The Retiree: July 16, 2014

 

Bob's wife Cora was Dad's sister. In the late '40s, Uncle Bob bought a plot of land on Maple Lake. He liked the fact that the lot was close to the city, and inexpensive. With a little encouragement, Dad later bought one, too.
After the war, Bob started a metal stampings shop, Ware Manufacturing, in his garage. Later, he encouraged Dad to join him as a production superintendent. Other relatives joined the corporation as workers off and on over the years. I did, too. Dad and a few others shared a piece of the business.
Bob's dreams became reality. The shop grew until it employed 150 or more people, and the plant was moved and expanded to meet its needs. Bob was a true entrepreneur.
As for the lake place, it grew, too. It was raised and moved and improved and added onto. In my early teens, I helped with the original cottage – as much as most teens would – and when Dad built his cottage, I found out how hard it was to dig a toilet in blue clay. Our families were neighbors for many years. Lots of memories came out of those places.
For example, Bob had memorable dogs. Penny was an Irish Setter with an eagerness for hunting. She lived about 17 years. Toward the end, Bob had to sneak his shotgun out of the house, as she was getting too frail to hunt. Penny was too excitable for her own good. He also later got Pierre, an intelligent obedient Poodle with a sincere desire to please Bob, and a love for swimming in Maple Lake with Bob's girls.
When he got to retirement age, Bob showed us that he could still water ski. I had no intention of doing that when I retired.
Over the years, Bob gravitated to Florida, spending more time there than at the lake. Cora, Dad, and the rest of the uncles and aunts are gone now. Bob could never bear to get rid of the Maple Lake house, though. He visited it as often as he could, the last time two years ago. Then he had to give in to the the problems that attend aging.
You may remember Bob, or maybe not. He was typical of summer people, if there is such a thing. He spent his winters away from the snow and ice. You won't see him out here any more. This summer he died peacefully in Florida, at 99 years of age.
There are many more memories that come to me, but those will do. All I wanted was to recall a little bit of the life of one of Maple Lake's summer people.
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