It’s what I whispered to the earth and the trees and the lake and the rivers. Oh, I don’t guess they missed me, but I missed them, in this particular neck of the woods. Sunday, June 11 we arrive at Lakeport State Park, about 10 miles north of Port Huron, Michigan, and maybe 40 miles from where I grew up near Lake St Clair in Harrison Township ( at least that’s what it used to be called). We just said we lived ‘out in the sticks’. Back then when we moved in there was no city water, or even gas lines to our home. We had oil heat for the house and a small coal furnace for heating water….water piped in from the canal…I kid you not. Daddy brought drinking and cooking water from my aunts well about 12 miles away. We could swim and ice skate right behind our house or at the lake across the street. Most of the houses were small by today’s standards, and there was lots of empty space between most of them. Their were fields to play in and we took our dogs there, built ‘forts’, and played on huge willow trees that had fallen over on the ground because they grew too close to the edge of the canal and the wet ground wouldn’t hold them. We rowed Pams pram down the canal in search of turtles….
Oops. I digress. Monday I drove back there, to my old house out by the lake. It’s been added onto and is now twice as big as it was back in the day.
Still, it seems to be a miniature among the gigantic newer homes that completely line both sides of the streets now.
We used to play on this bridge all the time. Do you know the game called ‘Pooh Sticks’? We would ride our bikes up and down it, or use our roller skates. There was little traffic back then. To get out to the lake my dad drove our boat from the canal on the left, turned and went under the bridge, and then we were on Lake St Clair, bouncing on the waves, with the wind blowing through our hair!
If I didn’t know where I was, I wouldn’t recognize the area. My grade school is twice as big now too, and what used to be the playground with huge oak trees in it, is now a parking lot.
South River Elementary School. They rebuilt the whole school, but used the entry way from the original building, I’m told.
I’m glad I went back, but I don’t think I would have the desire to go again….or to live there again. At least that’s how I feel now. It’s not home anymore. ‘Home’ is now only in my memories….and some black and white photos somewhere.
I also drove around Mt Clemens, the nearest ‘big city’, which is now even bigger of course. I looked at many of the landmarks of my life…the ones that are still there….my grandparents house, places my mom took me, like Miller Bros Creamery for a Blue Moon ice cream cone. (I never liked it much , but gosh, it was blue ice cream!).
The bank we used and the dimestore and Art-O-Craft (sp?) are all gone.
The County Building in Mt Clemens is still there! This was the biggest building in my life back then! My mom took me to the top of it once and we looked out the windows.
I looked at friends homes, and schools, and a couple of homes I lived in when I was newly married. I went by the library where I used to go when I was way pregnant and I needed to get out of the 90 degree muggy heat in our upstairs flat. I read every book on natural childbirth and breastfeeding back then. I went by the church where I was married and attended for many years.
Bethany Baptist Church.
Then on to the city of Fraser where we moved when I was 16. I saw what I thought was the high school where I graduated (FIFTY years ago) but it was twice as big…no wait, now it’s the junior high! The high school is down the road and monstrous!
Fraser JUNIOR High, behind the trees.
Yikes, I guess I REALLY AM almost 68 years old! This section of Memory Lane wasn’t as happy as I expected it to be. It was very nostalgic but also on the sad side. Seeing certain places and things triggered memories of people and happenings that I hadn’t thought about in many a year. What didn’t add to this adventure was the weather, though it brought back memories too. It was 94 degrees with similar humidity this day. When I was a kid it was just the norm in the summer…that, and the mosquitos. I’d just jump in the water for a swim and all was well with the world. Now, not so much. Joy and Shiloh and I took comfort in JR’s air conditioning, only leaving it for short potty breaks. I didn’t find anywhere that they could take a swim, and no empty fields to play in, even if we had felt like playing in that heat.
But…we travel farther down Memory Lane over the next few days and it gets lots better! I was able to have lovely visits with a couple of old friends! Also I want to tell you a bit about the Port Huron area and Lakeport State Park. This is coming up in Part 2.