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Stella’s Place Comments & Tom Thompson’s Obituary

I just wanted to copy/paste some material that I posted at another blog in case any of you might be interested in some of these things…& it saves me writing it up again!

Blessings to All,

Valerie

From the below site (well worth the visit & extended stay within & about!):

General Discussion, Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Here’s my stuff, obviously:

Hi, I’m pretty new around here but I wanted to share a “good report” about my son. Some of you have visited his new blog, JosiahsFreakShow.wordpress.com at the urging of Menagerie at the Conservative Tree House.

We’ve had a busy couple of days (following an extended 4th of July stay in Northern Michigan) seeing a surgical pre-op clinic Monday & “today” (actually Tuesday, but it never “feels” like it’s a new day until I actually/eventually sleep!) at the Liver Transplant Clinic AND the Brain Tumor Clinic. That’s a lot to process, even for us.

Anyway, the upshot is that there is no apparent (re)growth of his Brain Tumor since it’s removal back in 2010…and for the first time he will be allowed to go for FOUR Years before another Brain MRI & return to the Pituitary Clinic!

He is also almost exactly 4 years post-Liver Transplant now & looks like he may be able to begin the weaning off of anti-rejection meds following a (relatively minor, though 18th overall) surgery planned for later this month! This is almost a year sooner than they’d previously stated protocols would allow such attempted medication weaning–perhaps a sign of how well he’s doing…

These are all huge praise reports from our standpoint…& my son is quite relieved since he had been “gearing up with the Lord” to prepare for the possibility of more “bad news” & medical challenges, especially in the Neurosurgery arena. We are so thankful for good reports.

I wrote up many details about these visits, & previously about many medical & special education challenges for/about Josiah, at this blog, if anyone is interested in that type of material…

http://www.carepages.com/carepages/JournalingForTheJazzman

There are also details about our ongoing & historical journey, especially as relates to managing Josiah’s needs, at my wordpress blog here

SpecialConnections.wordpress.com

Some people have been blessed and encouraged by our experiences & faith-affirming approaches to the complex & difficult medical & advocacy battles we’ve faced…so all those links are by way of an FYI, if they might be beneficial, inspiring, or encouraging to others.

God Bless You ALL…& God Bless America (& restore Her to founding principles & values!)

(I wanted to post a photo of Josiah here, but don’t know how to do that…so here is a link to the photo I’d wanted to share, fyi)
http://www.carepages.com/carepages/JournalingForTheJazzman/photos/5672780

Blessings,
Valerie Curren

  • PS I really only began the wordpress blog as a form of an outlet to cope with the massive abuse/betrayal of the special education system (not that I in any way believe in the Nanny State)…in attempting to assert, protect, and redress issues related to my special needs son’s “rights” “guaranteed & protected” in Special Education law! I was/am an isolated parent dealing with extremely complex issues over many years who took advocacy “training” from WrightsLaw.com to heart & attempted to put it into practice in defense of my son…anyway some perspective on that whole debacle can be gained at this early blog posting…& the inspirational article cited is also well worth the read for anyone who struggles in these arenas…

    https://specialconnections.wordpress.com/2016/02/18/commenting-on-only-the-rich-will-have-rights-article/

    Thanks for providing a place where we can share things on our minds & hearts!

 

Eventually I’d like to take a page out of Stella’s “book” & perhaps have some guest posts and post even more things of wider ranging interest…but one step at a time…

If you’ve stopped by here for any reason, or even just by accident, thanks for taking the time to read a bit about our situation, to pray for our needs, to share an encouraging word, or even just a passing kindly thought.  We hope you are doing well, but if you struggle (as we all do from time to time) we would be happy to pray with/for you and encourage you as best we can.

In Christ,

Valerie

PS here’s that picture that I’d wanted to post at Stella’s site, and the associated comments, from the above noted link…

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Josiah undergoing pre-op procedures before the Brain Tumor Surgery Summer 2010

Posted Jul 14, 2012 8:07pm

JOSIAH . . . the bravest young man we know. We love you and are keeping you in our prayers.
Cousins Tom and Julie

 

As an aside, this above comment on Josiah’s picture is especially meaningful to me since Tom has recently died & Julie has been in a nursing home for a number of years & no longer actively follows along with Josiah’s needs…& I really miss her wonderful input & encouragement…

Here is cousin Tom’s Obituary…he is officially Hugh Orr Thompson, II but has always been known as “Tom” within the family to distinguish between himself, his father, his son, and most recently his grandson–Hugh IV…

Obituaries & Words of Condolence

Thompson, Hugh, Jr. Obituary
03/19/2017

Hugh Orr Thompson, Jr., of Troy, Michigan and Gaylord, Michigan, passed away Sunday, March 19, 2017. He was 76.

Hugh Thompson was born to Dr. Hugh and Bernice Thompson on November 16, 1940. At the age of 22 he married Julianne Weiskotten and the two spent 53 years together at the time of his passing.

Hugh was active in the Boy Scouts with his children and was also a proud member of the Shriners. In his spare time, he liked snowmobiling, boating, flying, fishing, and even water-skiing in his youth.

Hugh is survived by his wife, Julianne; children Hugh Thompson III (and his wife, Hanh) and Bill Thompson (and his wife, Carrie); and grandchildren Halle Thompson, and Hugh Thompson IV. He was preceded in death by his parents Dr. Hugh and Bernice Thompson, and sister Karen.

There will be two funeral services. The first will be held on Friday, April 7th at the Church of the Nazarene in Troy, Michigan at 2pm with visitation beginning at 1pm. The second will be held on Saturday, April 8th at Nelson Funeral Home in Gaylord, Michigan at 3pm with visitation beginning at 2pm.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The Alzheimer’s Association, or the Humane Society.

 

Condolence Messages

From: Don Walworth
Northport, MI
Contact
31-Mar-17

You will be missed my friend! We spent many a summer together on Otsego Lake together. May peace be with you

From: Bill and Elaine Stoddard
DEARBORN, MI
Contact
29-Mar-17

Tom has been not only a cousin but best friend to Bill since early childhood. His wife, Julianne is likewise a most prescious friend and cousin. We pray for God’s comfort to all who will miss the earthly presence of this honorable man of good character and integrity. He is much loved, by many.

http://nelsonsfuneralhome.com/obituary-view.cfm?obituaries_id=935

The condolence messages from Don Walworth & my dad Bill Stoddard are from the surviving “Bunns” of “The Three Bunns”…a nickname this trio of mischievous young men gave themselves during all of the many high-jinx of their youth (I do not know the meaning, origin, or purpose of that name).  There are many wonderful stories about their Summers at Otsego Lake that often get revisited with the newer generations as the years go by…& I love to instigate the telling of such tales!

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One bit of a family history tidbit, Tom & Julie met at my parents’ wedding and married about a year later.  My dad recently said that Julie told him that she fell in love with Tom at first sight & knew she would marry him even when she first met him.  Julie’s mother and my dad’s mother were very close friends, I believe they were either school teachers or involved in church activities with each other.  They always wanted their husbands to meet, but neither of the men were interested, being too far apart in interests & lifestyle.  Tom Weiskotten, Julie’s dad, was some type of minister (I believe) & my Grandpa, E. M. (Elzine Munger aka El, Al, or Lefty) Stoddard was a self-made outdoorsman who ran his own Sunoco gas station in Detroit–Stoddard’s Superior Service!  Anyway the wives eventually got their husbands to meet & the guys became fast friends.  Tom W. died while his daughter was quite young so when it was time for her to get married it was my Grandpa Stoddard who walked her down the aisle to give her away to his nephew!  We actually called Julie’s mom Aunt Julia because she was family (by love) even before she was family by marriage!

Nelson’s Funeral Home in Gaylord, MI has handled many of the deaths in our extended family over the years, including Tom’s parents, Hugh & Bernice Thompson, his sister, Karen Hansen, my grandparents, Elzine & Vivian (Bernice’s sister) Stoddard, my great-grandparents, Rowland & Florabelle Thompson (Bernice, Vivian, & Thurman’s parents), and my great uncle & his wife, Thurman & Mary Thompson.

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In fact at Uncle Thurman’s funeral many years ago Josiah was able to meet some of Karen’s grandkids that were also autistic.  Josiah used to point out Nelson’s for many years whenever we went to Gaylord & remark about Thurman’s funeral that had been there, one of the early indicators of some of his unusual memory & location skills (he’d met Thurman maybe once briefly but recalled events for many years without promptings or reminders, even when passing Nelson’s less than once in a year–it wouldn’t surprise me if he still could spell out the Thurman/Nelsons details on a subsequent Gaylord trip–such is part of the miracle & mystery of autism, at least Josiah style!)

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bing.com image for Pine Beach, Otsego Lake, Gaylord, MI

The above picture is pretty close to the sunset view from Tom & Julie’s cottage on Pine Beach, just around the Pointe from my parents’ Cottage on Otsego Lake…

So I need to actually get some sleep & may be getting visually “slap happy” but I couldn’t resist copy/pasting a couple of autism super power images that likely could fit better in other posts I’ve done, but I want to be able to find them again so they are finding a “temporary” home here now!  Blessings, Valerie

I see my brother Curtis doing Chris Farley-esque “air quotes” based on my writing style & am basically cracking my own self up!

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Image result for autism super power

the images in this post were found using the Bing.com search engine…

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Family History Center Fun

While on a recent trip Up North, in Gaylord, Michigan I was privileged to get some Genealogy Time in at the local Family History Center and got to play around with a fun website (see below).  You can find a “local” Family History Center here and get free & friendly help with your own genealogical “games”:

https://familysearch.org/locations/centerlocator

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During my Gaylord FHC endeavor the lovely lady currently running this FHC introduced me to a very fun little free tool, that anyone can actually access.  This is actually RelativeFinder.org and is hosted by BYU (Brigham Young University), I believe.  Although this tool has been available for at least a year (see the below article for details) this is the first I’d ever heard of it…and it was actually quite fun to play with.

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FamilySearch.org is a great Genealogical Website, it offers many free genealogy services and gives you the ability to create a family tree online, and to access many available records and link them to your family tree.  If you have a family tree at FamilySearch.org then you can sign in to the RelativeFinder tool using your FamilySearch log-in info & find relatives via your existing tree.  If you don’t have a family tree (or you want to search for relatives for a specific person in your tree) you can go to family trees in family search and see if you can locate a known ancestor of yours in someone else’s tree.  If you find the correct person you can copy their unique identifying number & paste it into the “masquerade” function of RelativeFinder here:

https://relativefinder.org/#/masquerade

Image result for Masquerade Love

I honestly don’t know if you can use RelativeFinder.org without a FamilySearch login, but you can “join” FamilySearch for free and then see what happens.  The masquerade link above explains where the identifying number can be found in a FamilySearch family tree…so hopefully anyone can have fun with this with just a bit of effort.  Obviously the further back in time you can take your personal family tree the greater the likelihood of finding “cousin” matches with this fun website…

Blessed is the family who delights in the Word of the Lord and meditates on it day and night.  The family will be like a tree planted by streams of water, yielding fruit in its season.  Psalm 1

I plan to use some of the RelativeFinder results to pique the interest of other family members who are less enthusiastic about Genealogy than I am.  Since there are a number of intriguing categories available you are likely to find some sub-set of (available) humanity to pique your own interest…and you never know, you just might get bitten by that pesky genealogy bug & join this legion of enthusiastic “infectees”…but be warned, once bitten there is no proven or lasting cure!

Quotes and Sayings About Family | FAMILY Be thankful Always Forgive Share Respect one Another...

 

https://familysearch.org/blog/en/relative-finder-big-family-cousins/

Well I’m going to have to get back to this posting with an Edit after I can get to a computer with less pop-up blocking so that I can post a couple of examples to potentially whet your appetite…for instance, my husband is a First Cousin to William Shakespeare, though many generations removed!

Happy Hunting!

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PS all images are from various Bing.com image searches

Josiah’s Story about the 4th of July & Val’s Arbutus Beach & Cottage Reminiscences

Source: Josiah’s Story about the 4th of July

Hey, my son Josiah shared some of his insights about the 4th of July & celebrating near our family’s Cottage in Gaylord, Michigan.  There are some lively discussions going on in the Comments Section of his original post, so I wanted to link that post here on my page to find it more easily going forward.

There are some beautiful descriptions of Michigan there from people who have visited over the years!  It’s so great to find even visitors to Michigan have been blessed here!

All of what you see below got generated by looking for appropriate images…which led to reminiscing about life & times Up North…Whew, that was fun but also unexpected!

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This is a picture of Otsego Lake, Gaylord, MI at sunset & that is the very dock used by the street where The Cottage is located & this dock is lovingly maintained by a kind year-round neighbor–image found via a Bing.com image search for “Otsego Lake, Michigan”!

 

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Map of Otsego Lake, Michigan from a Bing.com image search

For the 4th of July, Gaylord usually conducts their Fireworks Show from the Otsego County Park shooting the fireworks off over the Lake.  We get a front row seat to this majestic & patriotic display from “our” beach.  Usually the lake fills with boats so that people watch the show from all angles and situations.  After the County show oftentimes there are many neighbors up & down the beach that put on pretty impressive personal displays, even before such elaborate explosives were available in-state.  Some of the regular out of state visitors also packed quite a bang-up version of personal 4th displays!

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This is similar to our fireworks view, from a Bing.com image search for “Gaylord Michigan fireworks”

From this map of Otsego Lake, you can see that the Lake is roughly 5 miles long and about 1 mile wide at its widest, and many generations of the extended family have taken pride in swimming across the lake–including me!  The Cottage is located along the Northern most side of “The Pointe” that is prominent just North of Otsego Lake State Park.  If you would bisect that Pointe the Northern half would constitute Arbutus Beach, originally set up as a Public Beach (so the Lakefront property owners don’t technically own the Beach between their property & the water).  The Southern half of that Pointe, all the way to Old 27 Highway would be Pine Beach, where Uncle Hugh, Aunt Bernice, & their kids Tom & Karen had cottages.  Pine Beach was set up as Private Beach property so that the lake-front people own the Beach down to the water.  The other owners in Pine Beach only have water access at a couple of access points, somewhat like at the end of the roads.  We actually “slept under the stars” on our cousins’ beach a few times, but that was a more regular occurrence during my Dad’s & Aunt Pat’s Endless Summers of Fun!

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This view is looking South, with The Pointe protruding into the water…from earlier times, like my Dad’s childhood; from a Bing.com image search for “otsego lake, gaylord michigan “

Now Arbutus Beach, because of various lawsuits & disputes has become “The Arbutus Beach Association”.  This makes the Beach rather “semi-private”, whereby in order for people from outside the Association to technically have access to the beach, they need to be guests of Association Members.  We lived at The Cottage during the time the whole lawsuit thing was just getting underway.  In fact, I was operating as an Avon Lady, with a territory that encompassed the entire Arbutus & Pine Beach area.  The Lawsuit was a frequent topic of conversation as I made may way through my Avon Territory and I heard many sad stories from residents.  In some cases friends who had known/interfaced with each other for generations were no longer speaking because they were on opposite sides of the (pointless) disputes.  To my knowledge, some of those historically congenial relationships were permanently destroyed through this lawsuit & subsequent legal maneuvering & fallout.  The only “winners” in all of that were the lawyers…

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This is the sign as you enter Arbutus Beach off Old 27, from a Bing.com image search for “Arbutus Beach, Michigan”

Since my Dad & Aunt Pat, and their cousins Tom & Karen, spent their Summers at Otsego Lake, we get plenty of historical insights & nostalgia about the way things used to be up there.  They traveled around with a bunch of similarly aged kids some of whom lived Up North year round and some of whom, like all of them, were Summer Refugees from Detroit, including a gang of kids at the next most northern train stop, WaWaSoo.  They speak fondly of the days when there were fewer docks & boats on the lake, like two pictures above.  There also were many community events that happened around the lake, at least in the Summer time.  There are many ads in the Gaylord Herald Times Newspapers from like a hundred years ago that show the vibrant community life that seemed to revolve around Otsego Lake back in the day (see some links at the very end of this posting)…The below picture is an historical one of the Resort where historically many community events were held, I believe.  This is now a private residence with a huge dwelling erected on the former community-centric site.

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from a Bing.com image search for “Arbutus Beach, Michigan”

 

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My Great Grandparents’ Cottage & one of their rental cottages in the foreground; from a Bing.com image search for “Arbutus Beach, Michigan”

The above picture shows cottages that are on the street set back from the lake and near the top of the hill.  You can just see the lake in the distance in the middle left of this photo, beyond the car.  This appears to be one of the cottages my great grandparents Rowland Edward & Florabelle Mansell Thompson used to rent to others.  The white cottage in the center of the picture was the cottage my great grandparents moved to Arbutus Beach and was apparently the first cottage there.  The story goes that they bought the lumber company’s manager’s cottage/office? from the South West side of Otsego Lake.  It was pulled by horses over rolling logs across the frozen Lake one winter.

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from a Bing.com image search for “horses pull house across frozen lake”

Though I couldn’t find a picture showing horses pulling a house across a frozen lake, the size of the logs in the above picture and to some degree the time frame may be representative of the process of moving my Great-Grandparents’ First Arbutus Beach Cottage across Otsego Lake.  Also, my Dad’s namesake & grandfather, William Ellsworth Stoddard, found his calling working in lumber, first in Northern Michigan and later managing his boss’ lumber yard in Detroit…WES also had a Gaylord cottage as did several of his children, my Grandpa Elzine Munger Stoddard’s siblings.

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from a Bing.com image search for “horses pull building”

I guess if you add the above two pictures together, divide by two, and pull the building over ice it Might Approximate what allegedly happened with my Great-Grandparents’ First Cottage!  At some time I hope to peruse the historical newspapers from that location & era to see if there might be some mention of this momentous event.  It sounds like the kind of local color piece that would have been so interesting to read from that time period.  Alternatively I may try to see if the Gaylord/Otsego County Historical Society has some record of this event–and hopefully pictures to go with the account!  There’s another couple approximations of that event below…though my great-grandparents’ cottage was bigger (or did it only become bigger later???)…However this was accomplished, it was likely a pretty big deal and involved quite a few people & animals…I would have loved to have heard the tale from my Great Grand Father, as he was a notorious Tall Tale Teller!

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from a Bing.com image search for “horses move building”

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from a Bing.com image search for “horses move building winter”

 

After my Great-Grandparents, Rowland & Florabelle Thompson, died one of their Grandsons, Kenny Moore, who lived in Traverse City, owned their original cottage for many years.  He sold it to his mother’s brother, Thurman Thompson, who lived in California and would occasionally return to Michigan to visit his sisters Vivian Beatrice Thompson Stoddard (my grandmother) & Bernice Genevieve Thompson (Tom & Karen’s mother–she married Hugh Orr Thompson so basically retained her maiden name as a married woman).  After Uncle Thurman died one of his daughters, Mary Louise, inherited the cottage & she eventually moved to Michigan to live there year round.

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from a Bing.com image search for “Fairview Cemetery, Gaylord, Michigan”

By the way  all the names mentioned in the above paragraph, excepting Kenny & Mary, are buried in Fairview Cemetery in Gaylord.  My parents recently bought lots in the vicinity of where my Dad’s first cousin Tom was so lately laid to rest.  Though I hope that it is still many, many years before we need to put that land to use, it is a comfort to know that Mom & Dad will be buried so near so many of the relations on my Dad’s side and so close to our beloved Cottage.  We visited Tom’s grave over Memorial Day and it was a beautiful weather day, though of course bitter sweet in our loss…It was also remarkable the high volume of Military Service represented in that Cemetery, for it appeared that close to half of those graves, going back at least to the Civil War, carried American Flags to honor their Service!

 

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from a Bing.com image search for “Arbutus Beach, Michigan”

This above picture is the cottage that lies between our family Cottage and Otsego Lake–you can see the white “sleeping porch” of Our Cottage behind their side entrance roofing.  When I was a child I used to play with the kids who visited there.  When Michael & I lived at The Cottage in ’93 & ’94 our Pastor’s wife’s sister & brother-in-law lived there with their family.  Later it was bought by a Gaylord native who worked & lived downstate.  It recently changed hands and is now a rental cottage for the new owners.

The swing & platform in the above photo was erected by our neighbors across the street to accommodate the matriarch of that clan when she comes to visit from Florida.  When I was a kid my Grandma & I would sit on the immense log that marked the line between grass & beach to watch sunsets & chat, under where the swing & platform now reside.  Virtually every evening my Dad will sit on that swing, with his sister if she’s Up North, or my Mom, myself, or any of the many grand-kids who might be about to see if there will be yet another spectacular sunset display (& I’ve seen many people up & down Arbutus Beach do this too).

The white cottage on the left is owned by a lovely lady who also spent her growing up Summers at The Lake, like my Dad & Aunt did.  She comes up from Ohio and spends a lot of time Up North throughout the year in her retirement.  To the right of the swing (not in the picture) is a small brown cottage that was owned for many years, possibly generations, by one of the families who generated that dreaded & divisive lawsuit.  They were from California and the man’s brother also had a place further North within the Arbutus Beach community.  The little lake-front gem recently changed hands & is now owned by a couple who live further up the street year round, & maintain that dock in the very top photo above.  They turned that little cozy cottage into a rental place & my parents actually rented it one Summer when so many of our clan were Up North for the 4th for extra sleeping & hangout space–it was quite lovely!

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from a Bing.com image search for “Arbutus Beach, Michigan”

It’s possible that the above picture is from the “Arbutus Beach Highlands”, a small residential community just East of Old 27, across from the Arbutus Beach & Pine Beach neighborhoods & entrance.  Several years ago, Josiah & I along with Brandon & Clarissa spent about 3 weeks at the Cottage in Gaylord.  We walked along the wooded trails of the Highlands, to pick some wild blackberries.  During one of our excursions we ran across some Elk foot/hoof prints.  We would regularly also see Deer prints, but not the animals. Another time, August 2013 to be specific, as Josiah was recuperating following his Liver Transplant in July, he & I had an extended Cottage visit.  On that trip I actually saw a small Red Fox along the Train Tracks where you turn into Arbutus Beach–the only time ever in 50+ years of personal excursions there!  There is so much Natural Beauty abounding in the area.  Sometimes it reminds me of my Grandma, who died in the 1970s, to see the various plants & animals, as we used to walk to the Pointe & some of the wooded pathways together & just talk….She used to be a Teacher, loved kids, and shared her love of God’s world directly with me!!!  These are such treasured memories…

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from a Bing.com image search for “Gaylord, Michigan”

Above is an historical image of the Call of the Wild Museum.  This is a dated though fun family outing place, especially on bad weather days.  My husband often takes our kids there to buy yet another cool knife from their well stocked Gift Shop.  There are many trophy animals on display there including quite a few specimens taken by the legendary hunter, Fred Bear.  He was a dear friend & mentor to hunter, rocker, conservative commentator, and “Motor City Mad Man” Ted Nugent.  I believe Ted has connections to Northern Michigan, but I think more so to the Grayling area, about 1/2 hour South of Gaylord, where he obtained a lot of Fred Bear’s property following Fred’s passing.  I also believe that Fred Bear was a very gifted Archer and even has a particular bow named after him.  In our family my husband brought the Bow Hunting tradition to Michigan when we moved Up North as Newly-Weds.  He used to get various bow-hunting magazines then & I believe Michigan had more bow hunters than any other state!

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from a Bing.com image search for “Gaylord, Michigan”

Gaylord is practically perfectly situated for Four Seasons Living, equidistant between the Equator & the North Pole.  It is known to have the highest snowfall in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan.  The last Winter we lived there, 1996-1997,  I believe it had roughly 220 inches of snow!  Even so, they did a great job of maintaining the road conditions so driving wasn’t too hazardous, relatively–except, of course, during white outs!  There is some picture in the family vault showing The Cottage with snow up to the eaves of the roof, similar to the image below!

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from a Bing.com image search for “Gaylord, Michigan winter”

 

Well I’ll leave this meandering trip down Memory Lane with another stunning Otsego Lake Sunset!  In case you can’t tell, I Love The Cottage, Arbutus Beach, and Gaylord, Michigan & am so thankful that my husband Michael & I began our family there!!!  In fact we may have the only Gaylord born relation within the extended clan, in our firstborn, Nathaniel, who was born in Gaylord, and marked on The Wall at just one day old. We gifted him the nickname of Jackpine Savage because of that Northern Michigan birth!  The Wall would be the Door Jambs at The Cottage between the Dining Room & Living Room.  The Inner-Facing Jamb on the Lake side has my Dad’s Generation & spouses.  The Inner-Facing Jamb on the Garage side has My Generation & spouses.  The Dining Room Facing Jamb on the Lake side has My Kid’s Generation.  Finally, the Dining Room Facing Jamb on the Garage side has my first cousin’s grand-kids–as in my generation’s grand-kids & my dad’s great grand-kids, whenever our side adds to that generation.  No one has been marked on that wall immediately after birth except for Nathaniel…& speaking of marking, the Fourth of July is the traditional time to check everyone’s height (including against existing & ancestral markings)…& this year we get to add in our latest family member, Nathaniel’s New Bride, Tara!

All our years are written with love in the very fibers of The Cottage!

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from a Bing.com image search for “Arbutus Beach, Michigan”

PS If you’d like to see a Newspaper article from back when Michael & I and the Boys lived in Gaylord check it out here, on pages 1, 4, & 5:

http://207.74.70.101:8080/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-6631/1996-11-07%20Thu%20Building%20Familes.pdf

Page 2 of the below newspaper tells of some of the history of Arbutus Beach and speaks so highly of Otsego Lake as a natural beauty filled resort vacation destination–in 1923!

http://207.74.70.101:8080/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-8848/1923-07-26%20Thu.pdf

The below link goes to the searchable Newspaper Archive for the Otsego County Library!

http://207.74.70.101:8080/docushare/dsweb/HomePage

 

 

A Pleasant Peninsula–Lovely Tribute to Michigan

Source: A Pleasant Peninsula

The author of this piece drew my attention to it after seeing I’d posted her colleague’s tribute to Tennessee previously.  After checking out both of those moving tributes to beloved home states there is now another goal to add to the many endeavors I hope to pursue…to write some of my own thoughts, feelings, insights, & history about Michigan…and eventually some of the other states that represent the historical homes of my ancestors…

Well, I was hoping to grab a couple of quick goodies to give a hint of flavor that might come as I meander Michigan in my mind…but it’s going to take more work & time than I’m going to dedicate right now.  I’d wanted to include a link from CyndisList.com (a wonderful genealogy site!) to an item I read many years ago either a letter or a journal describing some early conditions in Detroit.  This may have been surrounding the 300th Anniversary of Detroit and involved more than one item.  Well, it’s going to take more digging so will have to wait for now, there was a description of plague conditions in Detroit, Native characters, and a letter describing Detroit as “the Paris of America”!…

J. J. Hagerman from bing.com image search

James John (J. J) Hagerman was one of my husband’s ancestors and his family moved to Michigan from Canada in his childhood.  He attended the University of Michigan and worked in mining in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  He had wide ranging interests  and developed business ventures and residences in a number of states.  Here is a link to a Wikipedia page about him, not that I endorse Wikipedia as a source, but it’s a convenient jumping off point.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._J._Hagerman

I’ve wondered if “Hagerman Lake” in Michigan’s UP is connected to J. J.  Hagerman and this seems to prove that point.

It turns out that Hagerman Lake is named after J. J. Hagerman,
a very colorful miner and industrialist from the 1800’s. This is confirmed
by Jack Hill on page 39 of his history of Iron County, in which he says that
“on the earliest maps Hagerman Lake bears the name of Lac Brule. The origin
of the name Hagerman is of more recent date and in all probability came from
J. J. Hagerman, a mineral and timber investor who secured large land holdings
surrounding the lake during the early development of the County.”

from http://hagermanlake.org/?p=history

“First Ice on Hagerman- Photo by Pete W.” from the HagermanLake.org site

Well that is just a tiny tidbit about Michigan, glancing at the state from an historical perspective and my husband’s familial connections to my home state.  Of course our family was extremely excited that my husband has Maize & Blue blood too!

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from a Google.com image search for “maize & blue”

Advice for the Young and Penniless Who Want to Travel. — The Shooting Star

This is all the advice I wish someone had given me when I was sixteen.

via Advice for the Young and Penniless Who Want to Travel. — The Shooting Star

Although the age part is not applicable to me, but rather to my children…the budget part sure does apply.  When I was in High School I was a member of American Field Service (AFS), an international student exchange program and was selected to go on a Summer AFS exchange.  Unfortunately for me there was literally No Place in the Entire World that wanted me…wow.  I did get very close to the International Exchange students at my high school during my senior year, especially Monina & Edgardo from the Philippines, Astrid from Germany, and Veronique from Belgium.  Veronique & I even had fun on an outing in downtown Detroit & Greektown where I got the chance to practice my fairly rudimentary French skills in conversation with her.

I plan to return to the above blog post to check on some of the authoress’s online recommendations…and to share her insights with my more adventurous kids…and perhaps some of their friends.  My husband has done his share of armchair travelling using Google Street View and Google Earth…something I have yet to try but hope to at least apply to genealogical endeavors, as in getting a digital glimpse of an historically significant place…at least from a family history perspective eventually…Blessings, Valerie

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Bing.com image search for “the earth is the Lord’s”

Rooted

Toodling around today at Word Press various other bloggers’ postings have loosely inspired these thoughts on being rooted…At our Memorial Day Weekend trek to/from the family Cottage in Gaylord, Michigan my husband & I collected a number of plants from the property to transplant to our own yard in Metro Detroit.  We actually left a few plants in Gaylord accidentally & they were kindly transported South by my parents later!

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Bing.com image search for “fragrance of life scripture”

Previously we had transplanted a couple of Lilac “bushes” and they are doing really well in our yard.  Those lilacs were individual woody stalks, possibly decades old, that had held on in the harsh climate and poor sandy soil conditions of Northern Michigan and now flourish as expansive bushes in our backyard.  In fact, our newly married son wants to take a transplant from our transplant(s) so that he & his wife can have some familial lilacs in their yard too.  These transplanted lilacs are very special to me because they come from my grandparents’ property and remind me of them, and their love, whenever I look at the bushes or smell that amazing lilac smell.  Also while growing up there were a few lilac bushes outside my bedroom windows and that heady fragrance always takes me back to those carefree days just a bit…

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From a Bing.com image search for lilacs

For years I’ve wanted to get further lilac transplants from my great-grandparents’ property that’s just a few blocks away from The Cottage.  The Cottage flowers are a light purple, aka Lilac!, color, but some of the lilacs from my great-grandma’s garden are white & some of a darker purple, or so I thought.  If we don’t do the lilac gathering during the Memorial Day trip we have to wait another year to confirm the location and/or color of any potential transplants, and this concept minus action has occurred many times.

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from a Bing.com image search for “cottage turret”…this is about the right size as the historical family cottage…

This year we encountered the latest owners of one of my great-grandparents’ cottages, the one with a turret that is near the railroad tracks.  We had a lovely chat with them, were able to view the recently renovated & gorgeous interior of that cottage, and get permission to get some of my great-grandma’s lilacs!  We ended up digging up a couple smallish single stalks from the white bush and they are definitely taking root in our flower beds!

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From a Bing.com image search for lilacs

We also got to see some photos of their cottage as it previously existed as a Texaco gas station.  According to the new owners this little gem of a building, one storey with an interesting octagonal turret, started its life in Detroit.  They showed us a photo of the alleged first cottage owner but he did Not appear to be my great-grandfather (Rowland Edward Thompson).  We shared what tales we could recall about the gas station cottage with my Dad & Aunt (they both spent Every Summer of their respective childhoods at the Gaylord Cottage) to see if the tales lined up with our family lore.  According to my Aunt Pat, Patricia Kay Stoddard Armstrong Ziemba, she was actually there when my great-grandmother, Florabelle Mansell Thompson, negotiated a purchase price and bought the gas station cottage.  Pat swears the gas station was in Gaylord, and she remembers where it had been located and observed it being moved to its present location.  Mysteries here…

 

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From a Bing.com image search for lilacs

Well there weren’t appropriate Dark Purple lilacs at the great-grandparents’ cottage site so we searched further afield.  There had been an amazing bush in a neighborhood flowerbed near where our Gaylord home was located, but we couldn’t find it on this trip.  We did, however, discover an even larger Deep Rich Purple lilac bush near an intersection in town, so we can easily recall its location.  Now we just need to track down the property owner to get permission to dig up a couple of new starts…Can’t wait!

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from a Bing.com search for “myrtle lily-of-the-valley”

We also took several starts of myrtle, lily-of-the-valley, forget-me-nots, and some purple “weeds” that can happily grow in our grass to help fill in a bare patch in our backyard under a spreading maple tree.  There are also some long leaved plants interspersed with some lily-of-the-valley plants to fill in some of the barrenness between our trees between the sidewalk & the street.  Myrtle & Lily-of-the-Valley grow along the house & driveway in my parents’ yard (the home I grew up in) and we had already transplanted some Myrtle to our front flower bed a few years back and it has filled in things beautifully.  These two species seem to spread easily so will need some attention to keep them in check, but honestly I love both of these flowers so much, and they remind me of my childhood home & the Cottage so much that the maintenance is worth it!

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from a Bing.com search for “myrtle lily-of-the-valley”

 

Each of these plants are a tangible representation of the gift of life…a heritage passed down from my great-grandparents to my grandmother and indirectly from both their yards to us.  They also are directly and indirectly from my parents & grandparents and are likely to continue on to my son & his wife.  We’ve received the gifts of physical & mortal life from our forbears and they’ve also blessed us with the heritage of faith–the seeds of eternal life in Christ Jesus.  We’ve passed those gifts on to our children & look forward to them continuing to be passed on to the generations to come…just like so many of the flowering beauties that unify & connect our hearts & all of our earthly properties.

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from a Bing.com image search for “Ephesians 3: 17”

Father’s Day Wanderings…

Happy Father’s Day, Michael.  I love you!!!  Valerie

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My husband Michael Ellsworth Curren Rocks!

I’m so thankful for the heritage of faith!  My own father has been an incredible example of godly fatherhood for my entire life.  He has found the way to balance faith, fun, and fatherhood…and it’s been passed down to both his sons and his son-in-law, my husband, Michael.  What a tremendous legacy…his children rise up and call him blessed!

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image from a Bing.com image search for “quiver scripture”

My husband has experienced Father God as a literal father to himself, someone who grew up basically fatherless.  Although his parents were married when he was born, their marriage dissolved during his early elementary years and his mom moved him nearly halfway across the country surrounding that divorce.  He only saw his dad a couple more times before he died during my husband’s teen years.  He later had a step-father, who being a strong Christian, lead both Michael and his mother to the Lord!  This man has been gone now for nearly two decades, and was a thousand miles away during my husband’s own developing into a father years.

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image from a Bing.com image search for “fathers scripture quotes”

Michael is an amazing man of God, who has a near Abrahamic friendship style relationship with his Heavenly Father.  He has overcome the odds of familial alcoholism and serial divorce and lives his life as a testament to the power of Christ to break the chains both within and about us.  There are not enough words to convey the impact of seeing Michael persevere through the crucible years of Special Needs Parenting, and that is still the gift that still keeps on giving, though thankfully not with the same brutality as the early years!  We love our special son, but he has challenged us in many ways–certainly beyond our own abilities to endure apart from God’s grace & strength…

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image from a Bing.com image search for “quiver scripture”

My husband is such a blessing to me and to our four children…and also now to our new daughter-in-law.  I really can’t wait to see where the Lord takes us on this wild ride that is marriage and family life in the (hopefully) many years to come.

Happy Father’s Day 2017

25 Years of Marriage

23 Years of Parenting

1 month of In-Lawing

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Bing.com image search for “what a ride”

Below is a copy/paste from my niece’s Facebook page.  She is quoting a poem my brother Curtis wrote about our dad many years ago.  [Correction per my parents, see Comments below, this is actually a poem that Ashley wrote for my brother Curtis on the occasion of his birthday earlier–my mistake…]  These sentiments are so applicable to my husband, my father, my brothers, and presumably to my sons when they too are blessed with Fatherhood someday…having all had many examples of men doing Fatherhood God’s Way!  Enjoy…
Ashley Farasyn with Dawn Williams Stoddard.

Thank you for the gifts you’ve given me. The gifts of laughter and story-telling and articulation and poetry. Thank you for teaching me math is my friend and for being a rock and a firm foundation to stand on. Thank you for lifting me out of the water when I go under and gasp for air. Thank you for always knowing how to catch me even if I flail in the air and come down the wrong way. Thank you for being a dad who knows how to be right but also knows how to be wrong. Thank you for loving Jesus and bringing generational freedoms to your children and your household. Thank you for all your prayers and healing. Thank you for stepping into soberness so that I could follow. Thank you for speaking life into others and being sometimes the only bright part of someone’s day. I love that your main goal with whoever you come across is to make them see the love of Jesus and also pee their pants. I love how God made you. And I love that He put us together. And since you are not on FB, I will tag your wife because I know you use her phone in equal amounts. And because I can’t help it, I am recycling your birthday poem because it’s all so true. You are one of my favorites. ♡♤¤

“What does it mean,”
“What does it mean?” you say
To have a dad who has fun
and knows how to play?

It means there’s games, and smiles,
and laughing galore
And tears rolling down cheeks
and more, more, more, more!

The more games there are,
the more creative our minds.
You see, dads who have fun
know how to seek, hide, and find!

They like to think out-of-the-box
and do the impossible.
Dads who have fun
are down right unstoppable!

What can’t we do
if we can climb the shelves at the store;
And throw cans of spaghetti sauce
at dinosaurs on the floor?

How about walking through forrests
and crossing tree logs,
To find the buried treasure of pirates
filled with chocolate coins and pogs?

When you have a dad who has fun,
nothing is boring!
So there’s no time whatsoever
for sleeps, yawns, or snorings!

Games abound by the dozen
and so does the fun!
Have you ever turned off the radio
and at the top of your voice, sung?

Have you ever crossed your legs
because you’re laughing so hard you might pee?
I don’t want to say it was me that did it,
but okay, it was me, it was me!

Dads are the best!
(But the fun ones are better.)
Your cheeks and your pants
just might get a tad wetter!

Don’t underestimate
the power of fun!
Laughing is therapy,
I asked a doctor once.

When you laugh,
you gain confidence
which is the opposite of fear.
A dad who shows you to laugh,
shows you he cares.

My dad is funny
and boy, he sure is the man!
He’s my number one sitcom
and I’m his number one fan!

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Posting & Picture from my niece Ashley Stoddard Farasyn’s Facebook page, showing Zachary, daddy Curtis, and Ashley circa 1994

Here are a some special photos from my husband’s Facebook page: 
Family
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Michael & Valerie engaged, December 1991

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that was then, this is now…”It’s not the years, it’s the mileage” as Indiana Jones said…

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sons: Josiah, Brandon, & Nathaniel; husband Michael; & father Bill, circa 2011; at The Shack

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Michael & our daughter Clarissa hunting Michigan’s North Woods, circa 2014

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The pool where it all began…Valerie and Michael met at this pool in their then apartment complex, Sand Dollar, in Tulsa, Oklahoma in May of 1991. Val says that since they had no one in common, God introduced them. Returning to the scene of the crime they documented how things have changed over the ensuing years, Summer 2010.

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Michael and his mom’s artwork; the rest of us will meet her some day when we are all with the Lord…

and in honor of the familial ADHD tendencies…

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Michael’s Facebook caption for this one, “One of the dangers of being distracted by a squirrel!”

Rock!

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Binding Faith Band, the beginning of Michael’s Christian Rock Band Adventures!  Jason-rhythm guitar, Tim-vocals, Greg-lead guitar, Paul-drums, & Michael-bass

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rocking in his basement Man Cave before allowing our son(s) to live there instead…

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Rocking Rocktoberfest with his former band, Harken

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New Band, Lively Pelts: Marty-lead guitar & vocals, Roy-drums, & Michael-bass & backup vocals, at Blessing of the Bikers, Victory Biker Church, June 17, 2017

Faith Walk

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“Went to pick up pizza and got caught up in appreciating my Fathers handy work! Artist God.”

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Michael’s found the narrow way, and wouldn’t you know it’s in the North Woods of Michigan!  I’ve always said that Michigan is God’s Country…