Part Seven of how the Last Resort came to be! Scroll down to read Parts One through Six!
The best part of running a resort is that the people that come are in a good mood and are ready to have a nice vacation. We have become friends with so many of our guests that we consider that one of the blessings of our business. One of the longest continuous guest families is the Leonard Yost family. Leonard was here in 1982 and every year since. Leonard is now 92 years old and still makes his annual trek to the resort. We know when Leonard is in because he hangs his traditional “Fisherman person” from the pine tree in front of his Cottage 6.
My daughter Jennifer decided to stay with me in Wisconsin, so I enrolled her in the Eagle River Elementary School in town. Her 4th grade teacher was Mrs. Helen Albert, a long time educator in Eagle River. She was known as Sergeant Albert as she ran a tight ship in the classroom. Mrs. Albert knew I flew for the airlines, so she asked me to come in and do a presentation for the class. I was honored, so I made a date to come to her class in uniform and tell the children about aviation. The kids were a great audience, and we all had a good time. In later years, I got a call from Jake Alward, the owner of The Chanticleer Inn on Voyager Lake. He told me that his son had decided on a career in aviation and said that I was the one that planted the seed in 4th grade. I later met with his son, and he had completed his training and was hiring on with an airline. Another long term benefit of that day is a longtime friendship with Mrs. Albert. We are now neighbors, and she is Auntie Helen to all my children. Doesn’t get much better than that.
By this time, I had 4 cottages up and running and thought I would spruce the tables up a bit for my customers. I went out in the fields, picked wild Daisies, and put them in small glass vases on the kitchen table. After a few weeks, I finally had a customer tell me they smell like poop. Yep, she was right. That ended my wild flower presentation. From then on it was Bonson’s for flowers. New carpeting, paint, paneling, ceiling tiles, roof shingles, bathrooms were installed as funds permitted. Swim raft, new row boats, oars, life preservers, docks and the list goes on.
As winter approached, I asked around about how to prepare the resort for winter. The locals were helpful and advised me to drain the water from all the pipes, drain toilets, sinks, etc. and pour anti-freeze in the traps. It was another educational time for me, and I plodded along doing what I thought was a good job. NOT! When I came back in the spring one toilet had split in half and 3 cottages had broken pipes in the walls and underneath. Again tuition paid.
To be continued……………………