Thursday, February 5, 2015

Pelican Lake Weaver family Sunset Beach - Art and Music Traditions 1950's, through the 1980's

Sunset Beach Pelican Lake, Crow Wing County MN
Images from the Weaver Family

About 1952, the view north and west from Lot 11, Sunset Beach, through the lens of Paul H Weaver.   The evening sky, Note the small white pines, and birch clump to the left.  Here is the place of the beginning of the Weaver family connections with this lake share.
 Dad loved to sit and look at sunsets and the birds.  I am so grateful for his modeling this connection to Nature during my youth.  

Here is what Peg Weaver wrote in her memoir, Rememberings, about Pelican Lake "
Pelican Lake was ideal for kids' wading since the gradient to the drop-off was gradual, shallow water extending outward for about thirty feet. The shore and lake bottom were of sugar sand and the water was clear. Rarely, large leaches would be washed up on the beach, but these did not attack like those little fellows at Elbow Lake. Bern Foster said that there were no leaches at Pelican before Pelican was connected to the Mississippi by the U. S. Corps of Engineers via a canal to Lake Ossawinnamakee.
On the beach, Jim, Jack and Tom waded, dug minnow traps, built sand castles and made roads for their small cars with "road blocks" made from pressed wood. Since we could see the water's edge with no trees to block our view, beach play could be supervised from our porch. However, when the boys went swimming, Pete and I would accompany them, often two or three times a day. When the temperature was over 95 degrees, we frequently sat in the lake to keep cool. I was amazed how HOT the sand could
be. One very hot day, after much coaxing, I took the boys swimming in the early evening, only to be driven back to the cottage by swarms of hungry mosquitoes. Inflated inner tubes provided fun in the water. With Pete's help the boys nailed together a small raft and enjoyed drifting and diving from it. When older, they used the Sunset Beach diving dock and went to a swampy area to dig for clams
In the evenings our boys were busy with scavenger hunts, wiener and marshmallow roasts on the beach with Mary, Nancy and Martha Owen, Chip Bowes, Mike Relyea and Peter Countryman. To go with their feather Indian headdresses, I made a heavy canvass teepee (testing my faithful, little portable sewing machine and occasionally breaking a needle) decorating it with painted Indian symbols. (I believe it is under the cottage porch where it is gradually disappearing from gnawing mice.) A slightly raised area under a clump of white birch we named "mushroom hill" for the conspicuous, purple-gilled mushrooms we often saw there. [Much later using my mushroom hobby, I identified them as sandy Laccaria (Laccaria trullisata).]    A "log-sawing business" occupied Jim and Peter Countryman but didn't make them rich.
An expedition to Itasca State Park from Pelican (1952) filled a day. The boys stepped over the Mississippi on rocks and saw penned bison. However, we didn't make many trips away from the cottage, not going to movies nor the County Fair in Brainerd. Though we did receive some pressure to venture from Pelican, we felt that the lake provided many challenging and fun things to do without commercial entertainment." p 57 Rememberings of a 83-year old grandma, 1994 self published
1951 Jack and Tom on the sandy beach through the lens of Noah Elwood Weaver, note the big inner tube, likely from a farm tractor, and the wooden boat from the Relyea cabin.....

1959  Diving dock Sunset Beach Pelican, Mary Foster, Johnny, David Foster.  Tom Weaver, John Foster, Jim and Jack Weaver
Jack 1951 with Blackie inside the cottage by the bookshelves.  By PHW

1952  Tom and Blackie, flash photo by Paul H Weaver 

 1957 Tom and Jack Weaver on Crestliner boat with Blackie by PHW

As we grew up during the 50's and 60's, each son, developed his own interests. 
About 1963, here is Tom, the author, with the 14' Crestliner boat.  Dad painted the Спу́тник, in Russian, sputnik, after the 1957 satellite, laucnhed by the USSR.  Dad took an interest in Russian and for a while subscribed to Pravda, to learn about the language.

1960 Weaver Music Jam Session Jack, guitar, Peg Ukelele, Tom, clarinet, and Jim, glass jug.  Likely strains of "it ain't gonna rain no more no more" PHW
 Jack on the front porch, note driving dock, with his acoustic guitar.
 Mid 60's   Tom with the 15 hp Evenrude with the 14' aluminum boat, with puffy clouds. By PHW
Dad, fishing on Markee Lake by TGW.

Path to Pelican Lake with Crestliner on beach. Note the deep blue drop off, some 200 ' out into the water.  White birch clump. 
1957 Mercury Station wagon parked at Pelican with autumn leaves -  
Typical 1960's view from the west toward cottage site, with large bending white pine in front.

Tom Weaver, the author here, in front of the Palmer Property ca 1972, as I was taking photos of the plants by the shore.  by PHW

Jack playing his guitar, while on leave Ft Ripley, in the National Guard in the late 1960's on the porch.  Note the butterfly net, and the can of Hamms beer.

In Aug 1981, the last family full gathering with dad alive, here are Harold Williams, Nellie's dad, Sue Weaver, John Weaver in front, Pete Weaver in back, Jim, Melanie, with Ken on Jim' back, Kris in front with Nellie and Jack with his Stor Dor T shirt, on the front porch of the Sunset Beach Cottage.

After dad's death in Jan, 1981, Mom wrote "After Pete's death Jim and Jack have come to Pelican every summer, usually for two weeks' vacation at the same time, since their daughters, Valerie and Kristin, had fun together. During much of Jack's vacation he was occupied with work, using his computer much of the time. When Jim was here, early in the mornings around seven o'clock, I drove to his cottage, then he and I walked next door, down a little hill to Winnie Leonard's for coffee. Sometimes others would show up, but usually they were not early risers. In the evenings, relishing some one to talk to while eating and some one else's cooking, I enjoyed an early supper at Jack's or a late one at Jim's. Frequently the two families ate together either in Jack's spacious living room with jalousie windows or on Jim's jalousied porch.  In different years Jim supervised bulldozing trees to make a road on his land to    Lake Lougee and on the 40-acres he and Tom own on Mud Lake along Rte. 18, west of here. When they came with Jim for two weeks in 1987, I enjoyed the Ulmschneiders from Heidelberg, Germany, Peter and his wife, Helgard, with their daughter, Katarina, and twin sons, Jakob and Martin. In 1990 when there was a tornado in close-by Ossipee, a beautiful, tall balsam fir behind Jim's cottage was toppled.
Living in St. Cloud, about seventy miles from his cottage, Tom spent weekends and longer times at his place, either coming alone, with one or two of his boys, with the whole family or with friends. Often I drive down for morning coffee, once being surprised by a blueberry- pancake-breakfast. "

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