Tuesday, June 15, 2010

LAKEVIEW PARK




I can't remember the first time I went there-it seemed to be somewhere we always were during the summer. Playing in the waves, eating ice cream, and enjoying the sight of the fountain, especially at night, all illuminated. We tried surfing on an old door we'd found when I was eleven, and dog-paddled in our undies...couldn't afford trunks.
I rarely went there during my teens; indeed, I was nineteen before I began to frequent Lakeview again. My friends and I had discovered girls, music, and recreational drugs, in roughly that order, and Lakeview Park was the place for them at the time.
We'd cruise in, bike in, walk in, to be a part of the throng that turned the park into a strange carnival during the mid to late Seventies. Oddly enough, most regular citizens didn't seem to be bothered by us, although the police chief and the local paper swore we'd turned the place into "Needle Park".
One August evening in '79, the park was raided by the police...they drove through in dozens of cars, arresting everyone they could grab. Some of my friends and I got away, and sat across the street, watching it happen, then went home.
That was the last time I spent more than an hour at a time there, at least while the park was open...during my insomniac biking runs, I'd ride down there, and enjoy the solitude, and the sound of the waves. Occasionally, I'd see a cruiser come through, but they rarely bothered me-in fact, an older officer once admonished his rookie partner about me thus:
"That's Mister Hopewell...you'll see him down here a lot after closing. He has trouble sleeping, so he rides his bike or goes for walks around town. He doesn't bother anything or anyone, so we generally leave him alone".
Thank you, good sir.

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