Posts Tagged With: Hardwood Michigan


My partner Jim, and Ned Bedinger, struck a deal. Ned gets Panama Or Bust and we found a new friend. It made for an auspicious day when Jim sold his rig. It was actually more than a rig, it was his home for nine years. And, not without some emotion about letting go, he said: “I’m homeless!” I understand the feeling. I too was temporarily homeless at one time.
Later this morning, I have guests from Hardwood, Michigan arriving.
I’ve blogged about them before, but just for an update, let me explain why this unusual group of visitors are headed my way.
My house burned to the ground in 1946 or 47. My mother was left with the clothes on her back but without shoes on her feet. My dad was cutting pulp for the paper mills and the house was consumed before he was able to reach it. My older brother, sister, and I were in school when it burned. Two younger brothers were home with my mom. No one was injured in the fire.
It was catastrophic to have the school bus driver leave us at the crossroads that day with nothing but a spiral of smoke to go home to.
In rural Hardwood, our closest neighbor, the Robinson family, was adjacent to the bus stop. In the opposite direction, about 1/4 mile away, was the Cousineau farm.
My two chums, Pat Robinson and Bernice Cousineau were at the bus stop with us. We spent that first homeless night with the Cousineau family.
With no house, we moved to a friend’s camp, then a very tiny house with a renovated chicken coop that served as a boys bedroom. Within a few weeks we moved out of Hardwood to Iron Mountain where my dad got a job at the Ford Plant.
Except for one brief encounter, I never saw my childhood friends, Pat and Bernice again.
Today, after a lapse of over 60 years, Pat Robinson Whitfield, and her husband Richard; Bernice Cousineau Patrick and her sister Marie Cousineau Gaber will arrive at Sacramento Airport for there first visit to California. We had had no contact over these intervening years until a phone call out of the blue last year. I was amazed they managed to run me down after so many years.
Every picture our family had was burned in that fire. They’ve promised to bring some photos. Old friends found. You will meet them on this page as we renew a lifetime of changes in the weeks ahead. Homelessness and friendship is something you never forget.
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