Saturday, November 12, 2011

La Casa Da Lago

See that big white house just to the left of this paragraph? That is the famous “Cottage” from my childhood. My dear Dad and his three brothers and sister purchased it back in 1967 and owned it until 1974. It was located on beautiful Camp Lake in Salem, Wisconsin. It was the Vagnoni family getaway. It may have been a stretch to call the old place a cottage, but that is what we called it. 

Unless we decided to get ethnic, then it was “La Casa Da Lago”.

As romantic as the name La Casa Da Lago might sound, the cottage was in reality a beat-up monstrosity in dire need of much repair. The 2-story structure was built into the side of a hill and featured 4 bedrooms and a spooky attic.

As far as it being a getaway, it was actually less than 20 miles away and on a good day you could make it out there in about 30 minutes. That is, unless you were riding out there with Uncle Dave in his infamous AMC Marlin. Then you would be there in 15 minutes and will have heard at least fifty different songs.

With all that being said, La Casa Da Lago was truly a magical place for a ten-year-old boy in the late ‘60s growing up in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Those times were filled with a multitude of adventures, each one more memorable than the next.

Recently I was reminiscing with my cousin Susie about all of our escapades at the old Cottage. Being a fellow blogger, I suggested that between the two of us we could fill a book with these tales. She was receptive to the idea and we have decided to give it a shot.

It didn’t take much brainstorming for us to come up with a preliminary list of story topics. From the recesses of our aging minds were able to come up with at least 20 memories.

Things like: burning down the Cottage (twice), being drunk at Grandma and Grandpa’s 50th Wedding Anniversary party, making a beach in the dead of winter, the movie we made – “Orgies of Murder”, the neighbors believing we were connected with the Mafia and the scary Thanksgiving sailor.

The creative games we played out at the cottage will also provide numerous tales for the book. Games like, the clothes exchange (don’t ask), sparkler races on the peninsula and the outrageous game of “Rollers, Runners and Stoogies”. You can click on that link to get a hint of just how imaginative (demented?) the Vagnoni children were.

We also plan on picking the brains of our relatives for additional ideas on November 26. That is when we are assembling for a family breakfast at Bonnie’s Diner. This could be epic. Vagnoni get-togethers usually are, we are a creative bunch.

Here are a couple of pictures from La Casa Da Lago.

Vagnoni Clan Going Swimming
A Vagnoni Family Meal at La Casa Da Lago
Using the family breakfast at Bonnie’s Diner as a “launch party” was a wonderful idea. Thanks to cousin Susie for that one. I am excited about this book project; it’s going to be loads of fun. If you want to see the Vagnoni clan in action, stop by on the 26th at 8:30 am. Warning: you will never be the same again.

Until next time…from the booth.


Alaska Karen said...

Paul, This book is going to be epic! I tell ya, there is a movie coming out of this. Can't wait to read it. AWESOME.

Paul E. Vagnoni said...

Thanks, Karen. It will be epic!

Beryl said...

Paul they were the good old days I am sure my lot could tell some stories . Have fun x

Randy Lain said...

That,s great that u and your cousins are still so close. I have 1 family of cousins, and we are not close at all. The only time I see them is when someone dies, and then it,s awkward because we haven't seen each other in so long. Look forward to Vagnoni Clan memories

Paul E. Vagnoni said...

Beryl - When I am done working on this project, we can start on the "Taylor Tales". What do you think?

Randy - I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful family that has remained so close. This project will be fun!

Leplume said...

Ah, can't wait to read more. We also had a getaway cottage though we did not own it. We went to the place called Rustic Lodge every summer when I was a kid. I'm sure those stories could also fill a book! I had to click to see what Rollers, Runners and Stoogies was! HAHA! Love it! Isn't a wonder that we all survived those great made up childhood games!

Paul E. Vagnoni said...

Mary Beth, Rollers, Runners and Stoogies was fantastic! We are in the process of locating the only existing copy of "Orgies of Murder". That was a brilliant piece of cinematography!

J. Kwiatkowski-Schuler said...

It must be really fun to be in a big family.

Paul E. Vagnoni said...

Thanks, Julie! It really is. Growing up, it was like I had 5 extra brothers and sisters.

bev said...

oh paul i dont know where to start lol

Paul E. Vagnoni said...

C'mon, Bev!!! The Taylor Tales would be an international best seller!!!