Traverse City State Hospital

When my husband and I were first married and living in Traverse City, we occasionally would drive through the grounds of the old abandoned State Hospital. The beautiful architecture was slowly crumbling. It was creepy and your imagination would go wild with what you guessed happened behind the bars on the windows. 

Traverse City State Hospital

Last month, I finished reading How Thin the Veil by Jack Kerkhoff. It was originally published in 1952. It is the true account of a journalist who checks himself in as a patient at the Traverse City State Hospital for 45 days. He had fallen into a deep depression after the death of his wife and daughter, and had made two suicide attempts.

I started writing this blog post the night of July 21st. The very next night, on the 22nd, my dear husband unexpectedly died at the age of 51 of a heart attack. I've thought a lot about the author, Jack, and feel a strange kinship with him.

Being a journalist, Jack writes about the various nursing staff, the colorful fellow patients, and the activities of the hospital with such an interesting perspective. It's NOT politically correct. He falls in love with a fellow patient, named Suzy, who probably will never leave. He works through his grief while interweaving stories of growing up in the area that I found so interesting. It is a story that stays with you for many reasons and would make a wonderful movie! I found it hard to put down and highly recommend it.

Traverse City State Hospital

I do wonder what happened to Jack and Suzy....I did try a Google search, without much luck. I hope they found happiness.

The Traverse City State Hospital is abandoned no more, I'm happy to say! The Village, at Grand Traverse Commons, is a thriving place of restaurants, stores, hiking trails, tours, and so much more. We have eaten at Spanglish several times, and highly recommend it! The hiking trails in the woods are beautiful and lead to unexpected sights---a huge cistern covered with graffiti and the hippie tree, to name a few.

graffiti art TC state hospital

I'm slowly working through my own grief. It's a moment by moment thing. It's still so fresh and raw. I walk and pray a lot. It helps clear my mind and release the overwhelming feelings that well up inside. Every morning I receive an email from griefshare.org that has been helpful. There is a thought, scripture, and a prayer. They help start each day with a thought/verse to cling to that gives me strength.

Thank-you for your continued support, prayers, and thoughts. Rusty always told me when I was fretting, "It will all work out!" I know, with God's help, it will, and we will be together someday again. 

the cort house

Great Lakes: Lake Michigan

If I had a summer day just to myself, I would spend it on a Lake Michigan beach. The sand dunes to the west of St. Ignace, along US-2, to be specific. Lying in the warm sun, the sound of waves, and a good book, would be a perfect day!

Never once when I've been to the shores of Lake Michigan did I have the sudden urge to walk around it, but Loreen Niewenhuis did just that! She tells of the adventure in her book "A 1000-Mile Walk on the Beach." The book is an easy read, and informative, especially about the ecology of the lake. 

a1000milewalkonthebeach

My main take-away would probably be surprising to the author. When I do things, I usually do them the same way each time, out of habit. I am expert of getting in a rut. Start at Point A...don't stray from the path...end at Point B--that is too often my way of thinking and doing. 

Loreen broke her trip up into segments and walked them (sometimes) out of order, and (sometimes) in the opposite direction around the lake. Gasp! Don't laugh, but it totally blew my mind. Not Point A, then directly to Point B?? Did it really matter? Nope. She still walked around Lake Michigan! 

I often get stalled on a goal because everything isn't lining up "perfectly" like I have in my brain, so I end up making no headway whatsoever. Is anyone else like that?! This book challenged me to break down goals differently. There is more than one way to do things. Done is done.

More on the Great Lakes

Last year, a group of guys crossed 60 miles of Lake Michigan on stand-up paddle boards. This summer, they are attempting an 80 mile crossing of Lake Huron! They represent the non-profit charity Stand Up for Great Lakes, which is bringing awareness to our Great Lakes. Their goal is to cross all 5 Great Lakes. Very, very cool.

 A Great Lakes Pillow

Find a Great Lakes 18" pillow here. Picture taken on the Traverse City State Hospital grounds.

Find a Great Lakes 18" pillow here. Picture taken on the Traverse City State Hospital grounds.

Have a great week everybody! See ya at the Lake.