1973: Going Back in Time
We were excited about going on our very first canoe trip in the BWCA. Previously we had enjoyed the Namakan Loop out of Crane Lake, and most of our six days were in Canada. At that time Neil was in the army stationed at Fort Knox, and we resided in a mobile home park in Radcliff, Kentucky. Our son Edwin was born nine months after that trip, and when Edwin was 13 months old, in May of 1973, we moved to Groveland, Illinois, where Neil worked on a farm. At the time he took the job, he negotiated with the owner/farmer for enough vacation time during this first summer for a short trip in the Boundary Waters. We felt richly blessed to be able to do this.
We wanted to keep wilderness canoe-tripping as a "just the two of us" venture, so we now had the challenge of finding someone to keep Mary Helen, almost four years old, and Edwin, 16 months. Logistically it was not going to work to take them to Michigan to grandparents, since we didn't have that much time off.
Our friends Merodie and Paul (former neighbors in Radcliff) were now living in Minneapolis. Merodie was willing to keep our children, and it seemed like a good plan, as they had little ones who were almost exactly the same age as ours. And we knew perfectly well what fine people they were.
So we packed up our gear, strapped our brand-new 17-foot Grumman canoe on top of the car, loaded up our two children and headed for Minneapolis. Upon Arrival, we spent a day with our friends, helping the children to become acquainted and feel comfortable with Merodie and Paul, Heidi and Scott.
I will never forget how difficult it was to leave very early the next morning. As I watched my baby still sleeping, and tried to rouse him to say goodbye, I hoped that having had a full-time Mom for all of his life, he would feel confident to stay with a sitter for four days. He was a bright, verbal, friendly child, and that should help. And it would certainly be an advantage that his sister was there with him, too. We were off for Ely and Lake One!