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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

A water lily and a memory

Jessica VanSolkema
The water lily in my hair on my first trip up to the cottage

For as many years as I can remember, my family and I would head up to the cottage. It wasn’t our cottage but our neighbors. Then, one year, we stopped. I was told it was because we were getting too old and busy to spend days up there anymore. I miss it. 

I miss driving 66 miles to get there, watching movies in the back of the car but only getting halfway through because the drive was so short. I miss when we would switch cars so we could all ride up together. 

All of us packed our Ripstiks, and we would ride them to the end of the street, and by the time we got back, lunch was ready. We rode up this giant hill at the end of the road, and the force of going down gave us the perfect amount of momentum to make it almost the whole way back to the cottage.

Once out of the car, the first thing we did was race up the narrow wood staircase to the attic. It is made up of wood plank ceilings, walls, and floors. There were five different beds crammed up there, each of us having our own designated to us. If we weren’t on the boat or in the living room, we were up there. The boys would play Smashy Road and my other neighbor and I would play random games on our iPads. Eventually, we all got phones and used those a little bit more than we probably should have. 

It was almost always the four of us, no more and rarely any less. I remember sitting in the upstairs living room playing Pictureka!  In the downstairs living room, we all crowded around a TV, playing Mario Kart on the Wii. For me, Coconut Mall and Mushroom Gorge were always favorites. 

Outside of the downstairs living room, through the sliding door and attached to the underside of the deck, was a swinging bench. I simply cannot express the feeling of sitting and swinging on it, looking out at the lake during sunset at nine or ten at night. 

I felt so beautiful with the flower tucked into my hair

There was a pontoon which would take us out to the island. It was a small island in a different lake than the one the cottage was on, so it was always a little bit of a ride. We parked the boat, among many others there, and would swim around the entire island while the adults talked and stayed in the boat. Sometimes, we would go and explore the island, but often not because there were a lot of bushes in the way. 

I remember one day driving through a no-wake zone, and there was a patch of beautiful water lilies. I reached over the boat and carefully picked one up out of the water, and slid it behind my ear. I felt so beautiful with the flower tucked into my hair.

Similarly, the feeling of riding in the front of the boat, my hair flying in the breeze, and driving at full speed through a lake during sunset was simply indescribable. We would ride through all of the three lakes, sometimes stopping to jump in and swim and point out all the houses we would want to live in. 

Also, there was a cherry-red speedboat, which we used for tubing. The tube we used year after year allowed two to sit in the front and two on their knees in the back; it was green and blue. I will always remember how much my hands hurt after how tight I was gripping the handles, trying so hard not to be whipped off the tube.

Later at night, once we were all dry and had eaten dinner out on the deck, all the kids and parents would sit at the kitchen table and play games like Apples to Apples, and my personal favorite, The Horse Race Game. I miss all 10 of us gathered around the brown table playing games at night and not going to bed till 11 p.m. or midnight, which, at the time, we thought was so late. 

We were only up there for a few days each summer, but it was always something I looked forward to every year. I took for granted all the years I spent up there. 

I don’t know if I’ll go back there again now that we’re all so grown up, but I hope I can revisit the place that made my childhood dream of living on a lake a reality again. 

And maybe I’ll find another lily to place in my hair.

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About the Contributor
Autumn VanSolkema, Staff Writer
Autumn is a junior entering her first year on The Central Trend. She loves a good romance novel, but loves her corgi more. If she is not belting out Taylor Swift songs, she is teaching herself new songs on the guitar or ukulele. You can find her cheering on the sidelines of football games or coaching her little fourth-grade cheer team. Autumn has grown up loving the theatre, being both on the stage and in the audience. She has performed in many shows and regularly begs her parents to take her to New York again to see more Broadway productions. Autumn is an avid photographer, with her camera roll being filled with 19k+ photos over the last two years. Her least favorite things in the world: Balloons and Styrofoam. Her favorite musicalsWaitress and Mamma Mia Number of surgeries she's had: 7 Her favorite condiments: Mayo and Ranch Favorite season: Just like her name, it's autumn

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