Throw Back Tuesday – Leaving Little Parts of Me Behind 4/4/17

Personal Note:  Leaving the island each summer is always a mix of sadness, because I’m leaving my heart’s home, and rejoicing because I’m returning to home, family, and much-loved friends.  This post reveals some of those feelings..



“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.


10 thoughts on “Throw Back Tuesday – Leaving Little Parts of Me Behind 4/4/17

  1. I love your story Bree. Are you going back sometime soon? I love the island so much, that I’ve been trying to get a job up there so I can write about what is it like to live on the island?
    Any leads?
    Thank you for sharing this,
    Emma Palova
    EW Emma’s Writings

    • Hi Emma! We’ll be there from the middle of July to the middle of Oct. I’m sorry but I don’t have any idea about jobs available. I’d google the Mackinac Island State Park site for employment opportunities. Also try I think that where they post island jobs. Good luck!

  2. So many of us know how you feel about the island and leaving the island, but you say it so elegantly. Thank you for that. Your repeats are like the leftovers that taste even better the next day!

  3. A beautiful story as always. I knew the exact moment I had fallen in love with the island. I was waiting on the sheplers bench waiting to go back to mackinaw city. I started to have tears run down my cheeks just thinking about leaving the island. I knew then that mackinac was in my soul.

    Hugs from Iowa!

  4. I loved reading this. I feel like I leave a little piece of my heart every time we leave too. Then when winter comes the yearning to go back begins. All of us know how “magical” it is. We always seem to “slow down ” when we arrive. Something we all need in this crazy world we live in.

  5. Bre your blog is the highlight of my week! I hate leaving Mackinac every time I visit, it’s so sad! The magic there speaks to a person’s soul and says “Peace is here always”.

  6. For me, it’s a paradox. I want to stay and stay and stay wherever. Then at different times, I’ve stayed slightly later the place slightly haunted and forlorn as if it’s wondering why I’m still there.
    So I relate to your feelings and Ted’s.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s