Wednesday, September 12, 2007

'67 - Summer of Love (3)

(I changed the name of the Vacation (10) post to '67 Summer of Love (2) - as the title was more appropriate, and it happened all the same year. So this post picks up - that same summer - before my 8th grade year.)

We returned from Vacation early in July. Even though my crush was no longer interested, there was plenty of summer left.

In July and August the creeks and rivers of Northern Idaho are warm enough for swimming, and even though I was not old enough to swim alone, Dad would take me to the creek to swim.

This summer, someone had dammed up the creek near the south end of Weir Gulch. This made the creek near the Bauman Addition too shallow for swimming, but created a better swimming hole behind the Assembly of God Church at the end of Division Street. All the kids my age were going there to swim in a great green pool of water.

Dad took me there a few times, and that is where I met Tom. (Now Tom was his real name, and I decided to use it, because he has been deceased for quite a number of years now. I don't know the reason for his early demise, but it could have been the result of an accident or disease.)

Tom was a great looking kid with strawberry blonde hair and green eyes. (Ok, so his hair was red, but a soft redish-brown, and bleached by the sun. It's not that I have anything against red-haired guys, but I think my repulsion of Howdy Doody didn't help.) Tom was a year older than I, and for some strange reason he took a liking to me. I was a bit shy in those days, so he must have been the first one to swim over and introduce himself. I was fascinated by the fact that he was interested in me when he could have had a lot of girls after him.

The one event that sticks out in my mind was the day at the creek, when he scooped me up into his arms and hollered at my Dad, "Hey, Mr. Lewis, do you mind if I throw your daughter in the water?" Before I could process the fact that he lifted me up, my dad was saying, "Go ahead," and I was flying through the air toward the middle of the green pool.

Nearly every afternoon for the rest of the summer, I would go to the swimming hole. Dad didn't go with me all summer. I think he started to realize that I could swim pretty well, and that there weren't any creepy people to be wary of. I think as long as I had at least one friend along, I could go. Sometimes the Carver brothers would come down to the swimming hole, and I would feel safe, because they were all like brothers to me.

I never had to worry about Tom, and neither did my parents. He was a gentleman. He started coming over to my place to visit, and always spent time interacting with my parents. He'd usually say, "Hi" to me and continue on into the kitchen to ask my mom if she needed help with the dishes or whatever she was doing. Mom used to tease me by saying, "I think he likes me more than he likes you." But I knew that wasn't true!

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