By Terry Konkle – President
For two summers in the 1960’s I worked with Norrine Elkins and Don Verduin as part of the swimming lesson program at “The Pines” on Bostwick Lake. As mentioned in a previous column, Mrs. Elkins taught the beginners. Coach Don Verduin headed up the program and worked with the advanced swimmers. I was hired to work with the intermediate group.
Rockford School busses were used to transport many of the participants with stops made between Rockford and Bostwick Lake to pick up many boys and girls who did not get on in town. Don Verduin and I were the drivers, and we both had routes to follow. As I recall, my bus would go out Ten Mile Road to Myers Lake where a right turn would lead me down to M-44 and then left to the lake. I would make several stops at certain points along the way and also at driveways where kids were waiting. Several parents would also see to it that their children were dropped off.
There was no charge to ride the bus, but there was a fee at “The Pines”. Can someone help me with the cost? I also know that many brought money for candy or ice cream or both. All swimmers were put in a group by ability and taught accordingly. When swimmers passed on to the next group, a Red Cross achievement card was issued to them. The swimming area was divided (facing the lake) with the beginners on the right, the intermediates in the middle and the advanced on the left by the single diving board. During free swim time, those who could swim could go out to the big dock with a “high dive” on it. I am guessing that some readers have memories of that tall diving area.
I enjoyed teaching swimming even though I had to deal with a few comments about the shirt I would wear in the water at times because of sunburn. On some days I would also have to listen to the riders as they sang “silly, funny songs”. At the end of the day, the busses would make a return trip. I think that Fridays were somehow set up as family times because often parents would bring their younger children and enjoy the beach.
With this column are some postcards showing “The Pines”. It was certainly a busy place for years. Many readers have already shared some of their recollections of their experiences there, and others are welcome to add to them. Just contact me by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone at 616-866-0530.
As always, please feel free to contact me with questions, comments, suggestions, concerns and corrections. Have a great, positive week!