Water Lilies

My family moved to East Haven, Connecticut, the summer before I started 4th grade.  Within easy walking distance of our house, there were three small lakes, or ponds.  The closest was Pollywog Pond, which was approximately a mile into the woods behind our house. Pollywog Pond wasn’t much more than a puddle, good for mock naval battles with model ships we’d built or for catching pollywogs in the spring.  If we pedaled our bikes a mile and a half down Bradley Street, then walked them down a short path through the woods, we’d be at Pirot Pond.  Pirot Pond was our local fishing hole … it was only good for sunfish, bluegill and an occasional perch, but it was close and open to the public.  Yes, things were different in 1955.   Ten year old boys were tramping about in the woods by themselves and going off on boys-only fishing expeditions.  Two miles down Bradley Street in the opposite direction from Pirot Pond was the YMCA’s Camp Hubinger, home of Grannis Lake which we called Lake Hubinger.  By joining the YMCA’s Family Camp, we could swim in the lake … and fish for the large-mouthed bass that were plentiful.

In addition to providing growing boys with outdoor recreation, our local ponds had something else in common … lily pads.  In fact, Pirot Pond was covered with them, leaving only a few openings for fishing.  And where there are lily pads, there are usually water lilies.  Now, you’d think that a ten year old boy wouldn’t notice such things but you’d be wrong.  As a newcomer to the woods, I was fascinated by the flora and fauna … and I particularly liked flowers.  Frequently, I’d pick a few lilies that were near shore and bring them home to my Mom.  She’d float them in a bowl of water and they’d open with the sunrise and close with the sunset for several weeks.

Here in the L.A. Basin, water lilies are less common, but fortunately, one of the small lakes in our park has a few, as does the Fullerton Arboretum, providing subject matter for an occasional photo or painting.

Water Lily – Yorba Regional Park

Water Lilies – Watercolors and Ink

Of course, if you love water lilies, then you have to appreciate the Master.

Water Lilies by Claude Monet

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3 Comments on “Water Lilies”

  1. Glenn Reed Says:

    and my Master for today happens to be you and a few memories of old. Thanks, brother.

  2. Andy Says:

    I too moved to East Haven when I was ten and lived up High Street in High Ridge. Boy those were the best years of my life. We knew it as Lake Hubinger and the Crappie(Calico Bass), Largemouths, and Sunnies were aplenty. We were adventurers, always outdoors after the bus from Deer Run dropped us on High Street. We were always exploring new territory. Those Lilly pads were fascinating. I once cast a jitterbug between the lillypads. Surely I would snag and lose it. A big bass leaped and hit it like lightning. Then we moved to New Jersey when I was 15 just before my Junior year at East Haven High.

  3. Russell Best Says:

    You forgot Pappy McClays lake and pony ranch on Bradley Street. Lots of bass and sunnies in that pond. It had an island that was attached to the shore via a bridge,and the island was my favorite fishing spot.

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