Why Go to Kettle Moraine

“The sun is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course.”  

 As we entered Kettle Moraine, we saw the return of the herons and sand-hill cranes, and enjoyed the fusion of blue and yellow flowers bending their faces to the sun as it disappeared in the pink and purple horizon.   We have been camping in Kettle Moraine now for over 45 years

 Being in nature is like taking a shower and ridding oneself of the dust of daily living. It refreshes the soul and brings one closer to God and one another.  On a beautiful day, we often returned to Kettle Moraine Wisconsin staying at Ottawa Lake or Pine Creek campground. It was less than two hours away from home.   I can close my eyes and still see our three children.  Deborah, our oldest, we nicknamed, Bear. Her beautiful hair would capture the sun rays as she searched the trees for ripened apples. Julie, our curly red-headed daughter, would be giggling nonstop while spinning around on the merry-go-round shirtless. Then, there was Aaron, our youngest, who we gave an Indian nickname name, Little Silver-top whose crotch runs close to the ground. Dad and Aaron have similar body types, both have long torsos and shorter legs. While hiking, we would stuff our backpacks with undomesticated apples savoring the thought of the delicious applesauce we would make at home.

On one occasion, the campground was full. We thought we’d make the best of the day and then return home. But Julie, being her gregarious self, shared our lack of a campsite to a local girl who was her swimming pal.  They invited us to set our tent up on their property nearby.  We all made friends with the family and later Larry even went fishing with the girl’s father.

Whenever our adult children came back to visit, we would once again go up to Kettle. Geoff and Julie and family would hike the trails with us, and introduce Elliot and Nata to the beauty of nature. For a couple years, Nata invited her friends to celebrate her September birthday. We would bring up our trailer for a place to gather in case of inclement weather.  Sometimes we would visit Oconomowoc and feast on a delicious Mexican dinner and enjoy the Wizard of Oz statues and a beautiful beach.

Throughout our careers, we would head up to Kettle with our Willow on Wheel friends and take long bike rides. After we retired from our jobs as teachers, we purchased a motorcycle and continued to visit Kettle. Instead of riding our bikes from Ottawa Lake Campground to Delevan, we rode up and down the hills on our Goldwing with much less exhaustion. There’s a lovely coffee house in town where we had lunch.

This is our grandson, Elliot, who was about three years old at the time. He was discovering the joy of the outdoors which he continues to love.

Kettle Moraine has continued to be the place we visit often. We love the harmony and tunes of nature at its best. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the skies proclaim the work of His hand’s. Day unto day utters speech.” Psalm 19: 1-2

The language of nature has always spoken to me. I hope it speaks to you as well.

My Favorite Job! What was Yours?

Storyworth-My Best Job

When my children were young, I supplemented our income by teaching ESL through McHenry County College and Elgin Community College. When Aaron, my youngest, was 12 years old I accepted a job teaching English/Speech/Drama at Cary-Grove High School. I would say these were my favorite jobs because they challenged me to grow academically, socially, and emotionally.

I was always fond of learning about other cultures and ESL was a way to travel vicariously. I had students from Mexico, Brazil, Switzerland and Sweden to name a few. I often invited my student over to our house to meet my family, and to give them a healthy meal. At the end of the semester, we would have a Christmas party and each student would bring an ethnic dish and tell about their country’s traditions. I remember Julie coming with me to these parties. . She vividly remembers a Russian woman with an extreme amount of make-up.  Deborah was in school and Aaron was too young to come. My students demonstrated their appreciation with hand-made gifts like colorful doilies.  

When Aaron was 12 years old, I accepted a full-time teaching job.  The first two years were difficult having to learn the material and prepare lesson plans. But when I was working toward my Master’s degree, I felt more confident.  I   I loved teaching literature and often connected books like Animal Farm to history. We covered literature about the holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement. But my favorite subject to teach was British Literature. We read Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Knights, King Author, Chaucer, and Shakespeare. I added Princess Bride and a few episodes of Mr. Bean for fun. My students did research and presentations in all my classes. I was teaching Beowulf at the time that 9/11 occurred. It then became a study of good vs evil. We went to see the movie Beowulf with Angela Jolie playing Grendel. Afterwards we went to the Village Squire to discuss the difference between the book and the movie. The students overall loved the class because unlike American Literature we were able to laugh especially reading Chaucer.

Teachings Speech Communication and Drama helped me to get to know my students better. My goal was to help them learn skills that would enable them to be better speakers and listeners. Teaching was very time consuming during the school year, but the summers were a great time to engage more with family and friends and to travel more. It was a job that stretched me and challenged me to grow intellectually and relationally. Although I am enjoying my retirement, I often think of my love for teaching and connecting with students and faculty. Face Book has help me keep my connections.

The highlight of my career was taking my students to perform Taming of the Shrew downstate. We also put on Sleeping Beauty with Mary Casta who was the voice of Sleeping Beauty in the film.