In 1975, Jack and Nancy and Jim and Ellie (married couples) bought a cabin built in 1920 on Gull Lake. Jack and Jim met in the late 1930s when they attended Robert Fulton Elementary in south Minneapolis. Between our families there were eight children and six dogs, with hundreds of friends. Most of the people, at one point, found their way to the rustic, half-log cabin.

The head count was close to 60 during the July 4th weekend in 1976. Tents blanketed the property, but the foursome never batted an eye. They laughed a lot, continued making pancakes, bought gas for the boat, and soaked up every wild moment.

Roughly 20 years later, the cabin population exploded with the addition of 20 grandchildren. Then, Ellie and Jim bought a lake home just around the point — a short boat ride away.

Today, sadly, three of the original four are gone. But my mom, Nancy — G’mama, as the grandkids call her — still lives part time in the unpolished cabin. Aside from some modest updates, the cabin remains largely as built 100 years ago.

The pontoon boat lists to the right. The ski boat, dead for six years, has not been replaced. On many weekends, the six-person capacity dock is loaded with 15-20 bodies from four generations. Most of the grandchildren learned to water ski behind a 14-foot Lund we affectionately call Little Tinner. There is no manicured lawn with large boulders, solar-powered boatlift or even a dishwasher.

Amenities don’t make a great family cabin. Crazy uncles, grandma’s macaroni and cheese, planking contests, shenanigans around the bonfire, cuddling with the next generation, and happy hours on the front deck are a just a few of the reasons we return to G’mama’s on Gull.

Annadell Witta Christman, Minneapolis