"[History is] a cyclic poem written by time upon the memories of man." -Percy Bysshe Shelley

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Memories of Deer Park Lodge with Rita Anderson

A short time ago, our head librarian, Janelle, conducted an interview with Rita Anderson about her time working at Deer Park Lodge as a teenager. We are pleased to share Rita's memories below.

Rita Anderson worked at Deer Park Lodge on Spider Lake as a summer employee from 1956-1960. At the time of her employment, Ben and Ruth Epstein were the owners.

Rita's very first job at Deer Park was cleaning cabins. She did that for two weeks before moving to a more enjoyable job as a lobby girl. Lobby girl duties included cleaning the lobby, bathrooms, bar room, and cocktail lounge.

Another job that Rita had was play school manager. Taking care of the kids was fun work. The children ate before the other guests so they had the dining room to themselves, giving the parents time to enjoy their lunches and dinners. After lunch, Rita had all afternoon off. At 5pm she returned to help the kids with dinner and stayed with them until 7pm.

In the evening, staff members had the option of babysitting if parents wanted to go out. The adults enjoyed going to a traveling orchestra. This orchestra visited one other resort, and a professional dancing couple gave dance lessons to the guests and put on an evening performance.

Rita also had a waitress job at Deer Park Lodge. Her wage was $60/month, plus room, board and tips. Waitresses would have the same families/tables to wait on each day for however long the family stayed. Each waitress had six tables and a bus boy was shared with another waitress. The kitchen staff had off every other Sunday afternoon.

Rita enjoyed working with the kitchen help. The main workers in the kitchen were the chef, first cook, fry cook and salad man. Rita remembers the salad man, John Now. He was very talented and would sculpt ice and food for the lodge's guests. But he was also sort of a mystery man - he never left the lodge.

Another worker Rita remembers as a mystery was the laundry man. Rumor had it that he had served time in Alcatraz, and he was a bit strange!

Rita really enjoyed the group she worked with, and many of them returned each summer. The kids could go to the rec hall for entertainment, and Mr. Epstein also gave them a lodge car o Sundays to go to church.

The girls/women lived in the upstairs of a large building on the property. It had one big room plus a separate bathroom with shower. The boys/men occupied the downstairs, where there were separate rooms.

Ben Epstein was a good boss. He was also very watchful of the lodge. At night he slept in a screened-in porch near the road so he could hear anyone coming or going. Before the lodge opened for the summer, Ben would open up for conventions, such as A.O. Smith and a doctors' group, to name two. Most of his guests were Jewish. Ben and Ruth Epstein had three children: two boys, Frank and Steve, and one girl, Marilyn. Rita, Frank and another friend, Susie, would go water skiing together on some afternoons. The five years at Deer Park Lodge were fun and memorable for Rita.

9 comments:

  1. I worked two summers as a waiter at Deer Park - during my time the guys quarters were upstairs and the girls down

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  2. I GOT MY ARM STUCK IN A POOL TABLE IN THE GAME ROOM AND ALL THE MEN AT THE BAR CAME OVER TO LAUGH. THEY HAD TO DISASSEMBLE THE ENTIRE TABLE. BEN CHARGED MY FATHER FOR THE EXPENSE. SO MUCH FOR TRYING TO CHEAT BEN.

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  3. 1963 I first came to Deer Park. 1965 Warren let me drive the golf cart. 1967 Steve found skeletal remains while excavating just outside between the office and the dining hall.1967 Tommy Lane taught me how to water ski and what constitutes a bad toupee. 1967 I fell in love for the first time.
    1968 I got my arm caught in the pool table.

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  4. Great memories! Thank you for sharing, Anon.

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  5. i worked at deer park in 1977 and 1980. i worked in the office with ben and estelle. i often think of them and how different the place looks now. i fell in love with the area and was lucky enough to move up here 6 years ago with my husband of 34yrs who also loves the area.

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  6. I recall this event with the pool table, but not who it happened to! Tommy Lane and I did many a duet in our nightly "Broadway Revues", as we entertained all the guests. I was there performing in the summers of 1965, 66 and finally 67 - the summer I graduated from Hidh School and went on with life...Steve and I were close and Ruth was always kind to me and the rest of the musical troup each summer. Wonderful memories - Dee Archer

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  7. I have the best memories of my 8 years as bell hop. Steve and I are still friends. Went back a year ago and the place is all changed....some tears. ...nothing ever stays the same Warren

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  8. does anyone know whatever happened to Estelle?

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  9. Spent 2 unforgettable summers at DPL,'65-'67, in lake cabin. Water skiing, swimming pool, nighttime performances in the club house, excellent food...for kids and adults. Good times.. :-)

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