Elizabeth O’Neal’s June theme for the Genealogy Blog Party is all things summer. Some of my fondest family memories center around vacations spent at my grandparents’ summer camp on Little Sebago Lake in Maine.
From My Personal Postcard Collection
The postcard (c1910-1920) certainly predates the years when my family spent summers there, but it’s a pretty view of the lake, so I thought I’d include it.
The road that led to our idyllic summer life was a road without a name back then. Today, I think it’s an offshoot of Cambell Shore Road. My grandparents’ camp was at the very end of the road and we had to drive up a small steep hill, back down it and make a sharp right turn to avoid hitting the guest cabin!
If you look to the left of the photo, there is a ray of sunshine along the ground (to the left and front of the tree trunks). That is the path we had to drive and then the car was parked just about in the front of this picture.
The main cottage was somewhat primitive by today’s standards. The bathroom, originally an outhouse, was the toilet and sink in the little extension my grandfather built.
If you count four trees to the right of the car, the outside toilet room is between tree #2 and #3!
There was no potable drinking water. Water was collected from streaming pipe somewhere between Gray and North Windham:
Water used to wash dishes had to be boiled first (and there was no running hot water anyway), dirty clothes were taken to the public laundry in North Windham and baths happened in the lake!
There was a beach, usually empty, about a 15 minute boat ride across the lake. We spent afternoons there several times during the two weeks my family spent in Maine. The dogs always kept a close watch on their humans, swimming at the beach! Mickey was Mom’s puppy and King was Grandmother’s dog.
More Fun at the Beach with my aunt and Grandfather
Waterskiing on the Lake
Swimming was always a fun pastime and when I got older, I learned to waterski, too.
Entrance to the Main Cottage
I remember being constantly scolded by Grandmother for running out the door on the left and having it bang – loudly! Eventually, I learned to slow down and catch the door before it snapped shut.
The door on the right went into the small kitchen – the one with no potable or hot water! I remember the door being open to let in cool air, but I don’t remember anyone using it to go in and out of the cottage.
It’s hard to tell because of the angle of the photo, but it looks like this picture was taken before Grandfather built the bathroom on the right side of the cottage.
My Aunt Barbara took this picture of the lake in the spring. It was probably around memorial Day weekend or slightly after as the camp was definitely not winterized. The only heat we had was the wood burning stove in the main cottage.
Little Sebago in the Spring
You can’t see it in this picture, but Grandfather made a swing for me and it hung from two long, skinny trees to the left of this photo (not the flowering tree).
Me, c1955 on My Beloved Swing
People in the pictures are my grandparents and aunts, plus a couple of me, enjoying their first years at the camp on the lake. Grandmother and Grandfather actually rented this camp for a number of years before they bought it in the early 1950s.
Visiting Little Sebago Lake was a summer ritual each year until I was sixteen years old. Grandfather passed away that year on Pearl Harbor Day and Grandmother sold the camp the following spring.
I went back to the cottage once in 1980, but the owners weren’t there. My husband and I looked around the property and it was just as I had remembered it. I was even able to find the cottage from memory because none of the roads had any names back in the years that I spent on the lake.
The same family that bought from my Grandmother still owns the camp after all these years and they’ve done a wonderful job of updating the cottage. Since those photos aren’t mine to share, you will have to take my word for it! It looks terrific.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this walk down the Little Sebago Lake Memory Lane. Those were fun times!