BEST KEPT SECRETS: Your Pod or Mine?My obsession (kind of like Richard Dreyfuss’ in Close Encounters of the Third Kind) began in the fall of 1970 with a “Playboy” I found under my brother Glen’s bed. I brought it up in a family meeting about what to do with the derelict building we had just bought next door to our house in Chicago. “Let's put a Futuro House there!” I said.
By: Robin Washington, Photography by Julia Cheng, Living North Magazine
Ask the locals in Minocqua, Wis., about the flying saucer in the area and they won’t call you crazy. But they won’t likely be able to give you directions to it, either.
“I’ve heard of it, but I’ve never seen it,” said Steve Black of Life Spring coffee house, which happens to be in a dome occasionally thought to be related to the out-of-this-world pod in nearby Arbor Vitae.
Black offers to put on a Bigfoot suit and go searching for it, but it isn’t necessary. After nearly 40 years, I finally received the coordinates to one of the 100 flying saucer-shaped homes ever to occupy the planet, right, geographically speaking, in my own back yard.
My obsession (kind of like Richard Dreyfuss’ in Close Encounters of the Third Kind) began in the fall of 1970 with a “Playboy” I found under my brother Glen’s bed. I brought it up in a family meeting about what to do with the derelict building we had just bought next door to our house in Chicago.
“Let's put a Futuro House there!” I said.
“A what?” my mother asked as I ran into my mortified brother’s room. Retrieving the magazine, I dangled the “Playboy Pad of the Month” spread in front of her.
“What are you doing with that?” she exclaimed.
Glen shelved his embarrassment to join in. “No, no – he's right. Look at it,” he said.
She never did, and a Futuro never came to Orleans Street. But it never left my mind, either, and in the ’80s, I called the magazine to ask about the fiberglass flying saucer right out of the Jetsons that – “September 1970, Finnish company, went out of business,” the receptionist interrupted in a stop-calling-here voice.
OK, at least I wasn't dreaming. Another decade went by. The Internet was invented. I typed in “Futuro” and at first got only hits in Italian. Then a few years later, the motherlode: The owners of the surviving Futuros were making contact with each other. One was in northern Wisconsin, which opposite from my case, Drew Poggemann of Appleton, Wis., learned from his mom, a local Realtor.
“She said, ‘Could you give me a description of what Trekkies would like so I can get them to look at the place?” he said. “I said, ‘I want it.’ She said, ‘But it's a flying saucer.’ I said, ‘I want it.’”
He got it, for a steal; basically the price of the land, and renovated it ’60s-chic, to offer as a summer rental.
I took it Solstice week 2008 and this year the first week of July. Approaching through the trees and entering the pod bay door (take that, Hal!) was everything Playboy promised: A kitchen, bath, captain’s bedroom and living room set cylindrically around a fireplace with electricity and running water. Steps from a lake (where a bald eagle family has taken up residence), deer visited daily, a doe nursing two fawns 10 feet away. They didn't seem to think of it as a human dwelling.
Humans were similarly impressed.
“There is nothing like telling ghost stories by the campfire to the ‘eerie’ cry of the loon with a yellow saucer in the foreground,” Thom Quinn of Madison, Wis., penned in the guest book. Or as one Heather versed: “Oh my God/We love the Pod/Delightfully Odd/Extremely Mod!!!”
So after two visits and plans for yearly returns, are there any ill-effects to summering in a flying saucer?
Certainly not. Why, I’m perfectly wbxhgqrb hgt3.1459q vhxp mphmfnnfj.
Robin Washington is news director of the Duluth News Tribune.
To schedule a trip - er, stay, in the pod, go to www.podupnorth.com.