With the reading of notes, reviewing of photos and just walking down memory lane led me to think about this blog post.
In this post, my Mom talked about the land her Dad bought and going to find it. Located in Green Bay on Cecebe Lake was this wonderful place where I spent many a summer with my Uncle Jim and Nanny Eastland. I confess that I thought every kid went to the cottage for the summer. My Nanny Eastland would pull up to our house the day after school ended and return me on the Labour Day weekend.
Jim and I certainly spent much of our days in the water. We always wore old running shoes and we would walk along the shoreline picking up driftwood or catching frogs. We also spent hour upon hour in the boats – there was a red canoe, a small fiberglass runabout, and a beautiful wood Brunswick boat – hardtop – which we referred to as the Big Boat. That’s me driving it at the top of the post!
Here’s a better image of it as Dad steps out at the dock over at Morrison’s! Leanne is on the dock and you can see our things are loaded in the wooden wheelbarrow which was used to bring everything down from either the store or the car. This was a beautiful boat that rode well on the lake.
Riding in the boat was a big part of being at the cottage and since the cottage wasn’t accessible by road it was the lifeline to supplies and back to the car. I think we would go to Morrison’s every day to check on mail, pick up some supplies, and make phone calls. Yes, no phone at the cottage. In the early days of my summers there we had no electricity either. Nanny cooked on the woodstove, we used lamps for light and the fireplace for heat. Getting electricity (sometime in the mid/late ’60s) was a big deal and let Uncle Don put in an electric pump for water!
The little boat was for fishing – we spent many an hour out on the bay catching bass, pickerel, pike, and perch. The sunfish were plentiful and fun to catch but we always put them back as they weren’t considering fish to eat! I must say all the fish we caught, we ate!
The boathouse, for the big boat, was a garage built on a frame to allow the boat to slip in and out. Feeling the boat slip in there and the change of temperature and sound always made me feel good – a kind of association of sound/smell and family! Isn’t it interesting how we can be transformed to an emotional place by smelling or hearing something familiar?!
I learned to do many things at the cottage – how to fish, how to chop wood, how to catch a frog, how to feed the frog to a snake.. yup… and how to water ski. Experiences were always positive in this place!
Happiness was being at the cottage!
Jim and I were like brothers in these days though he was always in charge! If there was a new rule for being at the cottage for me – it came from my Uncle Jim. But he looked out for me and treated me like a brother. He turned 65 this week – how could that be?
I wonder if he still likes catching frogs?
With Nanny, Jim and I at the cottage for the summer, various parts of the family came to stay almost every week it seemed. Joyce and Ray, Don and Sis, sometimes but not too often Freda and Ricky and of course John and Bubs! There was always tea, burnt toast, and good meals! I loved having family around. If Ray and John were around they would always be fixing things – I remember the summer they rebuilt the dock. What a job! I think they really enjoyed doing that.
Summer went by quite quickly. I remember vividly sitting on the front porch which was screened in and quite protected by the trees and watching a storm come across the lake. We would sit and watch the lighting, listen to the booming of the thunder and Nanny would tell us there was nothing to worry about – God and the angels were moving furniture and washing the floors. Of course.
Grandpa Eastland intended the cottage as a place for family and it sure was. Hiking through the woods, collecting firewood, reading old National Geographics by the fireplace in the evening, all these things and more were part of my summers at the cottage.
Of course any boy of my generation who was a ‘real boy’ had a holster and gun set to protect everyone from bears and bad guys!
Grandpa Eastland built quite an elaborate waterfront with retaining walls, a cedar hedge and even a frame to walk through, made out of cedar, as you exited the dock. He laid in concrete sidewalks that ran around the buildings – yes, plural! There was a building for laundry, a building to house the washroom (which eventually had a tub, shower, sink, toilet and running hot water) and the tackle room – gear for fishing and tools for repairs, a building for keeping wood and of course the boat house.
The amount of stonework around the cottage was amazing as you can see by the picture of us near the front step.
Remarkably, using Google Maps I was able to find a photo of Green Bay – this is looking onto the bay from the Scout Camp which is still there – but directly across the water was the cottage.
Here’s Cath having her 6th birthday at the cottage. I wish we could have had more celebrations there but the cottage is gone from the family.
There’s much more I could write, but suffice to say the cottage was a real gift to us all from Grandpa Eastland!