My Dad and my stepmom had a cottage on Long Lake (Michigan).  (The family still has one but it is another cottage – a much nicer, larger cottage.)

This first cottage was nothing fancy, to say the least.

It did not even have an inside toilet!  At least not at first.

But hey, the outhouse, was a two-seater – no waiting.

My Dad encouraged me to decorate the outhouse with lots of signs.  He provided the crayons and the construction paper, and I produced masterpieces, such as:

Be ready to jump, we got a back-up pump.

We aim to please, you aim too please.

And many more that I can’t remember now.  Hey, you’re sitting on the pot, you need something to read, right?

I loved that cottage.

It was there that I learned how to play Michigan Rummy.

Every year the weeds would be pulled out of the shallow water by pulling a set of mattress springs through them, and then a fresh layer of sand was put in, and the float was put out – far enough out that when you dove off of it, you never touched weeds.

I hate seaweed (lake weed – anything growing under the water).

I hate mud bottoms.

The trick was to go out as far as you could on the sand and then swim out to the float, keeping your kicks and strokes shallow enough so as not to touch the intervening weeds (or have them touch you).


And I couldn’t stop until I got to the float, because it was only then that I knew the weeds were far below me and couldn’t “get me”.

And it was at the cottage that I told my first dirty joke – one that I had thought up all by myself.

I was on the sun porch with Jean (my stepmom) and Pat (her sister-in-law) and they were commenting on a young woman walking down to the water.  They said, “She’s got more foam rubber in that swimsuit than a mattress.”, and I said, “Why not? She probably doubles as one.”

(Such a proud and formative moment.)


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