Growing up on Lake Erie
I had the great fortune to be raised in a 1920’s lakefront cottage in Sandusky, Ohio by a father and mother who met and fell in love on the shores of Lake Erie. When I was 3 months old, my parents bought their first house together on the Cedar Point Chaussee, a 3 mile road bordered on the north by Lake Erie, the south by Sandusky Bay, the west by Cedar Point amusement park and the east by Sheldon's Folly. As a child, I felt that our home on Lake Erie was one of the most unique and beautiful spots on earth. I still feel that way.
We walked out our front door and crossed Cedar Point Chaussee to dive in the lake. Exiting the back door, we crossed our backyard, dangled our legs over a seawall, and fished with bamboo poles and red and white bobbers in Sandusky Bay. When the bobber disappeared under the water, we were thrilled to know a fish was on our line.
Our house on Cedar Point Chaussee was built as a large summer getaway in 1921 although we lived there year-round. The 6 bedroom, 12-room cottage had 64 windows that my mother complained about every spring when she single-handedly washed them. A cool breeze always blew through our house from either Lake Erie or Sandusky Bay during the summer. In winter, those same Northeast or Southwest winds meant our house never got warm despite the huge furnace cranking out heat in the basement. Despite sometimes brutal winters, the big, old house was the perfect choice for parents who loved the water and for my southern mother who lived to entertain. For my 2 sisters, my brother and me, it was an idyllic place to grow up, surrounded by our large, extended family and friends.
In winter, our home on Lake Erie and Sandusky Bay provided us hours of entertainment; ice skating until our toes were numb with cold. We spent long, summer days floating on giant inner tubes in the lake, sailing on Sandusky Bay or streched in the sand along Cedar Point beach baking our oil-soaked skin. Those were the days when having toasted skin was considered attractive, not a recipe for skin cancer.
During summer, we seldom wanted to do anything other than hang out at the beach. Occasionally my parents drove us a mile and a half down the road to Cedar Point amusement park where we each got to choose one ride to go on. At the time, there was no entry fee and tickets to ride were 25 cents. We’d head home, our fingers and lips sticky from the cotton candy, candy apple or snow cone my dad bought us as a bribe to leave the park. At age 15, my first job was working at “The Point”. Cedar Point amusement park provided me with my summer jobs from then on each summer until I graduated from college.
Even as a child, I understood and felt grateful for the wisdom of my parents’ choice to purchase that particular house on that particular lot situated between Sandusky Bay and Lake Erie. They taught me early on the importance of “location, location, location” providing a place to live filled with abundant, natural beauty and endless oportunities to make memories.
They lived happily on Cedar Point Road for 34 years and reluctantly sold their home and relocated to Florida once my dad could no longer maneuver all the stairs of our house or handle the harsh, Northern Ohio winters. By that time, my brother, one sister and I all lived in Southern California and my other sister lived in Virginia. It took 20 years living on the West Coast for me to appreciate how much the North Coast of Ohio had to offer. I returned to Ohio and my deep roots along Lake Erie in late 1999.
The house at Cedar Point that my parents purchased in 1954 for $25,000 sold for many times that amount 30 years later. They sold it to a young couple who also raised their four children there. My parents felt good about "passing the torch" to a new family who would enjoy living on the lake as much as we did.
If you'd like to learn more about living along Lake Erie, please visit my website.
Copyright© 2011 Ann Steinemann