It was late spring 1947. I was not quite 4 years old, and had lost my father a week before my 3rd birthday. Then something wonderful happened: My aunt, aka Auntie, and uncle bought a small, unimproved lot on the Whitefish Chain of Lakes in the Brainerd area.
Shortly, bulldozers cleared the lot for a small, one-bedroom cabin that was to live in my heart forever. Clearing completed, the building began. The foundation appeared, followed by the framing and roof. Knotty pine was chosen, and finishing began. Auntie, my mother and even I brushed on the beautiful creamy finish.
After working, there was the beautiful lake in which to play, swim and fish. Soon we had a kitchen with a gas stove and oven, an icebox that required huge blocks of ice, and a real kitchen sink. However, there wasn’t running water. With no electricity, we got water from the red pump on the little red porch facing the lake. Auntie planted a beautiful garden. We picked blueberries in season and on the same day cleaned them for blueberry pie.
Over the years, there weren’t many changes. We got running water, cold only, powered by an outside pump and a real bathroom. Mom and I spent every summer at the lake. We cleared the beach of weeds, revealing a pure-sand bottom. We had fresh fried sunfish and fried potatoes many nights when my uncle came in from fishing. I caught bullheads.
I made several friends over the various summers. I learned to water ski with a wonderful family. One day, my mother surprised me with an aluminum boat with a small windshield, and an 18-horsepower outboard motor connected to a steering wheel in front. I thought I was queen of the lake — a queen with a pretty cool mom!
My children got to enjoy this little piece of history before family dynamics changed and the cabin was out of our family. My mother had died many years earlier, and there was the sad passing of Auntie, who was like a grandma to the children. The cabin sold several times and eventually became a huge lake home. The swimming beach gave way to a place for big boats to dock.
Regardless, the sweet memories of the little white cabin with the red porch are enjoyed many times over.
PATTI KORTH, EDINA