Category Archives: Muskegon

Just Being

Bryan and Pongo

A few days before Christmas Bryan and I spent two hours walking along our beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline taking advantage of the fifty degree weather we were enjoying on a December day in Muskegon. Bryan has this amazing ability to make me feel like he has nothing better to do but spend time with me on his day off from work while Mark was out running errands.

We talked about many things while on our peaceful walk but no words were necessary because just being was enough.

Fall Hikes

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Walking in the woods in the fall is so much fun especially if you’re surrounded by people you love. Last weekend while Chad and Devin were visiting from Dallas we were able to fit in a family hike by Lost Lake. It was a beautiful day for a hike with the trees starting to turn from green to bright orange, yellow and red.

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Bryan pushed me in the Chairiot most of the way but when we were on the cross country ski trail we came to a hill and Mark offered to relieve Bryan for a while. As we started up the hill Chad thought he would help by taking hold of one of the handles then Bryan decided to push on Mark’s back to be helpful also. The result of their teamwork was that we all ended up on the ground and my Chairiot was on its back and I was looking up at the sky. It was all somewhat graceful and no one was hurt so we all laid there laughing. Thankfully my head was securely supported by my recently donated head rest which held my head firmly in place. As we continued our hike we talked about how grateful we were to Chip and Colleen VanderWier and all the people that contributed to the Chairiot project. I would not be hiking in the woods without this chair.

So I want to thank you all again.

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Our Closing at Transnation Title

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Six years ago we sold our home on Robinhood Drive and moved into the Balcom’s Cove condominiums on Muskegon Lake. We’ve been renting all of this time because it felt like the right thing to do but we have had so much fun here that we thought it was time to buy.

On the day of our closing as we entered the closing room at Transnation Title my thoughts traveled back to the spring of 1983 when I first started working at this title company which was called Transamerica Title back then. I looked around the closing table and thought about the business relationships my co-workers and I have cultivated over the years. Since I wasn’t able to sign any of the documents I had time to daydream a little.

Sitting across from me at the closing table was Jim Raymond from Chrystal-Anderson. Chrystal-Anderson used Transamerica exclusively back in my early days at Trans so we formed some solid relationships with all their real estate agents. Our offices had a lot of fun together at our annual softball games and occasional cocktail parties. My boss at the time, Tom Olson, was the condo expert in Muskegon then so Tom and our staff worked on projects for Chrystal-Anderson and developer John Darien. Three of the projects that come to mind are Harbour Towne, Just Off the Green and Balcom’s Cove. Ironically, I was at the ground breaking ceremony for Balcom’s Cove but never thought I would ever own one of the condos.

Sitting to my left was Leo Langlois from Greenridge Realty who was our real estate agent. Leo stays on top of things through the whole buying and selling process, his fine attention to detail and his great follow-through skills make working with him a pleasure. I first met Leo when he started working for Westwind Realty and used Transnation for his title and closing services. Westwind Realty later sold to Greenridge Realty and Leo has remained loyal to both Greenridge and Transnation even though Greenridge has their own title company. Thank you Leo, we appreciate your loyalty.

Renee Nyblade from Community Shores Bank was our lender and made the mortgage process really simple and worry-free for Mark and I. I still remember meeting Renee for the first time when I invited her to have lunch with me at the downtown Holiday Inn. Renee was a new mortgage lender at a bank called FMB and I wanted to welcome Renee into the Muskegon real estate world and let her know about the great services Transnation had to offer her. Renee now works for Community Shores Bank, one my favorite banks in Muskegon. I know a lot of the Community Shores employees on a personal level and I always feel like family when I walked through their doors. They are a great community bank in Muskegon.

At our closing I proudly sat back and watched my friend Mindy Prause eloquently explain the closing papers in her sweet voice. My mind drifted back to when Mindy started working at Transnation. She was in her teens and was very timid and shy and now she handles any type of closing with confidence and grace.

I remembered the first closing I did as an employee at Transamerica Title. It was a simple cash sale of vacant land with Larry Rottman as the seller and Rod Horsfall as the buyer. It was a 4:00pm closing and I remember being so nervous all day even though I had practiced with Mark the night before.

Transnation Title was a great career for me. It taught me so much about real estate, the business world and people.

After our closing, we got a tour of Trans’ new expanded offices and I loved seeing many of my Transnation friends again. Trans employees were my family away from home for nearly 28 years. Thank you all.

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My 40th Class Reunion

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On a recent Saturday evening the Reeths-Puffer Class of 1974 gathered together at our classmate Jill Boeve Wiggin’s house to celebrate each other. We celebrated the long-standing friendships we’ve cultivated for so many years.

The weather was absolutely perfect to be outside on this gorgeous summer night. Jill and Brian’s yard is beautifully landscaped with some of my favorite flowers blooming brightly against a white picket fence. The reunion committee was made up of Jill Wiggins, Kristi Buris, Kurt Boerman, Carla Jolman, Kristi Fagan, Deb Couch and Rita Fowler.

I’m sure we all attended the reunion with a little anxiety, even the most confident probably were a little anxious. Because of our life lessons we came together as friends accepting each other as is. For me, I was less stressed for this reunion than ever before. My class has always been close and this past year they proved it to me with their amazing love and kindness. It seems as though I would have been more stressed given my physical condition but somehow I was at peace. I was at peace because of all of you accepting me just the way I am.

Throughout the evening I heard many stories, some of hope and determination like Denise Laban saying, “This reunion is my first and I thought it was time I start getting out.” This may have been Denise’s first renunion in 40 years but somehow she found the courage to attend and I’m so glad she did. I’m so proud of you, Denise.

I heard a love story from Pat Slayton similar to ours. Pat’s wife Kim suffered a stroke and he is currently taking care of her at home. His story mirrors our story because we all thought we would be entering retirement free of a work schedule and ready to play but we were wrong. Instead Pat and Mark are working harder than ever by caring for Kim and I.

Carla Jolman made a beautiful quilt which was raffled off to raise money to be donated for cancer and ALS research.

The theme for the evening was Italian and Jill, Kristi and a few others made the food which I’m told was great.

On my way home from the reunion the moon was shining big and bright and I felt that that beautiful bright light connected all 299 friends and classmates from the Reeths-Puffer Class of 1974. When we got home Mark noticed a text from my classmate Bruce Olsen, who lives in Ohio and wasn’t able to attend saying, “I hope you are having a great time. Enjoy the moonlight.”

The Lakeside Emporium

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Our sweet grandsons arrived on a Thursday evening and the first thing they wanted to do on Friday was visit the candy store located in our Lakeside neighborhood. This has become a tradition for them when they visit from Texas.

Visiting this candy store is a really special experience because of owners Laureen and Gary’s friendly personalities. Happy music greets you outside their store as you walk up to the entrance. Once inside Laureen flashes her heartwarming smile and remembers your name. The delicious smell of homemade fudge permiates their quaint candy store. As you look around you’ll find a great assortment of candy to please everyone. The prices will fit everyone’s budget because they have candy ranging from one penny on up. And after making your selection Gary is patiently waiting at the cash register as little kids drop their coins on the counter and Gary helps them count to make sure they have enough money or helps them decide what to put back.

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One year our oldest grandson Cole had a summer reading project which involved a paper cutout of a boy named Flat Stanley. When our grandsons came for their summer visit, Cole brought Flat Stanley along. A few days into their visit, Flat Stanley came up missing. We looked around the house but couldn’t find him and started retracing our steps since their arrival. Since we had been to the Lakeside Emporium we called them and asked them if they had seen Flat Stanley. They said they hadn’t but would keep an eye out for him. On Sunday morning we got a call from Gary at the Lakeside Emporium, he said they had found Flat Stanley among the candy containers.

The first time I met Laureen and Gary was while I was working at Transnation Title. I ordered carmel apples for some of our clients. The apples were wrapped beautifully and they were a big hit with our customers. I continued to order corporate gifts for our clients and they always exceeded my expectations because of their amazing customer service.

If you have never visited the Lakeside Emporium in Muskegon please put this on your must visit places in Muskegon list. You’ll be so happy you did.