Leaving Little Parts of Me Behind 10/17/2010

“All changes are more or less tinged with melancholy, for what we are leaving behind is part of ourselves.”  Amelia Barr

I knew it was coming, but not so fast.  After the Poor Man’s Ball at the school on Wednesday night, I walked into the condo and glanced into the back bedroom.  The comforter was completely covered in clothes, shoes, open luggage, and other “necessities” that will accompany us home.  Facing a day of serious packing on Thursday (as opposed to frivolous packing on Tuesday), and a 12-hour cleaning marathon on Friday, I sighed and sank into my comfy blue recliner in the den.  The chair sits between the sliding glass doors looking out over the yard and the bay window looking out over Cadotte (although that view is beautifully blocked just now by a tree about a week away from losing its leaves).   I put my head back, closed my eyes, kept one foot on the floor, tucked the other one under myself – and rocked.  I don’t do yoga, but this is my own personal lotus position.

As the chair moved slowly back and forth, the sound of a taxi coming up the hill, and the accompanying clip-clop, reached my ears.  That sound is probably at the top of my “most missed” list of Mackinac Island icons when I’m in Georgia.  I’ve loved that sound ever since I awoke to it eleven years ago on our first morning on the island – in the Chippewa Hotel.  I remember saying, “What’s that?” and getting up to peek out the window toward the Mission District (of course then, I had no idea what the Mission District was).  I remember watching the early morning dray coming down the street in front of the marina and Anne’s Cottage – it was barely daylight – and thinking, “Where could they be going so early?”  Now I know that the freight boat arrives on the island ahead of any passenger ferry, and the dray was on its way to pick up food the island restaurants would be serving that day – along with construction supplies, items for the retail stores, newspapers, and a bounty of other items to meet the daily needs of this precious rock.  But back then, I didn’t know all that.  I just knew that in those few moments, just before sleep was edged out by wakefulness, the sound of the horses’ hooves on the street had played a little tune in my subconscious – and that tune has been playing ever since.

It’s been an unbelievably beautiful summer on Mackinac Island.  The weather has been perfect – practically since we arrived in May.  The cold, wet days of last summer are long forgotten, replaced by this summer’s warmth and sunshine.  I remember last October being about as miserable a month as I’ve ever spent anywhere.  It was cold, it was wet, and we had gale-force winds for what seemed the entire month.  This October has been one day after another of Indian summer – cool, sunny days and cold, crisp nights – perfect for dazzling fall colors, perfect for pumpkins, perfect for visitors to the island, and perfect for me.  It was much easier to leave last year.

Everything has begun to slow down.  I won’t be able to show you the closing of the Grand like I did last year, because we’re leaving too early.  But I did get some photos today of the Somewhere in Time weekend at the Grand.  Then Jill and I walked through downtown for one more “Random Photo Opportunity” . . .

In case you don't know, the Somewhere in Time weekend at the Grand is a celebration of the movie by the same name, starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. Hundreds of people attend this special event, dressed in period costumes. This lady's hat was the talk of the Grand today at noon.

This couple had just gotten married (for real), dressed in Victorian costume. We saw them later in the wedding carriage downtown.


The majority of the clothing worn for this weekend is real vintage. I overhead this young woman say she found her dress and hat in a vintage shop. A few of the participants have their costumes made especially for them, copying the design of the clothes used in the movie.

Jill and I hitched a ride with Ron downtown from the Grand. The streets were full this weekend!

A beehive of activity tonight - the Island Bookstore.

With a 40% off sale going on, Tamara - the bookstore manager - was having a hard time keeping books on the shelfs.

Two lonely deck chairs look out on Lake Huron from the Leslie Court Condominium shoreline.

I wonder who will get to Lake Blackshear in Georgia first - us or these geese?


There was hardly anything left on the shelves in Nicole's Little Luxuries on Mackinac shop.

A last glimpse up at the Governor's Summer Residence. Next spring a new governor will be moving in.

And a last glimpse down Cadotte.


As I was walking up the yard to the condo, I turned just in time to catch this private buggy at the crest of the hill.

Most of you will be reading this post sometime during the day on Sunday.  If all has gone as planned, we will have left on the 9 a.m. ferry, and our merry little crew will be on I-75-going south.  But right now, it’s Saturday night – our last evening on the island until the next 214 days have passed.  But who’s counting.

Every summer we spend here, the island reveals a new aspect of itself.  Like an onion, Mackinac has many, many layers – and to truly know this place, each of those layers has to be peeled back and studied.  Last summer we spent our days exploring all the hidden landmarks, always seeking something else we hadn’t seen – marking those icons off our tattered map as each treasure was located.  We met so many people last summer, and I became known locally as “Bree the Blogger” – camera at the ready in any circumstance.  This summer, we’ve gotten to know people in a deeper, more personal way.  I’m no longer Bree the Blogger to most folks.  I’m just Brenda, and I like that much better.

Leaving will be hard, but as Ted as told me several times this week, “Most of your island friends will be leaving at the same time, or just after we do.  It wouldn’t be the same if you stayed with most of them gone.”  There’s just one thing wrong with that rationalization.   It wasn’t the people here that I first fell in love with – it was the place.  Mackinac Island continues to call me back – the woods, the trails, the flowers, the horses, the bluffs, and the water that surrounds all of these things.  The friends I’ve come to know and love are a wonderful God-sent bonus.

When we leave here Sunday morning, tiny pieces of my heart will remain on this small speck of an island rising up out of the blue waters of Lake Huron, and when we return in the spring, it will be whole once again.  That said, big chunks of my heart are beating excitedly as I anticipate pulling into our driveway at the ri’vah on Tuesday.  I can’t wait to see our lake house and yard – but most of all, I can’t wait to see our friends and family.  You have been so, so missed.

Sleep well through the winter snows, Mackinac.  I’ll see you when the tulips bloom – good Lord willing.

Personal Note:  There are no words to express how much each of you has come to mean to me over the last two years.  I hope you’ll follow me to Georgia, where I’ll write a couple of posts each week and will write a weekly update on the island in winter.  If you’ve never visited the Lake Blackshear site, you can go there now at http://bree1976.wordpress.com to read the archives from last winter.  Continue to check in on the Mackinac Island Blog, and I’ll let you know in a few days when I’ll be up and running from the ri’vah.

I’ll post something on Monday evening to let you know that we are home in Georgia.  Please keep us in your prayers for safe travels home.   God bless each and every one of you – you are loved.

33 thoughts on “Leaving Little Parts of Me Behind 10/17/2010

  1. Brenda I know right now you are shedding some tears. I too feel the same way you do about the island. 42 yrs. ago my husband and I spent our honeymoon on the island and vowed to come back. Well, 30 times since we have. When we bought our sailboat we would sail to the island with our 3 (at that time little children). I would wake up in the morning to the clip-clop of the horses and hearing the halyards on the sailboats…….what a wonderful serene sound.

    Somewhere In Time….that also means a lot to our family. We were on the island when it was filmed and our then 5th grade daughter would scout the island looking for Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. That set a pattern for her life…….a actress and stage director in NYC.

    Ga has been a second home to us – Marietta to be exact, but now that our son and family moved from Atlanta to Miami, we followed with our motorhome. We are leaving here and going to our new second home – Gulf Shores, AL for 6 mos. So both of us are somewhat vagabonds………and I believe you and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We’ll return to the island next year and hope we meet in person. Enjoy GA my friend and looking forward to your blog.

    I too write. Not a blog but a weekly Chit Chat Newsletter to my RV friends in Gulf Shores. If you’re interested in reading it, pls. send me an e-mail.

  2. Bree,

    I’ve been reading and enjoying your blog since June of 2009 and thought it was about time I left a comment! I was on the island this past week (11 years in a row now!) and went to the bookstore to obtain a copy of the Mackinac Journal. What a treat to see your photos of the horses! It was also fun to meet Jill. I wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog, as do my mom and brother. You do such a terrific job of writing and describing life on Mackinac Island. The photos are great, the posts are informative, fun and entertaining, some of the posts are poignant and some are just plain laugh out loud funny. I love the Bear and Maddie posts and photos especially. Thank you for all the time you put into the blog. I wish you, Ted, Bear and Maddie safe travels to Georgia!


  3. What a wonderful blog to finish the summer on the Island (even if it brought some tears.) Brenda I felt like I was right there with you all summer while I followed your blog..and then meeting you in person was a bonus. Know that you are in my prayers for your trip home and for a wonderful winter in Georgia. Will be looking forward to reading about the ri’vah when you have the time…love your blog and YOU!! God Bless.

  4. I shall miss your blog but will have to follow the Georgia blog. I hope you have safe travels. I know how sad it is to leave a place that has meant a great deal to you. Last year, we stayed in Frankenmuth several days after Memorial Day. It was quite sad to see the campground that had been so alive with activity so quiet.

  5. I’ve so enjoyed sharing Island days through your words. I don’t get back every year anymore, but every time is still magical. My first visit was 60 years ago and every childhood summer following, then college working summers. I met and married my husband there. My kids worked up there too. Now I’m taking my grandchildren.

    The sounds of horses, harnesses, halyards and ferry horns are is so embedded in my psyche that I dream of the Island often. I never achieved my dream of living up there every summer, so following your delightfully written insights and activities provides my Island fix.

    Hope your Georgia winter is pleasant and thanks for the connection to heaven 🙂

  6. Safe travels south to GA. You ALL will be sadly missed. The summer has gone by too fast. What a joy your Blogs have been. THANKS for all the time & heart you put into every one of them.

    I’ll be there to see you off and eagerly waiting at the dock when you return in the spring.

    • Hi Jill,

      It was great meeting you this year and getting to know you on the bluff walk. Thanks for all your help delivering the package. Have a good winter…see you next year. Take care…

  7. I can’t believe it is time to go already. Have a safe trip. Hopefully it snows like mad and we will see you in February for the Winter Festival:-)

  8. As I write This it’s 9am, you’ll be on the ferry & shortly back to the main land. I too shed some tears thinking about you leaving, Mackinac is such a special place. I too love everything about Mackinac that you have spoken about. Safe journey Ted, Brenda, Bear & Maddie.

  9. Dear Brenda,

    A beautiful poignant farewell blog. I just cannot express how much I have enjoyed your blogs (both Mackinac and Lake Blackshear) and how I look forward to reading them every morning. I’m so glad I got to meet you, Ted, Bear and Maddie this year on the Island….how gracious you and Ted are and how friendly Bear and Maddie.

    Safe travel to you, Ted, Bear and Maddie and God bless always…..

  10. I know what you mean about leaving a piece of my heart when I leave the Island. By now you have arrived in Mackinaw City from the Island. Have a safe trip back to GA and know that we readers of this blog will be there when you arrive at the ri’ vah.

  11. Well I don’t know what I can say that hasn’t already been said. Besides it’s hard to write when your eyes are blurred by tears. Thank you for everything you’ve done for all of us this past summer. You are truely a special friend. Safe travels home to you, Ted, Bear and Maddie. I know you have friends and family waiting for you with open arms to welcome you back home to Georgia. Bless You!

  12. It was a RUSHED “goodbye” on the boat dock this morning as the taxi (reserved 2 days ago) was 20 minutes LATE picking up…boat was held for an extra 9 minutes, 2 dockporters with a cart ready to unload the luggage.
    Car was packed by 9:55 & Ted was programing the GPS South on I-75…

  13. Bree I have read your blog for years originally about Mike Rowe . These thoughts that you share and pictures are stunning . I get stuck at home in a wheelchair. It means a lot . I alway wanted to visit there . I was a great ” Somewhere In Time ” I watch
    it for the music and the whole experience it gives you. Your writing gives me the same feeling.

  14. Bree,
    I have loved your site since I found it last winter. I was excited when you headed north this year so I could follow your daily adventures. It was fun to see what you were up to everyday. Your writing and pictures are amazing. I’m sure there were many tears when you left the island. Tears from you, but also from your many friends on the island and the thousand or so readers who enjoy your blog. Thank you for sharing your summer with all of us. I am glad we will still get to hear from you in GA.

    Have a safe trip home. If you go down 23 in Southeastern MI on the way home you will pass near my home by exit 1 in Lambertville, MI. My prayers are with you for your travels.

  15. I think it’s safe to say we’re all thinking of you as you head south … I thought of you yesterday during a horse show, knowing things must have been pressing on your heart as the minutes and hours ticked away.

    Wishing you, Ted, Maddie and Bear Godspeed and safe travels.


  16. Thanks for the posts this summer Brenda! It seems like just yesterday I was half looking for you on the porch of the Grand full of 4th Graders from Gladstone! Have a safe trip home and a great winter in Georgia.

  17. It’s 4:00 and it’s possible that you’re crossing the Michigan/Ohio state line about now. It’s a beautiful day with sunshine, blue skies and good color – perfect for going home to your ri’vah! You should have a pretty drive tomorrow through the hills! God speed, Brenda and Ted. Thanks for sharing your life on our favorite island with all of us. Safe travels!

  18. I too have shed some tears leaving the island but its comforting to know we will return.

    Brenda, have you ever gone to the Christmas Bazaar in December? My husband and I will be going this year and we are excited since its the first time we have gone in the winter.

    I hope to run into you next August when we hopefully spend a week there for our 40th! (if the house doesn’t sell that we are renting).

    Take care,
    Pat Steele
    Vernon, MI

  19. There is a wonderful comfort in sharing a connection with you and others that love the Island. Your poetic description of the special music of the horses’ hooves made words into images and sounds. I feel I have gained a friend through your blog and hope to make that a face to face meeting one day.
    I have enjoyed the glory of this beautiful fall and shall look forward to the serenity of winter while anticipating you reopening the door to Mackinac in the spring.

  20. I’m praying for a safe journey for you and your family as you travel south – hope the leaves are beautiful and the weather nice and sunny!
    Happy Sunday!!

  21. So glad that you had a beautiful day on your drive downstate. Hopefully this lovely weather will follow you all the way to Georgia. I agree with you about the sound of the horses clip-clopping down the streets early in the morning. It’s one of my most favorite sounds in the world. I too, am counting the days until I can hear it again.

  22. What a beautiful blog! You are so talented Bree! Thank you for a summer filled with lots of beautiful pictures and memories. May you, Ted and Maddie and Bear arrive safely in Ga. Thanks again for your awesome blogs!! Michelle

  23. Safe travels. I have been reading your blog from the beginning and love everything about it. It makes me feel like I am in both places. I can’t wait to hear how Georgia is and your adventures with training Bear. (and of course the many adventures of Maddy!) Have a safe ride home and many blessings to you and your family.

  24. Journeying mercies. Lord be with you as you travel. I so enjoyed your blog this year and I definitely will be seeing you next summer–sometime. I also will follow you to the lake for the winter :-).

  25. Goodness… now you have me tearing up a bit. Well, I guess on the positive side, you’ll get to experience a “second fall” down in Georgia. Up here in the southern Appalachians of NC, the leaves will be peaking probably by next weekend. It is so gorgeous around here.

  26. Thank you so very much Bree. This summer has been a hard one physically for me. Your blog has been a blessing.
    Relax this winter. Enjoy your GA home and friends. Hope family visits you and Ted often.
    Happy and safe travels!!
    Hugs to you all:)

  27. I’ve enjoyed reading your Mackinac blog for some time now. I’m looking forward to your posts from Georgia too. Have a wonderful southern winter. Waves from Tennessee!

  28. Thank you Brenda for all the beautiful pics and wonderful stories through-out the summer. They kept this girl going through a difficult time,your truly a blessing to others.
    I look forward to you coming back to us next year ,hopefully we will get to meet when we go up for our vacaton time.
    Have a blessed holiday coming up with your family & friends, Debra Turner

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