Remembrances …

Marge sunrise

It was another sweltering morning, with heat and humidity to the hilt and temps which would soar to 90 degrees by late afternoon.  I did my walk early, but still felt my shirt sticking to me as I trudged home, tiny rivulets of sweat rolling down my face.  But, with over 400 more miles to meet my walking goal for 2018, I slogged on.

Anniversaries and angst.

On this morning’s newscast, they recalled the 15th anniversary of the big blackout on August 14, 2003.  The power grid went down, leaving 50 million customers in the U.S., from Ohio to the East Coast, and even in southern Canada, without electricity for a day or two.

I was still working on site in 2003.  My boss was on the first day of his annual week-long vacation in the Upper Peninsula.   In those days, the cellphone signal was not as strong, so he called me before crossing the Mackinac Bridge to inquire about any messages, because once over the Big Mac Bridge, he would need a landline to return those calls.  There were no messages so we hung up.

Mere moments later, I was processing mail at the postage meter and the machine made a whining noise and just died.  So did the lights in our suite.  While I am prepared for loss of power at home, with a cupboard filled with lanterns, a battery-operated radio, fan and blanket, plus extra batteries, I had none of those essentials in my desk at work.  (Hmmm – all that Brownie, Girl Scout and Pioneer Girls training was for naught.)  Plus, it was pitch dark in our office suite, because my boss has collected labor-related artwork and cartoons for decades; there is barely an empty space on his office walls that does not contain framed art, so he has always kept the blinds down to protect those items from sun damage.  My own office had no window.

Even though it is a small suite, and you might walk the same path every day, thus you should know your way in the dark, that is easier said than done.  I found some regular stamps for the mail, grabbed my tote bag from under my desk and left.  Happily, I was able to get out of the suite as I didn’t have to wait for the door mechanism to recognize my image to allow me to depart.  Sometimes in the past that was problematic as I am tall – the electronic eye sometimes trapped me in there and I’d walk back and forth a half-dozen times until I was able to open the door.  I wanted out, as in “to escape” … after all, who knew what was really going on?  Of course, my mind was racing as I jumped to conclusions – after all, 9/11 was only two years before, so an overtaxed electrical grid on a steamy hot August afternoon was the furthest thing from my mind.

Our building, Stroh River Place, has six floors and we regularly practiced emergency preparedness drills, and I was the contact person for our office, so I knew the evacuation plan and where to assemble in the street in the event of an emergency.  Our suite, located on the 5th floor, meant five flights of stairs to go down – were they double sets of stairs for each floor?  I don’t even remember now, and I’ve not been in the office since April of ’09.  But, yes, there was panic, as all the tenants grabbed their belongings and bolted, sweaty hands clinging to the stairwell railings as we collectively made our slow descent to ground level.  There was pandemonium in the street as we milled about, wondering what happened.

Smartphones sure weren’t commonplace in 2003, but thanks to the quick-thinking owner of Andrews on the Corner, a restaurant across from the building, we discovered what happened.  He got the scoop from running to his car and turning on the radio.  Low tech works well sometimes!  He grabbed a megaphone to tell the masses assembled in the street that a massive power outage had wiped out the electricity in some parts of the States and the extent of the damage was still not known.  We lost power at home too but luckily it returned late overnight.  At work we had no power restored for two days, and during this time, anyone with a pass to enter the Stroh River Place campus could access another tenant’s suite, since the power outage did not allow securing of same.  I had scheduled Friday as a vacation day anyway and since we had power at home, life went on as normal, but I’ll always remember August 14th as an angst-filled afternoon.

August 14th is memorable for me for a few more reasons.  For years, I always took a vacation day on August 14th, or a day close to it.  This calendar date was a day designated to celebrate a  “second birthday” for my mom and I.   This was because Mom’s birthday was on February 14th and, because it was not always easy to get into a restaurant on Valentine’s Day, or, often it was cold and snowy, so we just fast forwarded our birthday celebration exactly six months.  Sometimes we celebrated my April 14th birthday then as well, because snow occasionally impacted my birthday lunch or dinner.  So, whatever works for you … August 14th became a good excuse to enjoy a vacation day and break up the Summer with something pleasant like shopping, a movie and a nice dinner.  Since my mom’s death in 2010, August 14th does not pass me by without a pang of remembrance of the significance of the day, a bittersweet annual reminder of our tradition.

Sunrise, sunset.

Sadly, a year ago today I would add another memory to this calendar date.  My good friend and neighbor, Marge Aubin, passed away suddenly on August 14th.  She had been ill with advanced COPD for some time, but was scheduled to return home after a week-long stay in the hospital for breathing treatments.  I am including this link to the tribute post I wrote that day, since only a handful of people followed my blog back then.  https://lindaschaubblog.net/2017/08/14/last-sunrise/

My posts were often peppered with Marge’s name, as they should have, because, if not for her, I would not be writing this post today.  Marge encouraged me to start a blog to memorialize my daily walks after I’d e-mail or message her about things I saw while I was out walking.  She kept saying “blog about it!”  So, in February 2013, at her insistence, I started this blog.  Since August of 2013 I have been blogging at Patch.com and also still appear on Heritage Newspapers’ blog rolI.  I have Marge to thank for encouraging me to put my blog on those two places.  Her friendship to my mom and me encompassed many years.

Last August 14th I awoke and was thinking about the significance and poignancy of the day, but niggling in the back of my mind was the fact I’d never heard from Marge the day before when she was supposed to come home from the hospital.   I sent her several Facebook messages and got no response.  This was unusual as we’d often chatter on social media throughout the day.  She had been looking forward to sitting out on her deck and enjoying fresh air after being cooped up for a week due to her latest COPD flare-up, so I thought she was simply unplugged and enjoying the fresh air.  In the evening, I sent her my latest blog post, just as I usually did, so she could easily access it on her phone.  It was a post comparing my great grandmother’s lacy doilies to the Queen Anne’s lace I saw at the Park on my daily walks.  Marge loved posts about my family members from the past, so I knew she would have enjoyed this one.  What I did not know was she was dire straits health wise on the 13th, never returned home that day and passed away shortly after 5:00 a.m. on Monday, August 14th.

For today’s post, I am using another one of Marge’s Bishop Park sunrise photos she sent to me.   When she was feeling well, she went to this venue and watched the sun rise every morning.  This above photo was taken at Bishop Park on September 29, 2013 at 7:45 a.m.

I recently learned that no two sunsets are the same because clouds are like snowflakes … no two are alike.  I assume this is true for sunrises as well.  Beauty from nature surrounds us and we are wise to drink it all in for as long as we are able to do so.

Sunrises were Marge’s zen.  Everyone must have a zen … something that gets them through the day and through this thing we call life.  My zen is walking and immersing myself in nature – what is yours?

About lindasschaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, and this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for over three decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, although I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too.
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35 Responses to Remembrances …

  1. AJ says:

    That is one beautiful sunrise picture and what a nice tribute to your friend to use her photo on this day:)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Glennaray Kaier. says:

    I loved it. ❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Really lovely post! I’m a new blogger, so would love if you checked it out!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you, I am glad you enjoyed it. Most of the time I write about squirrels and birds that I see on my walk, so this was a little different for me. I will check out your blog and thank you for following mine.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My zen is holistic understanding and going beyond boundaries. 🙂 91 degrees here today.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Those are purposeful and rewarding Tom … it is already hot here this morning and will be through the day as well. A storm tonight and stormy day tomorrow is supposed to break the heat and humidity. We do need the rain – they predicted it a few times in the last week, we got the rumbles but no rain.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We got a little bit of rain (with more, maybe, on the way). Now they are saying that the California wildfires are causing smoke and pollutants to float all across the U.S.! What next?! My wife, Marla, has only 1/2 lung function, and this is certainly not good news for us. Hopefully, things will get better. We humans need to change our ways.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I did hear Tom that the wildfire smoke will stretch to the East Coast. Does Marla use an oxygen tank? I know sometimes it was difficult for Marge when it was so hot and humid out – she would need to crank the A/C so it removed as much humidity as possible from the house or it would aggravate her lungs. Also bad if someone was using a fire pit and the A/C would be drawing smoke into the house, so she, like Marla, has to endure that smoke. Yes, we humans do need to change our ways. We are having storms overnight and a stormy day tomorrow. The rain is welcome – most people’s flowers have given up the ghost already.

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  5. Fred Bailey says:

    My zen is helping other people reach theirs.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I was glad to read about your blackout.

    That was a lovely tribute to Marge. She was a wonderful neighbor to you and your mom.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Yes, I remember all the details of it because it was soon after 9/11. Everyone else left on 9/11 as work was cancelled – we were told to go home. But Robb had a rush that had to be done and we stayed until about noon or so and he drove me home. We took surface streets as he didn’t want to take the expressway. No one was in the downtown business district. It took a long time to get home. I kept reflecting on that day and we had TV at work on 9/11 in the conference room. Until I knew what happened, I just didn’t know. No one in that crowd thought about a power outage due to the electrical grid. That was a sign of the times for sure.

      Yes, Marge was special and I have mentioned her to you before – I am sorry that she was taken so early – up until the last few years, she had been full of energy, always on the go. I tell everyone I know never to smoke. She smoked a lot when she was younger but finally quit.

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      • We stayed to the end of the day on 9/11. We had an audit crew heading to an office just a stone’s throw from the towers. They were coming from NJ and were caught in traffic. As they watched from across the river, one plane hit a tower. They had ringside seats.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Oh my goodness how awful. Just Robb and I stayed as he and a client had a MIOSHA hearing in Lansing the next day and they wanted to prep for it.

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  7. Ann Marie stevens says:

    Miss Linda…………………………………….I really enjoyed your blog about your good friend Marge Aubin………………………you asked a good question about what your zen is………………………I’ll have to think about it…………………………I guess I just enjoy meeting and greeting all kinds of people and wanting to treat them how I want to be treated

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      That is you Ann Marie – I have told you before I never knew anyone as kind and good as you are. You always are willing to help people and your volunteering efforts are above and beyond anyone else I now know or have ever known.

      Like

  8. susieshy45 says:

    I am thinking of what my zen would be- honestly I think it is changeable. But it would all involve “peace” I think, being peaceful, making peace and of course, tranquility.
    It is sad to think of Marge leaving so many of her good friends behind without a goodbye. But that means her legacy still lives on and that she is alive somewhere and with a smile reading your posts, taking care of Parker and the other furry friends and watching over all of you, so that you need never be alone. When she was your neighbor, she was only from one side of you but now that she lives elsewhere, she can see the day and night of your life and everything else.
    I listened to the song- Sunrise, Sunset after I noticed your title- thanks for reminding me to listen.
    Susie

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I listened to that song too Susie before I used the reference – I had not heard it in awhile, since I saw the movie “Fiddler on the Roof” I think and that was many years ago.,It was sad to lose Marge, even though she was in poor health the last few years, rarely leaving her house except to go to the doctor or hospital, but it was sudden – she was to be released from the hospital. So I expected her to pass away, but not right then. I interacted with her so much online that I had to stop myself from automatically sending a message to her … often after a walk, or something I saw … a picture or story. It was difficult the first few weeks. I think of her every day. I hope your zen of peace and tranquility can be reached more and more and less stress for you.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. My zen is looking what is around me from tiny things under my feet to creatures above me in the air. Enjoying life. watching change.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      What I see you capture in your images Andy tells me that you have reached your zen and on an everyday basis … it brings peace to a world which is pretty jumbled up right now. I often wish I could return to a simpler time because the world moves too fast for me sometimes and I want to jump off and go some place quiet so I can just think.

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  10. It was touching to read of how Marge impacted your life. Thank you for sharing. It is truly remarkable how simple encouragements can have such profound results.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I am glad you enjoyed reading this Sarah. Yes, she really kept at me to start a blog and enjoyed reading it and commenting on it. I probably never would have done it on my own, so I am forever grateful as I enjoy the whole blogging experience.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. What a lovely remembrance of your dear friend. I’m glad that she encouraged you to write. Although I am in SoCal, so we weren’t impacted by that blackout (we had our big multi-state one a few years later) I sure do remember it. It was the first time the general public was made aware of the vulnerabilities of our power grid. Unfortunately, I don’t think much has been done to make it stronger. I have a lot of personal zens, but a beautiful sunset (I’m usually asleep during sunrises 🙂 is right up there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Hi Janis – We had a huge blackout in Canada in 1965, the year before we moved here. I can remember my parents were concerned as there was a few gangs (even way back then) and they lighting molotov cocktails and throwing them at houses. I remember it was dark when the lights went out and my parents took turns sitting at the front window behind the curtain to ensure nothing bad happened. I lost my power on June 18th this year when the grid was overloaded. It made me mad as I only keep my A/C set at 76, and 75 when it is hot like today (90 degrees) and they had been warning people all day to not use electricity unnecessarily and then the power went out from overuse. Lost everything in the fridge/freezer. Beautiful sunsets are gorgeous and I live in the city and don’t see anything but houses and trees unfortunately.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Rebecca says:

    What a nice tradition to have shared with your Mom, and a beautifully written tribute to Marge. She sounds like such an encouraging person to have had as a friend. Her sunrise photo is beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Rebecca – yes, we shared that tradition for many years and August 14th has been bittersweet since her passing. Marge was a wonderful person and both my mom and I were close to her. She loved sunrises, but was pretty handy with that camera for the backyard birds, especially “her” hummers.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. What a lovely post ❤. it is so strange how 1 day can hold such a mixture of memories. I bet Marge is still reading your posts from where she is and still loving them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      That is a nice thought Zena – I like to think so as well. It was like my mom – very sudden, even though both were in poor health. There was no chance for goodbye and maybe that is what still niggles at me. But I am glad she pushed me to start the blog.

      Like

  14. Ellie P. says:

    Beautiful post, Linda. You made me think. My ‘zen’ is simply life itself. I LOVE being alive, I treasure it and revere it. Because: what is the alternative? Frankly, I wish I could live forever. There is so much to do, so much to see, so much to learn!! I wanna be around as far into the future as possible. I am, at heart, an optimist, after all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I’m glad you liked this post Ellie. I won’t do a tribute post to my friend every year, but I felt the first anniversary there should be some recognition at least, plus there were other anniversaries to tie into the 14th of August. Sunrises were her zen – we all have to have something that we cherish and which helps us go forward to the next day and put one step in front of the other. Life is something beautiful, no matter how difficult things get sometimes. You are an optimist and that is damn hard to be these days, so I commend you.

      Liked by 1 person

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