Crossing Paths and Small World Magic 1/22/17

Hi Friends!

Don’t you just love when a story that began days or weeks or even years in the past reappears – and turns into an even better story?

Here’s what I mean:

In 2013 one of my readers, Lori Kittinger – who lives with her family in Michigan – contacted me about helping out with her daughter’s (Brittany) Senior pictures.  She had the photographer all lined up, but Brittany had dreamed of the pictures being taken on Mackinac Island.  My assignment was to scout out locations and maybe use a few “connections” to go beyond the normal touristy places.  I immediately signed up, thinking what a fun way to spend a day . . . and it was perfect!

We covered that island like the dew that day. I don't even want to think about how many times we climbed "the hill". But photos like this one on Grand Hotel's porch . . .

We covered that island like the dew that day. I don’t even want to think about how many times we climbed “the hill”, but photos like this one of beautiful Brittany on Grand Hotel’s porch . . .

. . . . and this one on Maryanka Alexander's gorgeous Friesian Regina

. . . . and this one on Maryanke Alexander’s gorgeous Friesian Regina made all the effort worthwhile.

Brittany’s Godmother, Lisa, a professional photographer, got beautiful images of Brittany at Anne’s Tablet, at the Somewhere in Time gazebo, at the Grand Stable (where we just happened to catch Ben leaving with a vintage buggy – one wish we thought we’d miss), and at Grand Hotel.  It was a wonderful day!

Lori, Brittany and I have remained Facebook friends ever since, and that’s how I knew Brittany, who is now a Junior in Education at Spring Arbor University in Arbor MI, was arriving in St. Augustine with a group of fellow students for a month of diversity training, visiting elementary and middle schools across this section of Florida.

I immediately contacted Lori and asked her to give Brittany my cell number in case she needed something a “mom” would normally handle.  I was only 30 minutes from where they’d be in St. Augustine, and Lori was almost 1300 miles away.  I could get to her at lot faster!

That was almost a month ago.

Brittany and I texted several times over her first weeks in Florida (it was also her very first time visiting the Sunshine State, and she loves it).  And we finally worked out a time we could meet for a short visit.

Last Thursday these six students (Brittany is on the top row, far left) and two others not picgtured arrived at the Fort Matanzas Visitors Center to meet Ted (as a former educator, he became part of their diversity training) and me.

Last Thursday these six students (Brittany is on the top row, far left) and two others not pictured arrived at the Fort Matanzas Visitors Center to meet Ted (as a former educator, he became part of their diversity training) and me.

While two of the group took off at a very fast pace to fulfill the requirements of becoming Master Junior Rangers, the rest of the group and me saw the fort (from a distance - still no ferry) and hiked the nature trail.

While two of the group took off at a very fast pace to fulfill the requirements of becoming Master Junior Rangers, the rest of the group saw the fort (from a distance – still no ferry) and hiked the nature trail.

Swearing in of Master Junior Rangers!

Swearing in of Master Junior Rangers!

Now here’s where it gets downright crazy!

This amazing group of young women (and one man) are standing in the Visitors Center talking to Ted and me, and Ted notices that one girl (Melanie) is wearing a Coopersville Athletic Department t-shirt.  He says, “I just recently discovered my birth mother’s family, and some of my cousins live in Coopersville.”

“What are their names?” she asked.

“Bennink,” says Ted.

“No way!  I live next door to Steve Bennink!”

Who just happens to be one of Ted’s newly-found cousins!

It turned out that Melanie's grandmother was Dave Bennink's(another cousin) 4th grade teacher!

It turned out that Melanie’s grandmother was Dave Bennink’s (another cousin) 4th grade teacher!

Can you believe it!?

The entire group left yesterday for the trip back to college, and Florida is a little less sunny today since they took back all their smiles. 

I just love young people!!

A FEW MACKINAC PHOTOS

The U.S. Coastguard heavy ice breaker Mackinaw sails through the fog one morning last week. (Photo: Tom Chambers)

The U.S. Coastguard heavy ice breaker Mackinaw sails through the fog one morning last week. (Photo: Tom Chambers)

A lone coyote comes off the west end ice. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

A lone coyote comes off the west end ice. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

A pretty pic of Pam Day's new snowmobile parked near British Landing.

A pretty pic of Pam Day’s new snowmobile parked near British Landing.

A perfect "pre" sunrise photo. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

A perfect “pre” sunrise photo. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

MISCELLANEOUS

—A magical image of our neighborhood with the moon reflected in both the ocean and our inlet. (Photo: Neighbor Bob Hewit - from his drone)

—A magical image of our neighborhood, with the moon reflected in both the ocean and our inlet. (Photo: Neighbor Bob Hewit – from his drone)

Same drone - taken from the A1A side of the neighborhood.

Same drone – taken from the A1A side of the neighborhood.  You can even see the intracoastal back there in this one.

Mr. Bodie - looking pleased as punch with himself.

Mr. Bodie – looking pleased as punch with himself.

Everyone have a great week!  Love and hugs, and God bless.

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19 thoughts on “Crossing Paths and Small World Magic 1/22/17

  1. It’s a small world after all….I bet Ted was surprised. What a great story, AND I remember the blog you wrote about Brittany. When I saw that one picture of you, her and Ted on FB I said to myself…hey I remember her. 🙂 Love the pictures of your inlet and the island….is it September yet? 😉

  2. It’s fascinating to me how small the world really is. I noticed quite awhile ago that you are friends on Facebook with Lori. I grew up in the town in which she lives and worked with her for a time at a local grocery and video store.

  3. What a great story! I love such connections. I perked up with interest when you mentioned Spring Arbor University. I worked there for several years. I worked in admissions. We live in Parma, MI which is only about 12 miles from Spring Arbor, MI. I’m happy to report we booked our 2017 trip to the island. We will spend 4 nights at the Cloghaun in Sept. Last year we spent 2 nights and that was not near enough. I know 4 nights is not enough either but I will take it.

  4. I am sitting here with a big smile on my face! I love this story! The chance that one of the students would be from Ted’s cousins hometown! Crazy! It is always things like this that make this blog so important & interesting to all of us!

    It is such a bummer that I had to reschedule my trip to Mackinac due to my illness and will miss Pam. I have found another person that I hope to meet when I am on the island. I made a small donation to the Mackinac Island Community Foundation and messaged the foundation. I got a reply from Stephanie McGreevy. We messaged back and forth and she invited me to stop by and meet her. I can’t wait!

    I assume that Ted is an Atlanta Falcon fan. We are big Packer fans. His Falcons crushed our packers today! UGH!

    Hugs from Iowa!

  5. What a lovely column today. Love the connections you make!
    I have been watching the weather down your way, and hoping (praying) that all are safe. Tornadoes are scary enough with basements; even worse without.
    Thank you, Clark Bloswick, for getting up pre-dawn to take those gorgeous photos. I’ve heard about that time of day, but can’t personally provide proof of its existence!
    Oh, and the t-shirt that Brittany is wearing takes me back to the early 70’s for sure!

  6. Great reading as always. It is definitely a small world. Am glad you are safe. Tornadoes are so scary! Love the story about Brittany. And you are right……you just have to love young people!

  7. That’s one reason we probably all like your blog, Brenda. You always have such interesting and unusual stories. Glad the tornado missed your area.

  8. Brenda,

    I liked the story and the pictures. I especially enjoyed the story. It’s always exciting to me to know when people make contacts from the past. I saw on the TV that Adel, Georgia had been hit by the tornado. We stayed at the campground just west of Adel on two different occasions back in the ’80’s. If we had known you then, you and Ted would have had a few visitors. And thank you Clark Bloswick.

  9. Such a small world, isn’t it! So glad you could connect again with Brittany and then on top of that the connection for Ted, WOW!
    Sure enjoyed all the photos as usual. Have a nice week and send some sunshine this way please!

  10. What an amazing story! I have a complaint about your blog though…every time I read about and look at the stunning pictures of Mackinac Island it makes me want to be there RIGHT THAT MINUTE!!! I get such a travel bug to return to that magical place! It’s just not fair! 😉 My husband was a seasonal officer for their police department in 2007 and it made for one of the best summers ever! Your blog is the greatest! Thanks for giving this metro Detroiter the opportunity to enjoy the island and all of its glory year round!

  11. What a great story. We enjoyed some warm temperatures here on Saturday. It wasn’t Florida temps but to us, 62 degrees felt pretty good plus a full day of sun! I see all the foggy days they’ve had up north but I love those fog photos.

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