Teen’s Driver’s License Provided Summertime Opportunities

A man shares the story of how getting a driver’s license introduced him to one of the best natural swimming pools, and the wonderful memories that were made at that neighborhood pond.

| July/August 2014

  • Getting a driver’s license allowed a teen to find one of the greatest natural swimming pools in the area, a neighborhood pond.
    Photo by Fotolia/Unter-Wa

At the age of 16, a whole new world of opportunities opened up for me when I received my driver’s license. One of the greatest of these opportunities was becoming aware of one of the world’s best natural swimming pools — a neighborhood swimming hole called Perry’s Pond. It was a crystal-clear spring-fed pond that was the summer meeting place for all of the area teenagers.

There was always something going on at Perry’s Pond. People swam, picnicked and camped throughout the summer. Some of the best memories I have are contributed to this oasis deep in the woods.

One year, a strange thing happened to me there. You would never think about being attacked by a blood-thirsty fish in a freshwater pond, but that’s exactly what happened to me.

It was early spring, so the water was still quite cool, but a few of us adventurous boys decided we would be the first to take a plunge for the year. We all dove in and began to swim along the edge of the pond. Earlier that day we had noticed that a large northern pike had cleared out an area for spawning. As I swam along in that area, all of a sudden I felt something tearing at the flesh on my side. Sure enough, when I came up out of the water, there were teeth marks in my flesh. In all of my years, I have never heard of another person being bit like this by a freshwater game fish. So, other than that one strange incident, Perry’s Pond sure was a great place to swim.

Things change through the years, and the same has been true for Perry’s Pond. The property was sold, and the new owner closed the pond off to the public so he could build a house near it. By the time this happened, the days of my youth were behind me, but it still seemed like the end of an incredible era of enchanting youthful wonder. No matter how many years pass, I will never forget the fun and excitement of this old neighborhood swimming hole.

Mauston, Wisconsin



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