In 1948, my father, a couple of uncles and a carpenter built a cabin overlooking Sand Lake, Minn. My two brothers, sister, and I spent our summers there over the next 25 years.
Dad was a professor of music at Augsburg College, and my mother, a homemaker. We would head to the cabin in June and wouldn’t return until the end of August in time for school.
In the cabin’s early days, we kids had the run of the peninsula on which it stood. We combed the beach for agates and cast Hula Poppers from shore for largemouth bass. We built forts in the woods out of sticks and any materials we could find. In the hayfield on top of the hill, we chased lightning bugs at night.
My older brother and I built a treehouse out of rough-hewed wood one summer. Our new hangout was illuminated by lights powered by six-volt batteries, had running water that flowed from a five-gallon bucket on the roof into a small sink, and had room enough for four sleeping bags. We slept there whenever we could, especially when cousins came to visit.
The cabin was lighted only by kerosene lamps until the late 1950s. It was then that my father and a colleague of his wired the cabin. Shortly after, an inside bathroom was added. We played board games after dinner every night; Dad would read to us before bedtime (“Stuart Little” and “Kon Tiki” were my favorites); and we’d fall asleep in the bunk beds listening to WCCO’s Hobbs’ House on the staticky radio.
The cabin has remained relatively unchanged for 50 years except for the addition of a sleeping cabin/studio and sauna. Named the Troldstua, this little building was where Dad would compose choral music late into the night. The cabin still is in the family, and continues to be a family gathering place on summer weekends. Now, however, we kids have become the parents, our kids are enjoying cabin just as we did, and a fourth generation of little ones are playing on the sandy beach and doing cannonballs off the dock, reminding us of ourselves.
Mark Sateren, minneapolis