Ogontz on Otsego: A Family Treasure
I took this picture just a few moments ago. It’s the view from the porch of a summer cottage that’s been in our family for more than a hundred years. Our cabin, named Ogontz by my forebears generations ago, looks over Lake Otsego, a nine-mile long lake in mid-state NY that ends (or starts, depending on your point of view) at Cooperstown, NY. Long before Cooperstown was known for the Baseball Hall of Fame (which I’ve gone to a dozen times, though almost always when taking visiting guests to the museum), it was home to the stories of James Fenimore Cooper, one of the earliest America novelists. The town was named for Fenimore’s father and is where James Cooper grew up and eventually settled back to after stints in college and the Navy.
Ogontz was built in 1904 and purchased in 1906 by my great-grandfather and has been passed down through the family. Five generations of our family – largely, though not exclusively, made up of Lutheran pastors – have enjoyed it as a wonderful (and affordable) summer retreat. In fact, we spent part of nearly every summer of my growing up years at Cooperstown where we’d see our cousins and swim, boat, fish, and waterski during the day and play board games all night (there were, blessedly, no televisions). Days at Cooperstown seemed to last twice as long as those back in our ordinary lives.
Now, we’re teaching our kids to do the same things – in fact, out on the boat in the middle of this picture my younger brother is taking 4 of the kids of the next generation waterskiing right now! And we hope that one day they’ll bring their kids here as well. Next year I’ll have been coming here for fifty years and it remains my favorite place on earth. As my brother said just this morning, as we sat looking out from the porch, “the view never gets old.” And so I thought I’d share it with you. Have a wonderful weekend.