A Few Trips Down Memory Lane – part 1

‘I’m baaack!’

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.

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Still, it seems to be a miniature among the gigantic newer homes that completely line both sides of the streets now.

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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.

IMG_4299South 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!).

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The bank we used and the dimestore and Art-O-Craft (sp?) are all gone.

IMG_4347The 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.

IMG_2322Bethany 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!

IMG_4334Fraser 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.

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15 Responses to A Few Trips Down Memory Lane – part 1

  1. Pam says:

    Oh Mick, hasn’t it changed? I think we lived there during the BEST time when kids could be kids, When you got up in the morning and put on a bathing suit instead of clothes! And all those turtles we caught, and carp we got! Oh and can’t forget the “fun” tree and the “fun fun” tree in the spare lots. Lots of great memories we had!

    • I know Pam, and wow they all came rushing back…many things so clear. You and I share a whole lot of the same memories…you, probably more than anyone else from my childhood. Yes, the fun tree and the fun fun tree, and then wasn’t there a fun fun fun tree? 😂😂. Those are the trees I mentioned that fell over near the canal. Who else but you and I would know what the other one meant and which direction to heard when one of us shouted ‘meet you at the fun fun tree!!’
      We should really really get together sometime.with our memories and a bottle of wine we could really have a rotfl kind of time. And maybe shed a few tears too.
      It just isn’t the same place. Our place….our time is gone…doesn’t exist any more, except in our minds.

  2. dawnkinster says:

    You and I had a similar upbringing. When I was ten we lived in a little house with a big backyard that ended up at a canal. We went under a bridge to get to the lake too, though it wasn’t as big as Lake St. Clair. Still, we roamed in the woods, climbed trees, ran with our dog through fields, swam all day long if we wanted, came in when we heard our mom call us for supper. It was a good way to grow up.

  3. Pat says:

    And kids then could play out all day and no one worried about them. Now the parents get arrested for letting their kids walk down to the park.

  4. Diane says:

    Micky, Huron Point certainly has changed since we were kids there. Our old, beat up house on Archer Drive is gone (good riddance) and replaced by three “mcmansions”. I haven’t been back since. But, it was a great place to be young. Looking forward to seeing you this weekend.

    • Hi Diane, yes I was sitting there in the truck by where your house used to be, staring, wondering if that one in the middle might be it, but I didn’t see how it could be. And they are all jammed up there together.
      Looking forward too…this should be fun!

  5. einercnm says:

    Well,you are really going back a few decades here.I can imagine that things you hadn’t thought abut for years,places you remembered,changed or gone,wow! I can’t wait to read the next chapter.

    • Yes quite a few decades Elinor! In fact, doing this makes me come face to face with how many decades have passed since those days of frolic, out by the lake. That little girl never thought about how things would change, or how this woman, coming back to visit the little girl, would feel about the changes. Life’s many twists and turns….

  6. Toni says:

    A couple of years ago I returned to visit my hometown, a very small town in Kansas. I was left feeling a little sad so it was interesting to hear that you felt that way too. I’m not even sure why I felt sad. Maybe it was just seeing all the changes. I think in my mind it had remained the same. It was a wonderful place to grow up!

    • Hi Toni, yes I think when we haven’t seen it in person in awhile, it’s just like we left it in our minds, and it’s a rude awakening to find things so different. That place we remember is gone. It IS kinda sad.

  7. Carmen Moore says:

    We’ve visited places we lived in as younger people and definitely would not want to live there again either. We have a good friend that is from your growing up neck of the woods. I think she’s younger than you. She owned a massage therapy school in Michigan. She is a massage therapist up here (has been here about 18 years or so). She says the same thing about Mt. Clemens, etc. We didn’t know you were visiting Michigan. Dan is still in Michigan – lives in Clinton Township at the Harbours Apartments. Brian lives in Redford, but no longer communicates with us. Gloria is currently in LaCanada Flintridge, California until when Nestle moves out of California. With whom did you speak so far in Michigan? Did you see any of our classmates? Miss you, girlfriend!!

    • Hi Carmen. I’ve only visited with the people I’ve mentioned in blogs…Marie and Ray, Denise, and Mary and John. None of our nursing classmates, no. There’s still one more old friend I’m going to see, coming up soon, and I met a new friend, which I’ll blog about soon.
      I didn’t go by the college either. Thought about it, but I just needed more time to go all the places I wanted to, and to see all the people I would like to have seen. The other thing is that most days it was so hot I wouldn’t have wanted to leave the dogs in the truck for even 5 minutes, so it’s not like I could have wandered around campus…remembering. And all our teachers would be long gone. Strange how much time has passed, isn’t it?

      Miss you too!

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