In the early 1960s we purchased a lakeshore lot on a small lake in western Wisconsin. We planned to park our 8-foot camping trailer there during the summer. After one rainy weekend spent with three boys and a dog, we realized we needed to build a modest cabin.
It came to fruition during the summer months. The cabin became a big part of our lives for another 50 years. My husband was a schoolteacher and a very loyal Iowa sports fan who never forgot his roots. He named the place Hawkeye Hollow. For him, it was relaxation to be working with his hands rather than teaching. For me, it was cooking, cleaning and lifeguarding. The following summer found us heading to the lake on weekends with three boys, a friend or two, the dog, a toolbox, and bags and bags of groceries.
Made of many recycled materials, our cabin has curtains for doors, old windows and screens from garage sales, a shaving mirror from Ole’s Swap Shop, a gas refrigerator, mattresses cut in half to fit the bunk beds, a dorm refrigerator and a homemade septic system.
Fast-forward 20 years: In the 1980s we found ourselves more and more removed from cabin life. The boys were in high school, with bigger and better things beckoning them. This led to a deterioration of the property. We eventually decided to put it up for sale, with one provision — if one of the boys wanted it, he could have a say.
About this time our youngest was moving back to Minnesota from Michigan. When he heard about our plans he called to say he wanted to go up and see the cabin once more. When he returned from that trip his decision was loud and clear: Don’t sell it! Someday we’ll be sorry! With grandchildren in our future, we knew the children would enjoy it and we would be using the cabin once again — which is exactly what happened.
We added a porch and a bathroom and yes, the grandchildren spent many summers there. Priceless! It has been a good place for our boys to grow up, exposed to cabin life. In fact, two of our sons now have lake places of their own. Hopefully they and the grandchildren will have a greater appreciation of the beauty of nature and the great outdoors, having spent a small portion of their lives at Hawkeye Hollow. Mange Tusen Takk, grandpa! (Editor’s note: That’s Norwegian for “Many thanks, grandpa!”)
MAE MESTAD, BLOOMINGTON