Above photo: Andrew and I, Upper Peninsula of Michigan ages 4 and 9 maybe
Summer just ended—The time of year when families go on vacation, kids swim, mosquitoes bite, and I start to reminisce about summers in Michigan.
My parents, along with my dad’s parents, would rent a cabin in the U.P. at a little resort called Birch Shores. Every summer we’d go up there for a week or two, rent a cabin and hunker down. We’d fish, swim, play, hike, go see waterfalls and lighthouses, visit Mackinaw Island and just relax. When we lived in Michigan we’d go every summer. Once we moved down to Indiana I think we did it once or twice. That’s quite the trek from Indiana, about 7-hours! Some of my favorite memories of Andrew and I are during those vacations.
Cabin number 10 was on the very edge of Manistique Lake. The beach was sandy and “Pure Michigan.” There were fallen trees between us and the lake (pictured above). We would play in those trees, hide things in their nooks and crevices and have a blast.
We’d visit Tahquamenon Falls, Seney Wildlife Refuge and my personal favorite: Kitch-iti-kipi. At least once during our stay, my Grandpa Britton and I would go fishing. My Grandma and I would make blueberry muffins for the trip. Clearly, by my face below I was pretty grossed out by the fish…still am really. They’re just so slimy! Also, check out my 80’s wear! Jealous? I bet you are.
When I was growing up, my parents didn’t have a lot of money. There were times we’d drive to church and we weren’t sure how we’d get home. We were out of gas with no funds in the wallet but I didn’t know it at the time. Dad worked two jobs and mom was a freelance graphic artist (rub on Letraset letters and everything!). When we would go on long car rides to our destination, my parents would bring instant oatmeal packets. They’d stop at McDonald’s and order coffee and hot water. I didn’t know that money was tight. I thought it was so much fun!
There isn’t a summer that I don’t think about our vacations in the U.P. Reminiscing is a normal part of childhood. We can get lost walking down the lanes of “what should’ve/could’ve been” but in reality, we’ll never know. That’s what might be one of the hardest parts of losing Andrew. I will always feel like there is a part of the puzzle missing. A corner piece— a piece that frames the picture and holds it all together.