In 1966, I was married with three children ages 4, 6 and 8 when my husband’s father died and left us $25,000 (a lot of money in 1966). Much discussion ensued. We would buy a small business … I wanted a backyard pool. But Ed and the kids voted me down. We would buy a cabin Up North.
We found a lot near Frederic, Wis., on a beautiful, clear lake. We had a builder frame up a large one-room cabin with a deck in front. An engineer, Ed did all the wiring. We would go up and stay overnight, and we painted the outside before it got too cold. We also put in a Franklin stove for heat but, without insulation, the stove didn’t do much. I remember peeling potatoes, the peelings freezing to the table.
In the spring we had a well dug and a toilet put in. More plumbing was done, but we just couldn’t spend all the money because we needed it for other things. But did we have fun! We borrowed a boat on occasion from some friends down the road, and then my mom bought us a pontoon boat.
I would have the car packed when Ed got home from work Fridays. The cabin was only about 85 miles, so we had supper there. I was a church organist at the time, so I would drive back Saturday night, play for church Sunday morning and get up to the lake by lunchtime. It was a hectic schedule, but we were young and it was worth it. The thing is, we didn’t do any work up there. We were 20 feet from the water, sandy and shady, so no grass grew. We just ate and played the whole weekend. We weren’t fishermen (OK because there weren’t any fish in the lake), but we all loved to swim and we were in the water morning until night. Friends came up often. They would sometimes bring their own tents; all the kids would sleep outside.
We had the place for 15 years. With busy lives, we sold it to another family with small children so they could make their memories. I am 84 now, and I go up to my son’s place north of Brainerd. As soon as he could, his family bought a place on a lake, and now have a big, beautiful home. They have put a lot of hard work into it — but the whole idea started when he was only 6.
carol Dawidowicz, Brooklyn Center