WAITING FOR THE MORNING TRAIN

Posted by on May 21, 2012 in Beulah Blog | Comments Off on WAITING FOR THE MORNING TRAIN

Authored by Bruce Catton, 1972

 

An Excerpt from Chapter 3: In the Morning at The Junction

Catton is speaking of his walking trips with friends into Beulah to swim, etc.

A MUST-READ FOR ALL WHO LOVE BEULAH  & APPRECIATE ITS HISTORY

 

 

                                                                                                                   

“Whatever we did in Beulah, we always went to Terp’s place (Terp’s Waterfront Pavilion & Boat Livery built on Beulah Beach in 1900). Anyone who wanted to go fishing could get a boat from Terp, and if he needed bait Terp would sell him a bucket full of minnows. In a shed somewhere Terp had a gasoline tank, to service the summer people who came in by launch.  He also sold cigars and cigarets, and against the wall by the soda fountain there were two slot machines.  They seemed singularly innocent, and it never occurred to the authorities to proceed against them as gambling devices.  In later years, when I read that Chicago gangsters had taken control of the slot machine trade, I found it hard to believe; surely there could not be important money in this business of getting people to risk a few pennies now and then?  I understood at last the ways of the Chicago speakeasies were not at all the ways of Terp’s pavilion.

 

If we were in funds, which was not often the case, we bought ice cream sodas, or pop; if we were not, there was always something to see.  There was steady coming and going out on the dock.  The summer people who had cottages at various places around the lake relied on the launch rather than the automobile to come to town and do their marketing.  The automobile age had not yet reached northern Michigan, and the road that went around the lake was nothing but a track through the sand and an automobile that tried to follow it was almost always certain to get stuck; so the cottager who wanted to go to the grocery or the drug store came down the lake by boat and tied up at Terp’s dock.  Terp himself owned two launches, open boats with canopies overhead, and side curtains that could be let down if it rained.  Anyone who wanted to give a picnic party somewhere on the beach could hire one of these, and Terp had regular twice-a-day schedule to the far end of the lake.  There were more or less regular stops at different cottage colonies along the way, the round trip took about two hours, and as regular commercial carriers operating on fixed schedules these boats were periodically examined by Federal steamboat inspectors, each vehicle had a formal certificate tacked up near the steering wheel, and these were good to look at.  They made the whole business seem important.

 

For all that there was so much coming and going by water, the lake was quiet.  The day of the outboard motor had not yet arrived, and all of the power boats on the lake were displacement hulls, not planing craft; there was no loud whining of high speed engines, and the painful process of evolution had not yet brought forth the water skier.  People went from cottage to town and back by boat because that was the only way to do it, and it was pleasant to go loafing along on that clear lake with the peaceful hills all around it.  Nobody was in a hurry and nobody could go fast if he had been in a hurry. Instead of detracting from the general peace the powerboats somehow emphasized it.”