Boyhood Memories of Upper Ten Mile Lake


by Ralph Mendenhall

I didnít need National Geographic to tell me that Ten Mile is the third most beautiful lake in the world. They were wrong. In my opinion, it is the most beautiful lake in the world. As a young boy, I spent many hours with my parents and six brothers and sisters with my Uncle Andy and Aunt Bess Christie who had a small resort on upper Ten Mile. We spent our mornings weeding the long rows of their gardens, and some afternoons throwing hay in the hay wagon to be put in the barn. This hay was often our bed at night. Sleeping the hay mow and telling stories was as much a treat for us as staying at the Crowne Plaza.

The rows were long, but we were paid two pennies a row. This money, along with our hay money, was well spent in Walker or Hackensack on candy and ice cream. We thought we were rich as we stood in front of the penny candy counter trying to reach a decision.

But our real quality time was spent on the lake fishing, or swimming on the beautiful sandy beach. It was here that we learned to appreciate the beauty of Ten Mile Lake. The clean, pure, spring-fed quality of the water, even at our tender age, was obvious to us. We didnít have all those fancy gadgets to catch fish. We didnít need them. With Uncle Andyís old, flat-bottomed boat and a pair of oars, a cane pole with a worm at the end of the line was all we needed to catch supper. It was a two-way street, but I think we children were on the winning side. I wish Uncle Andy and Aunt Bess were here now so I could thank them again!

Other folks I met in my ďTen Mile ExperiencesĒ were the Kubos and their daughter Dorothy. Dorothy still lives on Ten Mile Lake. [Editorís note: Dorothy Kubo Mills still lived on the lake at the time this was written.] The Rosses come to memory. They were most gracious in renting their cabin to us several times in later years. Our children loved them. They had none of their own, and were more than happy to share their lovely beach with us. The Jensens were very important to us. Their son, Bob (who, with his wife, was later killed in an airplane accident in California) was our age and shared many of our adventures.

Sunday night was special. Aunt Bess prepared five gallons of home-made ice cream, which was gladly shared around the campfire. Along with fish stories, and accounts of life in Minneapolis, and stories of our youth, we were a happy bunch.

There were lots more activities that occupied our time. Bob Jenson, my brother Bob, Jimmy Christie and I went fishing for northerns in nearby Portage Lake. We all played ball in the cow pasture with cow pies for bases. In the winter we snared rabbits and filled the back seat with them. Mom gladly canned rabbit, a delicacy, for our winter meals.

These are a few of my memories of Ten Mile Lake. In later years I have become proud of it as a wonderful neighbor. However it has provided my youth with a lot of precious memories. Iím glad to have added my bit to this wonderful place on earth.

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