Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.



Just got a birthday card from my dad. In it he writes that my aunt and uncle have "sold the lake place". Typical of my dad, he wastes no words and rarely gives detail.

This is no small thing to me. "The lake place" is the place that I grew up with, it was my grandfather's dream. He bought property at Birch Lake and built his own small house there, a boat house, two docks, a garage. For years he and my grandmother lived at the lake year-round, in the cold, white northern Minnesota winters. I spent summers there, fishing, building sand castles on the beach, boating, swimming. My grandfather built a sauna in the house that smelled wonderfully of cedar. I used to go sit in the sauna even when it wasn't heated up, just breathing in the smell of it. My hand and footprints, and those of my brother and cousins, are in the cement where he built steps down to the lake and around the garage. We picked gallons and gallons of blueberries, rang the big dinner triangle until my grandparents "lost" the striker. My grandpa let me build sailboats that never floated, make wooden puppets, and draw No Hunting signs on plywood (illustrated, complete with my childish pleas "Please don't kill the baby bunnies!!!!!" ). In the winter there was a woodstove in the sparse cinder block basement. My grandmother tamed and fed the winter birds from her hand; the chickadees would come when she called them, answering back, "Chick-a-deee-deeee-deee."

I've always loved that house beyond reason. I love those woods, I love every turn in the long, long gravel road, the pines and birches, the loons on the lake. The city, when finally forced to give names to these remote gravel roads, named ours "Lindroos Road." I have a photo fo my brother holding Kate on his shoulders under that sign.

When my grandmother's Alzheimers became more pronounced they decided to move fulltime to Arizona, where they'd been enjoying their retirement. Grandpa had to sell the property and I feared we'd lose it forever. My uncle stepped in to buy the property and saved it for us (temporarily it seems).

I was last up to "the lake place" for my grandmother's funeral last fall. Even then, my aunt and uncle had made many changes, renovating every room and adding on substantially. They'd torn out one dock that had been damaged by ice over the winter. The house was different, but the lake, the view, the property, even the outbuildings were the same. I walked around a lot, took a lot of pictures. I felt it was changing, but was still "at home".

Tonight I feel like I'll never be home again.


for this post

Anonymous Anonymous Says:

Your blog rocks. -- Ray W.

Anonymous Anonymous Says:

Oh, Nicole!

I have this same exact sense of place and attachment to my own grandfather's lake place (still in the family, but I'm not currently welcome to visit...) and the old farm house my Dad grew up in (no longer in the family).

My biggest consolation is that they are all different now than they were. Visiting them today is very different than it was when I was younger, but those younger memories color any more recent interactions.

Ultimately, it's the memories which are the magical part, and those you get to keep and treasure.

Big hug!


Blogger shoes Says:

its a shame your family couldnt keep it but your memories will go on.......and ultimately those are the most important things. also they are the one thing that cant be taken from you

Blogger Rona Says:

Hi Nik,

I just wanted to wish you a very happy birthday! May you create even more joyous memories and a new "home" to call your own within you.

Rona (and Evan, too!)


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