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All the pictures on this page were taken along the Lake Erie shore in northwestern Ohio.

Lf.: Trumpeter swan in the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge

Shells found along the shore (Note the thousands of Zebra muscle shells on the sand below – they are a scourge to the Lake ecosystem)

Opening Comments from Bob (Part of PJ Issue 108)

Going to the Lake: As many of you know, I love traveling the world and devouring the experiences it has to offer. However, you do not need to travel to another continent or country to discover beauty and fascinating experiences. Jan's and my recent overnight stay with her sister Marcia and brother-in-law Bruce proved that fact. A mere ninety minutes away from our home is one of nature's great masterpieces, Lake Erie. Marcia and Bruce own a large mobile home near a small beach in Port Clinton, OH. Bruce, who has become an expert in area knowledge, took us to places I have never explored despite my many trips to the lake. This issue focuses on some of those experiences.

The Scrapbook

Thumbing through the book of memories,
....one cannot help
....but sense the love
....inherent within the images.
Families come together
....to celebrate bonds
....that last a lifetime.

Captured moments display
....the passage of a decade–
....children who have become parents,
....grandchildren who have moved
....from helpless infants
....to two-legged dynamos
....requiring ever watchful eyes,
....and the matriarch who has made
....the ultimate journey.

The photos also tell the story of transformation–
....a trailer bearing the stamp of someone else
....evolves overtime
....through sweat and effort
....into a new home
............A place to vacation.
............A place to celebrate life.

Comments: We recently visited Jan's sister Marcia and brother-in-law Bruce at their mobile home along the shore of Lake Erie. During the summer months, they spend quite a bit of time enjoying the lake experience. Their two children and two grandchildren often visit. Before her passing, Jan and Marcia's mother Mabel also spent a number of days enjoying the surroundings. While relaxing Bruce showed me a scrapbook pictorially tracing the past decade as family members visited and as they put their personal stamp on this summer home. Bruce asked me to write something in their cottage guest log. Following a private walk to the beach and journaling time, the above poem was created and now appears in that log.

Boardwalk that runs through the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge
One of the beaches along Lake Erie
Very upscale housing built around an old quarry on historic Johnson's Island (former Civil War Confederate internment camp)
Museum located at the ranger station of the Ottawa National
Wildlife Refuge (A visitor takes a break in the chair.)
Marblehead Lighthouse, recently refurbished
Marblehead Lighthouse
Sun setting behind the Davis-Bessie cooling tower (about 10 miles away)
Vignette: The Secret of Johnson's Island

Johnson’s Island, a small Lake Erie island only 300 acres in size about 3 miles from the city of Sandusky, holds a dark secret that even many Ohioans do not know. This island is rich in history though most today think of it as a resort community. Getting to this island takes some local knowledge or a good map or updated GPS. You head down a short road, put $2 in the automated gate, cross the narrow access bridge, and you have arrived.

For the last several decades small, modest resort homes, mostly summer ones, have existed on the island. However, in recent years a development company purchased an old quarry, blasted open one end section that allowed access to the bay, and built multimillion-dollar homes. Now the yachts can park at their owners’ doorsteps. But that is not the secret.

After crossing the bridge, one of the first sites you come upon is a small Confederate cemetery. In 1862 the Union opened a Confederate prison camp here. The government leased 16.5 acres from Leonard B. Johnson for $500 a year. At one time 3,500 Confederate prisoners were housed there. The island was chosen because of the easy access by Union ships via the lake. Over 15,000 men passed through the prison until it closed in 1865. About 200 prisoners perished during interment, some buried in the cemetery mentioned earlier. This fatality number was relatively low for a prison that size. This historical information is not the true secret though it leads us to it.

So, what is the little known Johnson’s Island fact? It is the only Confederate or Union prison where a male soldier gave birth. What? Yes, evidently a female, disguised herself as a male, enlisted in the Confederate States Army, was later captured, and then interred on Johnson’s Island. Local lore is that a Union guard, discovering the ruse, fell in love and ended up impregnating her. Records are sparse as to what happened from there. They don't tell us who this person was or what happened to the child. I suspect there was quite a scandal over the event. But it makes for an interesting story of which few Ohioans are aware.

This picture and the ones below taken either at the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge or the Magee Marsh

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