My father was fishing on Lake Francis, east of Mankato, in the 1950s and was thirsty. He saw a path leading up land to a water well with a pump handle. Thus began the saga of our vacations at Clark's Campground Resort.
The owners were farmers, who built eight cabins on their land. Cows still grazed in the nearby fields. Renting cabin No. 5 for a week was $35, with a $5 return if clean. The place became our vacation spot for my three brothers and me. It was a mere 20 miles from our home in Mankato.
During that time, our neighbors from six households on our Page Avenue block each rented a cabin near ours. We were neighbors again.
Our cabin had one light bulb, and we used an outhouse and retrieved water from a well. There was only cloth hangings from two doorways. We had a plank for a dock and a row boat for each cabin. The fish were abundant: sunnies, crappies, northerns, and walleyes. We ended up leasing that cabin and were given permission to add on a living room at our own expense. We stayed there each summer from 1950 to 2000, with reunions drawing family of both my parents.
Welcoming grandchildren became part of the adventures, too. We held bonfires, caught fireflies, cleaned fish, and put up tents for nighttime scary tales. We didn't need to see the world, as our world was right where we were.
Patricia Gohla, Lake Elysian, Minn.