August 5, 1954 William Shepard to Parents

5 August 54

Dear Dick & Dad:

Lois & the kids are undoubtedly on their way home by now. I just want to thank you for having them up. From what they wrote, I know they all enjoyed it.

Work has been pretty heavy again. I let up on the office work for the last part of July and did nothing but fly. When my jet training was finished & had to go back to the office. So Im about caught up now. Ill be flying part the time & pushing a pencil the rest. Id rather fly now.

By the news, Canada is the place to spend summer. The heat has certainly been terrific hasn’t it?

We have had it cool – only the last month it has been raining very heavy. – 6 inches in 5 hours several times.

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There isnt very much news. I just wanted to write to let you know I was around. –

Its only about 6 months until I start home. Cant get finished soon enough to suit me, but I cant complain – I picked this business.

Take care of yourselves

Love
Bill

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Canada, oh Canada!

That’s a song–right? Nevermind.

The ‘never seems to be ending’ project of scanning my Shepard grandparent’s old family pictures has been fun and interesting, although admittedly sometimes a bit tedious*. But, I am really getting a chance to look them over and put together a picture timeline of their life, and even get ideas for future blog posts. Or, just remember the places that they lived and my own visits there. Some of the pictures are also triggering my research itch, because of questions I have about the time, or place, or who is in them.

I recently scanned more Canada pics from Dick and Dad’s part of the collection, a couple of them, thankfully, have been labeled ‘Cummings Lake.’ If I had the grandparents around to ask, I could find out exactly where this cottage was, (although I do enjoy putting the clues together, and solving the mystery myself). So the location has been narrowed down to Cummings Lake in Thessalon, Canada. Now the question is– where on the lake, exactly. Having the photograph below helps to narrow it down some more:

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Dick and Dad’s view of the dock below the cottage. Taken in 1954. This, by the way is a great picture.

I can narrow the location down because I found the following picture at the Grand Falls Camp website when searching online for information on Cummings Lake:

Grand Falls Camp Cummings Lake Thessalon

The cliff face in the background matches exactly the cliff in the first picture. This location is stated by the website as being between Lakes Tunnel and Cummings. When using Google map’s street view, I find this exact spot on Hwy 129 going North. It is facing Lake Cummings. Which means that the cottage was in the area on the topographic map below. It is difficult to tell where exactly, or even generally, from this view though.

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Google street view from highway.
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The arrow is pointing to the cliff area we see in all the pictures.

Looking at a larger overview of the area, I’m thinking that the cottage was, or is, if it is still there, on the big bump out of land above the falls area.

We have lots of photos of the cottage and the area around the lake, so I created an album of just those pictures at my flickr site (well I hope they are all from the cottage and lake area). Seeing the pictures and writing about this topic has given me an urge to drive up there next summer and visit. It is only a 7-8 hour drive, and I have my passport now!

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My grandfather, Bill Shepard, wrote lots of letters mentioning his parents cottage. They usually talked about how envious he was, because he never got to go up and enjoy all that fishing everyone was always going on about. I know an uncle went there at one point when he was a kid. Other than Herman and Ruth, who else made the trip?

 

*I won’t complain too much about all that scanning, as we are fortunate to have so many family pictures that that been passed down. Some folks aren’t so lucky.

July 31, 1952 Herman Shepard to Parents

 

Columbus Ohio
July 31, 1952

Dear Dick & Dad:-

While Ruth is busy preparing a few frys (9) for the freezer I thought it would be a good idea for me to write you a line or two. As you already know we arrived home O.K. but tired. My back was giving me some trouble, but it was not caused from building the dock or anything like that. I believe I must have wrenched it while I was loading our bags and etc. the Saturday we went out as I didn’t notice any pain befor that time. Well enough for that. What I would like to know, is the dock still standing? I hope so. Ruth O’Farrell called after she got home and told us what a wonderful time they had and how much fun you all had playing cards. I’m glad they cut you some wood and left you the “snake bite” We went up to Harbor View the week end following out trip from Canada and found every thing OK. except the grass and weeds about knee high. I had to use the sickle first and the lawn mower next to get it cut. While I was in the act of cutting the stuff who should drive in but Lydia [Dick’s sister?] & Charlie – so Charlie jumped in and helped me do the job or it

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would have taken me all day to finish the job. I took them for a nice boat ride befor they went home. Charlie starts his vacation Aug. 10 and they have an apt. rented at Bay Bridge for a week so we are going to have them over to the cottage for that week end. I think the fishing bug has taken hold of them as they said they hadn’t been to church for 5 Sundays. Boy that fishing bug is the cause of a lot of peoples down fall also the down fall of your pocket book. We could buy fish a durn sight cheaper Ha Ha But who wants to buy fish when its so much fun to catch them. Charlie Hoff & June also came up to Harbor View the same week end and I finaly got Charlie & June in the boat and now he is crazy about it. We are planning on having them for the Labor Day week end which should be a lot of fun providing the weather stays O.K. Speaking of week ends they are getting scarce. There just are not enough of them in a summer, this coming week end we a having Johnie & Juanita Gatea and the 3rd Sunday of Aug we want to have Ralph, Lou and the kids, so that don’t leave to many.

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You should hear Ralph & Johnie talk about that trip, you wouldn’t think there was anywhere else in the world like Cummins Lake and Johnie said boy that good bread he hasn’t forgotten that yet. He was telling me just today that he sure would like to be back there right now also he liked the little sand beach. I talked to Unk & Elzie and they said if there house is finished in time that they would like to go up for awhile they will let you know if they can make it. Aunt Doshie called today and says she is getting along OK I think moving & etc. must have caused her trouble. They were down to visit Brooks one night last week so if she can get out a little I believe that she is getting better. Burch seems to be getting along OK at work. I hope he likes it this time as I think he can do as well there as any place. Now is our slack season as far as grease work is concerned it will probably stay about the same till Oct. when we start to sell winter change over service, then he should really make some nice wages.

Bess brought Eddie down last Monday a week ago and he stayed till Friday. Ruth took him down town and I guess he

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had a great time riding the escalator at Lazaruse and Morehouse – also he and I worked in the dark room one night. Vaughn & Lela are home now and are supposed to start back tomorrow they are all OK and look the same only Sandy is getting a little lanky as kids do at that age. I told them of your intentions of going to the coast this fall and they want you to be sure and look them up.

Its a good thing that I didn’t know Mr. Sherron was a hardware man or I would have talked a leg off him, maybe I’ll have to look him up yet. The store I was interersted in was sold just the other day maybe its for the best according to Mr Sherron. I was trying to get a loan on our house for additional money and while the Westerville Saving & Loan was making up there minds what to do the place sold. So now I’m watching for another deal. You know me Andrew H. Brown always got a “big deal on”. I got the color pictures back and every one turned out good. (lucky me) I haven’t printed the black & whites as yet. Hope to do it soon.

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Doc & Sue we down from Pittsburg last Sat & Sun although we didn’t get to see them Doshie says the are OK and that Doc’s bald head shines like a beacon in the night.

Well the Conventions are both over and now all we have to do is listen to all the Bull slinging for the next few months I think I’ll still for “Taft” HaHa. may the best man win.

They had a bad storm at Harbor View it must have been the same day you had yours only the wind there was out of the West. there was quite a bit of damage to boats & etc. Andy Parker had 5 to get away from his dock. I don’t know wheather it damaged any of his or not. Mine came through O.K. although I did have to reset my stakes & etc. as it bent the stake at the front of the boat. Well I think Ive about hit all the high spots so will sign off for this time.

H.O. & Ruth

P.S. Take good care of your selfs

Letter June 25, 1951 William Shepard to parents

 

June 25, 1951

Dear Dad,

Better late than never. Happy “Fathers Day” I was going to get a present but didnt find anything suitable, so perhaps you can get what you need with the check.

Dick has written that you are recovering very well from your sickness. We are happy for that. She also mentioned you would be going to Canada for the summer. Be sure to take it easy and dont try any work. I know you will enjoy being up there and wish my family could go too.

Kenny and Sue are having a good time on their vacation. It would be better if we lived more in town as they dont have many other children to play with, but I do like living in the country.

David has grown a lot since you last

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saw him. He is going to be the largest one of my boys. Starting to talk now. Alan is coming out of it now, and is about average for his age. That is remarkable considering the slow start that he had. He is a very good baby, doesnt cry much or isnt much bother.

We have a new addition to the family now. Just bought a female collie pup. She is black, white and a little tan. Very quiet and intelligent. She should be fairly large by the time you folks come out for the winter.

We are planning on you and Dick spending the winter with us. I think you both would enjoy this country. When it gets time for you to come out, perhaps I can come back to help drive. Well thats about all except Happy Fathers Day again

Your Son Bill

Dick and Dad in Florida

One major disadvantage to growing up as a military brat, is that you don’t get a chance to become attached to ‘place’ or know your relatives, because you aren’t around, or around long enough, to do so. But I am glad that in my case I do have a some great memories of extended family.

Because my dad was stationed at McCoy AFB in Orlando in the late 60s, we were able to visit with my great grandparents, Dick and Dad, several times over the few years that we lived there because they weren’t too far away. My fist real connection to family other than mom and dad.

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Dick and Dad

Although their earlier years were spent in West Virginia, Rachel ‘Dick’ and William Shepard, Sr. ‘Dad’ lived mostly in Ohio raising their family of two boys, until Dad retired from his supervisory job at the post office in the 1950s.

They had had a cottage in Thessalon, Ontario, Canada that they went to often, as early as the 1940s. (I don’t know yet if they bought it or rented it.) Below is a photograph of the cottage in Canada that gramps is always mentioning in his letters to his parents, where the fishing was fine.

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When Dad officially retired, they went down to Safety Harbor in late 1956 where they rented a place in the area until they could find the perfect winter retirement home. (We know this because their son Herman wrote a letter to them in Dec of 1956 asking how they were liking their temporary accomodations.)

By December 26, 1956 they had found their spot, and it was at this time they purchased their second vacation/retirement home at 305 7th Ave N in Safety Harbor, Florida, near Tampa. The place that we visited several times in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

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So in this post I thought it would be fun to do a sort of slideshow from past to present on the house I remember visiting in Florida.

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This was probably taken about when they purchased the property in 1957. (Found in the Shepard family slide collection.)
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This is about the late 1960s, when we would be visiting.

In the above second picture you can see the tree is much taller, there are awnings added to the windows, and the front entrance/patio area is now enclosed. Everything else is pretty much the same.

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Here’s another view from the late 1960s.
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Here’s Dick in her kitchen mixing up some libations for her guests. Late 1970s or early 80s. Dad had passed away in 1973.
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Here she is with friends or family, laughing it up on the couch I remember sitting on when we visited. This was probably in the late 70s or early 80s.
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Late 70s, early 1980s? The landscaping has been changed up a bit.

Dick passed away in 1986 and the house was sold sometime later that year by her son Herman.

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Now for the shocker, here is a 2014 image of the property from Google street view:

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These are images posted in 2002 when it was for sale and the outdoor shots look pretty close to the 2014 images:

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Quite a difference from the 50s though! That kitchen sure doesn’t look the same. The property sold for $74,000 in 2002, and it is currently valued at about $185,000, for 916 sq. ft. of living space. I like the improvements, although the carport/garage doesn’t look like it has been worked on at all. (It looks like someone tried to sell it in 2015 for $225,000, but it was only on the market for a couple of months before they unlisted it.)

Because the city used crushed shells, instead of gravel, in the driveway, when we visited I would go looking for cool shells when I got bored with all the adult talk. I still have some great finds in my shell collection.

Interesting fun fact: According to the 1959 directory for Safety Harbor, Lois and William Shepard, jr. were also living at this address. My grandparents. (Hey Mom, I don’t remember you mentioning this.)

What a fun drive down memory lane.