I have always loved water activities. Once I learned to swim, anything to do with the water had my attention. At Girl Scout Camp, we learned to canoe. We were taught skills to navigate solo or with a second person. My third year of camp, we took a thirty-mile canoe trip down the Wolfe River. We slept on the river bank in two-person Alpine tents and cooked our meals over open campfires. We gained so much knowledge and had a great time.
I worked at the YMCA during this time in my life. I enjoyed teaching swimming and lifeguarding. As a team project, we built four wooden Sunfish Sailboats. Next, we learned how to sail and eventually had mini regattas racing our handmade boats. Being on the lake all day and enjoying the company of other like-minded friends was a special time for me.
My favorite part of being on the water was learning to water ski. Several of us were invited to one of our friend’s family cabins in Northern Wisconsin. We were all swimming and hanging out on the floating dock when one of their neighbors came by in his speed boat and asked if any of us would like to learn to water ski. I couldn’t believe my ears and our luck.
The dad was a swim coach from one of the State Universities. He got in the water and instructed us on the best way to be a beginner. I took to it instantly. Before the end of the day, I was able to get up on one ski. What a trip!
From that day on, my love of water skiing grew. I had friends on Beaver Dam Lake whose families had boats and liked to ski. I would take my slalom ski, my life jacket and my gas money and sit on the bank. Someone would almost always come by and pick me up to join them.
My first boyfriend and his buddies loved to ski. We spent many beautiful summer days enjoying the skiing and the friendship.
After I graduated, I married young. One of the best parts of the marriage was the fact that we purchased land on Lake Sherwood. We enjoyed skiing whenever we were there. The lake was smaller and the water was often as smooth as a mirror. I loved hanging behind the boat and going from side to side crossing the boat’s wake. We spent many summer days skiing and enjoying the outdoors. By the end of summer, I felt strong, tan, and capable. These vacations were relaxing and rewarding.
One of the things I missed the most about living in other states was the lack of access to water activities. Coming back to Wisconsin brought back my memories of time spent on the water. I don’t ski anymore but sometimes in my dreams, I am back behind a boat, under blue skies, reliving the good times.