Remembering Thirteen

August 15, 2010 at 10:43 am (Memoir, Recreation) (, , , , , )

It is early. I walk across the bridge to go to the Farmer’s Market. It is the middle of August – there will be plenty of produce and fresh fruit. The fruit tastes how I remember it when I get it from the Fruit Truck which hauls it straight to us from the Okanagan. My dad use to go down to B.C. every August to bring back fresh fruit for all of us.

The wind off the river this morning is reminiscent: cold yet also crisp and cool.

I remember the summer I was thirteen. It’s been decades. My mother’s work (she was a janitor) got everyone together for a weekend at the lake. It was mostly bliss. I would wake up early and go down to wander the beach before everyone else was stirring. It was calm and quiet; a little slice of heaven. I would walk along the shore, still half-asleep and dreaming of what could be.

I was going to buy a cabin when I got older and live in it year round: spring, summer, fall and winter. I was thirteen. I babysat everyday after school and every weekend evening. I helped mom with her cleaning jobs. We were poor. I found it easier to avoid my peers. I didn’t understand them. They didn’t understand me. It was a small town. The occasional group I hung out with consisted of four other people (Maxine, Tammy, Valerie and Mary) who were all moving quickly past me.  I was too easily hurt – the other prominent memory of that weekend is when a group of boys called me a whale when I was sun-bathing on the beach in my bathing suit (a very conservative one piece).

In town, it is a small town; the retired couple next to us had a cabin on this lake – a waterfront cabin. This was over thirty years ago before everyone and their dog had a cabin. I go to the lake now in the summer and I just want to rush home because the lake is so over-crowded with houses and people and pets. Back then, back when I was young, the lake would be practically empty on weekdays and hermit-like during off season.

I was going to buy a waterfront cabin, become a hermit and bask in the quiet solitude. No people. No idiots. No store expect during the summer. I would need to buy a snowmobile so I could travel into town when the roads were high with winter snow banks. I didn’t worry beyond that about practical matters. So what, if I got snowed in – there would be all that time to read and daydream and think.

Yesterday, I almost wanted to be thirteen again. But you can’t go back. Dreams change. I may not have a cabin and solitude lake-side. I do have, thank the stars, my own space, an almost perfect apartment – I need an outdoor area (a balcony, a terrace) and I need a cat. I’m close enough to walk almost everywhere I want to go and I have the freedom to make and abide by my own decisions.

Dreams change. People change. Every year is different. Every year I get braver. I’m curious about who I will be when I’m ninety-three.

I’ll still be planning my future this much I know for sure. Sorry, channeling Oprah here. 🙂


  1. Marion said,

    Hello! I found your blog through Death Bed Moment. I’m so glad I did. I would like to place your blog on my blog list. Is that ok with you?

    You sound a lot like me when I was thirteen. I wanted a cottage on the ocean…just me and my dog and cat. I thought it would the perfect place to live my life. But times change, as you’ve so eloquently said in this post.

    • solitaryspinster said,

      Absolutely, you can place my blog on your blog list. I’m glad you’re enjoying my writing.

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