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Roger's grandfather, Julien Mattens (Motty), bought 275 feet of shore line on Lake of the Woods in 1944. Back then Motty owned 2 restaurants in downtown Decatur at different times. Motty's Diner was on the now vacant lot across from the Hard Times on Phelps street. Eventually he wanted to downsize so he sold that place and purchased "Lunch", which we all know now as "Nettie's Cafe".
Back to the picture. . .
Motty built a resort where people could buy worms and rent a fishing boat or a cabin on the lake. Roger said 3 resorts have existed on LOW: Motty's, Hills, and Ackleys . This is a picture of Motty's Resort. This property was passed to Roger's parents and eventually to Roger & Carol. After Roger's father died he and Carol split the land up, knocked down the cabins and built their house. Roger's family has been on LOW over 72 years! He remembers aquaplanes landing on the lake and para-sailers taking off from Brookheisen Point.
Roger and Carol Mattens' "cottage" is located at 46296 86th Ave, along the south shore of LOW. Their full time residence is in Richland, between Kalamazoo and Battle Creek. They are both retired teachers from the Battle Creek Public Schools.
Carol taught early elementary students. She used to sing in various choirs. Her hobbies include counted cross stitch and reading. Roger taught Speech and Drama in high school. He also taught theater, debate & forensics. He likes to take care of his yards, gardening and landscaping them. He says he doesn't wear gloves because he likes to feel the dirt! He goes to yoga 2-3 times a week. And Roger is a fanatic Notre Dame football fan! He is passionate about attending games, often wearing his kilt!
Carol and Roger have 2 sons, one grandson and 3 granddaughters who spend lots of time visiting them at the lake. Roger loves it when the grandchildren stay with them at the lake. He will awaken them very early in the morning before anyone else is awake to go on treasure hunts. He leads them quietly out to the paddle boat and they head for the small island to hunt for those precious treasures--like clam shells!
Carol is a member of the PEO (they fund scholarships) and the Delta Kappa Gamma Society (a teachers group). She plays Bunco and is active in her church.
Roger is a lifetime member of the National Education Association and the Michigan Education Association. He was a recipient of the Hall of Fame award from the Michigan Speech Coaches Association. In fact, there is a plaque on the wall in the lower level of the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, bearing his name! Why there? He used to bring students to the Grand Hotel for the Lilac Speech Tournament. The students spent the weekend at the Grand Hotel for this speech competition every year. They even had to dress for dinner! Roger is President of Southwest Michigan Rehab Foundation, a philanthropic trust that provides financial assistance to people who fall below the poverty level . He and Carol are very busy people!
Carol and Roger both love Lake of the Woods. It is woven into the fabric of their memories with all the family reunions, engagement parties, baby showers, 4th of July celebrations and many more important occasions with family and friends. Roger says, "This lake has community. People care for one another once you get to know your neighbors. People will help you. "
This may be a good place to note that Roger served for over 20 years on the LOWA board, many of those years as secretary/treasurer! Thank you, Roger, for all those years of service!
I asked them what they like about lake living. They responded, "Relaxing on Sunday night is the best night of the week when all the boaters go home. We sit on our swing and relax. Every sunset is special. Every quiet morning when water is like glass and the only movement on the lake are the swans is special." Roger added, "Doctors should be able to write prescriptions for lake living."
Their favorite restaurants in the area include Woodfire (Dowagiac), La Cantina (Paw Paw), Decoy Ducks (Lawton), and The Round Oak (Dowagiac). Roger thought it would be nice if LOW had its own restaurant on the lake. (Just a seasonal one. . .)
Roger and Carol had some advice to share with lake residents: "Consider your time at the lake as stewards. This is not ours. We are only caretakers of it for a short time. Try to leave your property better than when you acquired it."