Tag Archives: M24

Corner #16

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Cindy, in the kitchen at Corner #16, 1980

“Corner #16” was at the intersection of M24 and Burnside Road. My next address was 31 E.Burnside Road, just two buildings away from that intersection, in the back half of a duplex that was made of the building that was once the Deerfield Township Hall. The new Deerfield Township Hall, a big, modern building with a large, fenced parking lot, was across the road.

Our building was a long rectangle of cement blocks, painted in that pale green that is often associated with hospitals and other institutions. The large yard was fenced on three sides. On one side of our house was  a cute little residence where an older gentleman lived. He had a stash of “the good stuff,” he told us: the spray for insects that was now illegal. If we’d like, he could spray our yard, too. “No, thanks,” I told him, “I don’t mind the bugs.” He was friendly and kind to us, but I can’t remember his name or much of anything  about him except for the DDT. Past that house was Bryan’s Market, on the corner.

In the other direction, there was a drive with small houses lining it; more yards and houses and drives that led into little subdivisions continued down Burnside Road, with an occasional old farm house. My sister, Cheryl, lived down that way, in a nice home that looked out on a pasture.

Just a short drive south on M24, and off to the right was Sweet School, where Jen would start second grade. The school had classrooms for kindergarten through third grade; after that the students went in to North Branch for school. Its smaller size seemed perfect, as a transition from the Beaver Island School.

Continuing south on M24 would bring us to Lapeer, ten miles away. From there, it was about twenty miles to my college classes in Flint. North on M24 from our house would bring us to the highway leading into the village of North Branch. Though we were technically in Deerfield Township, our address was North Branch.

There were two sets of cement steps, and two doors on the driveway side of the building. The first door led to the front unit, where a young couple lived with their twin babies. The second door led into our new kitchen. It was a spacious, open room with a row of cabinets filling the far wall. The refrigerator was  straight ahead, on the wall that divided kitchen from living room. There was an old stove there, too, with only two working burners and no oven. For about the first eight months that we lived there, I used my electric frying pan to bake bread and rolls, lasagna, even birthday cake! The dining table fit nicely in the center of the room. At Christmastime, there was plenty of space for a large, decorated tree in there, too. I loved that kitchen!

Just to the left of the entry door, a wide passage led into the living room. Windows on both exterior walls all had deep sills, compliments of the concrete block construction, that were perfect for holding houseplants. A “front” door in that room led out to the back yard. It was the biggest living room I’d ever had, almost twenty feet in either direction.

Two doors on the far wall led into  bedrooms. For a home with such an expansive living space, the bedrooms were tiny. Their dimensions were, I’m guessing here, maybe 10′ x10′ with a closet carved out of one wall. A hallway to the right led to the bathroom, which also held the washer and dryer. A door at the end of the hall hid the hot water heater.

This was our new home!

 

Out and About

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My sister Brenda and her husband Keith have a lovely, comfortable house. They live on a little lake and enjoy stunning views year ’round. Last summer we watched an eagle, perched on top of a pole with wings half spread, as he watched over the water. This time of year, we see geese gathering on the lake. Deer wander though the yard almost every day. Beautiful!

The photo I snapped, from the warmth and safety of the kitchen, is not a good illustration of any of that. It does, however, show the amount of snowfall we got, in one day. Lots!

Lots of snow on the roads, turning to dirty slush  as cars made their way through it.

Lots of snow in the driveway, as Keith rightly figured he’d might as well wait until the road was cleared, before he cleared the drive.

Lots of heavy snow on the van I drove, parked in the turn-around space where it had been sitting since I’d arrived Friday evening.

Most days I’d be content to just stay inside, pour another cup of coffee, read a book, chat with my sister.

Yesterday, I had different plans.

My daughter, Kate, has recently moved back to Michigan, from South Carolina. She and her husband bought a house (with some land, a garage, a beautiful stone-bordered pond, a red barn, mature trees, fenced garden, perennial beds…)and have been working intensely on it. Old wiring had to be upgraded; some walls had to be removed; floors and fixtures needed to be replaced. They worked at it while staying elsewhere until it was at a stage where they could move in. They still have plenty to do, but are getting settled, and are happy to be home.

Kate and Jeremy are both artists in a wide range of media. Both have good, creative ideas for home improvements; both are hard-working and capable enough to implement their plans themselves. I was anxious to see what they’d accomplished.

Beaver Island is pretty remote, expensive to travel to and from. Even when my daughters are both in Michigan, I’m fortunate if I see them two or three times a year. When Kate and her family were in South Carolina, it was even harder to get together. I hadn’t seen them since last summer, and wasn’t going to let an opportunity go by – to catch up with the adults, to hug my grandchildren – now that they are so much closer.

The first thing I did was to dig out the van. I started with a long-handled shop broom, finished with ice scrapers and windshield wipers.

Though I over-packed, not knowing what I’d want for various holidays and activities, I under-packed when it came to the weather. No rain gear. No winter coat. No boots. In November! What was I thinking?

I managed it though, and got out on the road.

Next, I took a short drive, to see if the roads were slippery, and if they were being cleared.

Then, when a drive seemed possible, I contacted Kate, to make sure she’d be home and to get directions.

I was on my way!

It was a pretty drive, north on M24 toward Caro, then east on Clifford Road. I had forgotten how beautiful that area of lower Michigan is, with rolling hills and farm fields bordered by evergreens. The roads were clear the whole way. Kate’s directions were perfect, and I found them with no problems.

I could write pages about how wonderful it was to see them all. They  welcomed me warmly. Kate and Jeremy generously shared their art and handiwork, the processes and inspiration.  Madeline and Tommy continue to amaze me with their kindness and humor.

I could devote several more pages to the beautiful views outside their home, and all of the inspiring, creative ideas they’ve employed inside.

I will, maybe, another day. Today, I’m happy simply to report that I did get out, in this wintry weather, for a wonderful visit with my daughter and her family.