Two Islands in View


This view was often taken in upon leaving the Big Bass Lake Store dock en route to the bridge to the Big Island. Always in view here was Grandma’s Hat Island which, over the years, has had her share of rename’s. How does Tiny im fit you? Or Loon Island?

Then again, The Big Island was first known as Waite Island when it was truly an island.  Prior to 1954 it too was separated from the mainland.  But Clyde Waite had a vision for his island having other people live on it and so a bridge was constructed in 1954. 

As the boys from the Hoffman Estates Boys Club rowed beneath the Waite Bridge, I gave them what history I knew of that island.  Over the span of years each of the five islands on Big Bass Lake have probably been called a number of things.  Each generation in turn provides them with new labels to run with. 

Grandma’s Hat, though, had that familiar pflume look to it with how her trees were arranged.  Now, there are largely bushes there but would tat not give it a Presidential look?

1 Room School House


my father attended a one-room schoolhouse at Big Bass Lake which is now the Sauble Township Hall. Can you imagine all grades having school together in one room? The Martin Johnson heritage Museum in Skinner Park, irons, Michigan has just that thing. This is what a one-room schoolhouse looks like. My father and the other boys had to chop wood before school to keep the classroom warm. I would think this type of educational system would be very difficult on the teacher. That would take an exceptional person to get the job done correctly. If you’re ever in irons check out this Museum as it also has information I’m Camp Martin Johnson as well as Martin Johnson paintings.

Na-Tah-Ka Row


Na-Tah-Ka Row includes the tavern, gas station, and Country Store. But the tavern/grill is what many travel so many miles for. One customer was overheard to say, “I’ve had Pollack at many local restaurants, but this Pollack is crazy good!..huge fillets…light crispy breading……wonderful wonderful!” I wonder if he was related to Lawrence Welk?

Here’s another customer review:   “Na-Tah-Ka overlooks Loon Lake and is known for wonderful food at great prices. It’s a real laid back, family friendly, casual environment where you can come to dine. You need to go early on Thursday nights to get their fish and chicken specials. Their potato salad, burgers, and fried mushrooms are worth driving the distance for too. It doesn’t take long to find a line out the door waiting for tables. Music is occasionally provided by a local older gal playing honky-tonk songs on the piano. You can even play a game of pool while you wait… What a fun time for all…”

All that good food and honky-tonk music too!  What could be better?

Aerial Farm Field


Just to the right of Big Bass Lake Road and running all the way to Noreika Road was our family farm field. When I think of all the land that my grandfather, Joseph Noreika, had to clear it boggles the imagination. From the end of the farming field at Noreika Road to where the old cabin once stood is at least a good half mile. In those days I wonder how many crops he operated?

As a boy I once envisioned a major league ballpark where the immediate field stood. Just across our gravel driveway was a field with the exact proportions for a major league park. It was at this location where the field opened up with a vastness all the way to the tree lined shore of Big Bass Lake including a one time orchard.  That ball field, though, would never become a reality as our singular tree in the middle of that field would have had to be replaced and its uniqueness would not make that possible. 

The only crops I remember were our expansive garden which seemed to have changed locations over the years which would be a form of crop rotation I suppose. At one time it was on the other side of our gravel driveway alongside the chicken coop and then again it was along the gravel road on the side closest to the lake. Finally it seemed to have established itself just outside the new cottage.

At any rate that is one large tract of farm land.