Archive forDecember, 2017

The Music Box (aka “The Box”)

Yesterday I joined a Facebook group called “Music Box -Houghton Lake -Michigan.” A lot of this post was taken from my introduction to the Music Box Facebook group.

I was a “regular” at “The Box” from about 1957-1960. The Music Box was an outdoor dance hall in Prudenville, Mi. Thousands would line up on Saturday nights. In the winter it moved into an adjacent smaller indoor room. For many years, I NEVER missed a Saturday night at “The Box.” I have so many memories. It was a long drive from Midland to Prudenville, but it was my obsession.

There was an attitude which defined Box regulars. The summer crowd of over 5,000 enjoyed the popular recorded music played by Shirley with support from Lee, her husband. Being a Box regular made you “cool” in the eyes of those from your hometown.

As a Midland girl, I remember dancing with guys from all over Michigan and many out-of-staters.

I fell in love at the Box (several times), had my heart broken at the Box (more than once). The Box shaped me. Summer and winter, I was there.

During the winter months, my favorite way to spend Saturdays was to go skiing at Skyline Ski Resort and then come over to The Box. I remember the ceilings in the winter area were really low which made it quite humid, especially since lots of snow got tracked in. The crowd during the winter months was a fraction of the huge summer crowds.

I had a best guy buddy (John Whitman from Midland) who gave me a ride a lot of the time.

Through The Box, I met dozens of fun kids. Since I wasn’t a “local,” I never got to be friends with many of the girls, but I sure remember the guys. A lot of the fellows were college age (older than I was).

My favorite dance partner was a guy named Pete. He lived in the Freeland area and was beyond awesome on the dance floor. (He was a drummer who made a big name for himself as a professional musician so it’s no wonder he had a great beat.) Pete wants me to help him write a book about dancing in the 1950’s. I haven’t agreed, but a lot would be about The Box.

And after The Box, when I didn’t have to hurry home, I enjoyed Geni’s Pizza in Prudenville. In fact, other than a Chef Boyardee you-bake-from-a-box pizza, I’d never had pizza until I went to Geni’s. The cheese was the really stretchy kind that would make long “ropes” when you took a bite. I didn’t realize that the meat was called sausage instead of pepperoni, but whatever it was, I loved it.

I’m now a 75-year-old snowbird spending winters at our condo in Sun City Center, Florida, and summers at our Michigan home on a little lake west of Saginaw between Hemlock and St. Charles.

All my teen experiences centered on “The Box.”

I’ve lost touch with all my friends from that era and often wonder if I’m part of their pleasant teenage memories centered on “The Box.”

I mentioned my time at “The Box” in a 2010 blog post:
Earlier Post on My Blog

In that post, I mentioned that one of my old boyfriends, Mike Cauchy, had died. When I dated Mike, we went “steady” two separate times. Each time lasted less than a week because I broke up with him to go to The Box. Yup, The Box was that important to me.

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Don’t want their attitude

I joined two Facebook groups just before Christmas. One is the IPF-Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Support Group and the other is for Spousal Caregivers. I thought the two groups would help provide answers but I’m giving up on the Spousal Caregivers group. Sadly I don’t want their attitude to rub off on me.

Most of the “caregivers” seem to be bitter and angry about the hand that’s been dealt them, and mad at their spouses.

At times I get frustrated with John but never angry with him. We’re in this life together. He is ill, and sometimes he’s hard to please, but I know I’d be more difficult. He is dealing with the situation the best he can and he’s doing a great job staying upbeat!

I will check in on the caregivers’ group occasionally, but I’m not going to follow it closely because I don’t want to ever feel as they do.

The other group, the IPF group, consists of those with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis or those who are close to someone who has this horrid disease. The members are fairly upbeat, strong, and positive. I might learn from them. They seem appreciative of the time they are sharing with their spouse/significant other.

I want to tell the wife in the caregivers’ group who is bitching about changing her husband’s diaper, or the one who gripes about her husband demands that she’ll be sorry she resented helping him. More than likely he feels bad because he needs her help.

I want to explain to the woman who complains that husband no longer interacts with her so she’s feeling lonely that her “feel sorry for herself attitude” will only drive away folks who would be friendly.

I am far from perfect. And yes, sometimes even sweet John can be difficult. He wants to do for himself, but then he complains when I don’t help him with something little. Like last night when we got home from dinner with friends and I headed to the bathroom instead of helping him put our leftovers away. I changed from my fussy clothes to a comfy robe before coming to the living room. Putting the pie pan and two foam boxes of prime rib in the refrigerator didn’t seem like it was a big deal that I needed to help him with, but apparently, it bothered him that I didn’t volunteer to help (or do it). I had helped our hosts clear the table, rinse the dishes and store away what I could. I’d been on my feet for awhile and my touchy back was aching. But he’s right. I could have suggested that I put the three items in the refrigerator and I will next time.

I enjoy every day I have with John. I sure won’t complain, even if he’s sometimes a little cranky.

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Enjoy each day

My husband has a lung disease (considered terminal) that I fear will take him from me before either of us is ready for that separation.

I realize that the reality of that situation necessitates that I enjoy and savor every moment with him or I’ll be left with regrets.

What if this is our last Christmas together?

I need to enjoy every part of every day.

Our tree is kinda sparce, but it’s our Christmas tree. I better love it and remember what it feels like to share it with him!

Our poinsettias aren’t as pretty as previous years. Ahh… but they’re growing and look seasonal. Not perfect but still lovely.

We haven’t gone to many parties or had as much “fun” as previous years but the times we’ve socialized, we’ve enjoyed ourselves. Store away those good times, however many.

We don’t get as many invitations as previous years, probably because we don’t see our friends as often (out of sight out of mind) and we aren’t as much fun. But when we do get an invite, we know they’re real friends and they will enjoy our company.

Every single minute of every day is special and cherished.

Of course, I am praying to have lots more happy years with him. Join me in praying for that possibility.

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Christmas Plans

On Christmas day, our plan was to enjoy a lovely steak dinner (Omaha Steaks sent to us by my daughter) but our plans have changed. Yesterday, our friends Paul and Bunny Hunt, invited us to a Christmas dinner Christmas afternoon. (The frozen steaks will keep.) Instead, we’ll enjoy prime rib, baked potatoes, salad, and an apple pie for dessert at their condo. (We’ll provide the pie.)

Paul and Bunny are dear friends. We truly enjoy them. They were friends of my mom and Hoagie. We’ll enjoy their company, have a nice Christmas and we won’t be alone nor will they. Bunny’s having health problems so I hope it’s not too much work for her. Paul assured us that the dinner will easy. He’s getting the prime rib partially pre-prepared by Sam’s Club so it won’t take much to serve.

Last Saturday they had a Christmas house party. I came an hour early to help and I could tell it was beneficial. She was able to relax while I made sure everything was hot and ready.

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Blind Man’s Attitude

I read about an elderly widowed blind man who was being shown around his new apartment in a care facility.

He had just walked in the door when he said, “It’s lovely and I’m going to be very happy here.”

His guide said, “But you can’t see it and you just arrived.”

The old man explained, “Happiness isn’t dependent on surroundings. Happiness is an attitude. Each morning when I wake up, I say to myself, ‘It’s going to be a good day,’ and it is.”

Tonight I spent quite a while talking with Kline. Kline is 97 and a healthy, fit, active fellow. He said he controls his situation by saying each morning, “All I ask is that today is better than yesterday for me, for my friends and for my family. It doesn’t have to be great just a little better. I’m happy.”

I guess, blending the blind man’s attitude and Kline’s would give anyone a wonderful outlook.

I should mention that Kline lost his wife in 2014 at the same party where we enjoyed his company tonight. He is still upbeat and positive. Kline and the blind man I read about are examples to follow.

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Middle of December Chill

Yesterday Accuweather gave a report that the Shields area (in central Michigan) would get down 8 degrees last night and 5 tonight! It’s also predicted that there’ll be a snow storm. The forecast for Wednesday read, “Heavy snow possible. A narrow band of snowfall rates in excess of 2 inches per hour may affect a portion of the area during the Wednesday evening commute.”

I just checked the forecast to see if today’s weather had matched the forecast in Michigan. There’s now a “Weather Advisory” which reads, …WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL MIDNIGHT EST TONIGHT… Heavy snow. Plan on difficult travel conditions, including during the evening commute. Widespread snowfall accumulation of 5 to 7 inches with a band of 6 to 9 inches possible. Snowfall rates will exceed 1 inch per hour between 3pm and 7pm and will occasionally reach 2 inches per hour.

All the sudden our Florida low temps in the 40’s overnight and 60’s daytime aren’t so bad.

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Am I too big for my britches??

Sometimes I wonder why I get involved…

Several years ago I started a facebook page for Kings Point Sun City Center Residents. Kings Point management had a Facebook presence, but it hadn’t taken long to realize that Kings Point management didn’t have the same interests in information exchange as the residents, especially the snowbirds.

Being in Michigan from May-October left me feeling like I needed a link to our Florida paradise. I started the Kings Point Sun City Center Residents’ Facebook page as kind of an “announcement” site and it’s worked well. Over the years, I’ve included the openings of new businesses, announcements about expansions and changes in Kings Point, weather-related warnings. I let residents know when a new issue of the Pointer is out (our community newsletter). When I hear about strawberry picking or the opening of Wa-Wa or Aldi, I post it. When there’s a large snake captured or a fox on the run, it’s been on Kings Point Resident’s page.

This fall, when Hurricane Irma threatened to move through Kings Point, the page gave me a place to ask for information and when they were provided to me, I was quick to post photos of the damage within our gated community.

But the past couple of weeks have been a different story. I read postings on another website service called “Nextdoor.” That site/service is great for the exchange of information. They have a super “for sale” area and ample ways for newcomers to be introduced to our area. I find it a wonderful asset.

About a month ago, members of Nextdoor got wind of a proposed huge raise in Kings Point’s HOA and COA dues. The proposal included a list of budget items that seemed totally out-of-line and would result in monstrous increases in all residents’ monthly fees. I listened carefully. After being urged by folks who read my Kings Point Residents’ page, I decided that the budget information should be at least be made available to my readers. I posted the list of budget items with a disclaimer which said I couldn’t verify the proposed line items, and residents should check with their HOA/COA presidents to get the complete story.

My COA president verified that our dues in Nantucket V will go up over $40 monthly. I verified the $40+ amount but did not confirm the pricy line-items.

More information has come out and it appears the $40+ number is definitely accurate. It’s been stated that previous leadership failed to maintain the infrastructure of Kings Point. The huge increase is an attempt to make Kings Point more viable. The new dues number may be something that I will eventually understand but I certainly don’t want to get involved.

Whenever anything has been posted by me, I have continued to say, “Check with your association’s management.” Of course, that wasn’t how folks remember it. They think of me as spreading rumors. They feel I was promoting gossip.

I have been chastised and criticized. I hope it’ll blow over.

It’s true, I don’t have the right to speak for anyone other than myself. I shouldn’t have gotten involved. I didn’t want to. I just wanted to have a place to learn about the weather, the improvements, etc. in Kings Point.

When I only had 50-100 folks following Kings Point Sun City Center Residents posts, it didn’t matter. Now the numbers are in the thousands. I don’t pretend to be an authority. I’m just a moderator. Nothing more.

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Tree’s Up, Wreath on the Door

We’ve about finished our holiday decorating.

The tree is up but nothing like the lovely tree we used for many years. We have a live rose bouquet on the coffee table with a ruby red satin Christmas runner. There’s a small well-lit tree on the lanai, a lit up angel in the window, Christmas placemats in the dining room, a red and green runner on the bar, a candelabra in the guest room window, and holiday towels ready for the bathrooms. It’s definitely ok, but not exceptional.


Just put a flood light outside to illuminate the front of the condo. It’s not as impressive as the many lights we used other years on the shrubbery, but it’ll do.

If I try to do more, it’ll only mean more work for John (because he always steps up and says he can help). He doesn’t need anything added to his to-do list.

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