Clear Lake - Big Rapids, Michigan

There is a cottage by a lake, by a lake,
Where my vacation I do take, I do take,
Six kids, one frog, ten turtles and a snake.
There is a cottage by a lake.

We've all been coming here for years, here for years.
We've gone from soda pop to beers, pop to beers.
We've had our fill of the local souvenirs.
We've all been coming here for years.

We're all related to each other, to each other.
Your second cousin is my brother, is my brother.
And my great aunt is your grandmother.
We're all related to each other.
Here is the weathered 100-year old cottage where our clan spends two weeks every summer.
The lake is shallow and full of weeds and turtles. The cottage has one shower and two toilets.
The bedrooms are full of furniture and fixtures from another era. The diningroom seats twenty.
There are five generations of memories. We have a ghost who smokes his cigar late at night.
More than any other place we've ever traveled, this is home.


2018 Christmas card

Clara, Sloan, Sasha & Clay

Clara & James

Viking chess

The great fisherman

Fine entertainment on the porch

An evening of D&D

Nick, Sloan, Sasha & George

A fine family feast al fresco
Last summer's visit was too short for Sasha and Sloan,
so this year they came to the cottage for three weeks.
To add to the excitement, Nicole and family joined us.
Kids having fun at Clear Lake is what it's all about!


Julie & friends

True balance

The Fairmans

Honey & her grandsons

Frogs on his mind

Jumping contest

Sloan & Ella

A day at Ludington

Ice cream for lunch!

Games, games, games

The younger crowd

Family feast
The cottage was full for two glorious weeks this summer.
Julie brought a bunch of friends from camp
and the Fairmans drove up from Chicago.
Lots to do and nothing planned!


Sierra's shingles

James & Cameron

Dan, Dave, Nick

Jim, Nick, Dave

The Fairmans

A quiet spot

Late summer sunset
This was the year of the boathouse renovation.
James, Sierra, Cameron, Dave and Nick worked hard
with crowbars, hammers, saws and paintbrushes.
Jim and Monica came for the christening.


2015 gathering

Sarah & grandsons

The Fairman swings

Archery practice

Sailing lessons

With Ken Kuper

Peace & quiet

Chad & Julia

New and old

Ice cream all over

A good book

Bath in the kitchen

We had a full cottage this year
with visitors from Chicago and Ann Arbor.
Everyone enjoyed the traditional Clear Lake fun.
Sloan says he wants to come back again next year.


2014 gathering

Family dinner

Peaceful anchorage

Warm fire on a cold day
We had a smaller crowd than usual this August because
our 20-somethings all had summer jobs.
But we filled the chairs around the table
and enjoyed good times.


2013 Christmas card

Jim Fairman memorial service

A reading by Dave

Music at the graveside

The Fairmans

New life starts here

Monica & Jim

John, David, Moriah Jickling

John Jickling memorial

Dining with cousins

Fall colors
August was marked by memorials for Uncles John Jickling and Jim Fairman.
Both were celebrations of lives well lived and of their loving families.
It's the Circle of Life, while our clan continues to grow and change.
Meanwhile, music, good food, and fall colors stay the same.


Amy, Alex & Jack

The Stumpfs

2012 Christmas card

Music on the lawn

Louise & Becca

Louise & John

Bob's venison stew

Evening light

Fish video by J.Noellert
Every year, it's the same place with the same folks, more or less.
The children are a little older while the parents haven't changed.
We had a nice visit from Paul Stumpf and family this summer.
Good food. Good friends. Good times. See you next year!


Here comes the bride

Wedding vows

Tying the knot

Jean, Julia & Amy

Julia & family

Gentlemen & cigars

Enzo, Sasha & Larry

Sasha & Enzo

The Human Weevil

Beach crew

Sasha & princesses

The performers

The Quality of Life

Anna, Sasha & Josiah

Reading together

Down to the beach

Beach buggy

2011 Christmas card

Sarah & Bob

Sasha & Mark
There is a wedding in July, in July.
I'm so happy, I could cry. I could cry.
Nicole and Craig, the marriage knot to tie.
There is a wedding in July.


2010 Christmas card

Black-eyed Susan

Schuberg's farm

A shady spot

James at guitar

Dan at uke

Kids at play

Evening in

James & Joanna

Yoga on the grass

Family circle

Our yoga instructor

Julia at guitar

The old stairs

John's canoe

A fresh breeze
From the far reaches of the globe, the family gathered together once again,
with friends and relatives to round out the group and fill the dinner table.
A highlight for this summer was Deborah's yoga classes on the lawn.


Anna, Allie & Sasha

Learning to swim

Girls on the dock

Girls in the air

Becca & Dan

Dan & Sarah

Becca, Jenny, Kate

Feast of sushi

Father & son

Emily & Becca

Sally & David

2009 Christmas card


Perfect afternoon


Clear Lake sunset
We had a lively crowd this summer, with lots of talented musicians and cooks.
The big "cultural event" was the talent show, organized by Emily and Becca.
For Sasha, it was his first visit to the lake -- the first of many, to be sure!



David & Sierra

A perfect day

Kate & Jenny

Smooth waters

David on skis

Russ & Jean

Grocery shopping

Jim & his 3 girls

Old stone gate

The Fairmans

The gang of '08
This August, the cottage hosted six Fairmans, four Jicklings, two Stiflers,
and one Lucas. Time stops and the fun begins as the clans mix together
as they have for generations. These are the good old days.


2007Christmas card

Fairman Family

Anna, Mason, Sarah

Mikka & friend

Traditional shampoo

Dweezil & John

Water sports

Apres swim

A game of Blokus

Rainy afternoon

Emerging talent

Standing room only

Lead singer

First mate

Double rainbow

Dog tired
The crew maxed out at 20 this summer with a few new faces and lots of old ones,
with folks from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Washington DC, Michigan,
Illinois, Colorado, California, Hawaii and Australia. What a far-flung bunch of fun folks!


2006 Christmas card

The newest Fairman

Mikka, Anna, Julie

Mason & Ernesto

The entertainer

Clear Lake hairstyle

Lively conversation

The parent table

A candlelit dinner


Jenny, Katie & David

Jean & Alexandra

Ready for adventure

Katie & Jenny

Clear Lake babes

Photo by David Fairman
During the past winter, we gutted and remodelled the kitchen.
This summer, we really enjoyed cooking ... for a gathering of 21!
here to see the remodelling project and the finished kitchen.
A couple of us also slipped away for a lovely day at Mackinac Island.


Breakfast of champions

Katie, Jenny, Jim

Feeding fish

A fine day for a swim

Waterfront scene

Point Sable Beach

Sarah, Nick, Mason
Tim, Raelene

Big Sable Point Lighthouse

The "older" generation

2005 Christmas card
This summer, the cottage has had quite a facelift with a fresh coat of paint and a new bathroom.
To see pictures of our crew working hard and the end results, click

Summer 2004 started off with a wedding in Mystic, CT followed by
adventures on Block Island. Click here to see photos of these big family events.

Indian girl

Canoe battles

Russ and ski boat

Coasting to a stop
While in Michigan, we took an overnight trip to the Stratford Festival of Canada to see
wonderful performances of Guys and Dolls, Macbeth and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

In Stratford, ON

Acting up

The costume warehouse

In the cavalry

Making a point


2003 Christmas card

Dan, Mikka

Katie and Jenny

Julia and Sarah
After Clear Lake, we took a road trip across eastern Canada to Nova Scotia.


2002 Christmas card

Mikka defends

Dan, David

Becca, Mikka, Dan



The troops

Taking a breather

David, Nick, Julia

Dan, Mason, Mikka

Bud & Sheila Meiers, Margie Peirce,
Helen Fairman, Betty Dove

Three siblings

David, Uncle Jim, Sarah

Tim & Sarah

Jenny Fairman

Mom & Dad

2001 Christmas card

Sarah, John, Nick

Mikka, Anna, Mason, Dan

Mikka, Dan, Julie

Dan and Mason

Mikka and Anna

Julie and Dan

Mikka and Nick
These two weeks at Clear Lake were followed by a canoe country adventure in Ontario.
July 2, 1975

Seated in front of the Wright cottage are 10 of the 12 Wright cousins.
This photo was taken at the time of Uncle George's 80th birhtday.
Back row: Eleanor Groves, Julia Stifler, Nancy Kuper, Barbara Jickling
Middle: Dibby Bos, George Wright, Janet Wright Biddlecome
Front row: Gail Wright Whitehead, Jim Fairman, Joan Wright Eastley

If you have any questions about our old cottage, feel free to contact me at
To read about our adventures in more exotic lands, click here.