Conversation at the Icehouse

On one of my boys club trips up to our family farm we encountered some relatives previously unknown to us on my grandmother’s side of the family. Francis (seated in chair) was my grandmother’s sister. Aunt Barb is seated on the beach in glasses before the Icehouse. I am seated by the tree and between Aunt Barb and myself was one of the boys from my club by the name of Steve Jones.

On this trip I met Corrie and the initial meeting came at Seaman Lake where we were staying at the time. She and her sister and brother mingled with the kids from my boys club during our stay there and then met again at the family farm for some good conversation.

The Icehouse, by the way, housed a large refrigeration unit to keep large volumes of meat cold and to house other items that needed that touch. It was nteresting to meet members of my grandmother’s family at this time

The Baugh’s and Irons Union Church

I personally can’t say much about the Irons Union Church since I’ve never been there. I’ve only “seen” it through the eyes of my Aunt Barbara who attended services there every summer they came to the farm each year. Along with my Uncle Willie I don’t think they ever missed a week.

However, now that Big Bass Lake itself has a church (Faith Fellowship Church) I often wonder if that would have been where they would have gone had it been up at that time?  Irons was not all that far away but the latter church was just around the corner from the old Big Bass Lake store just over a mile from our driveway. 

I do know that my Uncle Willie Baugh enjoyed the sermons of the Irons Union Church greatly and my Aunt Barb enjoyed the fellowship.  When I became a Christian in the 1980’s. I preferred the church that actor Lorne Greene once sang about.  “Oh the church where I worship is the wide open spaces, built by the hand of the Lord”!  My cathedral became our family forest where His greenery became decoration of his exterior church and where His voice spoke to me ever so plainly through His word.

Noreika farmland

On the left is my grandparents farm. The road in between the two properties is big bass Lake Road. My family always called our property the farm. That is somewhat deceptive. Our property consisted of 90 acres of farmland and 180 acres of forest. In the early days my Grandparents had cows, Horses, chickens, pigs, and a rooster. My grandmother had a large garden and my grandfather had Wheat, Barley, and corn as the primary crops. Nearly everything my grandparents are came from the farm.

Party Line

in the 1950s my grandmother’s house had a telephone with a party line. I had never heard of that before but when I picked up the phone once I heard two ladies talking on it together. I started to speak because I was only 10 at that time. And one lady bawled me out for interrupting their conversation. The other said isn’t he sweet to which the First Lady said no. 2 years later my grandmother got a real phone at least what I would say about it. I don’t know how people in that era could stand party phones. What if there was an emergency? Have any of you had experiences with party lines?

Trip to the Upper Peninsula

This is a waterfall near Paradise Michigan in the upper peninsula.

A different angle of the same waterfall. My mother took me and my three sisters up here one summer when we were at our property. I actually met Mickey Mantle’s grandmother when we were at this waterfall.

We then visited the Mystery Spot near Saint Ignace Michigan and gravity seems to go wild here.

But the highlight of the trip for me and my three sisters was the restaurant we ate at.

These outnumber even McDonald’s in the upper peninsula. It was great Pasty but not as good as my grandmother makes.

Pasty is a combination of meat pie with a very thick crust and well salted. I could live on these. All in all a great trip.


When I was growing up, as a lad of eight years old, my older sister and I had sort of adopted a backyard squirrel that we called Frisky for lack of a better name. He was overly friendly and would even eat right out of our hands. My mother drew the line when we both asked if it could come indoors in bad weather citing that they carried the rabies virus.

For nearly two months, Frisky would each day come right up our back stairs to get fed. Once, after a bad thunderstorm the night before, we found a dead squirrel in our backyard. It had to be Frisky because he never again mounted our backstairs in order to get fed.

My sister named him Frisky for how he frolicked throughout our backyard. He had ever so much energy to him. We both buried him in our backyard that afternoon and even my dad attended the funeral. I suppose you could call Frisky our first pet of any sort.

A few days later, our parents presented us with our first real pet, a cocker spaniel by the name of Waggles to help us overcome our loss. Yet Frisky was missed nevertheless.

Morning Has Broken on Big Bass Lake

Morning was always my favorite time of day at Big Bass Lake when I as growing up.  I would awaken to the aroma of breakfast being prepared by my grandmother and whatever she made always seemed better than anything else that I had ever tasted.  Her breakfast circular table was always adorned with butter and preserves like strawberry or cherry jam.  Home made bread was just fresh out of the oven and my stomach was beginning to growl.

Fresh eggs right from the chicken were frying in the pan and slabs of bacon in another.  She always had an assortment of store purchased cereals but Sugar Crisp seemed to be there every day.  Yet I also remember her preparing Cream of Wheat and Ralston Wheat Cereal hat tasted ever so good. 

I made myself ready by washing up at the pump just outside the cabin with its ice-cold water bracing my face.  I usually then ran down to Big Bass Lake to work up an appetite by skipping stones on the water in the slight morning fog.  Then came my grandmother’s call beckoning me to breakfast.  What a way to start the day at Big Bass Lake!

My Dad and My Sister Susie Plus Bobby

The infant you see here is my sister Treva’s (not in photograph) son, Bobby, who is now a band director for the Columbus, Indiana, school system. He also now serves as our family historian for the Noreika/Norris family and his efforts are on display on the Noreika/Norris Family Page at the bottom of this website. Even as an infant I can see in Bobby’s eyes how he planed to orchstrate that page.

Also shown here is my father, Adam, at a time quite close to his death in 1974.  The third member in this picture is my sister, Susie, who has presently divorced herself from the rest of the family.  In fact, that actually happened soon after my father’s passing. 

Susie is in email contact with my sister Kathy every six months or so and in letter contact with my older sister Treva.  She now has a grown son, Nick, and lives in Alabama on the Gulf Coast.  She is trying to pubish childrens books.

I can almost see the gleam in Bobby’s eyes as he gears himself up for the study of Noreika/Norris geneology.  He has also gone into my mother’s side of the family (McCarthy) which we never knew for once she left the Catholic faith they disowned her and did not even attend my mother’s funeral, though invted, back in 1990. 

Thanks, Baby Bobby, for inspiring me into an even deeper study of my family roots!

Concussions and Bike Crash

My nephew Bobby is the family historian and has created the page Noreika/Norris Family History. This was his latest foray into my past way back in 1956 yet I remember it well. My neighbor Terry Farrell and I collided head on in a bike crash. As a result both of us had a concussion.

In those days doctors thought it best to have us awakened each and every hour of the night and take 7-Up with soda crackers followed by a short walk.  Each of our parents did this and then we were rechecked the next day and given the green light by our respective doctors. 

No helmets were worn in those days and as I recall we had laid unconscious there for about a half-hour before anyone assisted us.  It would seem that no one had wanted to get involved.  Finally a good Samaritan came on the scene and the rest is history.

Memories of Our Land and Big Bass Lake

Well, we’ve written over 2,700 posts over the past ten years but there is still some powder left in our shooting irons for a few more years. Sometime this summer Mike and Darlene will be moving back to Michigan as they are house hunting presently. I’m sure Darlene will be heading for Lake Michigan for some brand new photography.

My grandparents purchased our family farm and forest in 1914 and it was sold by my Aunt Beth in 2002. Most of my memories come from the years 1950-1996. In that time many Boys Clubs of America trips were held there and even a few Marion YMCA trips. I utilized our wooded beachfront and entire forest for the kids. In all our property was 256 acres. And, I made full use of the Haunted Island on each trip with midnight excursions there.

I have vague memories of my grandfather but many great ones of my grandmother, Barbara Noreika. I remember cows being there one summer and chickens for the majority of the 1950’s. Prior to that pigs and horses were also kept on the farm.

All those stories can be found here on Big Bass Lake and Beyond with much, much more. This is truly the only websites on the internet that covers Big Bass Lake so completely as well as the surrounding area. I’ve added some new material and we’re still getting pictures from the area. A new reader in Wellston send us a video which we published a few days ago. So new material is being mixed in with old. New readers haven’t seen the old posts so I’m recycling them along with new material. Just Google up Big Bass Lake and Beyond and start reading.

Na-Tah-Ka Tavern- The Original

I remember that the Na-Tah-Ka Tavern was the first thing you passed on the way to the Big Bass Lake Store and often a stopping off point for my father. He didn’t stay long but he said that he had his kind of Squirt, that being my favorite refreshment in those younger days. Even on times we would row over to the store from our property he would stop in the tavern for a drink. It was almost like his ritual.

I once went in with him and immediately noticed how dark it was. I guess they were saving on the light bill. Right! It was a neat looking building and far superior to the present edition of this facility. It looked like a tavern.  Plus it faced Big Bass Lake for a more excellent view as if anyone cared.

The Weeds of Big Bass Lake

I was ever so fortunate that in all my trips to our property at Big Bass Lake that we never had a major incident that happened to any of the boys from various Boys Clubs of America or YMCA’s. One time one of the boys got his finger snagged with a hook and another time one of the boys caught a slight cold but that was it. Yet one of the many dangers that lurk on camping trips revolve around the water. And at Big Bass Lake that included the weeds.

Before any of the boys went swimming, I took them on a tour of the area they would be swimming in by rowboat and showed them at about what depth the weeds began to appear in the lake off our beach.  They began in about seven feet of water so the limit the boys could swim in was at about six feet of water. 

I informed them that my dad once told me how he got caught in the weeds as they wrapped around his foot.  Most people would cave into panic at that time but my dad grew up there and remembered what his father had told him.  He dove underwater, holding his breath, and removed the weeds from his feet.  But that was enough of a story to keep the boys in six feet of water. 

Instead, most of the boys kept it at about five feet.  They opted to swim along the shoreline to our other sandy beach at the Pointe some fifty yards away.  Plus they overturned our rowboat to dive off of and played ball games in shallow water.  Thus we never had a water incident on any of our trips to the lake.  Safety first!

The Angel Wings of Jennifer Boblitt


Over the last several years I have been afflicted with edema which has made travel difficult to say the least. Through Medicare I was introduced to a young lady who was an expert in compression wrapping and Jennifer treated each of my legs over the past several months.

Her dedication to duty has resulted in my legs being reduced nearly 50% in size. Now my legs must be maintained at that level through future wrappings.

I wanted to take the time to thank Jennifer for her compassion over these months and her skill in getting my legs back to almost normality again. The term angel wings describes her arms and hands with which she wrapped me three times a week for about three months. Thank you Jennifer. You are one precious soul!