Monday, April 7, 2014

Week 12 of 2014 - Moving to a new town

During the summer of 1968, we moved from Romeo, Michigan to Imlay City, Michigan.  My father had worked at Mitzelfeld's Department Store for most of the years that we lived in Romeo.  He had decided that it was time for a career change.  He was looking to purchase Brownites Department store in Imlay City.  The current owner was looking to retire and was interested in selling his business.  He plan to move in the summer since we were all out of school and everything seemed to work as it was planned. We found a house that we could fit in and we moved.  All the while he is negotiating with the owner of Brownites.  So there we are in Imlay City and the deal fell through..No sale  and now Dad is still driving to Rochester everyday of work from Imlay City instead of Romeo.  We had rented the house in Romeo and our new life in Imlay City began. 

Matt and Mark on the porch at 240 South Almont Ave. - 1968

Dad would have several years of driving to Rochester to work at Mitzelfelds. I wish I could ask Dad what his thoughts were when the deal fell through. Around late 1970 or early 1971, he bought the  Ben Franklin Store in Imlay City from Bill and Ruth Knight.  Bill and Ruth were family friends of my grandparents and my parents so in the end, it really worked out better.

The Grand Re-Opening of the Imlay City Ben Franklin Store - 1971
Ben Franklin Staff in 1971 with Ben Franklin Corporate Reps - 1971
So I got a little ahead of myself here, this blog was suppose to be about 8th grade.  The year that we moved to Imlay City.  The school year that I started a new school in a new town and had to make all new friends. I do remember how scared I was.  I had a big knot in my stomach that morning.  It was on that morning when I first learned that wearing something that you really liked...your favorite  outfit, helped to make you feel more at ease when the whole world felt totally foreign and uncomfortable to you. (I still do that today..)I had learned the year before about going to a new school but now I had no friends and a new school!  I will never forget what happened on the first day, in the first few minutes!  The friendliest girl in the whole school came up and introduced herself!  It was Cathy Charbeneau.

Cathey Charbeneau-1968

SO all my dread was short lived because within a few minutes, I had a new friend! She told me she wanted to make sure that I knew someone.  I will never forget it.  Because of that exchange,  I have always made it a point to be one of the first people to introduce myself to someone work, school, church, a club or an organization. She taught me the importance of making a person feel welcome!  It was a lesson I'll never forget.  She was so sweet and we are still friends today!  Thanks so much, Cathy,  for helping me to get past the fear of not knowing anyone. 

When I was young, I had trouble introducing myself to other kids. Simply telling other kids what my name was seems difficult...and uncomfortable.  To this day I don't know why.  I could play for half a day with someone and never introduce myself....I remember going home and telling my Mom about playing with different kids at school ...and how fun it was.  When she would ask who they were, I would say "I don't know?" I never knew their name.. "Did you tell them who you are?  Did you introduce yourself?"  she would ask...I would answer "No"  Cathy cured me of that.  All at once, I understood the importance of an introduction and the friendship which would follow!

Janet Smith - -1968

With in a few days, my circle of friends began to grow and I felt as though I belonged in my new town. There were obvious groups of kids who had known one another for a very long time. There were many friendly kids which helped to make me feel as though I belonged! Jean Brinker, Diane Rankin, Laraine Crake, Sharon Pringle, Carol Halstead, Peggy Rider, Marilyn Kempf, and Carol name a few. It was interesting to look at Mr Theordore's home room...and see how and when my friendships developed.  Most of these friends I still have contact with all these years later! Eighth grade turned out to not be as difficult as I had thought it would be.