My sister, Kaye, who lives in Arizona, spent the past two weeks visiting us here in Minnesota. One day while she was here we spent the day in Rochester. It isn’t too often that my sister, my nephew, my mother and I can spend a day together like that— not that it was a planned fun day. It turned out to be a pretty good trip. The sky was gray and there was plenty of moisture in the air.
Anytime you think Rochester, what comes to mind? The clinic and hospitals, as well as all the doctors that are there now, as well as what all got it started of course, the doctors Mayo.
During our time together, somebody started talking about some of the things we have done, loved, endured, laughed over and cried about over the years. It is funny how much you can remember when someone starts the ball rolling and from there it keeps rolling and more and more memories come to mind.
When I think about it, I realize we have had a rather eclectic family life. I hope my sharing some of our adventures may jar loose some special memories for you also.
One of the things we remembered and talked about were the good times we had spent at the lake, when friends came on horseback or snowmobile, as well as for family gatherings. We talked about how we learned to water ski and rode a round surf board around the lake sitting on a collapseable stool.
How did we get there, to the lake I mean? Guess I better start at the beginning. My dad had done some carpenter work for Buzz and Minnie Lerum at Beaver Lake and as a gesture of thanks, they invited us to come and enjoy a steak supper. The visit on a Saturday was something my dad seldom had time for – but was just what he needed. He had always enjoyed fishing, and his time spent at the lake, got him to thinking about what he could do or find that would help him spend more time at Beaver Lake.
My dad knew what it was like to be poor, so he never threw anything away in case it could be used for something else. I swear he was a recycling king before they even thought about recycling.
He asked them if he could come back with a bus. Yes, a bus. This dates back to the early ‘60s before motor homes were mass produced. My dad was able to find an old school bus and proceeded to convert it into a motor home, which went on to change his life, and our family’slife as well.
My uncle gave him some excess paint he had. Dad used it to paint that school bus a bright blue color, but we didn’t care. He took out just about all seats and proceeded to made bunk beds for us to sleep on that could be folded up when it was daytime.
Buzz and Minnie invited us to set up our “motor home” in their back yard at Beaver Lake, which provided us a place to enjoy the summer.
We made our meals on a restaurant coffee burner unit that first summer. It worked quite well considering. We were also able to use Minnie’s old wood cook stove, which was out under the big oak tree. On Sunday mornings we would enjoy a picnic breakfast of pancakes and sausages outside in the fresh air. How could anything taste any better than that?
That summer provided us many opportunities and as a result we have a lot of memories. We had a lot of giggles over the huge, and I mean huge, snapping turtle we found. We put a very large wood stump on it so it wouldn’t get away before the men came back so they could see it. That beast had evidently been eating his Wheaties and he walked away with the stump on his back as if he were Superman.
My mother’s cousin, Mark Christensen, spent quite a bit of his summer vacation from school with “Buzzy” and Minnie at the lake. He lived in a swim suit all summer long. He had a number of them in fact and would change from wet to dry suits before he and his dog climbed into the bunk bed at night. He was a busy boy who collected bait for his good friend and mentor, Noel Thompson, who had a bait shop at the lake back then. Mark wandered the lakeshore morning and night and visited with all the neighbors.
Mark’s mother, Nancy, and her sister, Minnie Lerum, were known for their cooking. Minnie’s husband, Buzzy, liked the breading that was on the chicken at some place they liked to eat. It took a while and a lot of taste testing, but they finally managed to find the right combination of ingredients and started enjoying their chicken at home.
And we can’t forget about the Beaver Lake “shrimp.” Actually, the shrimp were really pan fish that Mark had caught. Nancy cleaned them, Minnie cooked them and they fed a lot of free “shrimp” to those people who stopped at “the joint,” as it was called, where they worked. The Sportsman’s Club was on the north side of Beaver Lake and Minnie started calling it the joint, and the name stuck for a great number of years.
They even had a juke box at the joint back then.
I believe I have rattled on a bit too much for this week’s edition and will have to continue with more of our family memories next week. I hope this may bring back a few memories for you too!
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Birthdays and anniversaries:
• Thursday, April 28th: Martin Rossing, Rodney Peterson, Mildred Flugum, Jamie Cameron, Jean & Chuck Groth
• Friday, April 29th: Derek Anthony Kubicek, his 9th; Jane Brocker, Roberta Dettman, Angie Hall, Mitchell Jensen, Pat & Linda Goodnature, Jennifer & Steve Schultz
• Saturday, April 30th: Nancy Williams, Jeff Misgen, Paul Moen, Dawn Cooper, Kevin Cooper, Jonathon Lein, Karey Dufresne, Judah Ashton, Jonathon Lein, Rick & Melonie Miller
• Sunday, May 1st: Carter Levi Titus, Jim Hanson, Shirley Pichner Helgeson, Christopher "Critter" Johnson, his 14th; Luke Dobberstein, Gene Budach, Sandi Otto Glenn, Richard Helmers, Sue Kasper Anderson, Tim Kasper, Norma Long, Cari Jensen, Thomas Van Riper, Veronica & Jim Graif, Heidi & Ryan Baldwin
• Monday, May 2nd: Shayna Kress and Tyler Kress, their 6th; Jack Benjamin Owen, his 7th; Diane Smith, Ted Radke, Jill Goodnature Kubicek, Bonnie Shaunce, Stephanie Corey, DeWayne Farr, Nolin Joe Simmons, his 11th; Joshua Nicholas Paulsen, his 13th; Roger Anderson, Gerald & Mildred Flugum, Dean & Carolyn Wangen
• Tuesday, May 3rd: Jase Dean Knudson, his 7th; Cassidy Worrell, Fern Possin, Justin Robertson, Dale Dulas, Wayne Dobberstein, Anthony Brandt, Merle Bartness, Leah (Ruth) & William (Bill) Scott, their 6th
• Wednesday, May 4th: Joyce Wayne, Angie Worrell Aaseth, Daniel Knudson, Kenneth Schumacher, Charles Wangsness, Keith Miller, Shirley Draayer Anderson, Dean Heskett, Thad Tuttle, Leslie Ray Farr, her 13th; Jessica Marcus, Julia Elizabeth Rye, her 8th, Brooklyn Cecila Strand, her 11th, Melonie Butler, Lexi Jo Brandstad, her 14th
Wishing you sunshine and flowers and many, wonderful days ahead.