Carolyn Lange Hatlestad, originally from North Dakota, revels in the beauty of Minnesota lakes and recalls her personal connection to the surrounding waters, including the baptisms of her three sons.
This story was collected as part of a collaborative effort to record the state of American lakes, rivers, and waterways as well an attempt to uncover what water means to Americans. Listen to other stories recorded by the Minnesota Humanities Center for their We Are Water MN initiative, an outgrowth of our national traveling exhibition "Water/Ways."
"My name is Carolyn Lang Hatlestad and I live with my husband, Phil, and we have three sons on a far. I grew up on a farm in North Dakota where there isn’t a lot of water. My memories of water and any kind of enjoyment were running through a sprinkler or the stock pond, which in North Dakota is a man-made hole in the pasture where the cows drink water and defecate in the water and that was my summer swimming hole—swimming along with the cow pies. Not a very pleasant atmosphere! So, coming here, living in Minnesota with these beautiful lakes, has just been incredible.
I love going back to North Dakota because that is where my home is and where I grew up and where my family is, but I always love coming back to the lakes and the trees. My next big milestone when I think of water is our two oldest sons were baptized in Lake Andrew—no, I'm sorry, Games Lake—our two oldest sons were baptized in our outdoor worship service on Games Lake. They were the first ones that our church did that and our pastor took water from the lake and baptized them. And our third son, who was born in September—and that was after the church services—so we couldn’t baptize him outside with the water.
But Phil’s mom is the most wonderful, wonderful woman. She was bound and determined he was also, our third child, was also going to be baptized by lake water. So she went out, and since we had named him Andrew, she also went to Lake Andrew, got a quart jar, put water in that, went to Games Lake, got water from that, and we had that in the baptismal font. And so all three of our sons were baptized with the water that we live around and that has always been a very powerful part of our family."