[Denise M. Baran–Unland - email@example.com]
I clicked on it, and I was suddenly standing on the grounds near the beach house, which housed concessions, the first time I ever ate Little Debbie chocolate cupcakes, a treat I was allowed to buy just once.
In the summers before I turned 10, the Joliet Beach Club located at 420 Rowell Ave. in Joliet, once also known as Michigan Beach, was my favorite place to be.
My mother preferred lounging on the sand in a beach chair from home, but father taught us basic swimming techniques, the dog paddle and the dead man's float.
I remember the blue of the water and the sparkling sun. I remember gazing past the rope to the deep waters where the big kids swam. But one had to pass a swimming test first, and I could not technically swim.
Our neighbor Dale O'Connell Sr. (deceased) managed the club. Periodically he would call out someone's name, with a stern instruction to come to the office. My father said those were the swimmers who were not obeying the rules.
One day, "Mr. O'Connell" boomed over the loudspeaker: "Denise and Karen Schonbachler: Come to the office." Quaking with fear and wondering what rule I broke, I splashed out of the water and huddled on our blanket.
Soon, our neighbor came out to us.
"Since you've been so good, you may each take home a bucket of sand and a bucket of water," he said.
Well, I had a sandbox and a kiddie pool at home. And one bucket of sand and one bucket of water from the Joliet Beach Club could not recreate all the fun of being there.
But since watching that video of the beach club, I've had a strong desire to walk those grounds once again. Maybe someday.