In a House Near the Lake

Bea Otis talks to her son David and niece Pat about old Haslett.

Bea Otis talks to her son David and niece Pat about old Haslett.

You almost never know what your interview is going to be like until you do it.

First, I got lost. Heading to the home of Bea Otis, it was the first time I had really ventured into Haslett. Down Marsh road; right onto Haslett road. I was following my phone, address typed in, keeping a sharp eye out for the white farmhouse Bea had described to me.

About ten minutes later, turning around twice and finding homes at address above and below Bea’s, but not the one I needed, I realized I had forgotten a digit as I had transferred the numbers from my planner to my phone. Prepared journalist I was, I had allowed plenty of time to get to my interview; even with the hiccup, I was still early!

Bea’s home was built in 1901. Her and her late husband have done a lot of work to the old farmhouse, but you could still see the age of it in it’s structure and feel the tiredness in the wood it was built from. As I walked in, I met Bea’s son David and her niece Pat who greeted me at a table covered with documents and pictures. I think they had come more prepared then I did!

Where we did Bea's interview.

Where we did Bea’s interview.

As we stood around, I listened to their reminiscing about the days gone by. Bea had lived in Haslett beginning in the 1940s; her husband had come to the town when he was only three. Something inside me twisted as I talked to the group and sat down with Bea for an interview. Something twisted and I longed for the days gone by.

Winter carnivals on the frozen Lake Lansing. Nickel double-dipped ice-cream cones. Parties with big bands and swing dancing. Railroads bringing tourists from the city of Lansing to the shores of a popular destination.

As I sat at Bea’s today, I was reminded of the fragility of the present. Something has been lost since the big bands, ferry-boats and ice skating has left Lake Lansing. And honestly, it’s sad. However, that is what this documentary is for: to explore the past. To show the history. And to maybe reveal little ways in which we can better our own future.

This house was built in 1901.

This house was built in 1901.

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