There have got to be more lakes in Northern Indiana than pores on skin. So like a lot of people my grandparents bought a lake house, just off Lemon Hill near the Michigan-Indiana border. There was wicker everywhere and a creaky swing in a screened-in porch with fishing poles lining the wall. We’d sit whole watermelons to chill in an icey-cold brook that ran next to the house. Inside, there were Dixie cups in the bathrooms with vintage cartoons printed on the sleeve, stored inside closets filled with antique quilts and afghans.

I was conceived here, in this house in the late 70s, in what everybody called the George Washington room. That was thanks to its blue-and-white wallpaper playing out colonial scenes–tiny cannons next to scrolls held by men with powdered wigs. Looking over the lake, the room was small—there was the four poster, a night stand, and an old pump organ with a pink velvet backboard sitting above yellowed keys.

I spent a lot of summers at the lake growing up, so the place easily became an indispensable part of my identity. But knowing that I was actually made there sort of elevated the house in my head—especially after my grandparents moved away.

I’m traveling to Indiana to visit family soon. When I get there, I’ll ask my grandpa to drive me in his red truck to the lake. I’ll take my shoes off and walk down the brook to the front of the house. I’ll find the window of the George Washington room and think about beginnings, and growing older. And I’ll jump, being almost certain that I saw my kid self in the window, squinting out over the water.

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