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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Lifeguard (11/09/06)

TITLE: Summer Job, 1943
By Leigh MacKelvey


Peggy tossed her head and giggled into the telephone. She’d noticed the new lifeguard struggle to fit his equipment into a locker yesterday at the lake. Just the glimpse of him as he ran his fingers through his wavy hair left her happy, and whenever Peggy was happy, she giggled. It was 1943, the charred stench of war mushroomed across the world. There was nothing happy about war.Peggy hadn’t giggled for a long time.

“You should see him”, she said to her friend, Sal. “He’s dreamy I’m ready for some mouth to mouth.Let’s get to the lake early so we can spread our blankets near the lifeguard stand. Maybe you’ll get enough courage to introduce me ”

“ If I had the courage, I’d introduce myself to him. Okay, I’ll be around to get you earlier this afternoon. Don’t forget to crimp your bangs, like June Allyison .. what’s in the background?”

“Gee Willies!It’s my kid brother making smooching noises behind the sofa. Get out of here, Freddy, it’s a private conversation,”screamed Peggy.

“Oh yeah?” Freddy yelled back, “You better tell Ms. Mulligan, she listens to all the calls on the switchboard downtown ... ”


Jack could hear radio strains of the Chattanooga Choo-Choo floating out the window of the lake office.

My first day on the job, and I’m serious about staying on top of things. Brother, I’m already on “top of things”!

The lifeguard chair was high enough on the stand to view most of the lake and the fishing dock.

Man, those kids can jitterbug!

He watched the red-headed boy toss a girl in a blue swim suit over his shoulder, and then under his legs on the sandy beach.

I can even see the volley ball game a little ways down.

Jack offered a silent prayer of thanks to God. The war was on, and jobs were scarce. Competition had been tough, but Jack had convinced his employer that he was not just another cute lifeguard looking for girls.

I want to be able to prevent accidents, save lives, if necessary. I may not get called to fight, but helping the people of my country at the lake is a great summer job.I won’t waste time flirting with the girls.I’m here to guard lives.


“Jack, are you sure you’re okay about the baby? We decided when we married, we wouldn’t have children. It’ll be difficult to raise this child , but, oh, I’ve always wanted a baby ”, Peggy said. She giggled with excitement.

“Listen, Peg, believe me, I love children. I didn’t want you feel obligated for my sake. I’m ecstatic we changed our minds .. we both know the Lord will be with us.
"Meeting you at the lake was the best thing that ever happened to me, Peg. You thought you weren’t noticed, but the minute Sal smoked into the parking lot in that De Soto of hers, I knew the gorgeous girl beside her was someone I wanted to know.”

“ Well, Jack Porter”, said Peggy and tossed her brown hair. “You avoided me all afternoon. I kinda liked that, though. Most of the lifeguards played around too much. They spent their time drinking Coca-Cola, eating hot dogs and dancing with the girls.I was always afraid an unnoticed child would wander too far into the water. I’m glad you were on duty that day.” Peggy covered her knees with a blanket and adjusted the brakes on her wheel chair. “I think we’ll manage just fine.”

Jack slipped his arm around her and said, “When you took a dive off the dock, I knew I had to get there quick. I sent up some kind of prayers! ”

“It was stupid to dive into shallow water. I gave up on you, stomped off and made a frustrated dive. I wish the injury had never happened, but I’ve got a great husband who saved my life. You introduced me to Christ, and He saved me spiritually. The day you proposed, I got down on my knees and thanked God for everything...and I mean all of it .. the bloody war, paralyzed legs, His grace..and for a man who took a summer job to guards lives.”


1947, and the war had been over for two years. Peggy and Jack got a call from the adoption agency. Jack unwrapped the pink blanket, placed the tiny bundle on Peggy’s lap. She looked into my face and giggled.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 11/16/06
You did a great job of capturing the atmosphere of that era!

There were some minor problems with mechanics and POV.

This was a very visual piece, and I enjoyed it.
Trina Courtenay11/18/06
Chattanooga Choo-Choo is one of my grandparents favorite songs! Great visuals here. Punctuation and spacing needs to be looked at but other than that you've done a great job. ie: ,.?! should be placed inside your quotes, add a space before writing your next sentence and instead of telling the reader, show them (“ Well, Jack Porter”, said Peggy and tossed her brown hair. - "Well Jack Potter," Peggy said as she tossed her brown hair, "you avoided...)I hope these pointers help you as you continue to glorify the Lord with your gift of writing.
Donna Powers 11/19/06
A very sweet and touching story. It definitely captured my interest and I enjoyed reading it. Good work
Catrina Bradley 11/23/06
I really liked this story! You put me in the time and place with your writing. Please keep it up!