The Lake

By: Laurie Gagner © 2009
(Used with permission)

Laurie's Northland Experience began when she was a young girl growing up in Chicago and her family visited their Grandmother in Hibbing every summer. Eventually a small resort (similar to LBLR) near Whipholt, Minnesota replaced "Grandma's house" as the main part of their vacation. This is her story.     -- ed.

Of all the places from my childhood, there remains only one that I can return to, and that's "the lake". Throughout the almost 50 years that I have been going to it, it has barely changed, and the changes that have occurred did not take anything away from my childhood, they just improved it. We vacationed at the lake nearly every year from the time I was 3 years old. Because I grew up in Chicago, the lake was a place very different from where I lived. Our childhood was great and we had loads of fun, but going to the lake was something special, something we really looked forward to.

We passed our hours at the lake by fishing off the dock for bluegills, taking walks down the dirt road, picking the wild raspberries, playing in the sand by the beach, swimming, going to town to buy souvenirs, and just generally being able to do whatever we wanted. It was a time of freedom.

Every year a dump truck load of sand would be delivered near the beach. There was an embankment there and the resort owner would shovel the sand down the embankment so we could play on it, and our play activities would gradually push the sand into the lake to make a nice beach. One year the owner didnít get it shoveled down the embankment right away and when he finally arrived to do it, it was already down. We kids had had a blast playing in that huge pile of sand, and our playing had done his job for him. He never shoveled that sand again.

In the earlier days the trash dump was actually just a place further down some more dirt roads and further back in the woods, where the trash was simply dumped down an embankment!! We liked this because some nights the resort owner would take one or two of us kids to that area to watch the bears when they came to scavenge the dump. Dumping the trash that way was eventually banned (thank goodness) but the memory of watching those bears is wonderful.

When I grew older, I finally got to the point where I was allowed to go fishing by myself. What freedom!! The only problem was that I hated Northerns and was scared of their teeth. So whenever I caught a Northern, I would put it at the front of the boat then race back to the shore to have someone take it off the hook for me........then I would go back out and fish some more. I actually hated days when the fishing was good, but I really loved the freedom. Why I didnít stop fishing and just go boating, I donít know.

As the years passed, I married and brought my new husband to the lake. Each year after that, my parents, my sister and her husband and her two boys, as well as my husband and I and our three children would converge upon the resort. My family would stay for two weeks while the rest of them stayed for only a week. The cousins had a blast being able to see each other every day, and all of the children have great memories of the lake.

Unfortunately, what was a 10 hour drive for my children when we lived in Illinois has become a 24 hour drive since we now live in North Carolina, so I am afraid my grandchildren will not get there. But, I have been formulating a plan.........

Note: Laurie finally made it to LBLR for the first time in September, 2012, more than three years after she wrote this story.   -- ed.