Sunday, July 16, 2017

Two celebrations in Grand Rapids

OK, so technically we were in the greater Rockford or Comstock Park area but still just a 10-minute drive north of home.

The festivities involved getting together with various members of Susan's family at Clear Lake for lots of good food (think grilling chicken and pork), plenty of good drink but mostly just to be together to share stories of family news and recollections of absent loved ones.

First up was celebrating the Fourth of July, Independence Day. Susan and Bernice and I drove to Raybrook to pick up Aunt Fran and the four of us soon found ourselves sitting on the terrace overlooking Clear Lake.

It was a gorgeous day at the lake, perfect for losing oneself in the quiet of the trees and water.

l-r: Karen Hyde, Jennifer Galloway, Aunt Fran Van Halsema, Bernice Vandenberg

Susie and Laurie Ten Have-Chapman

Karen Hyde

Gordon Galloway, Scott's dad

Our second celebration was unplanned but closer to home as it were and arranged at the last minute by Susan's cousin Jennifer: celebrating the life of Susan's Aunt Frances Jean Vander May Van Halsema who passed into the next life on July 14.

All five of Fran's daughters were here to be with her at the end (or the beginning if you prefer).  Four of them along with several grandchildren and cousins gathered at the Cottage on Clear Lake yesterday afternoon along with Fran's sisters-in-law Bernice VandenBerg and Betsy DeKorne.

The food was delicious, the memories of times past recalled with great affection and plenty of smiles to wipe away the darkness of the hour.

ready for the grill!

Jim DeKorne


Alicia and her mom Pam


Bernice and Greta
Earlier that same day, while I was out enjoying a beautiful afternoon looking for the graves of men from Ottawa County who had served in the 3rd Michigan Infantry, I came across this poignant and timely epitaph on the tomb of Wilhelmine and Frederick Bartels in McNitt Cemetery.

wife of Frederick Bartels
died January 17, 1898
75 years, 4 months 19 days

Dear Mother, in earth’s
Thorny paths,
How long thy feet have
To find at last this
Peaceful rest,
Safe in the arms of God.

Frederick Bartels
died March 6, 1899

74 years 11 months 10 days

Dear Father, with a
Reverent Hand
This to thy memory given,
While one by one thy
Household band
God reunites in Heaven

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Fruitland Cemetery

I typically publish photos from my cemetery wanderings in the United States on my North American Cemeteries blog but I was so taken with four fascinating gravestones from Fruitland Cemetery in Muskegon County that I wanted to share them with you here.

Several weeks ago I was looking for the grave of a former member of the 3rd Michigan Infantry -- which I did not find as it turned out -- but in my wandering stumbled across these folks.

Melissa Nyquist
And then there was Catherine Burns Porter, "gentle and loving, wise beyond her years" whose epitaph spoke not just of her but those she left behind.
Catherine Burns Porter

It may be that in all her phrases stirred 
The grinding water and rasping wind 
But it was she, and not the sea, we heard

And the Bellinger family. . .

Note Michael is listed as "Nubian", which typically describes someone from the Sudan or southern Egypt.

and why the "secret"?
Lastly, if you go keep an eye out for the lovely Connor stone with its striking frame of colorful grapevines.
Connor - a gorgeous stone, one that you should not miss and certainly not miss the reverse side. . . 

Friday, July 14, 2017

La Marseillaise Casablanca

When people chose right over wrong. . .

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Life is short

This sentiment bears repeating. . . . On a recent day trip up north to Oceana County, I came across this bit of insight in Hart Cemetery:

"So should we live that every hour 
Should die as dies the natural flower"

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Women of Paris Cemeteries

Just a few of the fascinating stories in stone waiting to be discovered.


Friday, June 30, 2017

Pentwater, Michigan

Located on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, about midway between Muskegon and Ludington, Pentwater is a typical summertime tourist town consisting of a serious marina, one main street, lots of homes for rent and a fantastic beach. If you go, be sure to stop in at the Petri Gallery right on the main street to wander through several rooms in stunning and whimsical creativity.

As you can see from the photos it was far too windy for beachgoers and swimmers or for our picnic lunch so we ate inside the car and watched the parasurfers who were clearly ignoring the red flag warning "no swimming."

After leaving town we drove north to the Pentwater Cemetery where I tracked down the grave of Edwin Nickerson, a former soldier in the 3rd Michigan Infantry. The cemetery in Pentwater is located on a series of wooded hillsides where many, if not most of the earliest grave sites are built with terraces to compensate for the slopes. Fascinating.

And on our way back to Grand Rapids we stopped at the cemetery in Hart, Michigan to look for Isaac Reed, another veteran of the Old 3rd Michigan Infantry. As I was returning to the car I came across a bit of wisdom on the Collier family stone, a couplet that spoke to me.

the Grand Army of the Republic memorial rock right along the main drag.

"So should we live that every hour 
Should die as dies the natural flower"

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Father's Day 2017

Sunday was Father's Day here in the USA, and we made the most of gorgeous weather right here in West Michigan. Before heading out to Clear Lake to be with the Ten Have-Chapman and Galloway clans, we stopped by Woodlawn Cemetery to pay our respects to a pair of special fathers. We made our way to visit Tunis VandenBerg and say hi.

Afterwards Bernice and Susan visited Emo Van Halsema, Bernice's father and Susie's grandfather, to pay their respects as well.

From the cemetery we made our way to US 131 and headed north to 10 Mile Road and Clear Lake for an afternoon of warm conversation, good food and lots of stories.

While there's always plenty of good conversation to be found outside on the deck, around the table or inside serving food, one of the more interesting events of the evening occurred late in the evening. After dinner was winding down Matt Makowski spent a half hour or so asking his wife Lisa's grandfather John Ten Have, the patriarch of the group, about his early life. Catching only snippets of the dialogue, Matt's genuine interest in the stories of days long gone but whose impact is ever-present in many around the table was fascinating to watch.

Bernice and her niece Jennifer

the setup

Gordon and Bernice
Scott, in between grill duties

the boys: Brenton Smith, Joe and Garrett Ten Have-Chapman

Lisa Makoswki

Maria, Zach and Susie