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
Diploma for My Dad, Walter Johnson, from the Mapleton School, 1936
Letter to my Grandma, Mrs. Lester Johnson (Stella), Dated 1927
My Dad, Walter Johnson’s, Amazing Hat Collection
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, Pat! Great suggestion – it’s definitely in the works. I’ll be working on the recipe book over the winter and will have it available for sale in the new year.
I’m looking forward to more and more features about cleaning out your mom’s house. Are there any surprises?
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.
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 ….
Thanks for the note, Susan! Will do. Everything is in my house now, and I’ll be sifting through things for a while.
What were the Circle projects, Shampoo and Sunshine? Sounds intriguing!
So lucky to have a peak at the past!
I wondered, too! I think Mom’s one of – if not the only living person in that list, and her memory is shot. I would definitely want to be on the Sunshine project. 🙂
Very cool Jane. Bittersweet.
Thanks for the note! Yeah, it’s been an amazing ride down memory lane, finding all the historical treasures in the house.
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.
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.
Oh yes! Loved May Cowan. We used to pick her up for church. 🙂 There’s a horse farm there now – they’ve done a wonderful job of restoring that piece of property and putting it to good use.
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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.
Thanks, Linda! Yeah, mostly me, with a little help here and there. It’s been kind of cathartic to go through everything (which is now in my basement).
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