Friday, December 17, 2010

In Memory of... Larry

Many of you have heard the story of where the 'original' log cabin came from but here is "the rest of the story".
The man in the photo above is Larry Drea (taken this Sept), one of eight children that was born in this log cabin. The building was located about 1 mile south of where it now sits. One night Marty and I were at the local tavern and Larry asked Marty if he could burn that old cabin. Since he had built a new modern home years ago. The roof had fallen in, but the four walls of the cabin stood defiant to the elements. Lucky for us. Well, the decision was quickly made, and we asked Larry if, instead of burning the cabin, if we couldn't relocate the logs. We promised to clean up the site for him, which I think is what he really wanted. Larry likes to mow lawn and I think the old homestead along with it's brambles of thorn bushes was encroaching on his acreage.

Anyway, weeks later, the tearing down began. Many family and friends were gathered and the work began. I labeled the logs "N" north, "S" south, "E"east and "W"west. And then 1, 2, 3 with the bottom one being "N1" and so on up the wall. I took many pictures both inside and out so we'd have a reference, just in case. That "just in case" proved to be invaluable. After the logs were relocated to a field on Marty's brothers' farm, they sat for a few years and were reassembled eventually. We really didn't have plans for the building itself at the time. Larry's place was cleaned up from debris and he has a nice smooth spot all filled in with dirt where grass would soon be growing. It was a win/ win situation. We paid Larry a token for the logs as we thought we got the better end of the deal though the 'real' work was still ahead.

Since we waited so long before putting it back up, the mice had chewed some of the labels off so we had a giant puzzle in the yard. This is where the photos helped tremendously. In 1996 our kids helped chink the gaps between the logs, and a roof was overhead. You can see our family's handprints in the 'gathering room'. In 2004, the cabin was getting a new purpose and what most of you all know as the Homestead Cabin Retreat was born.

This week, Larry completed his life here on earth and is spending Christmas with Jesus. He never married though I think everyone he met, considered him family. He had local kids school photos on the fridge in the bar, just like they were his grandkids. My kids grew up thinking Larry had a cat behind the bar as he would always 'meow' when they weren't looking. And years later, I seen him do that with a new generation. It brought a smile to my face. Though now, tears are rolling down my face. He was a great historian and remembered in great detail dates and names. He was a WWII vet and a friend to many. Larry, you will be missed on 'the ridge' but you have given to us, a lifetime of memories. Thank you.

4 comments:

Chris said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Larry. I know he held a special place in your heart.

Steve-nephew said...

I found out yesterday. He goes with God but we will miss him. A wonderful man and a piece of Wisconsin history.

Anonymous said...

I was informed yesterday of larry passing on. I know he was special to all that new him. He was very special to me because I grew up next door and would visit him often from the time I could ride a bike to now.when ever I made it back to the area I would try to stop in to say hi. Like everyone else that new him, I will miss him.
Kevin D

Jayla said...

I enjoyed your post about Larry. He was the first person I met here when we relocated, and I feel so fortunate that we had these past three and a half years to get to know him. Our Sundays will seem empty now without our visits to go see him, but I'm glad he is in a better place, teasing kids with meowing and having naive Southerners look for a hitchiker on Old Style cans. :-)