Legends of the Lake – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish
While driving you’d pass many cow pastures, large corn fields, and farms to the left and the right of you, as you drove slowly to avoid the most worn down areas of the road. The further you progress, the more trees and beautiful wild flowers take over the landscape… Looking left you see a sliver of the lake, a big blue lake. There are campgrounds and a small bait and tackle shop situated right next to it… Continue on your slow drive down the hill and through all the curves, you pass children of the generation walking on the side of the road… The young boys are shirtless and some are white as white can be, while others have what were called “farmer’s tans.” This is where their arms and faces are tanned, but their chests and backs aren’t as they always wore t-shirts during the day… The aroma of fresh cut green grass and giant pine trees lingers in the background, while the special odor of the seaweed which gets pushed up on the shore makes me smile… This is when you see it off to the right… you can’t miss the boulders which line the front of it which proudly proclaims to everyone that “The Krons” reside here.
Philip had the kind of grandparent/grandchild relationship that every kid would love to be able to brag about. Actually his Gramps and Nana (Kron) were his mother’s grandparents making them his ‘great’ grandparents. No matter, he love spending as much time as possible at their lake house in Wisconsin. Gramps bought the lake property before he and Nana had their first child. They envisioned it as a place to bring the family throughout the generations and that’s exactly what they did. This two bedroom cottage housed parents, children and grand children for many years and the one thing it did, or should I say those in residence did, was create memories.
Over the years memories were passed on from one generation to another and by the time they reached Phil’s young ears they may have grown and may not be quite true but who was to say they were or weren’t. For instance, one of the cottage owners went by the initials of AC instead of his name. He was from Chicago and in the ‘produce’ business. When probation came he was there to help out by opening what was known as a ‘speakeasy’ with a bar and gambling in the back. It wasn’t too long afterwards that AC disappeared back to Chicago, never to return. That was around the same time Al Capone was locked away. Was AC the famous Al Copone? If not, how did a ‘produce’ man acquire alcohol, gambling equipment and some pretty mean looking guards for the ‘speakeasy?’ Then there was the story about Nana needing some type of container to carry her food to and from the pier. One of the residences, a Mr. Tupper, came up with the perfect container including a fitting top. Or how about the time one of the kids was hit by a baseball, which hurt like heck. A man from a nearby cottage brought out a ball, threw it as hard as he could and hit the kid square in the chest. Billy, expecting it to hurt was shocked when it didn’t. He picked it up and found it to be soft and light. When asked what it was called the man explained it didn’t have a name just yet. Billy suggested the name ‘Non-Expanding Recreational Foam’ ball or NERF for short.
Are these truths or fictions? Who cares. They are the stories that made a young boy’s life better. These stories, along with those telling them, helped to shape not just Phil but all of the family into what they were and are today. Reading Legends of the Lake kept me in a frame of a ‘wishing world.’ I wish I could have lived and experienced the history of some of these family members and also wish I could be one to help carry beautiful memories on into the next generation. I loved the feelings of love, peace, family, togetherness, and true life that Phil experienced while growing up. Don’t get me wrong, there were bad times too but the teachings of Gramps and Nana made those times a lot easier to live through. You have to read this one or you’re missing out on some wonderful emotional feelings.