Growing up, Alex Bercik’s family moved several times. Alex’s father worked for Ford, and that took the Bercik’s to different locations, mostly in the south. But one place in the north always had Alex’s attention – Clark Lake. Through extended visits to his grandparents, the Volks, Clark Lake memories became part of him. What comes to mind first? Alex says “catching turtles. We’d catch them, mark them with a Sharpie and let them go. That’s so we’d know if we caught the same one next summer.”
Now 25 years old, Alex has an interest in writing poetry and art. And here’s how that connects to Clark Lake and his grandmother. Alex’s grandmother is Cindy Volk, who recently celebrated 50 years at her Lakeview West location. Her family bought the cottage in 1973. She and her husband decided to make it a full time home in the late 1990s. That meant rebuilding. Though Alex is too young to remember the old cottage, he has seen photos and listened to stories about it. This summer, in recognition of the 50th anniversary, his gift to his grandmother is a drawing. The new house is on the left, the old, on the right.
On Sunday (10/8), Cindy, Alex, and his mother Kelli stood in the chilly wind for this photo.
Photo of the original cottage.
Here they are in front of the wall where the drawing has an honored place.
The text you see framed to the right of Cindy is where Alex’s talent as a poet comes to life. Alex distilled some of his feelings about the lake into verse. The last line connects to a story he read on this website about another Clark Lake family.
How peaceful is the late night sky,
With stars and many fireflies;
Who gently seem to say goodbye,
As morning twilight comes to shine.
How calming is the placid lake,
Whose friends that dwell amongst the bank;
How slowly do they come to wake,
As sunrise ends their nightly break.
Purples, reds and violets too,
Prance throughout the morning dew;
In time they turn their sky so blue,
To bear a mirrored lake to view.
Rippled waves begin to form
As skis and fishers leave the shore,
Waking fish and those who snore
Along the mucky seaweed floor.
Morning turns to say goodbye
With chilly wind that passes by,
To welcome in the midday sky,
Who gladly beams in bright reply.
Magically the cove attracts
A joyous crowd of raucous rafts,
Accompanied by hearty laughs
Of which they proudly seem to cast.
Bouts of briskly bouncing breeze,
Breathe life to opportunities;
For in the sail lie ocean dreams
Of those who live a life they please.
Speed boats skim the wavy rafter,
Chased by tubes in playful banter;
Spirit seems to pull them faster—
Hoping for a dunk disaster.
Evening comes and with it brings
A savored scent for all to sing,
As dinner bells so loudly ring
To usher all the hungry in.
As the fire starts to bellow,
Clouds afar turn to yellow;
Boats and birds gently mellow,
Just in time for warm marshmallow.
And like the morning amber glow,
Sundown sends a scarlet show;
A seamless stream of warming flow,
The rocking chair has come to fro.
Precious is this gift we’re given,
A masterpiece in which we live in,
Leaving us with clear decision,
The lake’s our little slice of heaven!
Alex says he found inspiration in the last stanza from a My Clark Lake Story on this website, written by Scott Shawaker. It’s how the last line came to be part of Alex’s poem.
From Scott Shawaker: “In my favorite story, Gramps recalls sitting on a bench next to his father looking out over the water of Clarks. His father said, ‘Wayne, this is a little slice of heaven. Don’t you think?’ And my young Gramps said, ‘Yes, Pappa. I think it is.’ And that is a story that rings as true today as it did over 100 years ago.”
To read Scott’s story in its entirety, please click here.
For the photograph, Alex removed the drawing from the frame. On the backside was found this inscription he left for history.
To download a PDF of the poem, please click here.
Today, Alex lives in Georgia where he works for Chick-fil-A, and hopes to own a franchise someday. Like many others who live elsewhere, he never leaves behind this “slice of heaven.”
Read more about the Bercik’s and the Lakeview West neighborhood by clicking here.