Our sweet North Woods cottage has my heart. Our family has spent nearly every summer weekend there my entire life. Every year when we’d close it up for the season I’d feel an indescribable sadness. There have been so many good times with grandparents, mom and dad, my sister and cousins.

My grandparents loved everything about lakes, boats, picnics and, most of all, family. They’d stayed at Boyd’s Lodge on Whitefish Lake back in the 1940s but always wanted their own place. They borrowed Boyd’s fishing boat with the Johnson outboard motor and headed through the outlet into Lower Hay Lake to check out a cabin for sale. It was a small, white, clapboard cottage with dark green trim. The place was basic, with no running water but a pump in the enamel kitchen sink and an outhouse. The view from the high bank on the western side of the lake looked out over the clear, blue lake where you could see all the way down to the sandy bottom.

They loved the spot, but Grandpa said it was too expensive at $1,200. Home they went, and Grandpa left on a business trip, during which he received a telegram from Grandma: “You are the proud owner of a lake cabin.” She had the same initials as Grandpa, and had signed on the dotted line.

The memories from the 1940s when my mom and aunt were in college until now have been truly priceless. We are still spending weekends with cousins, spouses, kids, grandkids ... family.

The memories are plentiful, with the swimming, water skiing, projects galore, campfires, fireworks, barbecues and sunburns. Last year on Labor Day, our old cabin was razed, replaced with a new one by Memorial Day. Our hope is for many more years of memory-making.

Karen Thell, Glencoe