Fall: A Time for Reflections (November 11, 2021)
Veteran’s Day: I was going to post a quick meme, a Happy Veterans’ Day / Thank You for your service post, but as i scrolled the internet looking for just the right GIPH / Meme I was side-tracked looking at archives in hopes of finding a photo of Grandpa from his military days. Unfortunately I was unable to find what I was looking for.
I did stumble across a digital book deeply detailing the adventures of a U.S. Military Group that was stationed in the Philippines during World War II. The story initially caught my attention because my great-great uncle was mentioned a time or two (Musky Joe’s brother.)
As it happens (with ADHD) my mind wandered down many different paths today. Thoughts of all my relatives and ancestors that have taken part in shaping our great country. How they were each willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good of our society.
Grandma took great pride in being able to trace our family tree all the way back to the days of the Mayflower. I have so many fond memories of sitting at the kitchen table with her, leafing through the book of the family tree, listening to her tell stories of the ones she remembered.
A some-odd great grandpa that fought at George Washington’s side during the Revolutionary War. How Gramma’s Great-Grandfather left his family in the south to fight for the North (brothers against brothers.). Her favorite story to tell was when her uncle’s Clifford and George Brandt went off to fight in World War II. All through the years every detail of the family taking the “boys” to the train depot in town stuck in her mind (she couldn’t have been more than 6 years old at the time!). The look of pure delight as she told the story about how her Grandma and Grandpa received a call because the brothers had to be relocated to a different part of Europe. Apparently as they took their leave and were exploring a local town in Europe, they rounded the corner and ran smack dab into one in another. (Something to do with the laws, brothers weren’t supposed to be in the same vicinity of one another during war time. The risk of a family losing all of their sons in one battle was a big no-no during those times.). I always LOVED the look on Gramma’s face as she told the stories. She truly loved and missed her family from when she was growing up.
I think back to Grandpa’s stories of his time in the Army. His disappointment over being turned down by the Navy (He was blind in one eye.). The Navy had him all set to go, when he was turned away when he couldn’t pass the physical. Not to be deterred, he tried the Army next. I wish I would have dug out the pictures today. The one that sticks in my mind the most was Grandpa with a big field phone and a smile on his face. (Those of you that knew him, KNEW how much he LOVED to talk on the phone!). He often talked of the tasks he did in boot camp, and the adventures of being stationed around the United States. I really feel that his time in the military really shaped who he became in life. His time outside of his little neighborhood in Chicago opened his entire world and mind up.
I think of all the stories of Grandpa’s nephews throughout my childhood. I remember how tense Grandpa was during the Gulf War, worrying about his nephews in the various branches of the Services. Some of my fondest childhood memories were of my cousins coming to visit when they were on leave. Thirty some years later and I still think my big cousin was the coolest thing ever rolling in on his motorcycle ;)
I think of my younger cousins, the time they have served and their willingness to put their lives on the line despite our country being in a political climate that doesn’t necessarily support them. That they are still willing to serve and protect everything it means to be American.
I am proud and grateful for each and everyone of you, and am deeply honored to call you family. Thank you for your service! Happy Veteran’s Day!
Fall: A Time for Reflections (November 9, 2022)
This time of the year often has my mind wandering to the past. Gramma and Grandpa were huge fans of the holidays. They loved the “magic.” Of course, as my mind wanders to holiday seasons past, and how much Gramma delighted in all the decorations and Grandpa looked forward to the holiday feasts, my mind wandered further past and I broke out the old photo albums.
Let me tell you a story about a man from Chicago that had a dream. Great-Grandpa (The Original Musky Joe!) brought his family up to vacation at Big Musky Resort on the Chippewa Flowage wayyyyyyy back in the 1930s! He fell in love with the area and fell in love with Musky Hunting in particular. He vowed one day his family would own a slice of paradise too. His own personal wilderness getaway.
In 1950 his dream became a reality. He had his opportunity and put down his savings on a piece of land near Musky Bay (how fitting as he had made a name for himself with the locals as MUSKY JOE!). Well, Great-Grandpa had a full time job back in Chicago working at the bank, but he also had a 20 year old son, fresh out of the military. He packed up his boy and dropped him off in the great wilderness of northern WI with a hand saw, an old jeep and a few bucks.
Well, that son of his (aka Grandpa aka Nory) was a resourceful, hard-working young man. He knuckled down and went straight to work clearing that land. In the midst of it all, he picked up odd jobs and some steady jobs, working with the local construction groups. His main trade was electrical, and he got to know his way around Hayward quite well.
There was one main lumber company in Hayward at that time, owned by the Bodenschatz family. And wouldn’t you know it, there was a particularly beautiful young lady with a wit to match her looks, working as the accountant for the lumber company. Great-grandpa had set up an account for his son to pick up supplies and such, AND THAT is where the love story of Gramma and Grandpa began.
Follow along with the photo story of a great adventure, from the beginning of our beloved resort and the couple that made it all possible all the way to today.
*** Stay tuned, pictures will be added in batches.
Fall: A Time for Reflections (November 5, 2021)
Why do we do what we do? I won’t lie, being financially stable is a great motivator, but there are many other occupations that would be a lot easier mentally, emotionally, and physically. So why do we do what we do? That answer is simply: the people.
Yesterday, our weekday guest checked out, and I stopped through to do my spot check. As I made my list of what needed to be done, I was greeted by a pleasant surprise. A little gift and kind words. A tear was brought to my eye at the thoughtfulness and the flood of memories of all the change-overs, and guests from the past and present.
Saturday mornings to most kids back in the 80s meant sleeping in and Saturday morning cartoons, but not for us resort kids. Saturday mornings meant waking up early to eat breakfast before the busy day ahead of us for change-overs. We would then head outside to sit on the steps (unless a group had kiddos our age, then we would head down for the hugs and tearful good-byes, promises to write and making plans for next summer.).
As soon as we saw the cars pulling away from the cabins, down the hill we would race (pushing and shoving to be first the whole way). Not all, but almost every guest would leave little special treats for us. A fresh box of name brand sugar-bomb cereal, an extra box of ice cream bars, some candies, and SOMETIMES a pack of bacon and a whole pound of real butter (the 80’s were the Great Recession, to have real bacon and real butter was quite the treat!). Others would bring gifts on the first day for Gramma and Grandpa. Fresh produce from their garden’s, bushels of tomatoes or boxes of apples, some would bring Omaha Steaks and Chicago Cheesecake (Grandpa missed home quite often, and the guests that became close to him over the years would bring a little bit of the old neighborhood to him.)
Don’t get me wrong, the gifts are quite nice, but that’s not quite the point. Everyone that passes through our drive leaves a little piece of themselves behind. They imprint themselves in our hearts and minds for years to come. It brings me great joy knowing that others love our little slice of paradise just as much as we do. This week’s gift was a great reminder to slow down, and embrace what each guest has to offer. Each one comes from a different walk of life, a different region, has different experiences and perspectives. There is so much to gain from taking a minute to chat, and listen to the stories they have to give.
So why do we do what we do? Because it's more than just a job, it's a way of life, a meeting of friends at the end of the road at Musky Joe’s Twin Pines Resort!
Fall: A Time For Reflections (November 4, 2021)
As we put the resort to rest for Summer Season 2021, and prepare for the cold, snowy days of Winter, my mind drifts to all the years past. It’s hard not to feel nostalgic for the falls of my childhood with Gramma and Grandpa. Raking the leaves brings memories of all of us working together, closing up the resort for winter. I have many fond memories of raking with Gramma. (Well, I think I spent more time jumping into her leaf piles than actually raking.). We would get off the bus from school, have a quick cookie, and head out for some raking before dark. Afterwards we would come in for hot cocoa and cartoons, while Gramma cooked dinner, the warmth of the kitchen was so welcome after the cool, crisp fall air. From pulling the docks, to sealing up the cabins for the winter, and so much more, fall always was truly a busy time of the year.
As we finish up our tasks this month, my thoughts drift to the holiday season, my memories are filled with how much Gramma would take great pleasure in sending and receiving greeting cards. Grandpa would put in some time deer hunting and catching up on long, leisure phone calls to all those guests he considered family. In the evenings, over dinner, Grandpa would regal us with all of his tales of current and past guests. His face would light up with laughter over remembered chats and pranks with each and everyone. Stories of great musky catches, or late night talks in the bar, or morning coffee on the cabin porches. His stories were just as much for his own pleasure as ours.
While I sit and start on my mailing list for this year’s holiday season (to those that missed a card last year, I sincerely apologize, shifting to life without Gramma was such a HUGE adjustment), and the dreaded task of organizing all the bookwork, and Mark slaving away each day tucking the summer cabins in for the winter, I sit and drink my coffee and reflect on how it's such a great honor to be able to carry on another generation of traditions.
We have made many changes to keep us relevant with the times. WiFi, Satellite TV, A/C, and of course the never ending list of upgrades and fixes that are just necessary in keeping our beloved cabins functioning. But the one thing that weighs heavily on my mind is to resist complete modernization. Stay the course and keep our little resort a happy little slice of paradise, to maintain a space that feels like “coming home.” The quirky, vintage feel that reminds us all that there is something more to life. A meeting of friends at the end of the road at Musky Joe’s Twin Pines Resort!
Stay tuned for Winter Happenings as Cabins 6 and 7 will go all year long, and start some much needed TLC on Cabins 1 - 5 …
Greetings and Snowy Winter to you all!!!
For those of you that don't know me, I am the older granddaughter of the creators of Musky Joe's Twin Pines Resort. (Cassy Wilkozek) I spent my childhood on the resort learning the business from Grandpa Nory and Grandma Gen. Grandma and Grandpa cleared the land and hand built the resort over 60 years ago.
Musky Joe's Twin Pines Resort
Musky Joe's Twin Pines Resort
9105 N Twin Bay Road
Hayward Wisconsin 54843
Phone: (715) 462-3343
Office Hours: 9:00am to 5:00pm
Services and Accommodations
Quiet and Comfortable
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