Lake Luther

January 24, 2008


Do you remember doing really odd things when you were younger? Things that were actually a fair bit of work, didn’t serve any useful purpose, but were fun to do? When I was growing up we would spend lots of time building “forts”. Once this was a tree house that a few neighbor kids and I worked on. At school we constructed fairly elaborate buildings out of sticks and grass. At least once at school we turned the wood pile into a “hideout” (our school gym had a wood furnace, and the 8th grade boys were in charge of carrying in wood and lighting the fire every morning). One year when there was a lot of snow that stuck around forever we hollowed out chambers in it. Lots of kids working together to accomplish something of questionable worth.

On the farm it was usually building dams in the creek, and I got to pass my dam building skills onto my niece Brittney a few years ago. Luckily my little brothers were around to move the heavy rocks. Sam was the only one who could do that when we were young. Occasionally on the farm we would build hay forts in the barn.

This is not, however the sort of playing that I seem my students engaged in. Granted, I don’t see them that much when they have unstructured time that they need to structure. Maybe they don’t have enough unstructured time in general. So I was really interested when I saw them trying to freeze Lake Luther.

Lake Luther is a rather deep pothole in the school parking lot. It’s in a high traffic area for middle schoolers, so they see it often. There have been boats floating in it and once a little plaque appeared officially proclaiming it to be “Lake Luther”. It’s really not very big (maybe 14 inched by 20 inches), but surprisingly deep (about 5 inches). It’s in the drainage path for our parking lot, so it’s filled with water more often than you might expect.

dum dum dum da da dum dum

A few days ago I found a pack of eight grade boys going back and forth between the edge of the parking lot and Lake Luther. The total distance was maybe 150 feet. On closer inspection it turned out that they were kicking chunks of ice from the edge of the parking lot to Lake Luther intending to freeze Lake Luther solid. Like large, industrial sized ants, they made trip after trip back and forth delivering ice in roughly 6×6 inch chunks. School rules prohibit picking up snow or ice, so they kicked it all the way. Besides, it was brrrr cold and they didn’t have gloves.

ice ice baby

It warmed my heart to see them having such fun doing something so pointless that they decided to do “just because”. Did you guys do stuff like that when you were younger, or were we weird at Honey Creek?

About Lloyd

Lloyd Sommerer is a middle/high school teacher who likes to build websites, read books, grow beards, make fun of Lauren’s prototypes and eat the sauce of the picante.

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8 Responses to “Lake Luther”

  1. Brad Said on:

    You were weird at Honey Creek… but not because you built forts and dams.

    We had awesome gutters that were perfect for dams and floating sticks on when it rained. There was an especially deep gutter in front of the Mennonite family’s house. They didn’t mind us playing in it because they were always busy catching lightning bugs for medical research.


  2. Beth Said on:

    At our school in Tennessee there was a big grassy field tucked behind the Daycare Center (house) and Preschool (another house), next to our school (building). It was a weird place for a grassy field in the middle of the city, but it was fun. I’m pretty sure, at one time, another house was there and was demolished. Anyway, there was this area of dirt on the edge of the field that if we dug around in, we could find “chalk”. I actually think it was plaster from the demolished house, but regardless, it wrote on sidewalks just the same.
    Us girls loved to go to that dirt area and dig up chalk. As much as we could. And then write on the sidewalks…
    Pointless, but oh so fun.


  3. Peggy Said on:

    We used to crack open rocks with hammers & pretend the inside was gold etc. We also loved to follow the stream-from rock to rock. We’d do that all afternoon. Fruitcake lived in the woods, but he was harmless.

    The kids in my neighborhood (including me) were always trying to make money by selling snacks, drinks, putting on plays, etc. The weirdest money maker ever was when Joy put her hand thru a window & severed a vein in her wrist. The blood squirt out all over the walls as she ran frantically thru the house. After she went to the hospitpal via ambulance, her brother gave a tour to all the other kids in the neighborhood of the house, for 25 cents.

    So many good memories! I could go on forever … I’m pretty sure I lived in the ultimate Weirdville.


  4. Cousin Sam Said on:

    You get those kids out there and make them move that ice with their hands. Soccer Stinks! Your school rule does not apply to the endeavors of meaningless work.


  5. Deanne Said on:

    Rock collecting, clearing a park of Hawthornes (the thorn part) to build a stage. (never got the stage built, though) Scraping hardened mud to make it perfectly flat… now I clean my house… occasionally.


  6. Rae Said on:

    My best memory is “painting” the gas barrel, which was raised way above my head on a metal frame -- thus allowing gravity to pump the gas into the nozzle. I would get a can of water and a paint brush and “paint” that frame for hours. The old fainted, chipped paint would glisten and shimmer bright red in the sun for approximately 30 seconds before the Minnesota wind dried the water and it returned to its faded heather state. Once finished, and upon inspection, I would have a natural place to return to and repaint. I never tired of it and we probably had the cleanest gas barrel in the neighborhood!


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