#SoCS: The Ring that Takes us Back

Ring, circle, loop, wheel…

I’m not sure what it is about the coming of autumn. Memories ring and hang in the air.

I have been drawn to the home of my youth on a number of occasions, but autumn always takes me back to the lake. Shadow Lake. Where I used to spend many summer days, tanning with the Coppertone lotion that may have had a sunblock of 5 or a sunburn of 5.

I didn’t sunburn as a child, perhaps because of German descent or simply the olive-skinned DNA that biology gifted me. I turned a dark shade of brown during those summers, more so than I do now with the sunblock of 30.

It was this past week that I had an opportunity to stop in my hometown of Waupaca long enough to walk around South Park, with its trees and shelter and the memories of a sandy beach that scorched the feet on many hot July days.

South Park and the beach have had many upgrades since long ago: A new beach house, paved trails, a shelter with indoor plumbing and a place for friends to meet on a sunny afternoon to play Scrabble. There’s a playground and stairs that lead from the upper level to a lower level of the park.

So, where does “ring” fit in with this story?

Ring is a circle, a loop, a wheel that we travel around – from beginning of life to the end. We all have places and times, though, that return us to a previous point on the ring of our life that hold special memories – when perhaps we weren’t aware of things like sunblock or computers or streaming TV.

The ring likes to take me back to this lake, this park. I’ve met friends in downtown Waupaca for lunch several times, and have driven past the old homestead and what used to be my grade school, but there’s something about a place where no worries ever existed other than making sure I made it home at the designated hour or figuring out how to take swimming lessons without getting water up my nose. Most of the time, though, it was about summer sun, jumping off a diving board, or laying on a towel to get the best unhealthy tan. No thoughts of much else. No adult stress. Time to be a kid, act like a kid, splash around in the water.

That was 50+ years ago.

Time flies when you grow up, become an adult, get married, get a job, get divorced, parent the parents, retire from the job, hang with a multitude of friends, etc.

Some parts of my life are not likely to be revisited, but I’m forever thankful for Shadow Lake and South Park, for always being there in my memories and in reality. Most likely you will not see me at the beach, in swimming suit, during the summer, but come back next autumn. You may catch me inviting myself to a game of Scrabble and making new points on both the ring and the board.

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Stream of Consciousness Saturday is the brainchild of author Linda G. Hill. Every Friday, Linda provides her followers with an inspiring blogger’s prompt. It can be a word or words and sometimes bonus points are involved (my favorite). Linda asks us to write without editing, other than correcting spelling errors.

Just go with the flow.

Like a babbling brook or rain drops. Click HERE if this type of writing floats your boat or helps with your decision-making. Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is starts with “ring.” Use it as a noun or a verb. Bonus points if you use it as both. Have fun!

35 responses to #SoCS: The Ring that Takes us Back

  1. Summer childhood memories – nice. One of those that always makes me smile is how free we were to just say ‘I’m going out’ and off we went until the next meal time. 🙂 Be safe out there, Mary. A friend who cycles regularly went off the road due to small shoulder right into a pine tree. He broke his collarbone, fractured three ribs, and assorted small injuries. It’s been a long road so far for him. Stay safe.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I will be careful on the bike, Judy. I stick to the trails and stay off the roads, but there are still plenty of potential hazards to watch out for. I hope your friend heals in time to enjoy his biking next summer.

      When we are kids, we reach an age where we yearn to grow up and do what we want. It’s too bad we don’t necessarily appreciate the freedoms of being a kid when we are a kid.

  2. Dan Antion says:

    It’s good to connect with those points on the ring, Mary. The places where the memories are best. It looks like a lovely area to spend a summer day, not worrying about anything. I hope you have a great weekend. It’s always good to find you out here in blogland.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      My hometown and the surrounding lakes are a vacation destination for many in the summer. It’s busy with tourists and that’s probably another reason why I like visiting the old haunts and the beach when the kids are back in school. It feels more peaceful.

      I hope to post once or twice more before I head out to Colorado again, but right now my head is starting to “swim” with the many things that have to be accomplished before then. Happy weekend, Dan!

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Yes it is, Sadje. I like coming back when the leaves turn color and the smell of autumn is in the air. It conjures up other memories…like trick or treating, or high school bonfires. Good times!

    • bikerchick57 says:

      It’s a pretty area, Beth. I thought about moving back there after retirement (it’s only 35 minutes from where I live now), but I am too entrenched in a bigger city and all it has to offer. I don’t know if I could go back to small town living. Have a wonderful day!

  3. JoAnna says:

    The park is beautiful. Time really does fly as we get older. You took me back to going to the beach and swimming in the ocean with what seems now like not a care in world and getting plenty of blistery sunburns as a redhead. Now, I’m apologizing to my skin. But ah the good memories!

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I don’t know about you, JoAnna, but I never minded the heat and humidity back then, much like I equated “fun” and days off school with snow and cold in the winter time. The heat was the only excuse I needed to head to the beach and swim.

      • JoAnna says:

        The heat didn’t bother me much at all until a couple years ago. Oh, well…

  4. murisopsis says:

    Wonderful reminiscences! Summers seemed to last a long time back then and now I blink and summer is gone! I cherish my childhood memories. I went back not so long ago and every thing is changed – buildings gone, houses changed completely, businesses and touchstones evaporated. Mostly all that is left is the ghostly memory….

    • bikerchick57 says:

      That’s too bad about your hometown. I have to say that Waupaca has grown in many ways – added new buildings and business, schools, the Catholic Church, etc., but there are still houses and places like the park and lake that have kept part of the past and still feel familiar.

  5. quiall says:

    This took my memories back to those days, those idyllic days by the beach. What wonderful memories. But I was a redhead, white skin and copper hair and I burned like the dickens! Sunscreen was something we did not know then. I am surprised that 50+ years later I am not riddled with problems. I guess it’s just the luck of the Irish. Thanks for allowing me to jaunt with you through the past.

  6. bikerchick57 says:

    I have a friend who has white skin and she has to be careful in the summer sun. She has made note once or twice that my winter white is still darker than any summer tan she may açhieve. We are both lucky, as are you, Pam, that we have not had skin problems either.

  7. Ally Bean says:

    Lovely. Childhood memories can be slippery. Some happy, some sad– but always with a bit of wistfulness included. Love the photos.

  8. dweezer19 says:

    Thanks for sharing your memory ring, Mary. It made me smile. I have memories like this. It reminds me of that old yearbook poem the girls used a lot.
    “A ring is round, it has no end. And that’s how long I’ll be your friend.”

    • bikerchick57 says:

      You’re welcome, Shelley. There is so much to see in WI – parts of the state I don’t get to very often because of distance and time. I would like to rectify that…take in the sights and a few bike trails while I am able. 🙂

      • bikerchick57 says:

        Ohhh…biking and beer! You can’t go wrong with that as long as you drink the beer after the biking.

      • Yes! LOL – we did that once, stopped at the Lodge 1/2 way for a sampling and regretted the choice. Home was about 8 miles from there and there aren’t any restrooms on the way 🤣 😉

  9. joey says:

    So lovely. So relatable.
    I also return to the lake of my youth in fall. (Where my grandparents lived)
    Priceless memories.

    Do you play Scrabble on your phone?

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