Our view today

I still remember the moment we pulled into what would soon become our home away from home. We arrived in Hayward, after leaving Rochester, Minnesota at 5:00 A.M. in a VW van with 4 adults and 3 small children, a little blurry-eyed but ready to start our adventure.

We found a nice cafe and loaded the kids and ourselves up with carbs and fat, aka pancakes and bacon, and lots of caffeine for the adults. And the search for a spot on a lake began.

We spent the next 5 hours with a local Realtor, who shall remain unnamed. We had talked with him several weeks earlier and outlined what we were looking for. Despite that, he proceeded to show us properties that were the exact opposite. At the end of the tour he turned and said, “Well, that’s it. You can keep looking on your own. If you find something, give me a call.” My thought was, “Don’t hold your breath.”

Back to Hayward, we went looking to salvage the trip in any way possible. We picked up a local paper and went through the ads. One ad caught our eye. We called the Realtor who was with a client but she gave us directions and permission to look at the property.

I fell asleep on the drive, it had been a long day and woke to two guys laughing loudly. Crawled out of the van and asked, “What’s so funny?” My husband pointed to the building and said, “Look. It’s a bunker.” And that’s exactly what it looked like, a concrete block bunker with a flat roof.

But the moment we knew this was it was when we walked up and stood on that flat roof and looked out onto the lake. What a view. It was a beautiful late spring day, the sun was shining, the lake reflected the blue sky and it was so quiet. A little piece of heaven.

For 27 years we shared with another family and gathered up many wonderful memories of kids learning to swim and water-ski, board games, late-night bonfires, thousands of books read, fishing off the dock and so much laughter. With their purchase of another lake home closer to their home we dissolved our joint ownership. We couldn’t say goodbye to this so it still is our little piece of heaven. 35 years and counting.

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