Lake Erie, USA - Denise Romeo
My Watermark is Lake Erie, New York.
Lake Erie was a mile from my house growing up, so we rode our bikes to the beach whenever we could. From spring to fall in my teenage years we practically lived at the beach.
There was only a small path in and out to the beach. With a towel around my neck, we would drag our bikes as far as we could through the sand then run to swim and have fun on this hidden gem.
The hidden gem that we swam at had no regulations back in the 70s. We were swimming and playing on the beaches of Bethlehem Steels dumping grounds; slag was dumped endlessly into the lake and runoff was never checked.
Today, I look back and think about it, I made fabulous friends and had genuine times as a "kid" there. I still go to the same beach. It looks the same although I see ore embedded in the sand and smile.
When spring comes we comb the beach, as it is loaded with golf balls, yes golf balls. I'm not sure where they are coming from but there are thousands of them washed up from over the winter in the piles of mulch and debris. The beach is cleaner than it used to be, unless there's a lot of rain. If it rains a lot, then there are a lot of "NO SWIM DAYS" posted.
Woodlawn Beach has become a State park now, and there are too many rules. So just being a kid at the beach is probably against the rules now. I am thankful that they have become mindful of the pollution in the Great Lakes, they sure are special.