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How sweet is this life? Youre a 6-year-old boy. You live in Tuftonboro, New Hampshire. And its summer.

Lets look at your assets. Youve made it through the highs and lows of Kindergarten at Tuftonboro Central School: the thrilling daily rides on the big bus, the snack time surprises from Grandma (homemade cookies!) and disasters from Mom (carrots??), the forgotten library books, the moment you shined with pride because your teacher let you play Martin Luther King in the class playBeing in school has changed you and helped you grow in so many great ways. But the really great thing about being a Big Kid now is you truly, truly appreciate SUMMER VACATION! Living in Tuftonboro, of course, the most important place in the summer is Nineteen Mile Bay. Sure, you went there lots of times when you were younger. The kids were always nice and it was always pretty fun. But now now that you are a Big Kid, its a whole new ball game.

swimming lessons at 19 Mile Bay

Swimming lessons at 19 Mile Bay in Tuftonboro include kicking hard and keeping your head above water

First of all, there are swimming lessons. Mom finally signed you up this year. You didnt really want her to because going under the water is on your Top 10 List of Things Not to Ever EVER Do. But when she told you that you could never be a camper at William Lawrence Camp (where Dad works) if you didnt know how to swim at least a little you said okay. And boy, are you glad you did! Eric, hes the teacher, is so cool. Hes probably even taller than your dad even though hes like a hundred years younger. He knows all about Star Wars and lets you talk to him about it before lessons if theres time. Eric understands that youre kind of anxious about the water and always does a Pinky Swear that he wont let you go under when you are practicing floating on your back or jumping off the dock. Hes also full of high fives when you try something new, even if you arent exactly perfect at it right away. It took about 4 lessons but you figured out that it was safe and easier to hold the kickboard away from your body and suddenly you were swimming like crazy! The other 2 kids in your swimming class also go to Tuftonboro School but they are going into 2nd grade. Its fun to get to know them, even though they are girls. You suppose they cant really help that about themselves. You dont like to talk about it but both of them are better at swimming than you are so sometimes you watch what they are doing to get an idea of what youre supposed to be doing. Mom loves these swimming lessons, too, because even your 4-year-old brother is signed up. Hes getting better and better every day, but not as good as you. The lessons are for the whole month of July, 4 days a week and it only cost Mom $30 per kid. To you that could buy a lot of Star Wars Legos but she still talks about what an amazing bargain it is.

Swimming lessons at 19 Mile Bay in Tuftonboro include kicking hard and keeping your head above water

When lessons are over, you get to play with your friends. And, man, are there a lot of friends to play with! It seems like the whole Kindergarten class is here on some days! Actually, for one afternoon birthday party youre pretty sure the whole class WAS there! Since the water is shallow and pretty warm, all of you have lots of room to play safely in the water and on the sand. Sometimes you and your buddies will just dig a hole and see how deep you can get. Sometimes you will make a canal or a moat surrounding a castle. In the water you can borrow each others noodles or goggles or tubes. (Mom always makes you to ask and use your manners but you know its okay because everybody does it all the time!) The docks that are out deeper are way above your head but not above Moms. Thats really cool because she can take you out there and you can jump off to her and get her really soaked. The bigger kids do most of their swimming lessons way out there in the lanes and the Tuftonboro Torpedoes swim team even holds races there. Sometimes you see adults swimming laps for exercise there, too, but you cant figure out why anyone would want to do that when there is splashing and jumping to be done. Your buddies may have brought a Frisbee or a wiffle ball to play with. The grassy area next to the pavilion is a great place for that. With any luck, Coles dad will be there to pitch because try as she might, Mom is not very good at finding anybodys strike zone. Even when its super hot and sticky outside, its always a bit cooler and theres always a good breeze at Nineteen Mile Bay. This doesnt stop Mom, of course, from insisting that you take a break from the sun and water under the pavilion sometimes. Lots of times Mary Ann shes the lady in charge, you guess - is training new lifeguards there. You sit at one of the picnic tables and drink your water and tolerate another layer of sunscreen being applied but soon, youre ready to play again.
The beach and the rafts are empty at 19 Mile Bay, Tuftonboror

Swimming lessons at 19 Mile Bay in Tuftonboro include kicking hard and keeping your head above water

Eventually, though, Mom gives you the 5-minute warning and its almost time to go. You gather up your stuff and start to dry off. Its such a short ride back to the house you dont worry about getting changed or even putting on your shoes. Even Mom is relaxed about these details. Some kids would be grumpy at this point, being dragged away from the fun. Not you though. You know that youll be back again probably tomorrow to relive these great times that you can only truly appreciate when Youre a 6-year-old boy. You live in Tuftonboro, New Hampshire. And its summer. = Post written by Phoebe VanScoy-Giessler [pheebzmail@roadrunner.com]

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