by Karen Luise Fields
I attended a gathering recently where folks were reminiscing about Bachman Lake and the surrounding areas. The person speaking mentioned a skateboard park was on the table as part of a plan to revitalize the lake. I interjected and said “Oh you mean they are bringing back the skateboard ramp?” The person looked confused and I explained how there was a skateboard ramp at Bachman throughout my adolescence. I went on to explain that I hung out at Bachman Lake and the ramp until at least 1988 when I graduated from Thomas Jefferson high school.
The Clown Ramp! Though I didn’t know that was the name until much later. As a kid, the names of places weren’t that important. To me it was just “The Ramp”. The feeling you got while hanging there with friends was freedom! No rules, just fun! I built friendships there. Some lasted past those days and some were just “ramp friendships”. The “I remember whens….” began pouring into my mind!
Beginning in 1980 when I turned ten years old my Mom trusted myself and my brother Kevin, who was 12 at the time, to walk the neighborhood unsupervised. Our routine was the same every Saturday. We walked down Lenel to Mixon Drive, cut across the open field past the abandoned shopping strip buildings to the Burger King that sat on the edge of the Marsh Lane feeder road from Northwest Highway. We would stop for french fries and then pop into the flower shop (now an insurance agency) and smell the roses before running across the street to M.E. Moses 5 & 10 (my first paid job at age 16) to get our weekly quota of bubblegum and other junk foods. Our next stop would be the Walnut Hill Library located at the corner of Marsh Lane and Admiral Drive (9495 Marsh Lane Dallas, TX 75220). We would sit for hours reading whatever we wanted and plotting how we could get away with walking to the lake and still get home before dark! My brother wasn’t as brave as me and he would go home sooner so he wouldn’t get into trouble! Being the adventurous child I was, I walked from the library, through the shopping center, to Webb Chapel Rd. and crossed at the light. This is when I discovered the skate ramp! There were bleachers for people to watch and boy did I watch! I had a skate board but I wasn’t good at doing tricks like the other kids. So, the ramp became my hideaway to get away from my brother and have some alone time! I would get home before dark so my Mom never knew until my brother snitched! She wasn’t happy at all! Being the genius kid I was, I decided to volunteer at the library a few hours every week so this enabled me to hang at the skate ramp when I was done! My Mom never knew I only worked two hours at the library and the other three were spent at Bachman Lake!
Bachman Lake started out for me as a place for watching my fellow youth skate at the ramp but became my place for peaceful relaxation and nature watching! I could watch the ducks and squirrels for hours and never get bored! Bachman Lake also became a great photography spot for me that I still use today! I have walked around Bachman Lake with my Mom and Dad, countless friends, and even a few boyfriends. Over the years I have attended many events such as Christmas In the Park (formerly sponsored by The City of Dallas Parks and Recreation Department), family picnics, and cruising on a Sunday afternoon! I was glad to hear there was a group attempting to preserve the legacy of Bachman Lake and the surrounding areas so more people can have idyllic memories like I do!
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