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Friday, March 6, 2009

Hot Tea, a Cool Lake & Bud Steele's 15 minutes of Fame

I've been getting emails from some friends in Florida rubbing it in regarding their sunning on the beach while I'm here in New Gretna sloshing through the snow. This afternoon, I brewed a hot cup of my favorite tea, sat back on my recliner, and did some serious day dreaming about warm summer days in New Gretna.

Florida is not the only place with white sandy beaches. Why, we have Bass River State Park just up the street with a great beach and a tranquil Pine Barrens Lake. As I sipped on my hot tea, my mind flashed back to past summers at Lake Absegami. I could almost feel that warm, white sand between my toes. What great therapy on a cold winter day!

The beach at Bass River State Park's Lake Absegami is a great place to spend a warm summer day. (Photo courtesy of Bass River State Park Photo Archives.)

Lake Absegami was a summer oasis for three generations of New Gretna youth who came to frolic on the beach, enjoy the cool spring fed water of the lake, and to socialize with friends. What better place to spend a warm summer afternoon.

Some New Gretna girls enjoying the beach at Lake Absegami - (1) Peg Cramer; (2) Margaret Osterhaven; (3) Unknown (4) Alberta Cramer; (5)  Bess Mathis; (6) Alberta Cramer; and (7) Unknown. If anyone can identify any of the unknown girls, I'd appreciate hearing from you. (Photo courtesy of Peg Cramer McAnney.)

While some were enjoying the benefits of the beach and lake, others found summer employment at Lake Absegami, which brings me to Bud Steele. Bud was the best swimmer in the New Gretna area. Put him in a swimming contest with Johnny Weisemuller and Buster Crabbe, and my money is on Bud. He was that good. That's why it's not surprising that Bud was the first life guard at Lake Absegami. You knew you were safe when he was around.

Bud Steele was the first life guard at Lake Absegami and "drop dead"  handsome, too. (1943 photo courtesy of Almira Cramer Steele.)

So, today, I would like to present the Blog's "15 Minutes of Fame Award" to Clarence "Bud" Steele, Lake Absegami's first life guard. It's quite an achievement.

Pete S

PS- Notice any connection between a certain two people in the first and second photos above?

PPS- Now we know where Ricky got his good looks.


  1. Hi Pete: This makes me think of the picture I sent you labeled "bathing beauties" that showed my mother Pauline Mathis and her sister Eugenia along with two "unknowns." It would be interesting to know where that picture was taken and who the unknowns were.
    Beverly Mathis Robinson

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