My connection to Clark Lake began in the summer of 1962. I was raised on a farm in Lenawee County and the family business of dairy and beef cattle required a vast amount of hay to keep the creatures content during the winter. Putting up hay in the hot July and August weather was made tolerable because my co-workers and I knew that following work, we would jump in the ’51 Ford pickup, head to the lake and get delayed relief from the sauna of a haymow. Normally, we would go to either the Wamplers or Vineyard lake parks, but for some reason, one night we decided that the Clark Lake County Park should be sampled. This was the era before zebra mussels and sewer systems and the first thing I noticed was the water clarity and atmosphere of the park. I made a mental note that someday I would live on this lake!
Fast forward six years to the summer of 1968 when I met my wife to be, Jackie King who lived, coincidentally, on Clark Lake year round. The stars were aligning. I had found my life partner and access to Clark Lake! Only one problem remained after our marriage in 1971; how to get permanent access to Clark Lake, as I was really starting to bug her father by showing up at the lake unannounced. In 1973, an opportunity to purchase a “vintage” lakefront home built in 1902 presented itself. The only dilemma was how to finance the $20,000 asking price. The price seems so absurd today, but at the time a newly married couple with a baby had pretty much maxed the budget. Again the stars lined up and we got the mortgage, ate a lot of hot dogs and Ramen noodles and managed to buy the property.
This year we celebrate our fortieth year at the Oakwood Avenue address and enjoy six grandchildren ranging in age from three to twenty-one. Memories are being cultivated each week in all seasons, as the property has a natural sledding hill which is utilized each winter by our family and the neighbors.
Summertime provides endless screams of delight while our grandkids swim until they resemble walking prunes. Our two restored Chris Crafts (a hobby after my first retirement) provide exciting rides and mellow engine rumbles as we cruise the lake. I have a personal love for this lake and all that it has provided me in countless hours of relaxation and recreation. There are places that you own and there are places where you live. At Clark Lake, we have been able to live life to the fullest.