Tuesday, June 6, 2017


I cannot believe it! In just 5 days, I'll be setting off on a journey 25 years in the making. On Sunday, June 11th, I am flying out of Burbank CA, arriving in Salt Lake City UT, then going from there to Flint MI, where I will rent a car and drive 90 minutes to Algonac MI.

This trip is truly historic for several reasons:

1) I haven't been on a plane in 14 years. I hate planes. In my life, I have flown only 8 times (including return trips). I don't do well on planes. I get motion sick. Plus, I have an intense fear of heights, which makes for white knuckling take-offs and landings. But I am determined to make the best of this trip because there really isn't any other effective way of getting to Algonac.

 [The St. Claire River in the background]

2) I have wanted to visit Algonac for 25 years. You see, Algonac is part of my family history. My great-great grandparents are buried there. My great aunt (who is soon to be 102 years old) and uncle raised their family there. It's where my grandma spent all her summers until her father died in 1939 when she was 14 years old. I have wanted to walk where they walked, to breathe the air they breathed, for a very long time.

 [My grandma, Dorothy Ann Reid Ball]

3) It has taken me 4 years to save up for this trip. I almost had enough two years ago, but then my daughter got married and I spent it all on her wedding. Well worth it. Then I started over. I didn't take a penny from my family budget or my income as a college instructor (needed for bills). This trip is 100% funded by book sales, editing jobs, and school visits--what I call my "Book Money", which isn't really much, which is why it's taken two years to save it!

4) I'm going with my daughter, Carissa. Carissa is not only my oldest child, she is also my best friend, confidante, and advisor. I can't think of anyone I'd rather share this experience with than her. Because my ancestors are her ancestors too! She is just as excited as I am about going.

 [Carissa and Me at Christmas. I'm very cold.]

5) I want to write a book. Of course. That's a given. But I want this book to be about my grandmother and her last summer in Algonac before her father died, before she and her mother moved west to Hollywood and her life drastically changed forever. I have always wanted to write grandma's story, but I could not do it justice without having first visited the place where the story happened.

So those are my reasons why this trip is historic. I'll be in Algonac for a week. During that time and for some time after, I'll be posting here about my discoveries and my journey towards finally writing this story. I hope you'll join me. Come with me to Algonac!

Here is a link to a site with some awesome vintage pics of the town: http://genealogytrails.com/mich/stclair/cityalgonac.html


  1. Wow, I didn't know. Can't wait to hear more.

  2. So excited for your trip. I'll have to live vicariously through you. I do remember visiting there when my mom and sisters and I traveled by train to meet and visit Aunt Alberta and then stay with Uncle Chic and Aunt Larry.
    A vivid memory from Algonac was driving along and thousands of bugs started hitting the windshield. I don't remember what kind they were but it scarred me.

  3. Can't wait to hear about it!