Where would you find Blueberry Hill, Crocodile Rock and Pickerel Point?
The answer is in the pages of Karen Kucera Bate’s new self-published book, Tales of Lake of Two Mountains.
Bate, 57, initially started writing the book — which covers the "adventures and misadventures" experienced by three generations of her family at its summer home in Lake of Two Mountains, located between Falcon Lake and Kenora — as a memoir for her two now-grown-up children, but soon realized her experiences might have a wider appeal.
"We’ve had family cottage property for 50 years," said Bate, who lives in River Park South and has a passion for gardening and plants. "I wanted my kids to understand the background and context of what is to be their future. The stories are unique to my family, but people have told me they can relate to these experiences and I hope that others will be to share in these stories and smile."
The 209-page paperback, published through artbookbindery.com, covers the lifespan of her family’s tenure at the cottage.
"My family started the cottage when I was eight and the book takes us through construction with no road or power access to the comfortable gathering place it is now," she said.
Without giving too much away, the book is packed full of anecdotes that range from heartwarming tales to the "sublime to the ridiculous."
Whether she’s writing about flying kites in the middle of the forest, paddling against strong winds on the lake, perplexed cats watching bats flying around the cottage, a forest fire that burned close to the building or a potentially extraterrestrial incident, Bate now has a new appreciation of her experiences.
"I remember a very bizarre incident involving lights that seemed to be coming from the lake — and this was before electricity. It scared me as a kid. The next day, we went for a walk and there was a big area of melted sand in the sandpit. It was spooky and it might just be my favourite part of the book," Bate said.
"As a teenager, I didn’t appreciate what I had. Now I realize what beauty there was in my own backyard. The beauty in the simplest of things can have lifelong meaning and I would like people to appreciate this in their lives. You don’t need to go on cruises or go on mega-events for memories to be meaningful."
Bate has a theatre background and her first goal in life was to become a ballerina. She has a degree from the University of Winnipeg, with a double major in theatre and psychology, and also has a post graduate diploma from the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London, England.
She has also found the online resource National Novel Writing Month — which encourages participants to write a 50,000-word story by midnight on Nov. 30 — invaluable.
"I’ve been encouraged to write all my life and it finally took about 40 years for me to actually listen to people," Bate said.
Bate is married to husband, John. Her daughter, Allison, is 26, and her son, Devon, is 23.
The book is available at McNally Robinson in Grant Park and the Forks Trading
Company at The Forks.
For more information, email Bate at talesofl2M@gmail.com or visit https://www.facebook.com/TalesofLakeofTwoMountains