Sunday, June 29, 2014

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun -.Summer Vacations: "The Cottage" at Long Beach, Indiana


Summer Vacations 
I'm not sure when it began but our summers always included the last two weeks of August at "The Cottage". Located on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan,"The Cottage" was originally purchased by my Uncle Jack who named it after his wife, Jane.  She failed to see the humor of the name "Lazy Jane" so it was renamed the "Lady Jane".  At some point during the 1940s Uncle Jack sold "The Cottage" to his sister Kathleen.  Aunt Kathy never married or had children but kept "The Cottage" for the benefit of her many nieces and nephews.  She would rent it for the month of July to cover her costs but the rest of the time it was at the disposal of her family.  We always got those last two weeks of August.  It was the perfect time since by then the water temperature was warm enough to really enjoy swimming.
Street view of the cottage over mom's shoulder.
front row Patsy Connery, Tom Hansen
back row Donna Hansen, Mom, Kathie Hardie holding Paul Hansen
circa 1948

Long Beach, Indiana is one of a string of beaches lining the shore of Lake Michigan going north from Michigan City.  It was a very mixed community in that the houses on the lake side of the road were mostly summer homes while the houses opposite them were for year around residents.  Most of the summer homes were named things like "White Waves" or "Swiss Chalet" and to indicate where you lived you would say bus stop 19 or bus stop 24.  


Life was wonderful at "The Cottage"!  Stepping out the kitchen door it was sand all the way to the lake's edge.  Swimming was on the agenda all day every day, but there were also dunes to climb and  walks to the store  when the lake was too rough for swimming.  We could play dress up with the assortment of beach cover-ups and straw hats kept for use by anyone who forgot such items.  Rainy days meant long games of Monopoly  or card games like Canasta, Go Fish or War depending on the age of the participants.  There was no telephone, television, or washer and dryer.  When mom needed to do laundry, the big canvas laundry bags were loaded into the car for the trip to Michigan City and the laundromat.  A trip to town usually included a stop at Scholl's dairy for ice cream.

There were almost always cousins around while we were at "The Cottage".  Patsy Connery and on occasion one or two of the Hardie cousins.  Down the beach one of my Murray cousins usually had a summer job as a live-in nanny.  After the little ones went to bed we would walk on the beach or sing around a bonfire on the beach. 
front row Peggy, Alice, Mary, Mike Hansen
back row Donna, Tom (kneeling) and Paul Hansen
circa 1957
August of 1959 was the last time we went to "The Cottage" as a family but some of us did make sporadic visits during the 1960s.  It was a magical place to spend part of the summer.