The Suitcase Lady


November 19, 2013, 8:55 pm

I’ve been a beachcomber all my life. As a child, spending a day on the Lake Michigan Grant Park Beach was bliss. I spent hours searching for treasures; unusual rocks, fossils, shells and beach glass.

My ardor hasn’t cooled one bit now that I live with a beach in my front yard. In fact, the number of treasures that I search for has expanded.

When we first moved to the lake seventeen years ago, I picked up a curious rock one day. The small gray rock was covered with raised white patterns which resembled crocheted chain stitches.

“Look at what I found,” I exclaimed to my husband. “Looks like some kind of industrial waste,” he replied. Nevertheless, I liked my rock and saved it.

This past summer I was browsing in a bookstore in Petoskey, Michigan, and came across “Rocks of Lake Michigan”. Flipping through the pages, I discovered a large photo of my industrial waste labeled “fossilized chain coral”.

Naturally, I had to gloat a bit. “Check out this rock,” I said, showing my guy the rock book.

By a lovely coincidence, the day after we returned home I found another beautiful specimen of chain coral on our beach. That’s two in seventeen years; the rarity of finding these fossils is part of the fun of beachcombing.

A few weeks ago we found a completely different treasure washed up on the rocks. We are now the owners of a sturdy wooden chair, sans seat. One of our winter projects will be painting the chair and adding a piece of screen for a seat. We plan on putting the salvaged chair in The Tooley Cafe with sunflower seeds on the screen. It’s a sure bet that the birds will love it.

November is the wildest, stormiest month for Lake Michigan waters. I wonder what new gifts will arrive?


3 Comments for this entry

  • Julilly kohler

    Love treasures. I haul back rocks from almost every trip I’ve been on. However, unlike a Japanese man I met in the Japanese Alps, I don’t bring them home and label them. They are instead scattered about my flower beds. Yr treasures are beautiful.

  • Karen Little on Facebook

    Petoskey are fabulous. You should spend some time in Petoskey next summer. The lake is much warmer on that side and it is fun to hunt for rocks. The city has several rock polishers, too. Buffed up, they look great. … I no longer have the Petoskey rocks we gathered when visiting via boat when our kids were little. Possibly, Kris has them. I’m sorry for their loss … but better than owning them is the hunt for them.

  • Karen Little on Facebook

    Strange wording in my message. Hope you can read fractured English.