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To my loyal readers (thank you, if you’re one of them!), you may have noticed that I haven’t posted a thing this past week. Not a thing! First, apologies for that. I typically don’t let a day to go by without posting something (and yes, I’m seriously behind on my “Photo of the Day” posts).

But I have a good reason for my delinquency. I’ve been cleaning my mom’s house out. Don’t worry, she’s still with us. But a room opened up at Orchard Creek Supportive Care, so my siblings and I decided we’d best jump on it, because those rooms are hard to come by.

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So Mom is settling in pretty well there, and in the meantime, we’re cleaning out the house because, well, those Orchard Creek rooms aren’t cheap, and we’ll likely have to rent the house out at some point to help pay for her care. But it’s so worth it – the Orchard Creek folks are the best, as are the facilities, food and everything else there.

NOTE: Mom does not KNOW we’re cleaning out the house, and with her memory issues, likely wouldn’t remember it two minutes after we told her anyway. So if you send a card to her or stop by for a visit, don’t mention the house-cleaning project.

And by the way, if you do want to send a card, they’re much appreciated. Her address is: Mary Johnson, Orchard Creek Supportive Care, 9739 E. Cherry Bend Rd., Traverse City, MI 49684.

It’s been somewhat cathartic for me to go through her house and look at all the things I remember growing up there. The house was built in 1960, the same year I was born. So while my older siblings spent a few years at the “old house” across from our barn just north of Mapleton, my entire childhood was spent at the Old Mission house.

I’m hoping to be finished up with the house-cleaning project today, and a silver lining is that I now have a lifetime’s supply of stories to write about for Old Mission Gazette.

In the meantime, here are just a few of the treasures I’ve found at Mom’s house in the past couple weeks. I’ll write more about them – and many more! – for Old Mission Gazette as soon as I get back to my own work, which hopefully will be by tomorrow!

Program from the Old Mission Peninsula Edith Circle, Late 1950s 

Old Mission Peninsula History
OMP Edith Circle Program, Circa Late 1950s | Jane Boursaw Photo

Diploma for My Dad, Walter Johnson, from the Mapleton School, 1936

Old Mission Peninsula History
Walter Johnson’s Mapleton School Diploma, Circa 1936 | Jane Boursaw Photo

Letter to my Grandma, Mrs. Lester Johnson (Stella), Dated 1927

Old Mission Peninsula History
Stella Johnson Letter, Circa 1927 | Jane Boursaw Photo

My Dad, Walter Johnson’s, Amazing Hat Collection

Old Mission Peninsula History
Walter Johnson’s Hats, Circa 1950s and 60s | Jane Boursaw Photo

A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper.

Because Old Mission Gazette is a "Reader Supported Newspaper" -- meaning it exists because of your financial support -- I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks our way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. In a time when local news is becoming a thing of the past, supporting an independent community newspaper is more important now than ever.

To keep the Gazette going, click here to make a donation. Thank you so much for your support. -jb

Bay View Insurance of Traverse City Michigan


  1. Jane, you should take all of her old recipes and book them into a book and maybe even sell it on your website! Some of those old recipes are really treasures.


    • Thanks for the note, Flo! A couple of really cool surprises from Mom’s life before she moved north to be a farm wife. I came across a story in a Richmond, Virginia newspaper where Mom was featured in a photo during her nursing days at the Medical College of Virginia. She was standing next to a patient using a new therapy for pneumatic fever.

      Also came across her nurse’s cape – a heavy wool cape with MCV stitched on both collars (MCV = Medical College of Virginia), with her initials, MLB, stitched in beautiful lettering on the tag. Her maiden name was Mary Louise Bohlken, and all of her Southern kin always called her M.L. I’ll post photos on OMG in the next day or so.

  2. Wow ! A big job! As you know Jane, I am interested in most everything Old Mission. I especially like old postcards and photos of the area. I have over 300 now, but always looking for the one I don’t have ! Old photos too… Give me a call if you want to sell any ….

  3. Dear Janie,
    This group of photos list all the names of neighbors that I remember from my childhood. What a true treasure you have uncovered. I even saw my grandmother, Mable Schavey, on a list. Thank you for making the past come alive again. Truly appreciate you efforts.
    Jan Schavy Goodman

    • Thanks for the note, Jan! I want to say that my mom the nurse ventured into the Hollow to give Mable shots of some sort, but I could be mis-remembering. This would have been when mom and dad lived across from the home barn, north of Mapleton.

  4. That house across from the barn is the one I remember them living in. I think Mable was a nurse’s aid many, many years earlier, before children. I know she did some caregiving too. Remember May Cowan? She was a retired nurse who lived down at Old Mission. She was the one my parents took us to for our minor illnesses.
    I am so thoroughly enjoying your Gazette and look forward to each issue.

  5. Are you the only one working on your mom’s house? It’s such a huge job. I hope you have help. Your mom’s a gem. Enjoy her while you can. Even if she doesn’t remember, you will.


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