We are nearing the end of those “dog days of summer” – usually the hottest days of the season. As a child, President Ford and his family would spend their weekends on the shores of Lake Michigan. Generally, during this time of the year, this “Great Lake” can get into the high 60°s and sometimes low 70°s, making the retreat quite refreshing in the summer.
Ottawa Beach became a favorite spot for both Gerald Ford and Betty Bloomer. The Holland, Michigan, beach is only 35 miles from Grand Rapids. In fact, as Richard Norton Smith writes in An Ordinary Man, “According to her lifelong friend Lillian Fisher, Betty had first noticed Jerry Ford one summer day at Ottawa Beach….”
Ford and his three brothers became joint owners of a new cottage at Ottawa Beach in the mid-1950s. Betty and the children would spend summers there while Jerry was in Washington, DC. He would join the family when he could, most definitely taking in that cold, refreshing water!
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Author: Brooke Clement