Cabin Country: Army earnings well spent

  • Updated: May 30, 2014 - 7:06 AM

Our memories are clean, clear and abundant — all made possible because my Dad did something better than banking the dollars sent home.


World War II veteran Jim Anderson remembers sending his military earnings home for college savings, but his father diverted these funds into lakeside property.

For the two years I was in the Army, I sent home about 80 percent of my earnings to pay for my college education. When I came home I was 20 years old. My Dad said to me, “Jim, I did something better than putting your money in the bank. I bought some land in northern Wisconsin.” After my initial reaction (I went to the U on the GI Bill) we came to realize the 30-plus acres with quite a bit of lake frontage was a good deal.

We started the cabin in 1948. A contractor framed the cabin and a septic system was installed. My dad, my two brothers and I finished building the cabin. My Dad died in 1949 and then, just before my Mom died in 1970, my wife, Marilyn, and I bought the cabin from my siblings. Since then we’ve added a second floor, a garage with sleeping loft and half bath and a sauna. We converted a large screen porch into two bedrooms.

North Twin Lake is small, about 100 acres. Our beach is sandy with no rocks. In the winter the family — two sons, two daughters, my wife and me — skated on the lake, skied at Whitecap or Powderhorn, made snowmen and forts, and had spirited bottle races down the hill and out onto the lake. In the summer we sunned, swam, sailed, canoed, paddle-boated, made bonfires and barbecued to our heart’s content.

We’ve had many Anderson Weekends when all of my siblings, their kids and their kids’ kids would spend the weekend canoeing, playing games (the volleyball contests were murder), eating well and just having a grand time.

We’re a little older now. My wife and I are both in our late 80s. I can’t do a lot of the maintenance things that have to be done, but the kids (now in their 50s and 60s) have been up there so often they know what to do.

Our memories are clean, clear and abundant — all made possible because my Dad did something better than banking the dollars sent home. We thank God for someone who had more foresight than the rest of us.

Jim Anderson, EDINA

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