“Your” Memories of Big Bass Lake- Part Five

Well, my first day at BBL was when I was 2 days old, according to my mom. I am now 14, and have been up to the lake almost every weekend, my whole life! My grandpa, Burton Jones, owned the Homestead Resort, and the lake has been home to my family since forever. I love coming to the lake from the city every week and seeing everybody. I’ll never forget all my time I have spent with my mom and aunts swimming and boating on the lake. Century rides are always a treat, and of course, the best! (: And all the fun time spent at Baldiga’s cabin, with all the “toys”. BBL, is and will always be home for me.  Taylor Jones

I have been coming to BigBassLakesince I was born also. That was 1946! My mom and her family moved to this area in the early 1900′s. My grandparents were Herschel and Gertrude Stephens. They lived on several different lakes in the area, and finally settled into the Barr house on LoonLake. It was a boarding house back then and my grandparents ran it. It was located where the trailer park is now on LoonLake. My grandpa acted as a fishing guide and grandma was the cook and cleaning lady. My mom, Naomi, attended BassLakeSchoolwith Otto Bartlett, Clyde Waite, Frank Bemish and Mandy Evans. At the age of 12, she actually substitute taught school for Mable Barr who was the teacher back then. The Stephens family eventually moved to LakeOdessawhere after graduating WesternMichiganNormal school, she started teaching in a rural country school where she met my dad, Wilbur Neeb. When she and my dad married in 1931, my grandparents brought them to BBL for a Sunday picnic. My dad, an avid fisherman, fell in love with BBL and vowed to one day have a home here.
For many years we stayed at the Buesinger’s little log cottage with the screened front porch, at the far north end of BBL. It is now painted dark brown. The white cottage to the left of it was the home of Mr. & Mrs. Buesinger. When we stayed there it still had an ice box rather than a refrigerator! That place had the best beach and clean water for swimming. The Buesingers were wonderful people that made me feel like one of their own grandchildren. We had some really great fish fries for supper with huge bluegills my dad caught on BBL. He would row all over the lake all the way to Otto’s store and back. I don’t even remember speed boats back in those days on this lake.
Some weekends we would rent the lot next door to Otto’s store and either stay in a tent or just sleep in the car. We would also rent a boat from Otto. In those days I would save my small allowance and buy a movie magazine and possibly a small ceramic nic nac or a picture post card from Otto, Ruth, Dixie or Bruce. They were all so nice and friendly. Dixie Bartlett was my idea of a perfect, beautiful woman. When Clyde Waite started developing the “Isle o’ the Wilds” my mom and dad bought a lot from him and hired him to build a home on the lot after they cleared the land. It was completed in 1954 and it is now my husband’s and my retirement home. We do spend our winters in Florida, but Big Bass Lake is always in our hearts and we continue spending our summers here. It is the best place in the world and the only thing that would make it better is to have the public launch site close and the camp re-open! A new Fun Spot would be most welcome also. That’s where I learned to bowl and Loon Lake Roller Pavilion is where I tried but never learned to roller skate. Also remember attending the Hunter’s Ball there a few times.
Luke’s Corner Store was another wonderland of enchantment. You could always find anything and everything you could possibly need at that store. They even had a paperback lending library for a time.
John Wilson’s Bass Lake Store was great because of those awesome cinnamon rolls and the hand-dipped ice cream cones which John hated to dip. My husband Jim always planned his ice cream cone purchase to time with when John was in the store by himself and had to dip the cone! So many wonderful memories!  Patricia McArthur


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