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Lake Wyola Visit

Lake Wyola - our old family vacation destination

Lake Wyola
View from Kinder's Beach

On the way back from Megan's graduation in June of 2004, Mother and I decided to stop by Lake Wyola in Shutsbury, Massachusetts. The Lake, as we called it, was a vacation place that my Mom in the 1930's, and my brothers in the 1960's, visited almost every summer. My grandfather, Harmon, purchased a small summer cottage on Lake Wyola in the early 1930's. He named it, Jescamarwin after his four daughters; Jessie, Catherine, Martha and Winnie. Together with Aunt Tanta, my grandmother Marie's sister, they spent many fun filled weeks during the summer and winter at Lake Wyola in the 1930's and early 1940's.

Kinders Beach
Kinder's Beach from the road
Stone Cottage
The Stone Cottage - "Hello Bill!" adorns the chimney
Camp Anderson or Lake Wyola Chapel

My Mom remembers riding with her Dad and sisters to Lake Wyola on Sunday December 7th, 1941. Servicemen were everywhere along the route and army vehicles were a common sight. Only later did she learn the fateful news from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

The Kinder's lived next door to our cottage at the Lake. We often used their beach across the narrow, one lane street. My older brothers swam out to the wooden float that sat about 50 feet from the shore. I did not know how to swim so I busied myself by playing in the sand with my little brother Terry and building a tree house in back of our cottage. Sometimes I would walk along the concrete wall to the dam and then sit and watch the Sun fish swim in the shallow and warm lake water.

The float off Kinder's beach

Our cottage was built into the side of a hill and had two floors. It was always cool, even in the summertime. Our porch was open and made of concrete poured over water rounded, smooth granite boulders. Stone slabs served for steps and rough red cedar logs acted as pillars to hold the roof above. A small overhang that you could park a car under, stood to the left of the porch. A stone wall faced the overhang and chipmunks were often seen scampering over the grey granite rocks. At the end of the overhang, against the cottage side and cut into the hillside, was a old flush toilet and cold water shower inside a small room.

The Kinders were our neighbors

Kinders Cottage
Kinder's Cottage

TThe first floor of our cottage was occupied by a small kitchen on the left and a large living room on the right with a staircase in between. The kitchen had a heavy, oak round table, that easily accommodated our large family. A small, white enamel sink, Frigidaire refrigerator and shelves for the dishes were against the left wall. The walls were painted aqua green with a white ceiling and trim. They brightened the entire kitchen.

The living room had a few small windows but they were shaded by the dense pine trees outside. At the far end of the living room was a large stone fireplace and mantle with a small, cast iron wood stove, set in front of the hearth. A Tiffany style lamp with a multi-colored glass shade sat against one wall next to an old sofa. An old Victrola record player stood next to the front door. The Victrola had a chromed crank on one side that turned a flywheel inside so records would spin on the platter. A heavy, curved arm, held a single steel needle that fit into the groove of 78 rpm records. The sound came from a large horn. This unit used no electricity or speakers. Inside the polished wood cabinet were several sets of old 78 rpm records still in their original wrappers.

Mother by Lake Wyola

Upstairs the bedroom over the living room was big and bright. A double bed rested against the back wall next to a heavy wood door that opened to a sandy and grassy hill. Against the right wall was a double dresser and cedar closet. Above it hung a framed poster that said "Red sky at night, sailor's delight. Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning". In the front of the master bedroom was another double bed and against the left wall, a small single bed with a curved iron frame that I slept in.

The bedroom above the kitchen was smaller and only had one bed and a dresser in it. Both bedrooms had large windows that the bright sun poured through. They were pleasant rooms even on cloudy or rainy days. All the rooms in our hillside cottage had a pleasant, cool odor scented with pine needles and dried oak leaves.

Churches by Lake Wyola

Moores Corner Church
Moore's Corner Church - it was moved up the hill
Shutsbury Church
The Shutsbury Community Church
School House
Moore's Corner School House

Just down the road from our cottage was a small spring. We often filled one gallon jugs with the cold, clear and delicious water that flowed into a small, deep hole in the yellow sand. A little further down the road was a place called Moore's corner. A church, general store and school sat there; a wide spot along the road where a nearby river flowed past. My brother Ronnie would often walk the few miles to Moore's corner and pick up a newspaper. I always looked forward to Ronnie returning with the Sunday paper which contained lots of colored comics. I tried walking to Moore's corner once but it was too far. My brother Billy in his gold Chevrolet Impala eventually came and picked me up.

Moores Corner
Moore's Corner Cottage - used to be a general store
Water Skiing
Water skiing on Lake Wyola
Our old cottage - remodeled beyond recognition

Lake Wyola was a wonderful place for summer and winter vacations. Our family shared many pleasant times together at the cottage. My Mom must have found special pleasure in providing her children with some of the same warm memories she shared with her sisters, Mom and Dad when she was a child.

Interstate 91 brought progress to Shutsbury in the 1970's. The University of Massachusetts built a campus at Amherst and people flocked to the area. Vacation cottages were winterized and new homes were built. Our cottage was sold a few times and remodeled extensively. One of the Kinder's children currently lives in the cottage next door that his Mom and Dad owned. The beach is still the same, as are many of the churches and homes around Lake Wyola. Hopefully more families and children are creating pleasant memories that will nourish them for a lifetime.

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