Tag Archives: townhouse



charbridge 003

Charbridge Arbor was a brand new housing complex in 1974, when we moved in. It was across from the shopping plaza on M21 and had several paved streets, lined with parking spaces, that led to the rows of apartments and townhouses. Ours was in the very back row, the first unit in the second building. There was a back way in and out of the complex, just past our street, that went out to smaller roads and rows of cute houses with nice sidewalks and shade trees.

On the street side, there was a strip of grass, then sidewalk. A cement walkway  through another bit of grassy area led  to the porch, two steps up, and the door.

Inside, the entry hall. “Finally, a real foyer,” I exclaimed when I saw it, as if it was something I’d been sorely lacking. To the right was a closet behind a set of metal bi-fold doors. To the left, a landing, then stairs went up, parallel to the entry hall. Straight ahead, a wall with a square opening in it delineated living room from dining room. the tiled floor gave way to gold carpet in the living areas. A door on the left wall revealed steps that led downstairs to the basement, exactly under the stairs leading up.

The dining room was small, but open. It was divided from the living room only by the partial wall, and from the kitchen by bar-height counters. A hanging light fixture (“A chandelier!”) was centered over the area for the table. Light came in from windows in the kitchen and living room. A broom closet was tucked in behind the kitchen wall.

The tiny corridor kitchen was surprisingly easy to work in. One window, straight ahead, looked out to the parking lot. On the right, the stove and refrigerator were divided by a cabinet and narrow counter. On the left, the double sink was in the center of a bank of cabinets. Overhead cabinets lined both walls.

The living room was large and airy. Sliding glass doors led out to a patio flanked with wood fences for privacy. Beyond that was a grassy strip, and a stand of trees beyond.

Upstairs, two bedrooms and a bathroom. There was a linen closet on the landing. The front bedroom, that my daughters shared, had a walk-in closet. The bedroom that faced the woods was the one my husband and I shared. It had a full wall of closets, behind metal bi-fold doors.

The basement was just one big room. It housed the furnace and hot water heater. There was a hook up for laundry facilities there. Eventually we got a washer and dryer. Before long, we turned half of the room into a large play area for the girls, with bean bag chairs, a bouncing horse and a small indoor slide. In time, I took the area by the stairs to use as a studio. At first, though, the basement was the repository for everything that didn’t meet the standards for our beautiful new home. Many moving boxes never got unpacked, as I deemed their contents unworthy of the space.

I still get nostalgic for that place, sometimes. I had never lived in such a spacious, well-planned and finished home before. Turns out, I never have since, either. That’s only part of the reason, though. It wasn’t so much the address, as the things that happened there. Of course, I didn’t know it then, but the time I lived at Charbridge was pivotal in my life.


Reassessing 2012



I’m thinking I may have been a bit hard on 2012.

I spoke of bad luck and hard times, and how sadly it fell short of my expectations.

How audacious of me, anyway, to decide that 2012 or, for that matter, any year – a man-made measurement of time – was going to be “my best year yet”.

I spoke it in hopefulness, and in the spirit of manifestation (which sounds, as I write it here, a bit like a plague!). I was opening myself up to wonderful things.

It turns out, I was opening myself up to disappointment.

How could any year compete with the golden years that live in my memories?

Jennifer’s second year:  we tilled up a section at the back of the driveway at the little house near the lake, and planted a tiny garden and she learned the joy of growing things; I took pictures every day of my beautiful daughter…trying on her Daddy’s work boots or in her Halloween costume, with her puppy or her plate of freshly-dug nightcrawlers; I sewed sundresses for her, and made seed mosaics and bead curtains and crocheted slippers; it seems like we walked down to the water every single day…

Katey’s first year: at the townhouse in Lapeer, my perfect little family; two daughters in the bathtub, two daughters getting tucked in at night; with Katey in the stroller, we’d go to the park…Jen would walk ’til she was tired, then she’d stand on the axle and ride along; I learned to cook Chinese food and started taking college courses. My husband would play his guitar in the evenings and my daughters laughed and sang…

That first year here on Beaver Island: the heart-stopping, joyous rush every time I rounded the corner into town and was faced with the harbor view; the seasons, each one a new adventure…When a tree fell in a storm that first winter and crushed our car, my husband and I looked at it, turned to each other, grinned and said – in unison – “Firewood!”

But, you see, I’ve forgotten all the bad parts, of all the good years.

Since my memory is selective, there is no competition.

Held up to my standard of “best year yet,” of course last year fell short.

By any other standard, 2012 was a good year.

In my family, we had weddings and births, new houses and new jobs.

In February, my sisters and I went to Florida together for a wonderful vacation. Three sisters, three nieces and I went to Chicago for a lovely Mother’s Day weekend. Three of my grandchildren and my daughter, Jen, came here for a week-long visit in July. Family and friends came to help me celebrate my birthday in August. Other friends came, through the season.

I quit my job in 2012! I could write a litany of difficulties it has caused in my life, but the bottom-line is, I enjoy what I’m doing and I feel good about it.

I have consistently written and posted these blogs through all of the past year. Knowing my habits, I know better than anyone what a huge accomplishment that is, all by itself. On top of that, it has introduced me to a world of good writers, of old and new friends, of support and love and mutual admiration.

I walked every day in 2012.

I laughed every day in 2012.

Looking at it now (eight days past), 2012 was a very good year.