Return to Wake Robin: One Cabin in the Heyday of Northwoods Resorts

Marnie O Mamminga, Author
Marnie O. Mamminga. Wisconsin Historical Society, $22.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-87020-491-3
Reviewed on: 02/27/2012
Release date: 05/01/2012
Compact Disc - 978-0-87020-655-9
Hardcover - 201 pages - 978-0-87020-595-8
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With liberal doses of gratitude, humor, and charming period details, Mamminga, a contributor to Jack Canfield’s Chicken Soup for the Soul series, recounts her family’s more than 60-year history vacationing on Big Spider Lake in Wisconsin’s Northwoods region. While her story centers on Wake Robin, their 1929 cabin named after a common area wildflower, much of Mamminga’s story draws on the swirl of activity at Moody’s Camp, a popular resort opened in 1922. Short chapters and black and white photographs provide glimpses of Moody’s founders and subsequent owners and how, through a love of people and generous spirit, they gathered camp guests, employees, fishing guides (the lake’s “Houdinis”), private cabin owners, and townspeople for weekly feasts, square dances, fishing expeditions, picnics, and other adventures. Weaving potent symbols (e.g., a clock with no hands in the lodge dining room) and traditions (preparing a family of five children for the 450-mile drive from Illinois cornfields to Wisconsin forests; bringing future spouses to the lake) into a world view and way of life, she persuasively argues for the restorative benefits of letting time stand still, if only for a few months of the year. While her reports of the inevitable changes brought by modernity and the closing of the camp are disheartening, Mamminga leaves a hopeful message that even in our consumer-driven electronic age, Wake Robin’s old-fashioned routines continue to bring joy to a fifth generation. (May)
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