Roger and Phoebe Vance have been a part of my life as long as I can remember. Roger was the commanding officer at the Traverse City Coast Guard Station during the time that my dad, Walter Johnson, was the second in command. Like my dad, Roger did training sessions at the Coast Guard Training Center in Yorktown, Virginia. One summer, our family spent a couple weeks in a little cottage on Virginia Beach while my dad was in training there. Such a memorable time.
The Vance’s lived in Ann Arbor (and still live there), but during his C.O. time, Roger drove up to the Traverse City at the Coast Guard Station once a month. Their kids were about the same age as us kids, and their whole family came to our house many times. I also remember our family going out to their cottage at Crystal Lake in Benzie County.
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Before my dad passed away in 2004, Roger and Phoebe would come up to get apples every fall, and my mom always made sure to have some pie for their visit. I love that Roger and Phoebe still come up to see Mom at least once a year, and we usually meet them for lunch at the Old Mission Tavern, along with mom’s awesome caregiver, my nephew Ryan Johnson. Phoebe said that sometimes people just “click,” and that’s how it’s been with them and my mom and dad.
I also love that Roger and Phoebe spend several weeks a year on “mission trips.” They’d recently gotten back from a South Dakota reservation, and in 2016, they’ll once again travel to Costa Rica, a mission trip they’ve taken for the past 16 or 17 years.
Keep in mind that Roger is 83, and I’m guessing Phoebe is around that age, as well. In short, I want to be the Vances when I grow up.