In 1952, several years before I was born, our parents bought a place we call “The Cottage.” Really, it just was a nice shack on a hill. Every weekend in the summer we would load the station wagon and make the long, long trek from south Minneapolis all the way to Lake Minnetonka. What fun we had with family and friends: boating, fishing, swimming, and hiking in “the wilderness.”

It all came to an abrupt end at 6:08 p.m. May 6 when the big tornado of 1965 came barreling through, leveling our cottage and many other homes in the area.

Our parents are deceased and my brother and sister both live overseas. We don’t see each other very often, but last summer we were all together. Our parents’ dear friends, who had a cottage near ours and on the lake, still have the home in their family. Their daughter very generously let the three of us, along with my niece and family, spend several days there.

We had so much fun boating, swimming and exploring the areas where our favorite childhood memories were made. There is a house where our cottage once stood. The tiny corner store, where if we were lucky we would get ice cream, is gone, but surprisingly the area hasn’t changed all that much except for the many large homes and mansions in place of the simple cabins of our youth.

Fifty years after the tornado, my husband and I were able to get our own shack on a lake. We are now retired on Hill Lake, a great place for us and our children and grandchildren to swim, boat and fish.

Marlys Telke Mestemacher, Hill City, Minn.