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History Lives Here Text

A Green Beret's Duffle Bag Memories of Saugatuck, Michigan:

A Wonderful Town to Grow Up In or Around

By Fred Jones


We used to load up the 1953Studebaker Champion in Kalamazoo about every other Saturday during summermonths and head for the Oval Beach. We usually parked upon arrival way down onthe left side of the entrance kiosk. Most of that area is now gone due toerosion. I would always run top speed to Lake Michigan's water as if my shortchild's legs couldn't get me to greet an old friend quickly enough. Aftersplashing in the water for a few moments my two younger sisters and I wouldsearch for the "best" location to lay our family blanket. To this dayI'm still surprised there is any sand left on the Oval beach because it seemedlike we brought back to Kalamazoo about 10 pounds of sand each in our toys,bathing suits, towels, coolers, etc.


My father and I were born in SanFrancisco and Carmel, California, respectively, and we heartily enjoyed oceanand lake front environments all our lives. Saugatuck was a terrific replacementfor California. Later as an adult I had an even greater appreciation.


Around 1956-1959 my father, ArtJones, started to participate in Kalamazoo Sports Car Club functions after purchasinga 1958 Porsche Carrera Speedster. when the event for the weekend was a roadcourse rally many, many times, due to my father's influence in the club, wewould end up at the Old Crow for dinner and super socializing with locals andout of towners on their boats, and on foot,. who were curious about the sportscars (50 to 100) at each event. I even got on many of those fancy boats. Yachtowners would come to take a gander at the neat little sports cars parked infront of the Old Crow. I recall one gentlemen told me that B.O.A.T. was an anagramfor "Bring Out Another Thousand [dollars]" either to fix, repair,supply or replace his boat or some portion of it.



I would always go to Saugatuck everyweekend, spring to fall color season. One 4th of July weekend right in front ofthe Old Crow thousands and thousands of kids had gathered to celebrate. Afriend of mine had a motorcycle like mine and said to me, "I'll give you$100 if you can do a wheelie down this street here in front of the OldCrow." Luckily I'd already done this hundreds of times on my motorcycle,but never got paid for it. On July 4, 1965, I had $100 extra to spend inSaugatuck - which I happily did.


Robert Taft and I were very good friends during the 60s and70s. His mother even liked me! On my 21st birthday, March 2, 1968, -I purchasedan incredible brass bed for $55 at his store in Saugatuck. I put the bed, railsand all, in my 1964 Corvair Monza sideways with all of the windows down anddrove back to Kalamazoo in a snow blizzard. I've turned down $2,500 for thatbed, and still use it today. I, to this day, feel through all the friends andacquaintances I made in the last 58 years that Saugatuck Michigan, is part ofmy spirit and soul and I am eternally grateful for all I experienced there andtake with me every day.