My Grandmother's Garden and Simpler Times

| 3/23/2015 3:26:00 PM

Susan Slape-HoysagkWarm, sweet pea-scented summer breezes, dappled light filtering through the concord grapevine roof of the back porch, bright yellow marigolds poking their giant faces out of some of her open-lidded cold frames … so many wonderful memories of my grandmother's garden.

My maternal grandmother lived in a very small rural lakeside community on the southern Oregon coast. About 1 mile inland and nestled against Tenmile Lake, Lakeside (creative folks were in charge of naming the town, apparently) was once a popular retreat destination for Hollywood’s elite.

The late 1930s and 40s saw the likes of Bing Crosby, Sidney Greenstreet, Bob Hope and other stars of the time gracing local newspapers and staying at wealthy producer Roy Currier’s cabins at Currier’s Village at Lakeside. His Lakeshore Lodge hosted dining, live music, dancing, and gaming in the amusement pavilion on the village pier.

“Oregon’s Coast is Heaven’s Nearest Point” claims a menu’s cover. Coffee was 10 cents in the 1940s and a good filet mignon dinner with all the trimmings would set you back $1.50 at Lakeshore Lodge.

Smokes such as Luckies, Old Golds, Philip Morris and Chesterfields were also on the menu along with Robert Burns or Van Dyck cigars. All of this must have seemed rather surreal for a rural logging and fishing town with a population of 134.

Among the menu pages of fancy appetizers (caviar!), hors d’oeuvres (caviar again!), cheeses, relishes, soups, steaks, imported wines and other bar offerings is a short list of desserts. Choices includef fresh fruits in season (Remember what that was? You know, where we only ate fruits available during their growing season here?), pie, ice cream, sherbet, or JELLO (sic). Yes, after your wonderful meal of fine American cuisine and for a mere 15 cents more, you could tantalize your palette with some delicious flavored gelatin.