Pamela A. Frucci: New residents happy with life on the Island
’Round the Island
Fred and Marianne Peters have re-located on Meridian Road and when they decided to move out of their previous home, Fred said to his wife, “Any place but Grosse Ile. It’s too expensive to live over there.” (Fred is a retired teacher from the Southgate schools and taught for many years with my husband, Jack. The retirees get together for lunch every first Tuesday of the month so Jack and Fred have stayed in touch.)
Marianne and their son drove Fred over to the Island to the house they had picked out on the Thorofare Canal with a downstairs bedroom. This pleased Fred who needs a walker to get around and getting upstairs was difficult. They bought the house. Marianne’s holiday decorations are a show stopper, especially at Christmas, when the whole front of their home is aglow in blue lights, and the Peters’ are very happy in their place they’ve been in for a couple of years now. They love the wildlife that abound around their home, even the deer!
70 YEARS LATER I “GROW” A NEW TOOTH
I had a crown break off a back molar and Dr. Brian Long, whose office is on Macomb Street, fitted me with a new crown. Just before he finished, I asked if he could do something about a gap in my front tooth I’d had for more than 70 years. I’d gotten used to it but was self-conscious about it. Right away he said, “I can make you a new tooth!”
So one hour later the gap was gone; he had fashioned an extension of my original tooth and it matched the rest of my teeth. I asked, “How did you know how to do that?” His immediate answer was, “20 years experience.” My husband, Jack, didn’t even notice, but I’m happy with having a straight across row of front teeth after 70 years of living with a gap in front!
OWNER OF THE OLD SPOKES HOME
The credit for the Old Spokes Home, the handsome new brick building on Macomb housing 300 antique bicycles, should go to Roger Gauthier, Island resident. I incorrectly named the owner Dan Gaither, my apologies. When the Kiwanis Club was treated to a tour of the bike museum on Oct. 22, it was an “eye popping” experience!
FORMER HOME ON MACOMB STREET
GETTING A 2015
Another remodeling job is getting attention on our main street. On the north side at 8550 Macomb Street, it’s another of those former residences made into a small business. I stopped out of curiosity one day this summer as workmen were there doing some construction.
The carpenter I talked to said it will someday be a construction company and the owner wanted something different. A brand new roof line has been added to the former home. It’s got a big wave in it and the guy told me when the owner stopped by, he didn’t like the lines of the proposed roof so the guy drew a wavy roof line in the dirt in the front yard and the owner said “Go for it.”
There’s a lot of stone work on the porch and railing. Speculation has it that it’s going to be one of the most interesting looking businesses on Macomb Street.
NOT A MODEL BUT A REAL PLANE CRAFTED BY LEVON KING
Levon King, former mayor of Allen Park, former administrator of Southgate, former minister, former lawyer, and former bassist in my husband Jack’s former quartet, My Three Friends, decided when he retired he would build an airplane from scratch.
It was started in the Kings’ garage in Allen Park, moved to a hangar at the Grosse Ile Municipal Airport, and finally had its first flight this October. Tested by a trained inspector, he pronounced it in great flying condition!
Every rivet was painstakingly put in place by King who has made fast friends with pilot Alan Anderson, Island resident, who works on his plane in a nearby hangar. The two pilots trade advice and tools.
King was the speaker at a Kiwanis Club meeting when he was in the beginning stages of crafting his plane. The club is invited to the airport this next spring to see the finished product in flight.
Lifelong Grosse Ile resident Pam Frucci, one of the founders of the original Ile Camera as a high school student 70 years ago, can be reached by email at email@example.com.
Traditions bring holidays to life on the Island
BY TAMMY TRAVIS-TAYLOR
Grosse Ile Historical Society
Grosse Ile has long been a busy gathering place for the holidays. Whether it is groups of neighbors caroling or the community gathering on Macomb Street for Island Glow, some of these traditions are close to 100 years old.
Organizations around the Island open their doors to celebrate the holidays and reach out to help those in need. Each year the Grosse Ile Fire Department teams up with the Grosse Ile Good Fellows to fund a Grosse Ile family in need. The “Adopt-a-Family” program is provided entirely through community donations and benefits residents of Grosse Ile. Contributions no matter how large or small will help ensure that no one will go without through the Christmas season.
Grosse Ile’s interfaith community has long celebrated the holidays. Each church on the Island has its own traditions, one of the strongest being the Christnet supported by the Grosse Ile Interfaith Council of Churches. ChristNet is a rotating homeless shelter and since 2005 Grosse Ile Presbyterian Church has been the host church with other Island churches assisting during the week before Thanksgiving as well as Christmas week.
ChristNet provides temporary overnight housing in local churches as well as other services to homeless men, women and children. Volunteers from the host church prepare dinner, breakfast and a bag lunch for their guests. The program was co-founded in 1993 and supported by St. Paul United Church of Christ. It expanded from an eight-week/eight-church pilot program to a ministry that now extends over eight months and engages the support of more than 55 Downriver congregations.
The Presbyterian Church has several local traditions. The Deacon Christmas Dinner is decades old and usually takes place the first weekend in December. It is a formal candlelight dinner served by the church youth under the supervision of the Board of Deacons. The event is highly anticipated by the adult members of the church.
A Family Christmas Dinner is a new tradition, only three years old. It is a mid-week Christmas Dinner and pageant for the whole family. Following a festive, child friendly dinner, children are invited to ring carols on the rainbow bells and participate in a telling of the birth of Jesus Christ from the Gospel of Luke.
Services at St. James Episcopal Church first began in 1868. In July of that year the small chapel built with the life savings of a freed African American Slave was consecrated by Bishop Samuel Allen McCoskry. The Greens Market has been a fixture of the church for more than 80 years. Months are taken to prepare for the market, which sells Christmas Trees, Christmas Wreaths and Centerpieces. All the proceeds from the market go to ministry.
The Grosse Ile Historical Society hosts its annual Holiday Gift Boutique each weekend in the month of December. The tradition began in 1975 under the watchful eye of Carlee Atkinson, a dedicated Society member. It all began with a few crafters and vendors and has grown to showcase over 50 crafters annually, along with featuring items from other Grosse Ile organizations. All proceeds from the Boutique support the crafters, other non-profit organizations and the Grosse Ile Historical Society.
Each weekend before Christmas brings special events including book signings, a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, and new this year, a wine tasting Dec. 4. Carlee Atkinson believed that local crafters needed a venue to showcase their goods during the holidays.
“Many of our crafters have been with us for years,” said Boutique Co-chair Ann Loftus. “We have customers that come year after year looking for unique gifts for friends and family. It truly is a place to find that one of a kind gift.”
Boar’s Head Festival is a Christmas celebration with music and pageantry. The festival is an American custom of English origin, with roots in the English tradition of slaying a boar for the Christmas feast, roasting the animal’s head with an apple in its mouth and presenting the roasted head in the castle dining hall so the royalty and their guests can admire the slain boar and the hunter prowess.
In 1980, Josephine Ramage and the Interfaith Council of Churches of Grosse Ile produced the first Grosse Ile Boar’s Head Festival. The Islanders, the local Island theater group, were also instrumental in this first performance which involved over 200 performers. Sacred Heart Catholic Church was the original host for the program and the script was rented from the Cherry Hill Presbyterian Church. The second production occurred two years later and the 12 Days of Christmas was added.
It was in 1982 that Doug Scott became musical arranger and composer for the festival. Due to the enormity of the production and the commitment of the performers, it was decided in 1987 to stage the production every four years. In 1992, Josephine Ramage dies of leukemia and in the following year, Jill Ryan was appointed executive director.
Since 1980 the pageant has been performed nine times with the 2015 production being the 10th, celebrating the 35th year. 600 community members will participate in the production with thousands attending.
From non-profits to interfaith celebrations and holiday traditions spread far and wide, private clubs on the Island also have strong traditions at this time of year. The Grosse Ile Yacht Club began when a small group of men interested in sailing got together in 1934 on Captain Fred Burdeno’s veranda. Fourteen men attended that first meeting and the club was incorporated in 1935. For the first three years the club house was a houseboat purchased for $500 that was anchored at Burdeno’s Point. As the club grew in size and a strong Northeaster sank the houseboat the club purchased Peek-A-Boo Island from Hickory Island in 1938. The current clubhouse was completed in 1949.
The month of December holds several traditions for the club. The Change of Watch celebrates the incoming Bridge Officers (Commodore, Vice Commodore and Rear Commodore) of the Club and the outgoing Commodore. At the end of the ceremony, which includes the naming of the incoming Flag Officers, the current Commodore is inducted into the Past Commodores’ Club.
Over the years, several other traditions have become part of the Change of Watch ceremony. The Wassail toast began in 1972 at the suggestion of Lady Audrye Lyden and has continued through the years. The Commodore toasts all those in attendance with a freshly prepared beverage from the Wassail Bowl. The word wassail comes from the Anglo-Saxon toast “wais hael” which means to “be well,” and the drink has long been closely connected with good health. This tradition was well known and copied by many other yacht clubs throughout the Great Lakes.
Two awards are also presented at the Change of Watch — the PC Edward Lyden Memorial Achievement Award and the No-So-Jolly Roger Award. The PC Edward Lyden Award was first presented in 2002 and is awarded to an individual, group of individuals, or internal organization or committee who has demonstrated outstanding achievement for the Club through the current fiscal year. The Not-So-Jolly Roger Award, originally called the “Herb Frank Trophy,” was initiated in 1965 and is presented to the hard luck skipper of the year. Whether you have had very bad luck or done something extremely foolish you can be awarded this tongue-in-cheek award.
Many more traditions are part of Island Life, there are far too many to describe. The times and dates for all of these events are listed in the Trib’s “Upcoming Event” column, which begins on Page 3-A. Join us on Grosse Ile and celebrate this family time of year. Whether it is to volunteer at one of our churches, take in a production of the Boar’s Head Festival or find that unique gift at the Grosse Ile Holiday Gift Boutique, Grosse Ile has much to offer this holiday season.
Essay winners honored
BY DAVID L. DYER
It is a nationwide youth essay competition sponsored by the VFW. It gives middle grade students the opportunity to write essays expressing their views on an annual patriotic theme. This is open to all registered students in grades six through eight.
What is it? It’s called the Patriots Pen Essay Writing Contest, and six students from Grosse Ile recently were recognized for their entries.
There are four levels of competition in this contest with the ultimate national award being $5,000 and an all expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the winner and a parent or guardian. It begins at the local post level and that is where I come in. I was honored to be chosen post chairman for this event.
Our local winner advances to the district level and that winner goes on to the state and ultimately the national finals. There are monetary awards at each level. Those who enter must write in their own words a 300-400 word essay on an annual patriotic theme which this year is “What Freedom Means to me.” I am happy to announce we will be sending six winners to compete at the district level. How is this possible? Enter Susan Dusute.
Dusute is an English teacher who has been with the Grosse Ile Schools for 18 years with the past nine at the middle school. When she first heard of this VFW project she thought it would be a wonderful opportunity for her students to learn about patriotism. She volunteered to head this program.
For the past three years I have noticed the increase in the number of essays submitted by the middle school. It couldn’t possibly get any better than this year. I asked Dusute for a listing of the first and last names of all the participants to prepare the certificates. Each student who submitted an essay will receive a certificate that is well worth framing. She handed me a list of each of her three classes. I took a moment to count them. The three of them added together totaled 92, which is exactly the number of essays received. Yes, 100 percent of her students entered the contest. She must have a very special way of getting the message across.
When I discovered we could send one winner for each 15 entrants and with the support of our VFW Post, we decided to send six winners forward. During the first week of 2016 there will be a very special banquet for all the post winners. That is when the district winner will be announced.
I now take great pride in presenting our six winners, each of whom will receive a $100 first place award along with a participation certificate: Jessica Schutt (Jessica is a repeat winner. She won first place a year ago as a seventh grader), Abigail Long, Grace Tylutki, Jane Ottenbreit, Carly Zimmerman and Mitchell Lewis.
Thank you, Susan Dusute, for your dedication and on behalf of our VFW Post 7310, I salute you.
Statewide group meets on Island
Members of the executive committee of Keep Michigan Beautiful were hosted for their November meeting at Grosse Ile Township Hall Nov. 11.
Although the township offices were closed for business on Veterans Day, Supervisor Brian Loftus opened the doors for the meeting, welcomed the board, and gave a brief history of the converted former Naval Air Station hangar now renovated into a state-of-the-art township hall.
On the board of directors of KMB, Jack and Pam Frucci provided their guests coffee and donuts on their arrival and box lunches were delivered by the Fruccis from TV’s Deli and Diner. Many of the 10 members of the executive board had never been on Grosse Ile before and came from some distance, including places such as Midland, Frankenmuth, Harrison Township and Muskegon.
They spoke well of both the lunch from TV Diner and the view from the conference room where they met overlooking the historic runway and Lake Erie in the distance.
Santa sets Centennial Farm visit
By Ethel Yopps, Grosse Ile Recreation Committee
The following is a roundup of upcoming events sponsored by the Grosse Ile Recreation Department:
● The Recreation Commission meets the fourth Thursday of the month at 7:30 p.m. at the township hall board room. Due to the holidays, the November meeting was re-scheduled to Nov. 19. There’s no meeting in December. To learn about meetings and events go to GITV: Comcast on Channel 12, Wow on Channel 10 and ATT on Channel 99.
● Dinner with Santa is Saturday, Dec. 5 at 5 p.m. at the Centennial Farm. Cost is $8 per person. Enjoy dinner, make a craft, and visit with Santa.
● Big red box at the Commons (Meridian and Macomb.) Deposit your letters to Santa. Please include the child’s name and complete mailing address.
● Senior holiday lunch is Wednesday, Dec. 16 at 12:30 p.m. in the Centennial Farm activity room. Advance tickets only.
● Seniors’ upcoming trip. New Year’s Eve Always – Patsy Cline. Dec. 31 at the Theatre on the Avenue in Wyandotte and Sinbad’s Restaurant in Detroit. Call (734) 675-2364 for further information.
● Island Walkers can walk year round Monday through Friday from 6:45-7:45 a.m. at the Centennial Farm activity room. Walk one, two, three or four miles a day.
● Winter sports for pre-kindergarten ages 3-5. Different sport every week. Tuesdays Jan. 12-Feb. 2, 2016, from 6:15-7 p.m. , Parke Lane School gym.
● Creation time for ages 3-4. Wednesdays, Dec. 2-Dec. 16. 10:15-11 a.m. in the Centennial Farm activity room.
● Ice skating rink Water’s Edge complex on Bellevue and West River Roads. Call (734) 675-2364 for availability and weather conditions.
For registration, information, fees on all events, visit www.grosseile.com/government/community_recreation/index.php, or call the Recreation Department at (734) 675-2364.
30 businesses honored by Beautification Committee
At the Nov. 9 township board meeting, supervisor Brian Loftus read the names of 30 Island businesses that were awarded decals to put in their windows with the IBC logo designed 40 years ago by artist Florence Kaufman.
The decal reads, “This business is helping to keep Grosse Ile blooming and beautiful.” Members of the IBC walked Macomb Street twice this summer and early fall to evaluate the businesses looking for those who keep their grounds weed and litter free and plant flowers and scrubs.
Founder of the IBC 40 years ago, Pam Frucci, also gave a history of the committee whose original efforts were beautification, recycling, and anti-litter.
Presently the IBC plants and maintains three of the Four Corners, the entrance signs at both the north and south end of the Island, and provides litter barrels throughout the Island with the message: “Keep Grosse Ile beautiful.”
The group also has divided the Island into overseer zones where members look for eyesores to report to the township and have for several years been trying to find a source of funding to erect a community signboard to replace the scattered event signs that pop up blocking their plant bed on their northeast corner of Four Corners.
Arts Alliance offering ‘Canvas, Cupcakes and Coffee’
Since paint parties and adult coloring books seem to be a currant fad, the Grosse Ile Alliance for the Arts is offering a fun day in the form of a paint party called, “Canvas, Cupcakes and Coffee” for interested wannabe artists to paint a canvas and take home their completed masterpiece.
Under the guidance of experienced artist and former president of the GIAA Donna Hinsman, those who pay the $30 fee will get instruction, a canvas, and paint at the Centennial Farm on Saturday, Jan. 23 from 11-2 p.m.
Lunch will be available, which is included in the ticket price. For tickets call President Pam Frucci at (734) 671-0170, or pick up a flyer at the post office display rack.
Best memories always centered on people
By Tony Krukowski
The next entry in this series captures some more Grosse Ile history as seen through the eyes of another long-standing resident of the Island, 94-year-old Marjorie Treadwell.
How long have you been a resident of this area?
My husband, Don, and I moved to Grosse Ile with our four children in 1956. We had been living in Wyandotte and were looking for a community where our children would have more wide open space in which to play and where they could get a solid education. After looking at different Island locations, we settled on Jewell Colony. At that time there were only 23 houses in Jewell Colony compared to over 70 houses today. It was the perfect environment in which to raise a family.
What is your first memory of living on the Island?
My memories of the Island always seem to come back to the people. When we came here as strangers we were immediately welcomed to the neighborhood by the Fitzgerald family. They threw an open house party for us, and we ended up meeting many neighbors at that first party that became close, life-long friends.
The surrounding neighbors were very welcoming. Those that had swimming pools set up a flag system. One kind of flag meant that the pool was not available for use, another that children could use the pool with adult supervision, and a third that the neighbor was throwing a pool party for the entire neighborhood.
What was the Island like when you first moved here?
When we moved to Grosse Ile, there were only two churches, the Catholic Church and the Episcopalian Church. Our family belonged to the Episcopalian Church although the Catholic priest once remarked to me that with six children we should have come over to the other side.
For young families, everything seemed to center around church and school district activities. If you were involved in those activities, you had plenty to do as a family, and everyone seemed to know you. A week would go by, and I would seldom, if ever, need to leave the Island.
The other thing I recall is how much open space there was for our children to use for hockey, baseball, football, exploring, or just games they made up. The neighborhood would get together to flood an empty lot for ice skating. We would also cross over to Elizabeth Park where adults and children would play hockey on the frozen ponds. One time one of my sons attempted to flood our backyard for an ice skating rink and accidently flooded our basement.
Have you ever lived anywhere else?
My father was a traveling salesman, so as a young girl we moved quite often. I ended up living in nine different states. I met my husband, Don Treadwell, when I was teaching in New London, Conn. One of my students suggested that I should meet this gentleman who was teaching at the Coast Guard Academy. So she introduced us at a party where I happened to be chaperoning. As they say, the rest is history. He was sent over to the Pacific in June 1944, returned in March 1946, and we were married in September 1946.
What are some of your most vivid memories of living on the Island?
As I mentioned, my memories always go back to the people I knew and loved, many of whom are now gone. I think back to moments like walking out of St. James Episcopal Church with family and friends after a Christmas Eve service under a starry sky or with a gentle snow falling down. I think of the bonfires, Halloween activities, and the Friday night football games. I think of some of the crazy things like neighbors driving their cars down the snowy side streets pulling giggling children on their sleds. Can you imagine doing that today?
There was something special about living in a small community like Grosse Ile; everything seemed very accessible and connected. We could let our kids ride their bikes all over the Island without concern for their safety because all the neighbors looked out for each other and the kids. Our kids didn’t dare get into trouble because someone was going to report back to us.
What are the biggest changes that you have seen happen on the Island?
The most obvious change to me is how populated the Island has become. The Island has definitely become more built up. However, the way I look at it, other people should also have the privilege of living here and making their own memories.
Another change is how much is available in close proximity to Grosse Ile by land or water. Many families now have watercraft and can easily get to anywhere they wish to go along the waterways. We also have very easy access to the airport and all of the cultural venues in the Metropolitan area.
Any final comments about living on Grosse Ile?
Don and I moved to Florida in 2011 after living on Grosse Ile for 55 years. When you ask me about my memories, they are mostly tied to the Island. I may live in Florida now, but my home will always be Grosse Ile.
Teacher awarded at KMB banquet
At Keep Michigan Beautiful’s annual awards banquet in Frankenmuth Oct. 16, Colleen Gimpel, retired kindergarten teacher who taught at Parke Lane Elementary School, received the Keep Michigan Beautiful Michigan plaque for her efforts to replace throwaway plastic shopping bags with cloth reusable bags.
Her kindergarten class prepared a presentation giving each child a part and presented their plea before the township board back in April to ban the plastic bag which has an adverse effect on the environment.
The sale of the bags, which fold into a smaller bag that fits in a purse, raised $800 which enabled each of her 19 students to adopt an endangered animal of their choice. A remaining $300 was donated to the Defenders of Wildlife organization. Each child then received a stuffed animal representing the animal they had contributed money to protect.
Kiwanians pay special
tribute to military vets
By David Dyer
I looked out my window the evening of June 13. I watched as a couple of members of the Kiwanis Club installed a flag in my front yard. By the time I got out to thank them they were already on their way to another destination. I waved a word of thanks to them.
The next night after reading the words which were read at a Flag Day Ceremony I stared at that flag in my yard for a few minutes. I soon realized this was not just an ordinary flag. Let me share with you some of the words from that unknown author.
“I am the flag of the United States of America. My name is OLD GLORY. I fly atop the world’s tallest buildings. I stand watch in America’s halls of justice. I fly majestically over institutions of learning. I stand guard with power in the world. Look up and see me. I stand for peace, honor, truth and justice. I stand for freedom. I am confident. I am arrogant, I am proud. When I am flown with my fellow banners, my head is a little higher, my colors a little truer.
I bow to no one. I am recognized all over the world. I am worshipped — I am saluted, I am revered, I am respected and I am loved. I have fought in every battle of every war for more than 200 years. I was flown at Valley Forge and Gettysburg.
“I was there at San Juan Hill, The Trenches of France, in the Argonne Forest, Anzio, Rome and the beaches of Normandy, Guam, Okinawa, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. I was there. I led my troops. I was dirty, battle weary and tired but my soldiers cheered me and I was proud.
“On Sept. 11, 2001, America was attacked by cowardly fanatics and many lives were lost, but those that would destroy me cannot win because I am the symbol of freedom of one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. Yes, I too was in New York. I have borne silent witness to all of America’s finest hours, but my finest hours are yet to come.
When I am torn into strips and used as bandages for my wounded comrades on the battlefield, when I am flown at half mast to honor my soldier, or when I lie in the trembling arms of a grieving parent at the grave of their fallen son or daughter, I am proud.
I am the flag of the United States of America. MY NAME IS OLD GLORY LONG MAY I WAVE. DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN, LONG MAY I WAVE.”
So Grosse Ile, how about it? You can have that same special flag installed in front of your house as many as six times per year simply by calling the Kiwanis Club.
Email David Dyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
VFW Post plans Pearl Harbor Day observance
Grosse Ile VFW Post 7310 will observe “the day that will live in infamy” with a program at 1 p.m. Monday, Dec. 7, at 8840 Macomb St.
The service includes readings of eye witness reports, displays showing placement of ships in port that fateful day and newspaper headlines.
The public is invited to attend.
Garden Clubs plans annual auction
The Grosse Ile Garden Club annual charity auction will take place Monday, Dec. 7 at the Centennial Farm, 25795 Third St.
Admission is just two non-perishable food items. Proceeds from the auction and food donations will go to the Downriver Salvation Army and Grosse Ile Goodfellows. From 9-10 a.m. continental breakfast will be served. The auction begins at 10 a.m. Lunch will be served at 12:30 p.m. For information call (734) 676-9890.