From the time I was four or five until 10 years ago when Dad died, I spent several weeks every year in the Rhinelander/Eagle River area in northern Wisconsin. There are hundreds of places that bring back memories, and on the first day of our vacation, we visited several of them.
When I was 14, I spent a summer on staff at a camp outside town. Mom and Dad sent me up on a Greyhound bus. The director of the camp promised Dad that he’d pick me up at the bus station. When I arrived in the early afternoon, there was nobody there to greet me. I called the camp, but nobody answered the phone. I wandered around the one-room bus station and on the sidewalk outside for several hours, afraid to wander very far in case somebody showed up. Late in the afternoon, I finally got through to somebody at the camp and, a few hours after that, I finally got picked up. I wasn’t panicked, but being stranded 350 miles from home when I was just a kid wasn’t much fun. The bus station has moved, but the door and sidewalk where I spent a summer afternoon years ago are still there.
Later that summer, during one of the Saturdays between camp sessions, the staff went into town. I think this was the time that the first stop light had just been installed. We rode in an old truck and did the first Chinese fire drill in Rhinelander history. On that same trip to town, I went with several other staff members to see my first ever movie in a theater — Live and Let Die. The theater is still in business.
Seven years after these adventures, Sally and I got married at Mom and Dad’s house. We got our license in the Oneida County Courthouse in downtown Rhinelander. The building was completed in 1910 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. We wandered around inside, but couldn’t identify the room where we’d registered.
The building is most notable for the Tiffany glass dome that is truly amazing.
Across from the theater, I spotted the bakery where we bought our wedding cake. You can read the story here. The name has changed, but it’s still a bakery.
We went in and ordered donuts and pastries, all of which were awesomely delicious. I asked the woman behind the counter to identify some cinnamon roll-looking things. She pulled out the tray, looked at it and said, “I have no idea. They have nuts.” When she was ringing up our order, she said, “I’ve only worked here two days. Can you tell?” (That’s Cindy and Jeff, who were our tour guides for the day.)