Tag Archives: chetek

Green’s Point Rules

Green's Point Reminders
The actual rules that used to hang in the cabin

Before my grandparents moved to their cabin in Chetek, Wisconsin, they used it for a vacation home. My grandfather typed up a set of rules for when friends and family visited the cabin. I remember the rules hanging on the wall in the hallway that led from the garage door to the kitchen.

I know for a fact that my grandfather typed this on a big, black, heavy typewriter with round keys — I know that because I learned to type on that very same typewriter by copying poems from my grandfather’s books when I visited them many summers.

I found the framed rules when I was going through things at Mom’s house in February. Here’s the scan so you can read it more easily.

See below image for full text of the rules
A scan of the reminders

Green’s Point Reminders

We hope your stay will be a pleasant one, and that you catch such a big fish, and so many, that you won’t have to stretch the truth when you go home and tell about them.

Use whatever we have here, but think of the next ones who are going to use the cottage. If you eat it or drink it, replace it so there is at LEAST as much here when you leave as there was when you came.

If you break something, or it goes haywire while you are here, replace it or have it repaired. If there isn’t time to do either before you leave, report it so we can have it taken care of. Don’t take a chance on having someone drive 340 miles expecting to have everything in order, then have to have something repaired that was out of order when you were here.

Before you go: Defrost the refrigerator and leave the refrigerator door open, unless someone else will be up within a week or so.

Shut the gas off at the tank and hang the key with the others.

Pull the plugs on all appliances.

As an added precaution, pull the main fuse in the switch-box and put it where you found it, so if lighting should strike the line outside, it can’t go farther than the box. Disconnect the radio aerial and let it hang outside the cottage.

Bring the motor, oars and other fishing equipment, etc., and put them in the basement. Lock up the boat and put the keys where they belong. Clean up before you leave, especially garbage and refuse, so the next ones won’t have to wade through it. Don’t leave anything edible in the containers that field mice or other rodents can get into and be attracted, unless it is inside a cabinet or can they can’t get into.

It is going to take all of us to get the place the way we want it, so you see anything that needs doing give us a hand.

We believe the foregoing to be only fair to all concerned; and we hope the place will always be ready so we can unlock the door, turn on the lights, and start to enjoy the time we are able to spend here. We hope you have the best vacation ever.

Lois and Walt Green

Two Fishermen

“Hiyamac. Lobuddy Benearlong? Cuplours. Ketchaneny? Goddafeu. Kindrthey? Basanacarp. Ennysiztuem? Cupplapoinds. Hittinhard? Sordalite. Wahuoozin? Gobbawurms. Fishmonahboddom? Rydonnahboddum. Igoddago. Tubad. Seeyaround. Yatakidezy. Guluk.”

An open letter of apology to Grandma Green for breaking Grandpa’s tall beer glass and your mirror when I was opening the dresser drawer

Dear Grandma Green,

41HqzNaNplLEven though you have been gone a long time I still feel guilty every time I think about breaking Grandpa’s tall beer glass with the mirror (and breaking the mirror too) when I tugged too hard on the stuck drawer of the chest of drawers in your bedroom the summer after Grandpa died and I spent a few weeks with you in Chetek.

I don’t think of it often, only when I see a very tall beer glass like the one to the left or when I hear about one like the one I am reading about in Charlotte Gray, one of my “read-a-shelf” books. I may also think about it when I struggle to open a dresser drawer or see a broken mirror too. I know I thought about it when Clare did something similar with a case holding all of my glass unicorns.

Here’s what happened. I needed something out of the chest of drawers (notice I am calling it a “chest of drawers” like you used to call it) and the drawer which held that something was swollen and stuck fast to the rest of the dresser. I shook the drawer which made the mirror that was tilted at the back of the dresser tip forward onto the very tall beer glass in its wooden stand. They both fell down, shattering the beer glass and breaking the mirror.

When you heard the crash you came running into the bedroom. I believe you said “shit” or some other colorful word. You also mentioned how much Grandpa liked his very tall beer glass. You were momentarily angry at me, but I think you understood it was an accident. I don’t remember if I cried or not. I was 17 years old, so I may have. I probably said something about it being an accident and you may have said I should have been more careful.

We cleaned it up and never spoke of it again. I meant to buy you a mirror to replace the mirror I broke, but never did. I don’t know that I ever apologized for breaking the mirror and very tall beer glass.

Grandma, I am sorry I broke the mirror, but more sorry about the beer glass since it was Grandpa’s and it was something he really liked. You’d just lost him, now you lost something he treasured. As a 17 year old I don’t think that registered with me. I only thought about you being upset with me. I know you forgave me long ago, but I just wanted to get it out in the open.

Love,

Dona

PS I miss you

 

The many lives of the pink shirt

A few years ago I went through a box in the attic kneewall marked “Memories — Dona” and found a number of items, many of which will be making an appearance on this blog. Lucky you.  Somehow one of the items was given to Clare (instead of the rubbish heap or Goodwill). I’d pretty much forgotten about this item until we moved her belongings from Bronxville to Bethesda. She had it in a pile of clothes she was leaving there (which included her first “formal” and a cape my mom made for her back when Clare was into capes.) Of course I challenged her on the formal and cape and she admitted to not realizing they were in that pile (college kids these days!). She didn’t make the same claim on the item in question. As for me, if I had not come across the item, I would not have missed it. But, alas, I did. And now you get to hear all about it.

First, a bit of history of this item. As you may or may not know, I’m a bit of an Anglophile and was chastely engaged to a young man from England for a number of years in my late teens and early twenties. During one of those years my family and I visited my grandparents in Chetek. My other grandmother was along for the trip and one day we were shopping in downtown Chetek and I found a t-shirt I had to have. I don’t remember the price, but I didn’t’ have enough money and my mother would not give me the extra cash so I could own the t-shirt. When my mother walked away, my grandmother (not the one who lived in Chetek) asked me how much money I needed. I told her and she gave me the amount so I could buy the shirt. I didn’t hesitate, and possibly didn’t even thank her (kids those days!), and took the money and bought the shirt. I was elated. Until mom found out that my grandmother gave me the money. It kind of spoiled the moment.

However, I wore the shirt with pride — a few times. But I kept it. It traveled with me to Pittsburgh and Virginia and finally Maryland where it stayed until it then traveled with my daughter to New York and then (barely) back to Maryland. Here it will stay until at some point my kids have to go through my stuff after I die and wonder why I kept such a thing. (I suppose I could put it in my will that it must be kept or they lose their inheritance.)

I know you are waiting to see this item. You’ll wish you had one too. I know it.

pink t-shirt with Rolls Royce or Bently embroidered on front in sparkly thread

Up North: The Series::Return to Chetek — Part 2

From Green’s Point May 1964 – June 1968

Before we visited the bars in town and chit-chatted with Barb we searched for my grandparents’ cabin. Had this been five years ago I suspect we may not have found it so easily, but this time I was prepared with technology in the form of Google Maps on my phone. I knew the house was off Ten Mile Lake Drive and had pretty much figured out where it was by looking at the satellite view on Google Maps. I remembered that you drove to the end of Ten Mile Lake Drive, then veered off to the right onto a gravel road and went down a hill. Grandpa always honked his horn as he drove down and up the hill to warn other cars he was coming.

Google Maps led us to Ten Mile Lake Drive and we found the turn-off which looked exactly like I remembered it. We drove down the hill and there, at the end of the drive, was the cabin. It looked so much like it did when I used to visit my grandparents I nearly expected Grandma to walk out around the house to greet us. Even the outhouse was still standing.

I was delighted to see that the house had not been torn down or fallen into disrepair. The opposite, in fact. It looked very well taken care of and I could see a number of improvements. The large picture window on the front of the house was replaced with newer windows — in fact it looked like all the windows were replaced. It may also have been enlarged slightly in the front — the old roof line is no longer visible. The only disappointment was that the woods behind the cabin is gone and is now part of a subdivision.

From Chetek 2011

The lake looked much like it did when I used to visit as a teenager — although I suspect the docks have been rebuilt. I’d forgotten that there was a cabin so near Grandma’s cabin, but remembered going inside it and being surprised that they had a large water pump (the old fashioned kind with a handle) at the kitchen sink instead of a faucet.

No one was at the cabin when we stopped by — I was both glad and disappointed. Glad because I would have been shy about trespassing but disappointed that I was not able to meet the people who now owned the cabin. I left knowing that the cabin I loved as a child continued to be loved by the new family.

I’ve since been in touch with the new owners and showed them photos from the time my grandparents owned it. I feel as if something has come full circle for some reason. I went from not knowing if the cabin would even still be standing to having communicated with the new owner who obviously loves it.

If you are interested, you can view photos of the cabin in the 1960’s and photos of the cabin & Chetek now.

Up North: the series::Return to Chetek — part 1

You may or may not recall that I wrote about my grandparent’s house in Chetek, Wisconsin a couple of years ago and how I wanted to visit Chetek again and possibly find the house they lived in. Well, this summer I finally did return to Chetek.

After dropping Andrew off at Oberlin in September, Dean and I headed west. We visited family for a few days then drove to Wisconsin. Our first stop was Madison to drop off some bulky items to Andrew’s friend Peter, who is studying at the University there. Then we visited Two Rivers which will get a post all of its own. We drove to Hazelhurst and settled in to mom’s lake house for a few days. On Wednesday we drove the 130 miles to Chetek which is through beautiful Wisconsin farm country.

When we arrived in Chetek, I immediately saw it had not changed much in the 26 years since my last visit. The first thing we did was try to find the house that my grandparents owned on Ten Mile Lake. I’ll write about that search in Part 2. This part is about the bars.

I’m not sure I mentioned this earlier, but a reporter from the Chetek Alert — the town’s weekly newspaper — contacted me spring 2010 and asked if they could use the post I wrote for their special section called Summer Scene. I was happy to allow them to use my post.

Rereading my blog post from 2009, I’m not sure why I left out one of the most memorable parts of Chetek. I suspect I wrote about it, but cleaned it up for the article. Perhaps I didn’t want the town of Chetek and the visiting tourists to know about My Family and The Bars.

Chetek has a number of bars. It is in Wisconsin, after all. And it is a town that relies on tourism. After a day on the lake any self-respecting tourist likes to belly up to a bar and have a beer. My family was no different. Well, maybe it was. We spent a lot of time in bars. Since there rarely was anyone to babysit the kids — the kids went to the bars along with the parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles and family friends.

There were four bars we’d visit on our Chetek vacation:

  • The Indianhead Bar: (we called it Millie’s because Millie was an owner) I remember that Millie would serve a chicken dinner one night a week and I often helped tear up the bread for stuffing. My grandparents and Millie were good friends. I have many fond memories of sitting at the bar with my grandparents while they talked to Millie while she tended bar.
  • The Black Bass: This was right next to the Indianhead Bar. We didn’t go there that often, but I do remember being there a few times. They sold off-sales alcohol. That I remember. It may have been here that the Leinenkugel heir would buy beers for anyone who talked to him and drank the family brew. It may also have been here that as I wrote in my journal at the bar a man yelled at me and asked me if I was writing down what he and the woman next to him were talking about. I wasn’t.
  • The B & B Bar: I think my parents liked the B & B bar the best. I remember being there with them most often. At least once they put a couple of chairs together and I’d sleep on the chairs while my parents drank and had fun. My brother took his first steps in the B & B Bar. Mom doesn’t remember that, but I do. For what it is worth, it was daylight when it happened. My fondest memory of the B & B Bar is the bartender we called “Butch”. Somewhere exists a photograph I took of Butch standing behind his bar, his arms outstretched, leaning on the bar. I had a schoolgirl crush on Butch and he humored me. There was a jackalope behind the bar and I remember my grandfather telling me about it.
  • The Spot: We rarely went to The Spot to drink, but I remember visiting it when my grandfather was tending bar there. What I remember is the restaurant. The Spot was a supper club and had really good steaks. They served their baked potatoes with melted cheese and it was delicious. To this day I have cheese on my baked potatoes. One vivid memory of being at the spot is being bored while my parents and grandparents talked. I’d had a kiddie cocktail which had a mermaid cocktail pick. I remember playing with the plastic mermaid and whenever I dropped it on the floor under the table, I held my nose like I was going under water to find her.

All four bars are still standing and two are still called the names I knew them by when I was a child. Of the other two, one resembles the bar I remember and the other seems completely different.

The Indianhead is still called The Indianhead and looks pretty much as I remember it when I was a kid. The current owner told me that the bar is now longer and the bathrooms have been moved to the back. I was able, however, to picture my young self in the back room, tearing bread up for stuffing.

The Black Bass is now called Stringers and looks the same inside, although the owner said it was completely redone after a fire. I guess it was a two story building before the fire. (The Indianhead also caught on fire).

The Spot is now a sports bar called Gilligans and really looks different from my memory — however I don’t remember a lot about the outside.

Saving the best for last, the B & B has the same name and the same bar, but the rest of the bar area looks different. In addition the jackalope is gone and in its place is what looks like a monkey’s face, but on further inspection is the rear end of a white-tailed deer with a cigarette in its “mouth”. Apparently, according to the Internet, it is called an Adirondack Snow Monkey.

We talked to the current owner of the B & B for a while and he told me that Butch worked just down the street at a real estate office if we wanted to pay him a visit. Normally I would have been too shy to do something as bold as that, but since Dean was willing, we headed over to Six Lakes Reality to see if Butch was in the office. He wasn’t, but his wife, Barb, was and she graciously  took a few minutes off work to talk to me.

Dean and I ate lunch at Bob’s Grill, next to The Indianhead. I don’t remember ever eating there before, but the food was great and we each had a spudnik (doughnut hole made from potatoes and created when Sputnik was launched) along with our meal.

The most visual of my memories of Main Street Chetek is the huge fish outside the Rod and Gun Shop. He’s still there. I remember going to the Rod and Gun Shop with my dad or grandfather and looking at the fish in the sinks. The smell was exactly as I remembered it — part fishy part, plastic (from the fake lures).

Seeing downtown Chetek again was like putting together a puzzle. I remembered bits and pieces, but seeing it all together brought being there back to me.

Check back later for part 2 of my Return to Chetek including a fun Internet surprise.

 

Up North: the series ::”Greens’ Point”:: Chetek

Long dock
Long dock

Because Wisconsin was calling my grandparents, they finally decided to purchase land and a cabin in the state. I don’t know how or why they chose Chetek, but I suspect it was because they had friends who had vacation homes there. Chetek is on the other side of Wisconsin from Arbor Vitae.

The house they bought was a tiny two-room cottage on a moderately large parcel of land along Ten Mile Lake. It had no indoor plumbing — at least no personal care kind of indoor plumbing. I think it may have had hot and cold running water in the kitchen.

They immediately began building an addition onto the house that was twice the size of the existing structure. It included a garage, a bedroom and a small bathroom.

I remember the house before the remodeling though. I remember using the outhouse and later the chemical toilet that must have sat in the corner of what became the dining room.

I can visualize the rooms of the cabin almost as clearly as I can visualize any room in my current house. If I were an artist, I could draw a perfect picture of my grandparents’ cottage. The living room had a huge picture window that looked out onto the lake. At one end of the living room, under a smallish window was a hide-a-bed sofa. In front of the picture window were my grandfather’s chair — a dark-golden easy-chair — and my grandmother’s plush rocking chair. In the corner, behind the door, was an old, low cupboard with sliding doors. Next to the door, on the right side as you looked at the door was a bookcase full of books. My grandfather was a reader and had boxes and boxes of books in the garage.

My grandmother's stove was similar to this
My grandmother's stove was similar to this

The kitchen was a tiny galley kitchen. It held a refrigerator, a sink, an island and a enameled cast-iron stove. The stove was the kind that could burn gas or wood and I vividly recall my grandmother putting wood and paper under the cast iron cook lids. I don’t know if she cooked anything on them, but it is possible she did. I think it was mainly used to heat the house.

My grandparents’ last name was Green. They called their vacation property “Greens’ Point”. When my grandfather retired, my grandparents moved to Chetek for good. Grandpa got a job in a local bar and played some golf. Grandma fished and visited with the few neighbors around.

I can’t count the number of times we visited Chetek, but enough that everything about it is vivid in my mind nearly 25 years after the last time I was there. I spent several weeks of many summers with my grandparents; and then just my grandmother after my grandfather died.

When my grandmother met John, she moved back to Illinois, but kept the house in Chetek. The last couple of times I went to Chetek, I was in my twenties. One time was shortly after I began dating my husband-to-be. It was great showing him where I’d spent so many happy days as a child and teenager.

Dean & Neal Juggling
Dean & Neal Juggling

The last time I visited Chetek was on our honeymoon. The fact that we brought some of our closest friends only made it better.

This summer I am determined to visit Chetek with my kids. We may not make it to the small house on Ten Mile Lake — that might be a little too painful, but we’ll see if the town is the same and maybe have lunch at the B&B Bar, which according to this website, still exisits or perhaps The Pokegma — one of my favorite restaurants from when I visited there. I used to love the pizza. Whatever we do, I know it will be bittersweet. It was such a huge factor in who I’ve become.