When the cousins and I were young, we were carefree and adventurous. In those days there was no television or other major distractions inside, so we all played in the woods behind and beside of our grandparents’ house. We played all sorts of games, including Red Rover, hopscotch, war, pirates, and made playhouses out of old logs and other things we found in the woods. We also spent a lot of time at the creek at the very back of the woods.

Once after a heavy summer storm we found lots of twigs and tree limbs on the ground and worked for hours trying to create our own swimming hole. When we finally finished, we took turns standing on the dam and jumping into the creek. Our swimming hole stayed there for a long time, and we enjoyed it but never told our parents or grandparents about it because we figured they would not approve of it.

On one particular day several of us were visiting my grandmother. Some of the cousins had not seen our spot in the woods, so we took them down to the creek. We were all having a wonderful time when suddenly we heard our cousin Jane screaming. She had fallen into the water and was too young to have learned to swim. The older ones realized that there was not enough time to run up to the house to get the adults, so we found a large tree limb and shoved it into the water. After what seemed like forever but was actually just a few seconds, Jane grabbed the limb, and we were able to pull her out. Although we were all petrified, we knew we had to tell our grandparents and parents what had happened. Luckily, they were so glad that Jane was alive that they did not spank us. Needless to say, that was the end of our swimming hole!

More by Linda Barnette.