Fifty Feet of Memories (Family Matters)

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I’ve written about illness in my family and my friends, the death of my father and yet this column touches on the most sensitive subject for me because in reality it combines it all. I’m the youngest of the Foreman boys and by the time I came around my parents were well established with a house, a vehicle or two, snow machines, a motorcycle but most important to me was our camp. The building itself wasn’t huge, two bedrooms with a sometimes working bath and then a combined kitchen and living room. The lot was 100X50 with the 50 being the lake front. As a child I loved it and hated it at the same time. I hated it because it kept me out of town for the majority of the summer which meant no summer sports which I might have been good at. I loved our camp for many more reasons. I have a picture of my dad and me sitting on a swing that hung between two trees. I vaguely remember my uncle Jr’s 25 wedding anniversary party; which meant they felt the peace I felt. My birthday is in July so a lot of my parties were there, even the one after my father died where the gift I remember was a colorful towel given to me by another summer resident kid.  My grandmother loved our camp. She would swim and float so gracefully that to me she was an angel looking up at the sky. Our little rowboat with the leak was great for keeping the fish alive. Our motor boat towed us along the water while our floating raft gave us something to dive off of. The smell of the pine needles and the chattering of the squirrels are all memories that to this day bring a smile and a lump in my throat at the same time. As a teen the guys would play poker and tell stories around the fire at night. I even lived there once for a few months until it got too cold to swim in the morning.


Financially all good things come to an end I guess. The dock was consistently getting destroyed by the winter ice, the boat sank at the dock and the rowboat rotted out. The camp had no foundation, no well and needed this and that. The decision to sell was the hardest financial choice ever made. I prayed about it and cried about it but at the time wasn’t prepared to work a second or third job to keep it. To this day I count it as the biggest mistake I’ve even made, I didn’t man up and save the fruit of my father’s labor, the peace for my grandmother and just the quiet that we all loved. So now it’s memories for me, stories I won’t tell to my own kids because I don’t want to be asked why it’s gone. I try to provide summer activities like swimming, kayaking and fishing; all in an attempt to build memories because good ones don’t just happen. I’m a helper, (for lack of a better word), with the hopes of being a true humanitarian so financially I doubt I’ll ever be able to buy recreational property. I do hope to buy a camper a little newer then my 72’ pop-up but for now that will do. Endless emotional rambling won’t bring back the camp, my memories are forever and it’s up to me to make more for myself and my family. I do know one thing for sure, if given the chance again to sell that fifty feet of paradise, I wouldn’t. Every year I stop there, walk to the shore, shed a tear and vow that someday……


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