LAKE HALLIE — Patti See moved to her cabin on Lake Hallie in 2010. A few years later, she started collecting the oral histories of her neighbors; particularly the people who have lived on the lake the longest.

See has written many essays over the years about her time on Lake Hallie and the interesting stories of her neighbors. Some of those essays have recently been published in a book called “Here on Lake Hallie: In Praise of Barflies, Fix-it-Guys, and Other Folks in Our Hometown” by the Wisconsin Historical Society.

“I grew up in Chippewa Falls, but I came to Lake Hallie as a kid and young adult because my best friend grew up here,” See said.

When she moved to the lake herself she started to get to know the neighbors, particularly the oldest ones on the lake. She’d come home to her family and relay all of the stories that were told to her during her visits with the neighbors.

“My husband kept saying somebody has to collect these, somebody has to record them. So, the idea for this book actually started with interviewing people who have lived on Lake Hallie the longest,” See said. She wrote these oral histories down and mixed in her own experiences to create a unique collection of essays for “Here on Lake Hallie.”

“A lot of funny, interesting things happen on Lake Hallie,” she said. “You know, in any small town you’re going to have interesting things happen if you pay close enough attention.”

See pitched her book idea to the editor at Wisconsin Historical Society pre-pandemic and they accepted it. Then, COVID-19 shut everything down in early 2020, putting the book on pause. See is excited to finally see the finished product.

The book contains over 30 essays that range in age from 10 years old to fairly recent. They recount stories of love, loss, laughter, family, friendship and all the things that come with living on a neighborhood lake in Wisconsin.

See says there are lots of sad moments throughout the essays, but there’s also a lot of poignant family moments, friend moments and neighbor moments; moments that people can identify with.

“There aren’t very many homes on Lake Hallie; it’s quite a close knit community,” See said. She often writes about her neighbor Helen Sabaska, who has lived on the lake for over 80 years. “Certainly that could happen in another place, but that’s a really unique experience.”

See says Lake Hallie is a lovely place to live. For her, one of the things that’s great about this book is that while she gets to tell the stories in it, she has also found that it connects with readers.

“Yes, I’m telling my story about my people and my place and my friends, but it triggers other levels of empathy in other people,” she said. “They read it and they have an ‘oh yeah’ moment, or even an ‘oh no moment.’”

Since its release at the end of May, “Here on Lake Hallie” has received much praise from readers and fellow writers. Local author Mike Perry calls See “a careful, clear-eyed observer” calling the stories heartbreakers and knee slappers woven with tenderness and love.

“Here on Lake Hallie: In Praise of Barflies, Fix-it-Guys, and Other Folks in Our Hometown” is available for purchase on shop.wisconsinhistory.org and amazon.com.

There will be a launch event for the book from 6-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Lake Hallie Golf’s patio; in the event of rain, the event will be in their pavilion — both are open air. From 6-6:30 p.m. enjoy cake provided by Wisconsin Historical Society Press and a cash bar. Books will also be for sale.

From 6:30 to 7 p.m. See will talk about the book and read a short piece about Lake Hallie. Following the talk, attendees can enjoy more refreshments and get their book signed. The launch event is free and open to the public.