By Cathy Leestma
In the summer of 1963, I began my employment at The Bald Mountain Club. I was twelve and my family was spending the summer in Lake Lure. The club, now known as Rumbling Bald Resort on the northern shore of Lake Lure was the brainchild of Rolland King of Sarasota, Florida. My dad and Rolland were business associates. This family club was simple. It was the time before golf courses and condos. Newly constructed and unknown to few but the local community, the club and the surrounding hundreds of acres became my summer playground.
One of my responsibilities was to send out flyers on this new family club, mostly to Floridians, hoping they would fall in love with the idea of escaping the summer heat and bring their families north to enjoy the beautiful waters of Lake Lure. Sidebar: this was prior to self adhesive stamps or envelopes. Promotional material was also mailed to nearby (relatively speaking) cities such as the more influential, older and historic Spartanburg, S.C.. Interesting to note that Greenville, S.C. had yet to come into its own, and like many of the southern towns was known in the early 1960’s for its cotton mills.
There were twelve roundettes featuring one or two bedrooms overlooking the lake. Housekeeping became part of my repertoire. I also taught tennis, swimming and occasionally helped a newbie with water skiing. “Sit on your skis, let the boat pull you up, arms straight” was our mantra.
However, where I learned the most during those formative teen years was as a waitress. You learn a lot about people when you serve them. Now, you must realize that I received no formal training in any of these areas. It was all learned by experience and often by failing a task or perhaps it was that my ignorance became my best teacher. I have often thought about the lady I spilled a full cup of ice tea on. I am still sorry about that. And “Sanka?” Seriously? Who wants to drink instant, decaffeinated coffee? I mean, what’s the point? The lady who ordered it did, and after I brought her the third cup of regular coffee, she informed me so. Ah, youth!
I am pretty sure I never received much of a paycheck. It didn’t matter much. Everything that really mattered was taken care of. After work and on the weekends we would ski till dark. There was a period when you could count on a good, summer thunderstorm every afternoon and that would send us running for the clubhouse. It was a good life. It was simple and happy. Regardless of the turmoil going on in the bigger world, our world, my world revolved around who would check in next for a weekend in Lake Lure or who wanted to ski down to the Dam Marina to gas up the boat.
I hope your visit here will be full of good, simple memories. And who knows, you may even be able to ask for a Sanka. I hear it’s coming back in fashion. Happy 4th!