published Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Alabama woman revisiting her first date — at Lake Winnepesaukah

Lake Winnepesaukah Amusement Park is a popular destination.
Lake Winnepesaukah Amusement Park is a popular destination.

Wanda Stapp keeps a 61-year-old relic from her teenage days hidden in a cedar chest at her Roanoke, Ala., home.

The black beanie, a little faded and worn, is a souvenir from the first date she ever had with a boy.

"It's not in the best of shape, but I'm not either," she said. "That was 61 years ago."

Stapp was 13 years old when her mother finally let her go out, but she was only allowed to date on Sundays. Her gallant escort chose the best place in town for their romantic evening -- Lake Winnepesaukah.

"Lake Winnie used to be the highlight of our lives when we were kids," she said.

Even though Stapp went on to marry another man, she still cherishes the memories of hot summer days spent splashing around in the pool and riding the many rides.

Back then, Lake Winnie had "kiddie days" when children could ride the rides for 10 cents each.

"It was just a great place to go," she said.

Married at 15, Stapp moved first to Hogansville, Ga., before finally settling down in Roanoke. Sadly, her husband died in 2009. But Stapp will be revisiting Lake Winnie this Friday, this time with her youngest son, her grandson and two of her great-grandchildren.

"I want my grandchildren and great-grandchildren to see and enjoy what I enjoyed when I was a kid," she said.

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