Return to Wake Robin: One Cabin in the Heyday of Northwoods Resorts

( 4 )

Overview

Five generations of Marnie O. Mamminga’s family have been rejuvenated by times together in Wisconsin’s Northwoods. In a series of evocative remembrances accompanied by a treasure trove of vintage family photos, Mamminga takes us to Wake Robin, the cabin her grandparents built in 1929 on Big Spider Lake near Hayward, on land adjacent to Moody’s Camp. Along the way she preserves the spirit and cultural heritage of a vanishing era, conveying the heart of a place and the community ...

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Overview

Five generations of Marnie O. Mamminga’s family have been rejuvenated by times together in Wisconsin’s Northwoods. In a series of evocative remembrances accompanied by a treasure trove of vintage family photos, Mamminga takes us to Wake Robin, the cabin her grandparents built in 1929 on Big Spider Lake near Hayward, on land adjacent to Moody’s Camp. Along the way she preserves the spirit and cultural heritage of a vanishing era, conveying the heart of a place and the community that gathered there.

Bookended by the close of the logging era and the 1970s shift to modern lake homes, condos, and Jet Skis, the 1920s to 1960s period covered in these essays represents the golden age of Northwoods camps and cabins—a time when retreats such as Wake Robin were the essence of simplicity. In Return to Wake Robin, Mamminga describes the familiar cadre of fishing guides casting their charm, the camaraderie and friendships among resort workers and vacationers, the call of the weekly square dance, the splash announcing a perfectly executed cannonball, the lodge as gathering place. By tracing the history of one resort and cabin, she recalls a time and experience that will resonate with anyone who spent their summers Up North—or wishes they had.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
With liberal doses of gratitude, humor, and charming period details, Mamminga, a contributor to Jack Canfield’s Chicken Soup for the Soul series, recounts her family’s more than 60-year history vacationing on Big Spider Lake in Wisconsin’s Northwoods region. While her story centers on Wake Robin, their 1929 cabin named after a common area wildflower, much of Mamminga’s story draws on the swirl of activity at Moody’s Camp, a popular resort opened in 1922. Short chapters and black and white photographs provide glimpses of Moody’s founders and subsequent owners and how, through a love of people and generous spirit, they gathered camp guests, employees, fishing guides (the lake’s “Houdinis”), private cabin owners, and townspeople for weekly feasts, square dances, fishing expeditions, picnics, and other adventures. Weaving potent symbols (e.g., a clock with no hands in the lodge dining room) and traditions (preparing a family of five children for the 450-mile drive from Illinois cornfields to Wisconsin forests; bringing future spouses to the lake) into a world view and way of life, she persuasively argues for the restorative benefits of letting time stand still, if only for a few months of the year. While her reports of the inevitable changes brought by modernity and the closing of the camp are disheartening, Mamminga leaves a hopeful message that even in our consumer-driven electronic age, Wake Robin’s old-fashioned routines continue to bring joy to a fifth generation. (May)
From the Publisher

“With liberal doses of gratitude, humor, and charming period details, Mamminga, a contributor to Jack Canfield’s Chicken Soup for the Soul series, recounts her family’s more than 60-year history vacationing on Big Spider Lake in Wisconsin’s Northwoods region…. Wake Robin’s old-fashioned routines continue to bring joy to a fifth generation.” (Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review)

"Mamminga's memoir will make readers wish for a cabin of their own to call home for a couple of months out of the year. (Andi Diehn, ForeWord Reviews)

"What wonderful memories from my almost forgotten youth this book stirred. Slamming screen doors at first light; sunrises that only God could orchestrate and people. Wonderful, outsized, loving, adventurous people fill Return to Wake Robin." (Jim Peck, Host of Milwaukee Public Television's I Remember)

"All thanks to Marnie Mamminga for her splendid collection of recollections about the heyday of Northwoods resorts. She has caused a flood of memories of some of the best times of my life. In the 1940s and '50s, for my family, Up North was a magical, almost mythical place where we spent three weeks every summer. We always stayed at Ross' Teal Lake Lodge. The cabins and lodge were rustic and simple, perfect for Up North and so different from our home in Madison. Here the air seemed fresher and the sky seemed bluer." (Howard Mead, former editor of Wisconsin Trails magazine)
 

2012 Midwest Connections Pick from Midwest Independent Booksellers Association

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780870204913
  • Publisher: Wisconsin Historical Society
  • Publication date: 5/21/2012
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Pages: 200
  • Sales rank: 581,701
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Marnie O. Mamminga has vacationed every summer on Big Spider Lake near Hayward, Wisconsin. Born and raised in the Chicago area, she attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she earned undergraduate and master’s degrees in English. Over the years she raised three sons, taught junior high and high school English, and worked as a freelance writer and columnist. Her publishing credits include the Chicago Tribune, Reader’s Digest, the Christian Science Monitor,Lake Superior Magazine, and several Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She has been married to her high school sweetheart for more than forty years and is so very grateful that her grandchildren love the Northwoods as much as she does.

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Table of Contents

Preface ix

Prologue xiii

Passing the Torch 1

Ted and Myrtle Moody Create Their Camp: 1922-1955 5

Erie T. Oatman Rediscovers an Old Friend: 1922-1938 13

Clara and the Cabin She Designed: 1923-1957 21

Sourdough Sam Sails On: 1923-1975 31

Wake Robin Welcomes Woody: 1938-2008 41

Heading Up North: A Journey in Five Acts: Circa 1959 55

Moody's Camp Changes Hands: The Dick and Lucile Seitz Era, 1955-1967 79

The Lodge Beckons: 1923-1967 89

The Fishing Guides Cast Their Charms: 1940s-1960s 99

The Square Dance: A Song of Summer, Circa 1959 121

Dock Day Delight: 1920s-1960s 129

Bring on the Rain: 1950s-1960s 139

Cabin Girls Catch the Cleaning Spirit: 1964 145

Born to a Northwoods Birthday: August 15, 1949 155

Romance in the Woods: A Summer Sweetheart Finally Arrives, 1965 165

Lake Lights 173

Leaving the Lake 177

Epilogue 179

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2012

    My family has a cabin in Hayward that has entertained three gene

    My family has a cabin in Hayward that has entertained three generations. I enjoyed this book very much and plan on buying a copy for my mom to read (and then take up to the cabin).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2012

    Recommended

    This is an autobiography about the summers a woman spent with her family near the town of Hayward, WI. I loved the book and circulated it to my family, as we have a summer place about 20 miles from "Wake Robin".I'm not sure if the book would be as appealing to readers with no connection to that part of the country.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2012

    Great read!

    Great read, especially if you're familiar with the area. Honeymooned there 40+ years ago. Brought back fond memories. Highly recommend!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2014

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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