Legends of the Lake reviewed by Fran Lewis

Legends of the Lake

Author: Philip Nork

Reviewed By Fran Lewis




Everything has a beginning. Traditions, places, businesses and even your life have a beginning. Philip Nork’s family had many different beginnings and traditions that he wants to share with readers. Why not share his family’s experiences, happy times and sad ones with readers in a unique book titled Legends of the Lake? Legends of the Lake begin with how and why his great grandfather bought the land he built his cottage and businesses on in Wisconsin. As you take the ride back in time to the beginning of the 20th century when his family created their own form of history, picture a remote area with a small lake. Picture yourself driving through green pastures, cows mooing, farms, the area smells from freshly cut grass, the sky is blue and the roads might not be perfectly paved but filled with gravel and welcome to Wisconsin. Meet Salvatore his great grandfather’s friend who own the butcher shop 20 miles west of Chicago. Meet Gramps who was truly amazing. Of Bohemian descent, uniform maker and great husband to Connie. Join Sal and Eddie has they travel the many roads and highways to Wisconsin, describing the scenery along the way and how Eddie began construction on his “summer palace.” As you read Chapter One the author describes the land, the landscape and you begin to visualize this special place. Close your eyes: Can you see the cottage? Do you smell the fresh air? In 1910 when this story takes place their life began with Eddie owning a Model T which he bought five years later and set up the five year rule. What is that? The five year rule was to purchase a new car for the family every five years and the car of choice my dad’s favorite the Cadillac.


From the start this was a family venture. His three daughters and wife handled the cooking and the food. He handled the tailor shop and his bait and boat rentals and the rest. Going along with friend to the other side of the island they would meet some really mean turtles. Just what happened and how the lake came to be called: Snapping Turtle Lake you need to read for yourself to appreciate what happened. If I tell you it would ruin the fun and the smile on your face after reading what they did.


The community flourished and more people built cottages, opened businesses and then Johnnie with Eddie’s guidance and suggestions created more business for his restaurant by turning it into a bar. When Eddie saw someone with huge rocks or boulders he relieved him of some of them and even created a sign letting the world know the Kron’s were there. In order to make sure his three daughters did not wander off too far he bought a huge bell and what he did with that well you need it hear the ring for yourself or you might be late for dinner and Connie does have strict rules about being on time. What would make it better? How about an old-fashioned food fest!


Life does not always stay the same and things did change as Prohibition took its toll on the bar, another merchant came to live there and things changed as they built a playhouse, speakeasy and just who funded the money: I am not going to tell you but let’s just say the guy who lived there was named Al and he left his trademark in a cottage that Eddie’s daughter and friend Willy found. The rest is history. The girls married and believe it or not Connie now had a son and things changed for all of them for the better. Imagine another first as one of the storeowners created a plastic container and the rest is Tupperware history. His family really had fun and the stories are refreshing and entertaining. I think the part that really hits home is having to wait your turn to use the bathroom and one girl named Jean who just wanted to find her way and be alone. This book brings back so many memories for anyone growing up with a huge and loving family.


Then things changed and believe it or not what changed it was the Hamburger and the bun. Deciding to create their own buns, hamburgers and with the help of one man named Ray, Sal and Willy became quite wealthy in the hamburger business or was it a famous chain they invented. According to our author you just never know. There were tons of firsts in this family.


Things changed and one friend passed away and his son took over the business and the renting of cottages. Eddie and Connie were getting older and Joan and Felix got married and along came our special author named Phil. Growing up and being the center of his grandfather’s attention was great as he learned to love wrestling on television and listen to music. His mother started her own traditions as things at the cottage changed but traditions carried on.


As Phil gets to know his family as a young child, join in their fishing expeditions, learn more about their traditions he comes face to face with a word that kids should never hear: divorce. He learns the meaning of the different colored roses from his Nana and she explains what would make him stand out when he gets older. New friendships formed, family still came to the cottages and Phil learned a lot about life. One little girl named Matty would change his perspective about girls. Baseball was what he was interested in and talking about other things although somewhat interesting not really his speed. Friendships changed on one girl’s life would shatter and Phil would be there to help her. Learning the truth about his father and handling it made him even more mature. Then, Nana dies and he lost her and his close friendship with Matty.


Life changed and he moved on to get to know his father. The rest of the stories you need to read for yourself. Learn what happens after his loses another member of his family and where he winds up. An ending that requires a box of tissues and maybe more and stories that will bring back memories of your own childhood. Once again author Phil Nork takes the reader on a journey back in time to where things were simple, kids learned to have some great fun outside, families knew the real meaning of love and friendship and one young man finds his way.


This book gets Five Special Roses:

One Red: for the love you have for your family

One Yellow for the friendships you made along the way

One white: for the remembrances that will remain in your heart and mind

Two Pink: to give thanks for all that you had and still have in your life.


One great book. Many wonderful stories.

Fran Lewis: reviewer



P.S, If it makes you happy it’s fine with me: As you Nana would say: This book is more than fine with me. Fran