Friday, July 24, 2015

Higgins Lake, Michigan

From the late 1950's until the late 1960's my mom, brother, and I spent the summer at our cottage on Higgins Lake. My dad would come up for weekends or a whole week as vacation time permitted. My parents sold the cottage in the late 1970's after living there for several years after my dad retired.

After my camping trip this summer at Michigan's Leelanau State Park I stopped for a couple of days to visit my brother, Dave, and sister-in-law Jan who were staying at Higgins Lake for a week.

We were staying on the opposite side of the lake from our old cottage but we went over there one day for a walk down memory lane. This road runs in front of the cottage along the lake front. It was nearly a daily routine for my brother and I to walk the road to our grandparents cottage about a mile away.

A few trees have been cut down, a garage added and the space next to the large picture window with the chimney is new but this is the cottage that my grandfather built.

Our grandmother, often still in her bathrobe, unless we protested particularly loud,would drive us back home later in the afternoon. She did EVERYTHING in her bathrobe at the lake. The store, the post office, the hardware... and I don't remember thinking it was anything but normal.   She knew EVERYBODY and had to stop and chat.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Leelanau State Park

In the early 1970's I discovered Leelanau State Park north of Travers City, Michigan and at the tip of the Leelanau Penninsula. I LOVED riding my motorcycle for the several hours it took to get there from Lansing to camp for a few days in the state park. As far as I was concerned it was the BEST there was... period.

So on this summer's trip to Michigan I was looking forward to spending a couple of days camping at Leelanau State Park again. I used to camp in lake front campsites where your tent could practically be at the water's edge. But things have changed a bit in the 30 plus years that have passed since the last time I was there.

When I first came to this state park Lake Michigan came up to where I'm standing to take this picture. You can see that the lake has receded a good hundred yards. On the positive side a lot of new riparian bird habitat has been created... but it's sure different than in used to be.

I stayed here for a couple of days to walk the beaches and bike the peninsula before heading south for a stop at Higgins Lake to see my brother Dave and his wife Jan.

Monday, July 20, 2015

My Langins - The Langin Family Reunion - Part I

I spent a big part of the summer traveling back to Michigan from San Diego to attend a family reunion that my mom's side of the family has yearly near Riverdale, Michigan where my mother's father grew up. My grandfather's grandparents, JJ[1844-1904] & Anna[1847-1892] Langin,  came to the area near Riverdale from New Brunswick, Canada in the late 1800's to run a lumber camp.  A  reunion is held yearly at Lumberjack Park outside of Riverdale, about ten miles west of Alma, 60 to 70 people usually attend.  I think the young man in the picture below on the roof to the right and waving his hat is my great grandfather Charles Edwin Langin[1875-1953]. For a long time I thought it was his brother Samuel Jarvis. Then "someone" [who I don't remember] claimed it definitely wasn't Jarvis. So since I have no OTHER photo's that could be Charles Edwin... I'm saying "roof-boy" is him.

JJ & Anna Langin's Michigan lumber camp in the late 1800's on the Pine River.

The day before the reunion a number of us gathered at three different cemeteries near Riverdale to clean the grave stones if ancestors and family friends.

The gravestone we're gathered in front of is for JJ and Anna
Langin who came from Canada to Riverdale in the late 1800's

We only discovered that JJ was buried here recently and at nearly the same time found a copy of his death certificate. Numerous sources seem to indicate that he was really born in 1844 rather than the 1849 as shown on his death certificate and grave stone. We haven't been able to find a vital record for Anna but suspect she was born in 1847 and died about 1892.

The highlight of the reunion for me was the time I was able to spend with Patrick Langin, now in his mid-seventies, talking about the times he had met my great grandfather Charles Edwin who was living in Louisville, Kentucky where he ran a candy store for many years. In the late '40's Patrick traveled from Ft. Wayne, Indiana to Louisville on the train with his grandfather, Samuel Jarvis Langin, who was Charles Edwin's brother. Patrick was a young boy of 9 or 10 and he had very clear memories of his visits with my great grandfather. Patrick said it was the first time he'd ever seen a television in someone's home and visiting his great uncle's candy store was a memorable experience for a young boy.

Get a free PDF copy of  Recipes From the Langin Side . [7 meg PDF file]

Left to right: Joe Leeak, Mike Langin, with father Patrick Langin, & son John Langin.

Another highlight of the reunion for me was being able to play music with cousins Dick Langin, his brother Scott, and their sister Pam Marsh. In the picture below we're getting our music together to play for the group:

Left to right: Dick Langin, his brother Scott Langin, 
& Joe Leeak, getting their music ready.

Reunion picture.

Reunion quilt.
[click on the picture to enlarge]