Tag Archive | blog

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!

Image result for otsego lake, michigan

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”!

 

Image result for otsego lake, michigan

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!

Image result for gaylord michigan fireworks

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!

Image result for otsego lake, gaylord michigan

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…

Image result for arbutus beach, michigan

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.

Image result for arbutus beach, michigan

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

 

Image result for arbutus beach, michigan

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.

Image result for horses pull house across frozen lake

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.

Image result for horses pull building

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!

Image result for horses move building

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

Image result for horses move building winter

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.

Image result for fairview cemetery, gaylord, michigan

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!

 

Image result for arbutus beach, michigan

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!

Image result for arbutus beach, michigan

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…

Image result for gaylord, michigan

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!

Image result for gaylord, michigan

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!

Image result for gaylord michigan winter

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!

Image result for arbutus beach, michigan

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

 

 

Advertisements

Sharing from 2015, Prayers For Conner

Source: Prayers For Conner

This is an older post but tells of some of the details of a young family experiencing their baby’s heart surgery.  The minutia are different from our experience, yet in many ways the story is the same.  I’m so thankful that other writers share from their hearts their experiences and their perspective.  This “Prayers” posting was written by Conner’s grandmother–and what a loving, godly heart she exhibits…

ConnerJune20174

 

“Added note. To all who were here with us when my grandson Conner had his heart surgery almost two years ago now, who have asked so frequently how he’s doing, I added his picture. Yep, he’s one of the next generation of fearless daredevil boys in the family. His favorite thing is climbing and jumping, which he’s in the process of doing here. Thank you all for remembering him.” 

This update on Connor, and his picture, is from his Grandma’s recent posting (that is also well worth the read) here:

Thank You God, For Men. Real Men.

Image result for heal your heart scripture

Image is from a Bing.com image search for “heal your heart scripture”

It is a blessing to me, and hopefully to you as well, to be reminded of the Lord’s faithfulness in delivering other people out of their challenging circumstances.  I know nothing of this family beyond the two posts referenced here…but I know the Joy of seeing a heart surgery child running, climbing, and in general just being a boy!!!

Blessings,

Valerie

 

Image result for heal your heart scripture

Image is from a Bing.com image search for “heal your heart scripture”

Update June 23, 2017

Please check this post at my son’s new blog for further info about Conner & his family in the Comments Section.  Thanks!

https://josiahsfreakshow.wordpress.com/2017/06/21/josiahs-first-post/

Here are those comments from Josiah’s site, as of 11-1-18…

20 thoughts on “Josiah’s First Post”

  1. Menagerie

    I’m looking forward to hearing more of your story Josiah. My four year old grandson has recently been diagnosed as autistic. He has been in speech therapy for several years and also has occupational and physical therapy. Next year he will attend pre school at a school for special needs children.

    Great job on your first post. Blogging can be a very rewarding outlet, and for some who work very hard at it, even an occupation.

    I wish you great success in your endeavors.

    Liked by you and 2 other people

    1. The Autism diagnosis can lead to quite a wild ride. We are quite familiar with the Therapies, Speech, PT, & OT, ones he still should be receiving. Josiah used to also receive a form of OT called “Sensory Integration Therapy” that helped with many of his sensory issues.

      Depending on the severity of your grandson’s needs there are quite intensive therapies (like ABA–Applied Behavioral Analysis) available that are theoretically Required to be provided by Special Education. I believe the Pre-School portion of IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) is called “Part C”. If your family hasn’t yet geared up for special needs advocacy I would strongly encourage you to arm yourselves for “battle” here. Of course my perspective is colored by years of illegal abuses of special ed law from our local school system…

      Here is a source of helpful advocacy info, a jumping off point, depending on how deep you want to engage the rabbit hole here:

      http://wrightslaw.com/

      http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/autism.index.htm

      http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/ei.index.htm

      Supports & Services vary widely by state. Where we live in Michigan there is an organization called Community Mental Health…Josiah used to receive the above therapies through them because of Developmental Disabilities (and still could if we could work out insurance issues). They also were involved in The Early On Program (then birth to age 5) and still provide Case Management services and Respite Care for our Family.

      It’s really important to get good/great information about Autism (from my perspective) and EARLY INTERVENTION IS CRUCIAL. We didn’t get Josiah’s Autism diagnosis early and dealt with a school system in complete denial of his spectrum issues so we have a lot of baggage in this arena. Anyway, having Great Professionals on board is vital, like Behavioral Pediatricians.

      Here’s some general overview of some necessary autism-related disciplines:
      Behavioralist/Behavioral Pediatrician
      Autism Waiver Program Center
      Neuro-Psychologist (Neuro-Psych Testing is Crucial too–way beyond scope of school testing)
      Communication Disorders Center (we never went due to funding/insurance probs)
      Specialty Learning Centers (ditto above note)
      Respite Care, in home & center based
      Therapies (PT, OT, Speech, Sensory Integration, Music, Art, Group, etc)
      Sensory Diet
      Social Work
      Counseling
      Psychology
      Medication Management
      Dietary issues (we never went this route, but some people swear by it)
      Tutoring
      Sib-Shops (a siblings of special needs program, normalizes experiences for families)

      We are blessed to have a local physician who is a strong Christian and has her entire practice dedicated to managing complex special needs children & their families. They try to provide a “Medical Home” there and are quite involved in medical, therapeutic, educational, & social interventions…perhaps there’s someone similar in your/their area?

      Well there is A Lot of info out there. It’s probably best to get connected to people going through similar experiences relatively close to home (something I never did). It’s also key to get some degree of Prayer Covering depending on what battles/issues you might face.

      May the Lord equip, encourage, empower, and establish you and your extended family as you enter into the fray in a completely different way. Autism is a universe unto itself, each child being incredibly unique and yet “fearfully & wonderfully made”. Enjoy the Journey…You are all Blessed Beyond Measure and now members of the exclusive & exhausting club of Families Impacted by Autism…

      May the Lord give Grace, Peace, & Joy to you and yours,

      Valerie

      I could give you the actual names & disciplines of people involved in Josiah’s Autism care (in MIchigan and often affiliated with the University of Michigan Hospital) so that your family could get referrals from their departments to high caliber people in your area, if you’d like. Please email me directly at
      ValerieCurren@sbcglobal.net
      if you’d like that type of detailed info.

      Liked by you and 1 other person

  2. Menagerie

    Conner is fine and healthy now, and he runs us ragged trying to keep up with him. Although it was a very scary experience for our family, and it is never a minor thing to have open heart surgery, we were.very fortunate that Conner’s problem was one that was easily repaired in one surgery. He had holes in the upper and lower chambers of his heart. One would have grown closed by itself eventually, but the other was too large, and the holes from one side to the other didn’t line up, so they had to do surgery.

    The doctors said Conner is now fine, and should have no further problems with his heart. He goes to see a cardiologist once a year to get checked out.

    Thanks for asking about him. There is a picture of him on the post your mother shared on her blog.

    Liked by you and 2 other people

    1. Sounds like Conner had a VSD (Ventricular Septal Defect) & an ASD (Atrial Septal Defect)…like Josiah did, among other things…right? Josiah’s first heart surgery at 2 months & 4 pounds was that VSD repair with a Gortex patch. Later when Josiah was 4 1/2 he had another open heart surgery with a “Sub-Aortic Stenosis Resection with Myomectomy”–basically they removed a hardening of the tissue and a small amount of heart muscle just below his malformed aortic valve. He has a Tri-Cuspid rather than the normal Bi-Cuspid Aortic Valve.

      His Aortic Valve is still being monitored as well as the Aortic Root/Arch which is somewhat dilated so will likely involve another Open Heart Surgery…eventually.

      Will Conner also have to be monitored by Pediatric Cardiology for the remainder of his life? If so, how frequent are the visits? Josiah’s never been less frequent than every 2 years…and when things were fairly dicey we were seeing Peds Cardiology every 3 months…

      Thanks for reading Josiah’s blog & communicating with him! This means so much to both of us!

      Blessings,

      Valerie, Josiah’s mom

      Liked by you and 3 other people

      1. Menagerie

        Conner sees the cardiologist once a year, in Chattanooga. The Vanderbilt doctors said there was no need for him to come back there unless something very unexpected happens. If I remember correctly, they are going to see Conner yearly at least until he is school age, and they may change that then.

        Liked by you and 2 other people

        1. Well hopefully things continue to improve in the Heart arena for your family. Since we were told Josiah would Always be followed by a Pediatric Cardiologist I guess I assumed that was a typical Heart Baby scenario. Maybe that depends on the nature of the Congenital Defects…some repairs are lifelong. Great that they can see doctors (presumably) closer to home…One of the reasons we moved to Metro Detroit from Northern Michigan was to be nearer to Josiah’s Specialty Care at U of M…

          Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: Sharing from 2015, Prayers For Conner | Special Connections
  4. Hi Josiah! I am a friend of Menagerie’s who also blogs at the Tree House. I grew up with a younger brother who was diagnosed with autism way back in 1956. Boy….things were a lot different back in those days as far as diagnosis and treatment. I am just amazed and delighted to hear about all the opportunities that are being offered today.

    I look forward to reading more and learning more about you.😀 (Yeah…I’m one of those people that like to use the happy faces.)

    Liked by you and 1 other person

      1. Hi Valerie! The happy faces are easy-peasy.
        1. Go to the Dashboard on your WordPress Administration page.
        2. Scroll down to “Settings”….it’s the second option from the bottom.
        3. Select “Settings”, then click on the second item, “Writing”.
        5. On the top of the page you’ll see “Formatting”…..click on the first box that says, “Convert emoticons like 🙂and 😛 to graphics on display.” This will allow you and your readers to type in the semicolon, dash, and right parenthesis that makes up the basic smilie.

        As for my perspectives on Autism, I don’t know how much I can contribute that would be of use. I’m thinking what I do have to say would probably be more appropriately said on your main blog. I’ll pop over in the morning.

        Liked by you and 1 other person

        1. I never did find “formatting” under item 4/5 from your instructions…so didn’t quite get to the emoticons option. Perhaps they’re not available when one is only using the “free” wordpress service? I do appreciate the suggestions here though…

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Josiah! I’m a friend of Ad rem and Menagerie. Will be interesting to follow your blog. I have two grandsons – one in high school and another in middle school in Illinois. I live in Michigan too.

    My older grandson had a malformation of the skull when he was a baby, but it fortunately didn’t require any intervention other than braces on his teeth a couple of years ago. Somehow, everything worked itself out as he grew.

    What is your favorite thing to do?

    Liked by you and 1 other person

    1. Hi Stella, this is Josiah’s mom, Valerie. Josiah has a Great-Aunt, my dad’s sister, in Illinois. She lives in the Chicago area, Naperville and usually comes to Michigan to see our family at my parents’ Cottage in Gaylord. We hope to see Aunt Pat near the 4th of July…hopefully she’ll get to watch the annual fireworks over Otsego Lake with us but we’ll see since this trip she’s staying with her late husband’s family a few miles from the Cottage.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. My family lives in Oak Park, IL. My daughter and SIL both grew up in the Detroit area, and I lived in Illinois myself for about ten years (my daughter was born there).

        We normally spend July 4 at St. Helen, not too far from you, at my SIL’s family’s cottage, although I won’t be there this year. My older GS’s birthday is July 3, and we always have his birthday party in St. Helen, but he is in Japan on an exchange program for six weeks.

        Liked by you and 1 other person

        1. Blessings on you & yours as you celebrate Independence Day perhaps further afield. I was out of the county for the 4th in the late ’80s on a Missions Trip in Liberia, West Africa and it was extremely strange to not be in America with celebrating Americans for that patriotic holiday. It does make you realize how we blessed we are in this country though…

          Liked by 2 people

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

Image result for earth is the lord's and the fullness

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!

Image result for fragrance of life scripture

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…

Image result for lilac

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.

Image result for cottage turret

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!

Image result for lilac

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…

 

Image result for lilac

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!

Image result for myrtle lily-of-the-valley

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!

Image result for myrtle lily-of-the-valley

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.

Image result for ephesians 3: 17

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

Parenting Blogger Emily Austin on Turning a Hobby into a Full-Time Job — Discover

Emily Austin on the evolution of her parenting blog, The Waiting, and her growth as a blogger.

via Parenting Blogger Emily Austin on Turning a Hobby into a Full-Time Job — Discover

I’m no where near ready to take most of this advice, but it’s definitely food for thought!

Josiah’s First Post

My Special son, Josiah, is starting his own blog here on Word Press. Please stop by and give him your support & encouragement…Thanks, V

Josiah: Servant of Christ Jesus

Hello. My Name is Josiah Curren. I’m a 21 year old man With High Functioning Autism. I am a strong believer in Jesus Christ Who is The Author of Truth. I’ve had 17 Surgeries throughout my life. One The Surgeries I had was a Liver Transplant. I Graduated From Allen Park High School in 2015. Go Jags.

My Favorite Teams are Michigan and The Detroit Pistons . I’ve had all my surgeries at the University of Michigan Hospital. My favorite Bible verse is Psalm 23:4. I’m also A big fan of Three Stooges. They were a Comedy in the 1920’s 30’s and some of the 1940’s.

That’s all I can Say About myself. At least for now.

from google.com image search for Psalm 23

View original post

“Touching The Past” & The Old Key

“I hope the drive to discover our family’s past also leads us to share it with close and distant family in order to pay the proper homage to generations past.”

Brass Key fancy

That quote is at the end of this lovely blog post (see below). There is so much richness in what he wrote. What a lovely personal sharing of the meaningfulness of those that have gone before us and the special treasures they have left behind through which we can also connect to them.

This post inspires me to want to go through some of my own inherited treasures, and more particularly through many of the older items that enhance The Cottage ambiance Up North…to capture their stories (as known or speculated) and to record these musings for our present edification and other’s future enlightenment.

One small “treasure” that I hope will pass down to me from my parents some distant future day is a large brass key that my grandparents found beach-combing along the shores of one of the Great Lakes (Erie?). When my dad was young he used to teethe on it.

This key represents mystery to me. It has a tangible connection to my Family of Origin but an unexplored and likely unknowable connection to the past. It very well could even be evidence of some long ago shipwreck. Also, its size suggests that it went to something significant like perhaps a large trunk or even an ancient door. Although its true origins will likely Never be known it’s more recent personal past is quite precious to me.

So now the “To Do List” needs to expand into the cataloging of personal history archival exhibits…What (at least theoretical) Fun!

Blessings,

Valerie

PS  The key image above is similar to my Dad’s key, though his is less ornate…but I really liked how it was presented in the above picture; image from this site–

http://www.bluewillowhouse.com/2015/05/28/ttt-week-38-vintage-finds/

…perhaps because I also appreciate so much of the creatively imaginative Steampunk artistic galaxy…hmm…

Moore Genealogy

Carl with the 172 year old Monty Family Bible. Carl with the 172 year old Monty Family Bible.

On our recent trip to our hometown, my wife and I were very fortunate to be able to see and hold items that once belonged and were used by my wife’s ancestors. But even more fortunate we were to learn some of the stories behind these articles. This experience helped to bring these people from mere dates in the past to real individuals who gave the breath of life to future generations. Much of this was made possible by my wife’s cousin Carl Gonya who before high school took up the mantle of the family historian. His exhaustive research into the family lines started long before the internet made things so much easier but in many cases made for shoddier research. His collection of family artifacts and pictures is impressive and the result of diligent family research.

The 172 years old…

View original post 500 more words