If you own your own vacation cabin or if you've ever vacationed in the same northwoods spot more than once (especially Wisconsin's northwoods), then you'll understand Mamminga's nostalgic look at her family's cabin named Wake Robin by her grandmother. I first heard of this book when it was being read on Wisconsin Public Radio's chapter a day, but I am not one to faithfully listen to the radio each day, so I sought out the book through the library system. Lucky for me, the memoir is available as an audio, so while I drove and sewed a few weeks ago, I was able to follow Marnie's family (5 whole generations of them) as the made the seven hour trip annually to their cabin in the Hayward area. I chuckled as I listened to stories of Marnie riding crammed in the sedan's backseat with her siblings, arriving at the cabin late into the night, and then heading down to the pier in total darkness to say their first hello to the lake. I could almost close my eyes and hear the fishing fun, feel the sun bathing on the dock, and see the twisting paths through the woods.
As her reminiscences unwound, I found myself smiling and smiling. First, although I never returned to the same cabin more than once when I was growing up, my parents did take us on several up north adventures, enough that a deep love for Wisconsin's north of the tension line became ingrained in me.
Now that our family does have our little bit of northern heaven, I am hoping that we are building multi-generational memories that will live on beyond Grandpa and Grandma's days. I believe that the dream is beginning to come true. Just this week, I stopped by the hallway of my first grader granddaughter to see the Christmas decorations. On one wall were journal entries of favorite Christmas traditions. What did Eva's say? "I like this time of year because we sometimes get to go to my cabin." Last time I checked, the cabin belonged to Grandpa and me, but it delighted me that she is already seeing the cabin as belonging to all of us. Plus a few weeks ago our youngest grandchild, just three, told her mother she really wanted to go to the cabin. And just as Marnie cherished being chosen to accompany her grandmother for a special "just the two of us" trip north, I hope each of our grandchildren has many "just us" memories.
Check out the this link to learn more about the author and this entertaining book of family, memories, and northwoods magic.