Friday, January 23, 2009

Baker's Acres, Part Deux

(In case you missed it, Baker's Acres, Part 1)

So there we were in Traverse City, Michigan, having survived yet another marathon car ride. Our grandparents from Indy and cousins from Cincy had even further to drive. How did we spend that precious week of vacation? Well, we were in the water most of the time; all the kids loved being in the water. On the rare occasion that the lake was just too cold, there was a tiny swimming pool at Baker's Acres.

Most of the time we were happy just to splash around in the water, and dig around in the sand. The grown-ups often used (rented?) something called paddleboards. It was sort of like a surfboard, and came with a two-ended paddle. There was no surf, of course, so the paddler would sit on the board and just paddle around. (I'm sure we have some photos, if anyone wants to climb Photo Mountain and find them.) Anyways, I remember 3-4 kids piling on anytime someone had a paddleboard.

There were two special outings I remember; I'm not sure if we went on them every year, or just once or twice. The first outing was a day trip to Charlevoix, Michigan. I vaguely remember watching a drawbridge open... and maybe a restaurant* meal? I'm not sure why we went there - maybe just to give our womenfolk a day off.

The other outing, usually the day before our last day, was a ride in a rented pontoon boat. With Grandpa Harold at the helm, we puttered around the lake for a few hours. Each of us kids got a short turn steering the boat. I can't remember if it was big enough for all of us, or if we went out on the lake in shifts. I believe the most memorable pontoon trip was the time when Grandpa couldn't get the engine to cut, and we "beached" the boat at considerable speed.
There was one more outing, but I wasn't allowed to join it, in spite of at least one rather memorable tantrum. That was the Boys' Fishing Trip. Grandpa, Dad and both brothers went out in a rented boat for an afternoon of fishing. Oh, gosh, we're going to have to dig because I know there are some great pictures of the menfolk returning with the days' catch: one little 4-inch fish!

I'm sure there must have been an occasional rainy day, but I have no memory of it. I know it was an almost commune-like atmosphere for the week: all the adults parented all the kids, and we were fed at whichever cabin we happened to be. Sis was only there for the last year. My twin cousins adored her: she was like a baby doll to them, and they just couldn't get enough of her. Their father, Uncle Sid, barked at us once in mock irritation, "Go play in front of your own cabin!" Of course, he was just teasing us, but a family punchline was born. Even now, when one of us is nearing their aggravation threshhold, we snarl "Go play in front of your own cabin!" at whoever is within earshot.

*Restaurant meals were rather a big deal back then, and misbehaving children were escorted out immediately until they could control themselves. Public tantrums were not tolerated, period. Also, parents often went out without their children.; they hired someone called a babysitter, and it was not considered a form of child abuse. In fact, it made it even more special when we were included, and thus, an incentive for good behavior. Remarkable, eh?


John E. Smith said...

That picture of the kids with sailor hats and your Mom's sunglasses belongs in the Smithsonian. It is a classic!

La Cootina said...

Ha - I never thought about it before, but it is kind of iconic.