Greg’s Monday challenge: write a personal essay
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When I was growing up my dad tried to teach me how to fish -- that never took for some reason. All of our fishing was in streams in the mountains to the north of our house and, usually, in one called Lytle Creek. There was one place in the creek I remember particularly where the creek split and there was an island in the middle of it.
There are many people that won’t see any excitement about this because our creek was about six to eight feet wide and, maybe, two feet deep. Where it widened to about twenty feet, it was only a couple of inches deep. In one of those twenty-foot wide sections, there was an island. Well, there was a patch of sand and rocks about three inches high sitting in the middle of the creek.
From the road, we could tip toe through the inch or two of water to the island, walk the five feet or so to the other side of it, and the water on that side would be deeper (almost a foot). What was nice was that there were a couple of pools on that side that nearly always had some trout and dad usually caught one or two there.
My next contact with an island was in 1955 when Disneyland opened and my parents took me there. I didn’t realize that the big island in the lagoon was man-made: it was just fun to explore.
In 1957, I went to Pennsylvania to visit my family and saw some real islands. They had what they called creeks (and I called rivers) and all of them had islands in them. Some of those islands were a mile long and several hundred meters wide. Wow, that’s even bigger than the island in Disneyland! (At least in my ten year-old mind.)
One of our class trips in high school was to Santa Catalina Island off the coast of SoCal -- a real island. It wasn’t in the middle of a stream or lake -- it was in the ocean!
There were probably more islands in my life before that, but I don’t remember them. After I joined the Marines, I spent a lot of time on islands. Hawaii, Adak, the Virgin Islands, Vieques, Guam, Midway, the Philippines, Wake… oh, yes, Wake.
Landing on Wake Island was sometimes an experience. If we were landing from the east, the plane would settle down lower and lower and, looking out the window, there was nothing but water under the wing! Pull up, there’s nothing there! Then the wheels would touch down and there was a narrow ribbon of sand between the landing strip and the ocean.
I guess I can’t stop talking about islands without mentioning the Ile de la Cité in Paris. Not the biggest island I’ve ever visited, but it’s packed with art, music, and history -- and I spent a lot of time walking all over it.