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
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
Years later, someone would say, "Hey, remember that song by the
"Of course," I'd reply. "Summer of 1957. The jukebox at the beach in
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...