Writing about my Great-Aunt Reve and Great-Uncle Harry Bricker (Look in the Harvey’s Siblings section under Blieden) brought back fond memories of all of our visits to their summer home on Lake Candlewood in Brookfield, CT.  They bought the property in the early 1930s and they always enjoyed entertaining their family and friends there. I hope you will comment with some of your own memories of going there. Bernie Blieden camping with the Brickers   Uncle Harry was an elementary school principal and his son, Jud, was a high school math teacher, so they both had the summers free to enjoy the countryside of CT.   (Mildred, Manny and Harvey (age 2) at Lake Candlewood in 1945)   Every summer we packed up the car for a weekend, or sometimes even a week’s visit.  There were no super highways then (early 1950’s) so the trip seemed to take all day, or at least many hours.  We always found a picnic table on the side of the road about half way there. We would stop for a picnic lunch and a chance to stretch our legs. Upon arrival at Lake Candlewood, we usually found Uncle Harry outside in one of the gardens.  With a till in one hand, a book in the other hand and a straw hat on his head, when I got older, I thought he must be just like Thoreau. Aunt Reve would come running outside and toss each one of us around.  She had endless energy. I remember the house as rustic with a big guest bedroom addition that had bunk beds.  Wow, they were a treat to see and to climb into.         (The Bricker Summer Home on Lake Candlewood, painted by Mildred Blieden Rich)         As soon as we could, we would quickly change into bathing suits and head to the path to walk down to the dock.  You had to be careful walking because poison ivy lined the sides of the path.  Of course, back then, all of the greenery looked the same to me, but I did try to heed the warnings! Once at the dock, we either went swimming or boating.  If the motor boat was working, we got a ride around the lake.  When we went swimming, or wading for me, little fish and weeds encircled out feet.  That made me squeamish and I did not enjoy that part of the water.    

(1955 – Tara and Ira Blieden at Lake Candlewood)

  Back at the house, it seemed to take forever to walk across the 2 acre property to the other house.  Our little legs got tired!  The guest house was fixed up by Jud and his wife, Ruth, and that is where they stayed. Jud remembers the summers as being extraordinarily pleasant.  He played golf every day and got down to a 13 handicap. It was a treat to get a fresh-picked apple from the apple trees.  I can still taste their crispness and every apple I bite into, I compare to those fresh-picked ones.  Rarely have I found one as delicious. There were also fresh strawberries to pick. There was a glider swing that I always wanted to try, but it seemed like every year, there was a wasp nest in the swing so we were not allowed to use it.       On one of our visits, Avra took her first steps.  During another visit, Pop dropped us off for a week and was going back to the city to work.  Mommy ran after him crying.  She did not want him to leave, but of course, he had to. Aunt Reve and Uncle Harry took us into town to the souvenir shops and I begged and begged Mom to buy me a little photo album.  She finally relented. (I guess I always liked scrapbooking!)   Avra at Lake Candlewood           Aunt Reve would always give me old flower and vegetable seed catalogs to use there and to take home.  I loved cutting out pictures of pretty flowers and pasting them on paper and then organizing them into little books.  (More evidence that I always loved scrapbooking!) I remember the time Aunt Reve and Uncle Harry took us to a new Super Discount Store called Caldors.  It was huge and bright and had so much merchandise.  We had never seen anything like it before.  We actually went back for a second visit during that same trip. In 1999, Caldors, after declaring bankruptcy in 1995, closed all of its 145 stores.  It was the end of an era for sure, but other huge box stores such as Target and Walmart soon filled the gap.   ( Cousins at Lake Candlewood – Left photo:  Andy Blieden, Mavra and Avra Blieden, Ruth Bricker,  Right photo:  Tara Blieden, Amy and Hali Blieden, Ira Blieden) Ira remembers that Uncle Harry, on one of our trips up there, stepped barefoot into a hornets nest. He spent the entire week with his foot in a pale of mud!  Ira also remembers how he  always loved the smell of Uncle Harry’s tool shed.  Ira says “Wow.. my new shed has the same smell!”  (April 2018) We all loved Lake Candlewood.  For my family, going there was the only vacation we ever took!

Post Author: trothman

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