The Death of the West, at least in Europe, is underway…here’s an extremely disturbing real world example…
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!
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”!
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!
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!
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…
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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…
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!
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!
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!
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:
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!
The below link goes to the searchable Newspaper Archive for the Otsego County Library!
looking for images with this post…here’s a great Pinterest site
I recently read an intriguing blog post by someone who has autism but chooses to remain Anonymous…hopefully there will be many other nuggets to mine in her blog as well as the interesting comments sections filled with feedback & unique perspectives.
I had wanted (in my comments below) to go into the girls aspect of Autism and mention how there may be a continuum between Autism and ADHD…I’d read a book a few years back that laid out a good scientific case for this insight. Later, while doing massive amounts of research for Josiah’s special education needs/case I read a number of things that talked about ADHD and how it presents in females…and in particular how there are some mothers of kids with ADHD (and/or autism?) who were never diagnosed themselves but see so many of their “issues” reflected in their kids struggle…apparently to the point that this is a “thing” that gets some degree of recognition in certain circles.
(ironically, while looking for images found these “circles” supporting my views!)
(from the above Pinterest board…and almost every item ascribed to my son)
the image above is from this pinterest page
I’ve meant to look back on this topic for my own “edification” but have been mightily depleted by the Special Ed case and fallout that it just hasn’t happened yet. In our family of 6, 4 have officially been diagnosed with ADHD, & the two that haven’t (myself and Brandon, Josiah’s twin brother) exhibit quite a few of the ADHD traits (but perhaps not enough to rise to the clinical level of diagnosis…but then again who’s actually asking to be “officially” labeled)…so we think we probably both have some part of ADHD, at a minimum. So if the continuum theory holds water, could it be that people that have ADHD are on the (potentially) mild end of the Autism Spectrum?
It’s so hard to really say and it may in large part depend on who you ask and what their personal practice emphasis (if you only have a hammer then everything looks like a nail and all!) might be…It is supported in research, I believe, that many times the parents of kids on the Spectrum have many of those traits themselves. Certainly when “we” were growing up awareness of Autism “Spectrum” issues was nowhere near the level it is at now. Also, if it is shown that there is any level of a genetic component to Autism and/or ADHD it would stand to reason that these things would run in families to some degree.
In my own family, from a retrospective perspective there could be arguments made that both my parents have possessed some traits of ADHD, especially when younger. At least one of my brothers had many such traits when young and his son was also officially diagnosed with ADHD. My other brother has a couple of kids that seem to have a lot of such traits too. My husband wasn’t diagnosed with ADHD until adulthood, but it surely negatively impacted his academic trajectory when younger, even though he has learned to “compensate” for the ADHD issues as an adult, as have most of our kids.
Most everyone in my present family has some degree of sensory issue and we all possess varying degrees of emotional vulnerability, but thankfully this trait is at least somewhat intermittent in most of us! Could these also be evidence of the “Spectrum” Continuum?
The author of the Autism in Girls post speculates on how important it is to find out what is going on with you and to get that diagnostic label (paraphrasing without re-reading her actual words…so I could already be distorting inadvertently her view) and therefore enable some degree of an “Autistic Identity”. This apparently resonates with a lot of her readers, at least those who have posted comments. It’s possible that she draws in these more “anonymously autistic” people by the very nature of the type of blog she writes, as in people who are on the Spectrum, but can “fake it” sufficiently for the outside world to not know they are autistic…
It’s hard for me to relate to the “need” to find an identity, like in Autism. And frankly I really do not “get” that aspect of our current culture that seems to think one has to discover a “role model” to emulate in order to aspire to things that no one “like me” has ever done before. This will likely be controversial, and even offensive to some (sorry)–but Obama being “President” of the US should not really make it any more of less easy for any other “black” person to be the President…if the job was about the merits of the individual aspiring to the position (and who could argue that this election year!) and not about someone’s “identity”…and if he had actually obtained such a job based on his own merits (which he manifestly did Not do based on his abysmally thin resume)–no “white” man with his background, (lack of) accomplishments, known dangerous associates, and incredibly thin skin would have ever gotten near to the place of getting his finger on “the button”…but I digress…
Anyway, I don’t fully get why so many people feel the need to find such a label and thereby get some type of identity by identifying with a group. Obviously, for anyone who knows me very well, I have spent much of my life in isolation, going against the flow, and refusing to join into whatever “group” (like Groucho Marx I wouldn’t be a member of any group that would have me!)…so the herd mentality is far from appealing to me personally.
I do, however, take a measure of identity from my personal faith…as in I’ve considered myself a strong Christian for the bulk of my life and that remains my primary identity…but I am much more likely to think of myself as a person (even as an intellect) than as a woman, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, employee, neighbor, parishioner, or any other ready label, per se…
I will acknowledge, however, when it come to my son with special needs, Josiah, when he was first given the PDD-NOS (atypical autism) label it lead to huge sighs of relief for myself and my husband. That was because we were dealing with so many issues back then that Autism at least made a degree of sense and it was able to take a number of his significant behavioral anomalies under its umbrella. It is also true now that Josiah appears to think of himself as “autistic” and he uses that label, perhaps as a shorthand code, as a blanket explanation for various aspects of his quirkiness, at least that’s how it appears to me (I am in no way pretending to speak For him)…
I have spent so much of my life seemingly on the outside of whatever the group thinks it is or what it does that it’s actually harder for me to acquiesce to the “herd mentality”, even in a church setting where people are looking to foster “unity”. This may be a holdover of the “rugged individualism” of the traditional American ideal that I do internalize to some degree, my own individual personality & intellectual makeup that always goes into suspect analysis mode whenever everyone around me jumps on some bandwagon (or follows some pied piper toward yet another cliff), or even can be an outgrowth of having lived virtually my entire life “counter culture” (especially now that Constitutionally Conservative Christian is virtually a pariah position in this formerly free land of ours). Perhaps being an “outsider” is enough of an identity that it’s not necessary for me personally to seek other labeling for myself.
As far as role models go, though, as a Christian the Only real role model would be Jesus Christ…and that represents a role that none of us could ever live up to!
Philippians 3:14King James Version (KJV)
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
(image from searching Google images for the scripture…may have been a youtube screen grab..but here is the link for the image…well it wouldn’t paste the link just another image)
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My perspective on this is a bit different in that I am a Parent of someone on the Spectrum who was diagnosed as “PDD-NOS” (Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, aka “atypical autism”) and we got such a “label” for our son when he was still a preschooler. He also had many other issues that were primarily medical in nature and during key points of his life these medical needs really took preeminence (2 open heart surgeries, brain tumor, liver transplant, etc).
Our seemingly biggest challenge overall was in getting the educational system to even pretend to address his Actual Needs. We had years of frustration where they absolutely refused to acknowledge his autism diagnosis (in fact they never officially Did recognize that he was on the Spectrum, though his last Special Ed Case Manager did admit the obviousness of his Autism in private conversations with me). The school system was extremely derelict in its legally mandated duties to my son and we dealt with significant frustrations in this arena for the duration of his public schooling, K-12 (ironically special ed preschool did a Great Job with him, so our frustration was mightily increased by the torments that followed).
One extremely important aspect of special education law (in the US) involves Transition Planning & Services that are required to begin no later than the year the student is to turn 16. These services are to be tailored to the individual needs of the student and should be designed to facilitate their Transition from public school to Independent Living, Post-Secondary Education, and Employment. The ideals of this approach are laid out in detail in US law (IDEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act & its later “improvement”), but our experience, and likely that of many others, reveals how far short of the legal mandates/standard things are…let alone compared to what should be “ideal” (as in identifying and addressing All areas of known or suspected disability, regardless of diagnostic “labeling”)…My son was “graduated” from high school not even possessing 3rd grade math skills and his now denied Michigan’s through age 26 special education because he “graduated”. I have a cousin with two autistic sons in Arkansas and her older son also “graduated” but struggled so significantly in college that she got him tested and discovered that his reading was only at grade school level even though he had a “diploma”. I don’t know how much she fought for him educationally but I know to what incredible lengths I went to over the years all to virtually no avail…
My son’s Primary Care Doctor, who has a practice devoted to complex special needs kids & families, including a significant cohort on the Autism Spectrum shared a chilling perspective. She said that the “high-functioning” autistic kids, like my son is now (he’s been significantly lower functioning when younger) are not coming close to having their needs met here in Michigan. If they are high enough functioning to be included in regular academic settings then often their “independent living” or functional “life skills” needs often go unaddressed. Once they get out of high school they discover that “the adult services industry” is woefully inadequately prepared to address so many of their needs. Also, because the many systems are so poorly managed and financially irresponsible and/or overburdened many times kids with significant needs do not come close to getting their needs met at any point…
Given that the “higher functioning” autistic kids are probably the ones most likely to be able to “handle it” to some degree in the regular/normal/neuro-typical world it would certainly seem in society’s best interest to help give them the tools and support necessary to foster their highest level of independence while young and thereby ensure a likely increasing percentage of such kids will grow into (nearly) independent adults. This would mean the possibility of significant resource allocation during the earlier years developmentally but should hopefully result in many more of these kids not needing nearly so much public support as they likely would otherwise had such intervention not have been provided. The arguments for early and intensive intervention for Autistic Spectrum kids have surely now made that perspective widely accepted and hopefully there has been sufficient time for data gathering to bolster this view “scientifically”.
In our family’s case, we spent many years and uncountable mental, emotional, spiritual, and financial capital attempting to get our local school system to DO THEIR LEGALLY MANDATED JOB…and these requests were based on data, diagnoses, and clear evidence of myriad needs (many in keeping with autism spectrum issues)…however the real bottom line was that my son got virtually Only what the school felt like offering whether it directly addressed his needs or not. And since they absolutely refused to acknowledge or address his Autism Spectrum issues (which were known as early as 2000 and had written behavioral pediatrician’s orders) he was significantly negatively impacted by not having received these necessary (and technically IDEA mandated) services.
The cost to our family (we had four kids within four years) was/is truly incalculable. I’m not “blaming” the school for all the issues, but had they done their job there are so many things that would have gone differently. For instance my son required significant therapeutic intervention, especially when he was younger, so we would take him to PT (Physical Therapy), OT (Occupational Therapy), SLT (Speech & Language Therapy), Sensory Integration Therapy, Music Therapy (which I tried for years to get the school to provide to assist in re-mediating his Severe Learning Disability in Math), Art Therapy, Psychological Therapy, Visual Therapy, etc…We spent so much of what should have been family free time shuffling him to and from these visits and when I finally stepped back from it one year due to personal overload and burnout basically watched him deteriorate before my eyes. He should have had year round intensive intervention provided by the school but they absolutely refused to analyze or address his very real needs and declines. I actually ended up dragging all my kids to random Vacation Bible Schools over a few consecutive summers just to try to give my Special Needs Son some degree of educational structure (and all the other kids really came to resent this as they got to attend these nearby VBS’s along with their brother). There were a few years when being out of school got so upsetting for my son that he lost his toileting skills…but they immediately returned when school began. This level of distress did not concern school staff at all but it caused significant suffering for my son…and the rest of us.
Well, this obviously went on Way Longer than I intended it to. I’m so glad you are putting your voice out there and speaking up on behalf of yourself and others who may not choose to speak but whose experiences and perspectives resonate with yours. My son has come such a long way from those virtually non-verbal and overwhelming sensory distress days to having discovered himself and continuing to refine his own unique voice. Although “movie quoting” and verbatim dialogue still punctuate much of his communication he can at least now speak as himself so much more freely now than ever before.
Loving someone with autism and living with someone on the Spectrum can certainly be a challenge (and I won’t minimize the major hardships of our personal journey historically &/or presently) but it also presents a tremendous amount of joy as well. Our “special” son is really the heart of our family in so many ways. He is a constant source of entertainment and his humor is so random that it continues to surprise and amaze us all, which is a huge blessing and counterpoint to the stressors. However he also represents a personal bridge between this world and the Kingdom of God (he is a very strong & outspoken Christian)…he has seen the Face of God while undergoing his Liver Transplant and (similarly to his dad) can have a nearly conversational relationship with the Lord. I really believe that his “autism” facilitates this transparency. Just as he doesn’t know how to put a “mask” on in his human relationships, he is virtually incapable of having a barrier between himself and God. Witnessing his Christian Walk is both humbling & encouraging for those who live with him. If he struggles to talk with us earthlings there is no communication barrier with his Heavenly Father…and that is a gift that no “labeling” nor lack of supports could ever diminish!
Blessings, thanks for all you shared, and thanks for letting me “wax eloquent” too here.
Best Regards, Valerie Curren
PS, I wrote more thoughts on your article at my blog here…I’d love to hear back from you on that, if you might be interested…
this provocative image could lead us to consider these topics further…hmm; from: