My parents both grew up on family farms near Algoma, Wisconsin. My mom’s was on the shore of Lake Michigan. My dad’s was further inland, but just a short walk from the Ahnapee River. This was before the invention of video games, so when we’d visit our grandparents, the river and the lake came into play for my sister (older), my brother (younger) and me.

My sister and I caught our first fish on the Ahnapee River. Our dad led us across a field of alfalfa, through a small stand of hardwoods, and then down a dirt road to the riverbank. Our equipment was simple—bamboo cane poles, woven line, hooks, bobbers and worms for bait. The fish were invariably bullheads, which are a type of catfish, although how anyone could not tell the difference between a bull and a cat is beyond me. We were always excited to land a bullhead, and always content to let it go back to whatever it was busy doing before being caught.

At the other farm, on the sandy/rocky shore of Lake Michigan, my brother and I spent long hours on the beach perfecting the manly art of skipping stones, also known as simply throwing stones when they failed to skip. (Please note that we never failed—it was always the stones’ fault.) I think we were trying to fill the lake with rocks to see where the water would go, but it’s possible we underestimated the size of Lake Michigan.

Now that I think about it, many of my childhood memories include water. I attended Brush Creek Elementary School. Watched the Pecatonica River flood. Fished in Lake Winnebago, Little Lake Butte des Morts, and the mighty Fox River. Nearly all of our family vacations were spent in resort cabins on northern lakes. Water, water, everywhere.

I’m not 100% sure that’s typical. But I’m betting that if you grew up in Wisconsin, water is an important ingredient in your memories, too.

The views and opinions contained and/or expressed in the above “Water Story” submission are the views and opinions of the individual who made the submission and in no way represent or reflect the views and opinions of the Great Water Alliance or any of its affiliates.