Tag Archives: memories

Fire burns family building on Main Street in Yale, Michigan

Calm, peaceful Main Street in Yale, MI, in 2009.  My dad sits on that bench waiting for me with a cappuccino.

Calm, peaceful Main Street in Yale, MI, in 2009. My dad sits on that bench waiting for me with a cappuccino.

Last Tuesday morning, just before Barry and I drove to Marquette for a lovely pre-Valentines Day weekend getaway, my mom emailed.

The Dodge Garage building, owned by my mother,  in my hometown of Yale in the Thumb of Michigan, was burning.

By the grace of God and maybe twenty-one fire departments, this proved to be the only building to burn beyond recognition on Yale’s Main Street on this cold winter day last week.

What else could have burned to the ground, to no longer exist except in memory?  The Wash House, next door, owned by my brother, Scot, could have incinerated.  Although it’s been badly damaged on one wall, I suspect (and insurance willing) that someday folks will once again wash and dry clothes in the laundromat.

The Yale Expositor, our dear weekly newspaper, could have disappeared from its old building.  It could be no more.  The owners (one of whom I babysat years and years ago in another lifetime) worked ceaselessly to save historical books and microfilm.

And further down the street, right at the corner, our family’s pharmacy still stands strong.  Owned now by my brother, Scot, it still survives to fill prescriptions for those in pain, in ill-health, in need of medication.  It still survives as a place where one can buy greeting cards, or Ladies Home Journal, or a gift for Grandma’s birthday.

Other buildings, on the other side of the Dodge Garage, could have ignited, just like that, never to be seen again, never to be visited, shopped, enjoyed.

Even better than the survival of all these old buildings is that no one was injured or killed in that massive blaze that brought tears to the faces of many.  Thank goodness.  No lives were lost.

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Happy 81st Birthday, Mom!

My mom at a surprise 25th wedding anniversary party in 1981

My mom at a surprise 25th wedding anniversary party in 1981

Dear Mom,

It is so wonderful to be at Fort Myers Beach celebrating your 81st birthday with you!

As we said this morning while shelling and birding along the beach, “It doesn’t get much better than this…”

Spending these days with you and Dad is so special for K and me.

You are someone I have loved so very dearly all these years and it’s a treat to get together so often and “make memories”, as you always say.

I put together this little collection of photos from the early 1980′s to present before leaving Michigan to make an extra-special card for you.

(Readers, perhaps you’ll enjoy this little glimpse into my family, as well.)

This is my blessing blog for this week–to feel so blessed to have such a wonderful mom who has enriched my life so much.

Hugs, kisses and much love,


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Two friends

Two friends

Do you remember waiting for your date to arrive back in high school?

How you paced, how you fretted, how you secretly feared?

Do you remember waiting for your child, your sixteen year old, fresh with driver’s license in wallet, gone from your protective veil, gone, gone, into the night, and how you waited?  Do you remember the way your heart palpitated, the way you imagined your child–no, even all these years later you can’t say it.  You can’t imagine it.  You just waited on the edge of agony for your child to come home, to be safe in your cocoon again.

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Thirty-five years ago the bridesmaids wore yellow

To contemplate a never-ending circle

To contemplate a never-ending circle

Thirty-five years ago the bridesmaids wore yellow.

A hot yellow sun oven-baked the Methodist church on September 9th, 1978.  We sweltered.  We sweated.

(OK, maybe it rained.  Maybe the bridesmaids wore baby blue and maybe we married in the Presbyterian Church, which would seem more logical, as my family was Presbyterian.  Maybe it wasn’t September 9th.  Maybe it wasn’t even THAT hot.  The truth is my memory of this day feels fuzzy, hazy, hovering almost out of reach. Someone like Christie, my maid-of-honor, would remember.  My mom and Barry’s mom would remember.  But it’s too early on a Monday morning to call them so you’re just going to get the version that could be the truth.  I’m sure it’s the truth.)

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A 5K, wedding, almost-birthday & river fun

Birthday celebration

Birthday celebration

My oh my, we’ve had quite a week with both kids visiting us here in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  I hardly know where to begin.

Let’s begin with the 5K my daughter and I walked faster than lightning last Thursday during the 4th of July celebration in Baraga.  I thought we’d be lazily meandering through the route, but no.  She egged me on.  She’d eye the people walking in front of us and say, “Mom, we can pass them.”

So we’d walk fast, really fast, until our shoes smoked hot, passing by the people in front of us.  Then she’d point to the next victims walkers and say, “Mom, we can pass them, too!”

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My true love bought me dandelion jelly.

The strangeness of life.

The strangeness of life.

My true love bought me dandelion jelly this week.

The woman who sold it to him pronounced, “It tastes like honey.”

This morning I slathered clear-colored dandelion jelly atop a piece of Ezekiel Bread covered with natural crunchy peanut butter.


Melt-in-your-mouth honey-flavored dandelion jelly, purchased by one’s true love (aka one’s husband of almost 35 years.)

I am thinking about “true loves” while cleaning the house.  Don’t quibble with me over details.  Of course, I ceased scrubbing and vacuuming in order to write this blog post.

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Love letter to you, Dad, on Father’s Day

Thumbs up, Dad...

Thumbs up, Dad…

Dear Dad,

Today hundreds of thousands of fathers will open Hallmark and American Greeting cards and read aloud loving sentiments shared by sons and daughters across the heart of this land.

Perhaps they’ll wipe away a stray tear knowing they are so loved, so respected, so admired by the little babies they once helped birth onto this blue and green spinning planet, a planet filled with joy and sorrow, hope and despair, delight and confusion.

Oh, Dad, this is my second Father’s Day card to you.  You opened the first one already, didn’t you, the homemade card that showed you as the colorful Chief Penguin among hundreds of other black-and-white penguins?  You read the loving thoughts penned by Barry and me, and maybe you laughed.

I just want to tell you again what a special dad you are to me.

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Make new friends but keep the old



Can everyone sing the old song, “Make new friends,

but keep the old,

one is silver,

and the other’s gold“?

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Summer in Switzerland



I’m going to Europe–vicariously.

Our son and his wife (who married, as you may remember, last October) are flying off for their belated honeymoon in France and Italy.

I’ve packed myself in Christopher’s suitcase–never you mind that his suitcase is halfway across the country in San Diego–and I’m going to visit Paris, Florence, Nice and Rome.  I’ll be so quiet they won’t even know that the mother-in-law is ooohing and ahhhing up that Eiffel Tower.

I promise not to speak.  In fact, they won’t even know I’m there.

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Storms never last do they baby?

Storms never pass do they baby?

Storms never pass do they baby?

Storms never last do they baby?

Bad times all pass with the winds

Your hand in mine stills the thunder

And you make the sun want to shine…

Seriously, folks, you can be enjoying a *somewhat* warm Sunday afternoon with your “baby” when suddenly the conversation turns to old songs.  (A song  which this particular blogger never knew until five minutes ago after her “baby” started rather mockingly singing this old-time classic and she Googled to discover a Jessi Colter and Waylon Jennings version and now, maybe, she’ll remember at least until tomorrow morning as she ponders “Storms never last, do they, baby?”)

What is it about a catchy tune?  A tune which has the power to jingle, jolt, jab, sing, dance you from your very ordinary day?  And what is it about old-time songs, songs from our childhood, or before our childhood, maybe our parent’s childhood, songs from long-ago, which sing us into a place where our heart throbs, who knows why?  Maybe because we remember our Mama or Papa singing it while they made Wonder Bread & peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, who the heck knows?

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