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excerpt from "A Summer Place":

To us it was simply "The Lake". The most enduring member of our family. Child of my grandfather, handed down to my mother and then to us. My grandfather, William Munson Gardiner, and his cronies in the Reno Elks Club were pioneers of Lake Tahoe and among the first to make the drive up the mountain from the little town of Reno, Nevada in the 1920s. They purchased a large parcel of breathtaking lakefront property which encircled a round, pine-studded mountain and formed a point of land out into the water--a small cove of which became my family's summer home.

It was a family love affair. A proud, covetous attitude that we held, the strains of which run deeper than I can ever express. Each morning when I awoke in that cabin I was greeted with immense anticipation and unspoken gratitude. The Lake somehow made our lives feel timeless and endless. We had the unexpressed confidence of privilege without ever knowing it.

I had no idea that my family was not wealthy because everything I could ever want at that time in my youth was available to me. My life revolved around the summer trip up to the lake and the return in the fall. The glorious anticipation, the careful packing of the old Nash Rambler with virtually everything we would need for three months, and the six hour drive into an entirely different world. Best friends were left behind, school crushes put aside till next year; all dimmed in the bright light reflecting off the water. Though school years may blend one into another in my memory, my summers stand out, each one apart, separate entities dressed in bold colors with crisp, white borders around them.

Years later, someone would say, "Hey, remember that song by the Coasters?"

"Of course," I'd reply. "Summer of 1957. The jukebox at the beach in Bijou."

At that age (for me, eleven) you can't imagine that you'll always remember these trivial details. And these trivial details somehow evolve into exalted reminiscences...

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