(Following is my column that appeared in the July 2 edition of the Devils Lake Journal, where I am a reporter and ad sales rep).
A couple weeks ago I took photos for the Journal of of one of the first practice sessions for Devils Lake’s recently formed women’s roller derby league. I was chatting with these brave women as they were putting on their gear, and one of them told me her husband moved back to Devils Lake after being gone for a long time as well. She said something about having to get used to living in your hometown as an adult, not as a child or teenager. That got me thinking. It is very different to live here as a working adult. For one thing, I have to pay all the bills and make my own meals – well only some of the time because my Dad Fast Eddie likes to cook, and my parents invite me to join them fairly regularly for meals! I also don’t have a curfew, but I can’t stay up much past 10 p.m., so it really doesn’t matter.
I recently wrote about some of the Big City things I miss, such as a larger variety of restaurant options. There also are things that I miss about the Devils Lake of my past or youth.
The biggest thing I miss is Devils Lake lakes of past, even though back then the issue was not too much water, but not enough. I miss Lakewood and the public beach camping right on the lake, where you could park your boat directly by your campsite. Now we have this huge, cavernous body of water that has swallowed up lands and roads and caused so much damage and left us with no public beach access other than to launch boats.
Another thing I miss is the old Roosevelt Park swimming pool (do you detect a water theme here?) When I recently did the Walk for Life, during my laps around the park I passed the small stone bridge that led to the old pool. Every summer I rode my bike over that bridge on a nearly daily basis with a towel wrapped around my shoulders heading back and forth to the pool. That pool was much larger than the current pool and had a high dive and a low dive. I was terrified of the high dive and only braved it a couple of times, climbing up the long ladder and usually regretting the attempt by the time I reached the top.
Some of the other things I miss are the The Arcade, the Ben Franklin store where you could buy two pieces of candy for a penny. My friends and I also bought (yes) candy cigarettes and pretended to smoke them before we gobbled them up, and candy necklaces that we would wear and eat at the same time, creating one sticky neck! Often the candy was purchased before heading over the the old Lake Theater across the street. I remember seeing a Planet of the Apes movie marathon there, spending an entire sunny Saturday sitting in the dark, eating candy and watching the humans and the apes duke it out.
Tomorrow is the 4th of July, and although a Wednesday is not the ideal day for any holiday, I’ll take it! My sister and niece from Grand Forks will be here, and and along with the parents and my brother and his family, I’m looking forward to some family fun, which is one DL memory of days gone by that I still get to enjoy, including the parade and fireworks. Sparklers are one of my favorite fireworks, and as a kid I enjoyed lighting them in the dark and waving the glowing sticks back and forth spelling words. This 4th of July, I will sparkler spell the words “you can go home again.”