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History Lives Here Text

Growing Up in the Community.

By Kathy Tisdale Sturm

Since I am a volunteer, not only as your president, but atthe Society's museum, Mary Voss, chief recorder of volunteer hours, asked thatI share some of my memories of growing up in the area as part of a focus on ourvolunteers. Thank you for asking.

I have had the privilege of living near Pier Cove, Fennvilleand in Douglas as a child. As an adult addSaugatuck and now Saugatuck Township. I moved here in1959 with my parents, Sue and Jerry Tisdale, along with my younger brotherDennis, and sister, Peggy. My dad worked†† for the State of Michiganand with the new I-196 being built he was transferred here from Lansing to be part of themaintenance crew for the "new" highway. I must say I too happy tolearn that the road we lived on did not come with sidewalks for roller skating,but that dissipated very quickly when learned that the Big Lakewas a short walking distance away.

At that time we lived on the Lakeshore near the County Park.After my youngest sister, Tris, was born, we moved to a house on US-31 near 126th Avefor a few years and we attended St. Peter's School downtown Douglas. We movedinto Douglas (town) in 1964. Our house was sited where the Petter sculpturegarden is now located at the corner of Main and Douglasstreets, the building was later destroyed by fire after we moved.

Our yard was a collecting point for the downtown kids asopposed to the uptown kids. Center Street was thedividing point. We would playball together, ride our bikes,fish, slide down the hill behind the houseon sleds and saucers in thewinter and cardboard boxes inthe summer. The hill wastoo steep to mow, so mymother invented this option tokeep the yard "tidy."

A funny story I will share. We moved into town just beforemy birthday and as was and still is the custom you go to the Post Office forthe mail. It was my turn so that I could collect my birthday cards. When Iarrived at Center StreetI was amazed to find that flags lined both sides of the street. My GrandpaPratt had always told me it was just for my birthday and I couldnít figure outhow they knew it was my birthday, so I retrieved the mail and my cards andproceeded to walk down the middle of Center Street back toward Main Street to celebrate my day. JerryBekken, then a clerk at the Post Office, noticed the new kid walking in thestreet and came running out the front door to tell me to get out of the street,one it was not safe and even more so because Tom Gifford was due to drive bysoon. Remember Tom and Merge Gifford? Another story for another time.

I attended Saugatuck High School from the 6thto the 12th grades. My mother began working at the high school whenI was a junior. Most kids would have hated that situation. I didnít- my motheris one of my best friends. Some of the special advantages of living in a verysmall community I enjoyed, and there were some I didn't enjoy. During my teenyears Douglas and Saugatuck observed many short term transitions as they triedto define themselves after the loss of the Bib Pavilion. Many different groups