The history of our cabin on Tulaby Lake started circa 1930 when my great-grandparents bought land to use for hunting and fishing. They built a vertical log cabin with light-filled, oversized windows and a cozy interior. Simple, with no electricity or indoor plumbing, it was a forested oasis for them after raising eight children on their dairy farm 30 miles away.
My grandparents inherited the place in northwestern Minnesota in 1941 when their twin girls were only 2 years old. At the time, getting there was more than an eight-hour drive from Minneapolis. They spent a few weeks every summer (a whole summer during the polio epidemic) swimming, fishing, berry-picking, visiting with the neighbors and playing with the local and resort kids (one of whom my aunt married). Deer hunting in fall was much anticipated.
In 1970 when the resort across the road went up for sale, my grandparents relegated the old cabin to storage use and bought one of the resort cabins to enjoy living lakeside, and to take advantage of the hilltop breeze and incredible sunrises. Now it was our turn to visit Grandma and Grandpa every summer and learn to love the cabin life my mom and aunt enjoyed as children. Grandpa kept busy with a huge garden, and subsequently, Grandma collected every zucchini recipe known to man. Grandma also would put us to shame when berry-picking, her agility belying her age as she’d climb over windfalls and fill her basket far faster than we could.
Fast forward 30 years when my mom and aunt passed on the cabin to my siblings and me. The interior exists almost exactly as my grandparents left it, with knotty pine walls, a flowered metal plate covering the old stove pipe hole, pictures, the first cabin’s old oak table and wonderful treasures collected by my grandmother over the years. Luxuries being a cold-water sink and toilet, we all pitched in to add a water heater and shower. Age was taking its toll, so the cabin got new siding, insulation and windows.
Including our children, five generations have enjoyed life at Tulaby Lake. There is sweet nostalgia while relaxing at the lake that my ancestors loved so much.
Stephanie Catania, Plymouth