Tag Archives: Grand Turk Island

The 52 Lists Project #22

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List your favorite places you have been:

  • Chicago, Illinois. This may be the largest city I’ve ever visited, and I love it: the architecture, the art, the shops and restaurants, and the many things to see and do. I am interested in its history, and our family history there. My grandmother was raised in Chicago. She learned to drive on the old rail tracks. Her mother, as a small child, was one of the survivors of the Iroquois Theater fire. Her father predicted, when he saw buildings being erected on what had been a landfill along the shoreline, that the foundation would erode and compromise the structures. Grandma took great pride, at eighty years old, of telling us that her father was correct, and that recent news stories were telling of all the expense of saving the skyscrapers, which were too heavy for the foundation they were built on. I have good memories of visits to Chicago with sisters and daughters and friends, of good meals, sight-seeing in the daytime, and night-life adventures.
  • East Lansing, Michigan. For the beautiful campus that welcomed and sheltered my little family, and for the experience, growth and knowledge I gained there, this place will always be one of my favorites.
  • Northern California. I flew in to San Francisco, stayed in San Jose, and visited Calaveras County. We drove through the mountains one night at sunset, to Lake Tahoe, and returned as the sun was rising the next morning.
  • Grand Turk Island, in the British West Indies. I spent time there on a working vacation as a laborer on an archaeological dig. I traveled alone. It was a lovely place and I learned a great deal about archaeology, the history of the area, and the Taino people. The trip stands as one of the biggest adventures in my life.
  • Kissimmee, Florida. Four of my sisters and I traveled from Michigan to Florida in the winter after my mother’s death. My sister, Nita, came from Texas to join us.  Brenda had arranged for our lodging in a luxurious resort. The weather was heavenly. We talked and laughed and played games. We walked to shop and see the sights. Mostly, though, it was a sharing and healing time for all of us. For that reason alone, it is one of my favorite memories.
  • Beaver Island, Michigan. This was always my favorite place to visit as a child, and the place I always wanted to live. I have to admit that, having lived here now for over thirty years, some of the magic has faded. This can be a lonely and difficult place to be. Winters are hard; mosquitoes are vicious; everything is expensive. Still, sitting on the beach to watch the sun go down over the water, driving through the woods after dark, or coming around that last curve into town – with the view of the lighthouse and the harbor laid out just like a postcard – can always bring the magic back.

Diversions

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I was planning to write a quick, short post this evening, then turn off the computer.

I worked today. I’m tired and still have lots to do.

Besides, I’m off tomorrow, and will have time to write a longer, more thoughtful post then, as the finale to this month of daily writing.

That was my plan.

I thought I’d download my latest pictures to have a current image, at least, for tonight’s meager posting.

I can’t find the camera!

I took photos just last night, in the side yard with the dogs. It was dark, and I was trying out different settings for the best effect. I was sure it was in my coat pocket…then figured it was in the other coat…then scoured counter, tables and desk to find where I’d mislaid it. Nothing!

I put on boots and coat and went outside to retrace my steps from last night, in case it had fallen out of my pocket into the snow. I searched the car, too, just in case. Then I came in and repeated the search I’d already done. I emptied my purse. I looked in the insulated bag I use to carry my lunch to work. I looked through every other room in the house.

No camera.

I could have selected one of over a thousand photos already downloaded onto this computer.

No.

By that time I had decided they were all too dated. If I was going to use an old photo, it may as well be special.

I pulled out four albums, two metal boxes and one small wooden chest, all full of photographs.

What followed was an hour and a half of reminiscing.

“Oh, my daughters when they were tiny!”

“There’s Katey, right after Michael was born…”

“One sweet, beautiful grandchild after another!”

“…What holiday was that?”

So much for my quick bit of writing this evening!

I’ve decided on – then rejected – several different sets of photos with several different directions to write about them.

I could have written more about my five-day sail; I have photos to accompany that story!

I could have illustrated – with photographs – my time on Grand Turk Island, and many of the characters I met there.

Sisters and brothers, nieces and nephews, friends, parents and grandparents, my pets, my gardens through the years…there were too many possibilities.

I had to pause to feed the dogs.

It is getting late.

I still have lots to do, and I haven’t had my own supper yet.

I settled on this sweet photo, though I have no particular story to go with it.

I like it because we all look so much like ourselves.

Brenda, always glamorous (and in charge), looks directly into the camera.

I look a little bit serious, a little bit reserved, and am wearing almost the same identical hairstyle that I have today!

Teddy (though he’s just “Ted” now) often wears that same expression in conversation today! I am in love with his choice of clothing in this picture, but am happy to report he’s gotten better about [not] mixing patterns.

I adore Sheila’s small face, round little belly, and the fact that she is shirtless, while Ted is not.

I don’t know that he sunburned easily, but I have seen several old photos of Ted with his sisters where he is the only one with a shirt on!

And Laddie…a good old dog!

And now I’m off to finish my evening.

My Year of Adventure

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I’m not an adventurous person.

I am cautious to a fault, easily intimidated, afraid of the unknown and nervous about anything new.

I am shy. Crowds can be difficult…but so can smaller groups or even one on one conversations.

I don’t learn new things easily, especially if they involve speed, dexterity, coordination or mental agility.

I have to function out in this world, so I work at it.

I have managed to get married, have children, learn to swim, learn to roller skate, go to college, move to Beaver Island, learn to wait tables, get divorced, move to the city, go to graduate school, teach, open a business, write, display my art…in that order. Every one of these things terrified me but made my life better. Every one was worth the risk, made me feel enriched and capable.

Still.

By most standards, none of these “grand achievements” are much out of the ordinary.

I have had my moments, though.

I have had what I think of as “my year of adventure.”

It was about twenty years ago.

It started with heartbreak: a relationship ending.

After working on my marriage for fourteen years only to see it fail anyway, I wasn’t much for working on relationships. I had worked on this one though. We both had. Yet we each stubbornly held on to collected slights and resentments until the joy was gone.

And that was what I couldn’t live without.

So, I braved the heartache and moved on.

In that new open space, for a short time, I seemed to face the world differently.

I didn’t think of all the things that could go wrong. I simply asked, “Why not?”

I went for an airplane ride at dusk, to see the sunset from the sky.

I paddled a kayak out into the harbor.

I took a trip on a twenty-nine foot sailboat, as part of a three-person crew, from Beaver Island’s harbor down to Port Huron…five days and five nights on the water. In October. With a head wind all the way down Lake Huron. When my sister picked me up in Port Huron, I had lost ten pounds. “It was like bulimia camp,” I told her.

I traveled alone, to work on an archaeological dig on Grand Turk Island in the British West Indies. I met a dozen  people of all ages from all over the United States, there to participate, as I was. I met islanders who in many ways were like my own Beaver Islanders. Stopping at a bar one night, a very slim black man with a lilting British accent admonished us, “You didn’t salute…,” for not waving as we passed him on the road that day.  On this island, you’re called to account if you neglect to wave, too. I collected adventures there, and every night ran down to the ocean at sunset, in hopes of seeing the green flash as the sun sank into the water.

Back on Beaver Island, I went for a ride in a bi-plane. The passenger seat was in front; the pilot sat behind.  We could communicate through our headsets.I was strapped in tight. The cockpit was open to the air. We started with a big forward somersault. As the nose of the plane started to go up, I closed my eyes. Vertigo, like you feel if you close your eyes when going up in a swing, had just started to make me queasy when the pilot said, “Do NOT close your eyes!” He’d been the captain on that sailboat…he was familiar with me and motion sickness! The somersault was followed by a couple barrel rolls and a spin of some kind, then we went for a scenic tour of the island. Above Font Lake, I saw Mike McGinnity down below, in his kayak. He looked up. Without thinking, I threw out my arm to wave. The wind caught my arm…and pulled it. Hard. It took all of my strength to retrieve it. “Keep your arms inside the cockpit,” came the curt directive from the pilot.

I took a new route on my evening walk, ending up lost for hours in the woods and swamps behind Fox Lake.

I didn’t make a decision, ever, to stop having adventures…to quit asking, “Why not?” Even when things did not go as planned, I felt daring and brave.

It seems that things just gradually settled down…opportunities did not present themselves.

I carry that year with me, though, and I’m proud to know that inside of me – meek as I am – lives an adventurer!