My Friend Lucy and Cottage Country

Her family owned an island in Canada. Woodmere Island is right off of Tobin’s island on Lake Rosseau in the Muskoka lakes. It is close to Port Carling. The island itself had been passed down through a few generations. Alas, it is no long in the family.

lucy_hauserman.jpgOne of the cool things about Facebook is coming across old friends. Recently I stumbled into Mary Lucy Hauserman. I met Lucy nearly 30 years ago in Philadelphia. I was a disk jockey back then.

Lucy was a teenager who wanted to get into radio. She made herself well known in the business and stuck with it. She is the production manager for a large cluster of stations in Philadelphia.

By the summer of ’81 I was in Buffalo. These were pre-email and cheap long distance days, but Lucy and I kept in touch.

Her family owned an island in Canada–Woodmere Island. Lucy tells me it’s right off of Tobin’s island on Lake Rosseau in the Muskoka lakes. It is close to Port Carling. That’s a nice way of saying it’s way out in the boonies.

The island itself had been passed down through a few generations. It is no longer in the family.

This area of Ontario north of Toronto is often referred to as “cottage country.” It’s quite a drive from Buffalo, but doable.

When invited to spend the weekend on Woodmere Island I jumped at the chance. Lucy’s entire family was going to be there and I was looking forward to meeting them. Who knew there would be blogs by now–no notes. There are some parts of the weekend I still remember vividly.

Going to Canada from Buffalo wasn’t out-of-the-ordinary. Canada was where you went for Chinese food! I drove along for a few hours then stopped for a bite. I ordered a sandwich and Coke, handed the clerk a US $20 and received $22 Canadian in change! What a country.

By the time I arrived at the lakefront it was well after dark. The Hauserman’s were already there and settled in. The night was mild and calm. An beautiful classic wooden boat–I think mahogany–was waiting at the dock. I got on and Lucy gunned it!

I’ll let her pick up the story.

“I remember you screaming STOP we’re gonna hit Rocks or an otter or something! But you knew I knew the islands silhouettes like the back of my hand….I knew where all the buoy were too! So Funny!”

The island itself was beautiful. It was pristine and rustic. There were a few buildings as I remember. Nothing was fancy but everything was substantial. The lake water was very cold. Too cold for me.

I was only there once. Lucy was there every summer.

“I loved our lodge with the big tables and the wonderful fireplace. the boathouse , the beach, the cabins, the walkways with the hand made lights. Water skiing off the dock, hanging out with my family, the sound the water made when it lapped against the dock, the smell of the pine needles in the sun as you rounded the path towards the boathouse….It was incredibly special to me.”

I remember Lucy’s folks being very nice to me. I immediately felt I was part of the family.

On Saturday Lucy’s mom told me of the family’s plans for Sunday church. She said I could sleep in, but I asked if I could come along?

Sunday morning we all piled into the beautiful wooden boat and went to church. Though I am Jewish I found the whole experience as warm as it was foreign to me. Not to play down the religious aspect, but all I could see was how sweet this family was.

“That little church was so amazing on top of the rocky hill….and our antique boats that took us everywhere! What in incredible gift ! I am so happy to have shared it with you, for there are not many that I can speak to… that can understand the incredibleness of Muskoka and Woodmere Island.

I am very lucky to have a friend like Lucy. Don’t think I don’t know it.