Then again, maybe there are some secrets in Torch Lake Township

Posted on November 26, 2009


On Sunday Cora Stoppert and I wandered down to Elk Rapids for brunch at Java Jones and a little window-shopping.  We couldn’t resist going into Harbor Antiques and ended up spending a good hour looking at furniture, china, tin toys, oil paintings, vintage clothing, dolls, mysterious tools, wooden fishing lures, jewelry . . . look!  My mother had one just like that!  Oh my, isn’t that pretty?  Good grief, what do you suppose that is?  We didn’t find anything we couldn’t live without, but I expect Cora may go back for a cunning little cupboard she spotted. 

I was drawn to an old photo album. I was turning its stiff pages—the kind with gilt-trimmed frames—and stopped dead at this one.

“Mom’s friend,” says the label, in handwriting very like my grandmother’s. Well.  That’s interesting. I could make up all kinds of scenarios, couldn’t you? Here’s a photo of Mom, along with Aunt Kate. Pretty, aren’t they?

The same writing says Aunt Kate is Uncle Bert’s wife, and Uncle Bert is Dad’s youngest brother, so these two ladies in big hats are sisters-in-law.  Perhaps they lived in Torch Lake Township and came into Elk Rapids to buy hats.  They might have been Summer People, coming up from Chicago to stay at the Torch Lake Inn back in the 1880s.  I would love to know whether they shared secrets over tea. Perhaps Mom’s friend joined them on occasion. Who knows? I may have to go back for that album. Maybe there’s a picture in there of Dad and Uncle Bert. Maybe there’s a whole story in there, waiting to be told. Maybe not. I have an overactive imagination. I’m very fond of it, too.