They had some snapshots blown up to approximately 34-by-18 inches. There are six of them taken at various times in my life. I have since plastered them on my bedroom wall.
My favorite is a group picture of my siblings and cousins, 11 of us in all, which was taken at Higgins Lake when I was about 5 or 6. That means it was taken in about 1940. It’s my favorite because it was taken at the happiest time of my life.
During the period from about 1940 until 1946, my father took his vacation at the same time as his three brothers, always at Higgins Lake.
In 1945, life in the United States was of the highest quality that if ever has been. The war was over, soldiers were coming home, everyone had a good job and, most of all, the population was rather sparsely distributed.
Higgins Lake was sparsely occupied and there was plenty of wild shoreline. There were practically no speedboats on the lake because people simply didn’t own them.
The lake was pristine and clear. One could see fish on the bottom in 20 or more feet of water.
I remember going fishing with my uncle on what we called The Cut, which is a trout stream between Houghton and Higgins lakes where one of them empties into the other. I don’t remember catching any fish, but I was impressed with the beauty of the stream itself. I was only about 11 or 12, but I was awestruck by the pristine quality of the stream itself.
I remember the drive up there from Saginaw. It was before expressways, of course, and we would meet a car every 10 minutes or so.
My dad stopped going to Higgins Lake in about 1946. I haven’t been back there since. I don’t think I want to go back for I’m sure it is nothing like I remember and I don’t want to see the changes.
I’m sure that the citizens of Higgins Lake are proud of their current community, but I don’t care to see the changes make in the 60 or more years since I have been there.
I read about people conducting campaigns to remove beer cans from various rivers and streams lately. I don’t think I would want to see what The Cut looks like now.
The same thing is happening here. The population is growing too fast. My wife will not travel on Beacon Boulevard except early on Sunday morning.
I avoid it, too, and take Ferry Street or Sheldon Road instead of Beacon. I’m not alone. Many of the locals take those streets when traveling north or south for various errands because Beacon is just too darn hectic.
It’s going to get much worse. The local politicians want to keep their boulevard, and it is nice and pretty, but I’m afraid they are going to lose their fight to keep it because the traffic is just going to be overwhelming. The bypass is going to do little to alleviate the situation.
I read in one of the e-magazines that the current generation of young adults (i.e., the children of the baby boomers) will not have as plush a life as their parents on the average. I hate to think what sort of life is in store for the current batch of infants.
I’m glad that I’m going to check out relatively soon because I don’t want to see what sort of life it will be in 50 or more years. Maybe something will be done about the traffic, but I doubt it and I don’t want to see it.
The problem isn’t only with traffic. California and the Southwest is having trouble finding enough water and no solution is apparent. This is going to affect the entire population since many of our foods are grown in California.
Saginaw, where I grew up, has also changed dramatically in the past 65 years — and not for the better, in my estimation. The old orchard where we used to play and build “forts” is now a massive church, the golf course where I learned to play bad golf is now a shopping center, and the woods where we used to hunt frogs is now obliterated and replaced with houses. Grabner’s dairy farm is now a Holiday Inn and a subdivision.
Ferrysburg, where I now live, is much like Saginaw was when I was a boy. I love it, but I hate to see what it will look like 65 years from now, and I’m glad that I certainly won’t.
I agree with Thomas Wolfe, who wrote “You Can’t Go Home Again.”
— By Ralph Wiltse, Tribune community columnist