Our Island, on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, is a special place for our family and holds many memories. Here, my father and some of his siblings recall memories of the first years they spent there.
LAD – When I was 12, Rusty Heurlin took Dan Ced and I to the Island on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, which they owned. We went to Lee’s Mill and rowed from there. It was late in the evening when we got there and Rusty wasn’t sure he was going to the right place, but we got there. Among other things, Rusty told us of his boyhood experiences at the lake. This particular summer that we went, there was a lot of logging going on and one particular day a tug boat was going down from Lee’s Mill to the Broads, pulling a long line of barges, maybe half a mile long. Rusty told us to get into the rowboat and he rowed toward the barges. Just before we reached them, he wowed awfully hard and fast and the rowboat went up over the logs and into the water on the other side. That’s what I remember about it. After all the barges went by, we went back to the island.
I remember our family went up to the Island a few times, and I remember Rusty went with us the first time. We were supposed to meet his sister, Anna, and then she was going to lead us to the island. Apparently she began to worry about the fact that we had not gotten there yet. It was getting late in the afternoon, so she and her brother-in-law, and her husband, decided to go looking for us. There was only one road so we had to be on it. They passed a car coming the other way where someone had his feet out the window and she said “That’s my brother.” So they turned around and everything went fine from there. We had a nice time at the Island and Dad really enjoyed it very much. I think maybe the next year or so, we did the same thing again, although we knew where we were going this time. We didn’t have to meet Anna, Ingrid or Britta and Rusty may or may not have been with us.
CED – When we first went to the Island, probably about 1924 or 1925, there was nothing on it at all. We’d take a tent. My Dad would load up the big old touring car. To begin with, we used a canoe and a rowboat to get out to the Island.
The Island belonged to the Heurlin’s and they let us use it. We used it long before we bought it. Through Rusty, we met his family. His mother and father came over from Sweden, his father spoke with a strong accent. He was a Customs Agent in Boston. They were a nice couple and lived in Wakefield, Massachusetts in a nice house.
BISS -my first recollection of the Island was when I was about 12 or 13, somewhere along there. At that time Rusty or is family owned the Island. He took us kids up there and of course, there was nothing on the island. I picked a rock to sleep on. It was probably the big, flat rock near Bathtub Rock. That was my bed.
One night, Rusty and two guys from around the lake, named Eustace and Sully (we kid’s called them “Useless” and “Silly”) went to a house on the mainland where some Irish policemen were on vacation. They were going to help them celebrate. Rusty came back three sheets to the wind, oh, he was really out of it. He staggered up from the Point.
DAVE – Rusty had a couple of friends on the lake, Eustace (Rusty called him “Useless”. The other guy’s name was Sully and Rusty called him “Silly”. Rusty is the last person to call someone silly. I remember one time he decided to make himself a meal. So he took a piece of bread and he proceeded to put anything and everything that was edible on top of that piece of bread and he ate the whole thing. Then he went out and stood on a rock and belched loud enough so people on the other side of the lake could hear him, I’m sure. He was a character, a funny guy.
The first time I went to the island, it was a two-day trip to get up there – we used to leave Trumbull, drive up to Rusty’s parent’s house, stay overnight then drive up the rest of the way. Rusty had a couple of friends who were at the island one time I was there. We had spaghetti for supper that night. Around 2 or 3 o’clock I no longer had that spaghetti. I don’t know what they had in it, but something made me sick.
Bissie wrote a letter to her father:
Everything is going along fine up here. David, for the first time, lost his dinner. He lost it in the middle of the night. He had a pretty tough night. He has been sleeping with me since you left.
Today is the day Anna (Ingrid) and Lars are supposed to come up and we are hoping that they come. There was a party of policemen from Wister (Worcester) on a camping trip here and we get half our food from them. They are nice, kind-hearted men. We are going on a picnic with Mr. (Climmens) (I guess that’s the way you spell it) and one or two friends of his tomorrow. Rusty is over visiting them now. The police gave us a real Italian spaghetti dinner last night.
Dave had shared his story of the spaghetti dinner with me during our recording session. It was almost two years later that I found the letter from Bissie to her father. I found it fascinating that their memories of the incident were so similar after over 70 years.
Does your family have a special place or traditions linked to a particular place? Leave a comment and let me know about it,