Lake County History, Chapter 99: Good, Fresh Air

Early morning at Seigler Springs was beautiful.

“Warm sunshine wakens us next morning. It is early, and there are birds singing outside our windows. A different maid brings us hot water, and we dress quickly, for the room is cold. The ladies don shawls, and we go downstairs and out into the veranda. How beautiful the mountains are! How clean the air smells! In the city, one is continually afflicted by the odors of livery stables and garbage.  Siegler Springs is quite large and modern. It is one of the nicest places to take the waters. The hotel, where we have spent the night, is two stories tall with a gracious veranda extending around to its side. The dining hall is a separate building to the left of the hotel. To the right, down the hill a short distance, is a dance-hall and a theater. There is a dormitory out back for the help. Numerous small cabins are sprinkled about under the trees, that one can rent for a reasonable rate. Directly in front of the hotel, there is a lovely fountain. Beyond this a badminton, tennis courts, and a race track with what must be the most elegant barn in all Lake County. A path behind the hotel leads to the mineral springs, and then the bathhouse and then the enormous swimming pool.”

“We go to the dining hall. It is large and filled with sunlight. The tables are covered with spotless white linen, and they are graced by bowls of red Rosebuds. The napkins are folded into little boats. For breakfast, there is porridge, toast, muffins, hot biscuits, wheat cakes, baked apples, apple sauce, stewed dried apricots, scrambled eggs, ham, sausage, bacon, venison steak, rounded flat, sliced pickled beef, fried potatoes, and creamed oysters on toasted muffin halves. There is also coffee, tea, milk, and buttermilk. One has a choice of gravy, syrup, or honey. Everything seems to be swimming in butter, and the proprietor explains that Lake County is famous for its dairy cattle.”

“After breakfast, the young ladies retire upstairs to change into their tennis frocks. It will be warm today, and, if they intend to play, they must do it before the sun strikes the courts and inflicts its harmful rays upon their complexions. Aunt Hester does not approve of tennis. ‘Jumping about swishing one’s skirts, displaying one’s limbs, to every John, Dick, and Harry is unseemly.’

“We collect our bathing gear and promenade slowly down the path to the baths. The ladies wear sun hats and carry parasols. There are fountains along the path, and we pause to take the waters. There are dippers hanging nearby. One poor chap has consumption. He explains to us as he hands us the dipper, ‘I have come to spend the summer. I hope for a cure.’ “

 “There are wildflowers growing everywhere I look; Baby Blue Eyes, Larkspur, Chemise Lilies, Indian Paintbrush, Mariposa Lily,  and Monkey Flower. We reach the bath-house. There are dressing-rooms with benches and hooks, on which one may hang one’s clothing. We change into our bathing clothes: shoes, stockings, corset, and top. Aunt Hester says, ‘The new style of bathing dress does not have near enough skirt. I would not be seen dead in one.’ She finds herself a shady place under a tree, takes out her glasses while she reads the latest book by Oscar Wilde. There have been terrible rumors about that man lately, and she is careful to keep the title of the book covered with her shawl.”

 Next Episode: Aunt Hester has her ‘Medicine.’


 Visit Gene’s website; http://genepaleno.com/

Gene Paleno

Gene runs his life at a full sprint. In his ninety-three years he's dug ditches, painted signs, played semi-pro football, worked as a taxicab driver, an insurance agent, and a school teacher. He's been a technical artist, a marketing director, and a business owner. He served in World War II, raised four children, and was married to the love of his life for fifty years. He's an accomplished oil painter and skilled in ceramics. He's written fifteen books, including the definitive Lake County History, and doesn't show any signs of slowing down.

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