.
When the west wind blew in the afternoon, bringing in the clouds, I’d sail to my tiny slip and tie up for the night. Then I’d push my bike up the mountainside in time for dinner.
It was an introverted teenager’s perfect summer. And I feel bad for my kids who are growing up in a crowded suburban area. I wish they had the freedom I once had to sail out alone to read and think and dream.
Now I’d love to know how you spent your summer days when you were a kid.
Thank your for spending the day with us. Below is a link of my Golden Heart sisters who are participating in today’s blog party. Hope to see you next month!
Novels with Romantic Elements Authors: Natalie Meg Evans
Paranormal Romance Authors: Kay Hudson