I grew up in Clawson and John grew up in St Clair Shores. We decided to settle in Clawson after we married, as John’s job at the time was in Clawson. We bought a bungalow in 1994 and it worked very well for us and our German Shorthaired Pointer, Mandi. Adding Joshua to the family in 2002 was a wonderful blessing and there was plenty of room for everyone.
When Joshua was about 18 months old, John found out about an opportunity at Lear Corporation in Roscommon, MI and we started looking at homes in the Houghton Lake and Higgins Lake area. That job was put on hold for about 18 months, and then the home search started up again.
We were looking for a brick ranch with an attached garage and enough space to bring a trailer around to the back yard. Many ranches with attached garages are smack-dab against the house next door and getting a trailer to the backyard can be a huge challenge. We were also looking for a wood-burning fireplace, which you would think would be easy to find up north. No such luck. They either had no fireplace at all or they had been converted to natural gas. In all of our searching, we never did find a home we could agree on.
Thankfully, that job never materialized. We found out later that the plant closed up and, if we had sold our house and moved up there, John would have been out of a job. I can’t tell you how thrilled we were that we never moved.
Along came Jordan Rose in 2006 and our bungalow in Clawson got a little tight. Exer-saucer, play pen, high chair – it all takes room and in 2007 we decided to start looking at homes again. In the 13 years that we owned the home, it had doubled in value and then started declining. By 2007, it was still worth about 150% of what we had paid in 1994. Good time to cash out. John was then working at Sterling Heights Assembly Plant, so we really could live in either Oakland or Macomb County and still be close to John’s job, but Macomb County had several advantages: 1) We had a 19 foot Starcraft, so living closer to the lake was a draw; 2) We could get more for our money in Macomb County; and 3) since John grew up on the east side, he was ready to get back to his stomping grounds.
Kimberly Tomko, real estate agent extraordinaire, worked her magic and found us lots of good prospects to look at. And when we walked into the house on Remick Dr, we knew we had found home. It was being sold by the original owners who had built it in 1951. Actually, it was the children who were selling it, as their mother had recently passed away, having raised her whole family in that house. Her kids now had their own grandchildren and it was time to say goodbye to Mom’s house.
The woodwork was all original and had never been painted. The kitchen and bathrooms were original and we loved all of it. The plaster coves and original tile work would cost a million dollars to replace at today’s wages. You just can’t get craftsmanship like that any more without paying a pretty penny. It was a brick ranch with an attached garage and the lot was double-wide, so you could get trailers around BOTH sides. And, I think God was showing off, because this house didn’t have one wood-burning fireplace. It had TWO.
We had to do a contingent offer on the house, as we needed our house in Clawson to sell before we could purchase the house in Clinton Twp. Did I mention that Kimberly could work magic? She brought the family a picture of our family, explaining who we were and how much we loved their mother’s house. They not only accepted our contingent offer, but they accepted the price that we offered. We were astounded. It took about 2 months, but Kimberly also sold our house in Clawson and we were off to Clinton Twp.
When we came to do the inspection, we noticed a large painting in the basement. I’ve attached a picture of it below. It’s 5 feet wide and 3 1/2 feet tall. I don’t know who created it, but I do know that it was done for the owner’s retirement. He must have been a shipping manager, as it shows him juggling phones, shipping quotes, tracer paperwork, trailer numbers, and there are boats, planes, trains and semi’s drawn all around the edge of the painting. The top has a scroll with the title “The Miracle Worker” written on it. It’s quite a piece of work.
Before I continue, I must tell you that I LOVE my birthday. I was born on October 19, 1971. Whenever we see 10:19 on the clock, everyone in my family has been trained to say, “10:19, Praise the Lord!” Just my little way of acknowledging God’s part in my birth.
I found another poster in the basement that said “Good Luck on Your Retirement John” with the dates 1929 – 1972. Upon closer inspection of the large painting, I noticed a calendar page on the front of his desk with a palm tree and the date, October 19, 1972. The owner of the house retired on October 19, 1972. He retired on my first birthday!
That was exciting, but I was even more excited when I realized two more important details. The mother who had passed away was named Suzanne. Her husband was John. My name is Beth Suzanne and my husband is John. So, John and Beth Suzanne bought the house that John and Suzanne had raised their children in and lived in for the rest of their lives. And who is “The Miracle Worker”? I’ll let you decide.