In 1975, I celebrated my tenth birthday at the cabin, surrounded by family and friends. Birthdays at the cabin were a big deal. With two and sometimes three creative mothers there at the same time, the day was well organized with games, outings and food. Since my cousin Norman and I were the only ones with our birthday in July, the focus was always on us---and we relished it. . . slightly. . .but trust me, the delight was shared among all of the kids.
Our alarm clock was a scratchy Sousa march from the Brunswick Victrola. If we weren’t downstairs before it was over, we got polka after polka, followed by cold pancakes.
We quickly respected Sousa.
After breakfast we would all pitch in with chores. This was a log cabin, without electricity or plumbing located in the thick of the Upper Peninsula and we needed to be ready for anything. We burned paper, carried garbage to the dump, collected kindling, chopped wood, helped our mothers with meals and dishes and helped our Dads by staying away from whatever they were working on.
Baloney sandwiches and Orange Crush fueled our afternoons. Reese Peanut Butter Cups and Bit-O-Honey, made them better. Games of wiffle ball in the side yard were friendly but competitive. Killing pop bottles in the dump with BB guns was a challenge but it was harder with a Wrist-Rocket slingshot.
We either smelled like Coppertone, Bactine or OFF. We pooped in an outhouse, bathed in the lake and drank water from a well. The fishing was always good and we all discovered adolescent freedom in a fourteen foot Alumicraft boat with a 5 horse outboard motor before we could drive a car.
Those were days without heartbreak, college, kids, politics or bills. One by one, our elders left us. Their loss created new memories. Ahh, ... those sweet, sweet memories. But hidden on us all was the subtle reminder that one of us is next. Each day at the cabin is a memory in the making.
But now, for one week out of the year, we take the time machine back to relive those days we loved; erroneously believing life hasn't changed.
It was the summer of 1975. In no time at all, our lives moved from there to here.
July 11, 2019