Olympic Size Pool

Ever notice that the sun starts streaming into your windows at a very odd angle, during those long days when a certain solstice is about to take hold and earth’s axis is tilted to receive rays directly in the Northern Hemisphere? Mornings may have a brief tinge of coolness and a touch of dew, if you get up with the robins, to drink your coffee and peruse an agenda, so full it “reads heavy” on the page.

By the time you’ve accomplished one or two of the “have-two’s” from your volunteer work, whether it’s Grounds Committee related, or an article with a dead-line that must be sent in to the Status Quo Editor, or it’s your turn to gather the briquettes and clean the grill for tonight’s Major Munch Potluck Supper in your Parking Lot; it’s nearly noon, and the temperature is rising. You can feel the hot air brush against your cheek, as you water those thirsty roses, and run next door to leave the soaker hose on your vacationing neighbors lawn for 10 minutes, before the slightly dappled shade disappears indefinitely.

Who has an appetite, when the grill is shining clean, the cole slaw is shredded, the Mexicali Dip is chilling and you’re a sweaty, disheveled train-wreck because the mercury’s rising in that retro-thermometer and the wind has gone away? That pulsing in your forehead, and that trickle down your neck could be made to disappear by the flipping of a switch. Magically, coolant would be pumped into your space, and your bones could get some chilling and a smile might grace your face. However, that is not a true solution that would last and set you free, you have other healthier options because of where you live, you see?

So you slip into the shower, pull your “always ready to go” bag from the linen closet, grab the appropriate attire, your “oh-so-comfortable walking shoes,” and head down the Miracle Mile.  Ok, it’s about 1/2 mile walk because you live half-way round the mile distance, to the portal which has become your Utopia. All that is required of you at your destination, is that you know your name and unit number, and provide simple documentation.

Your favorite lounge chair is claimed in that just right spot for catching any renegade breezes, but this day has none. The ground beneath your feet is warm and not quite as welcoming as you would have liked, and yet a certain anticipation begins to make you tingle, and you know, without doubt, what lies beyond.

Down one step, now two, then three and ah, there it is, the sudden, perfect moment, that all encompassing sensation of relief, wondrous waters on parched skin. A few more steps, and you are blissfully submerged in a cocoon of coolness so complete that it actually is life-altering in every good way. Feelings of tension, melt away, and inner peace replaces any inflammation that the day, the agenda, and the weather had created.

A slight adjustment of your noodle from your right hand to under your right arm, across your back and under your left arm, and you’re ready to embrace the sense of wellness that accompanies the buoyancy that good noodles create. You begin to feel empowered, refreshed and ready for social interaction, and just in time. Here come “your peeps”, those neighbors and friends with whom you’ll dine later on when: people watching, catching up, trip planning, laughing, book and play reviewing, recipe swapping, wine- list creating, agenda-add-on’s and world problems are all dealt with and dismissed. There is no place for problems in this Olympic size, heated to “amen” temps, swimming pool, that soothes and creates a medium for mediation if you prefer, or socialization which is so freely offered, in this vibrant community.

More plans are made in this wet perfection which some call heated, chlorinated water. The pool is well maintained by an excellent Life Guard Staff, with on-site maintenance back up support, throughout this solstice, assuring you of many opportunities to float and connote.

As good as you feel, 90% submerged and weightless, this beautiful aquamarine looking wonder also affords support for your proactive health regiment. Holliday Park offers members, occupants and their guests, the opportunity to participate in a lively Water Aerobics Class which meets several times a week. For the last two years, the instructor, Liz, has led all attendees through a rigorous cardio-work-out that gets your heart rate kicked up, and your joints, muscles, and everything attached, moving. You may pick your pace, but its hard to move slowly when the music has “a great beat”. The water is the perfect“resistance tool” to offer the necessary work out needed with no negative impact on your joints, ankles, and spine that jogging, or even walking can create. Doing Liz’s version of: the rocking horse, the washing machine, cross-country skiing, and other amazing exercises which get you to stretch, twist and move those legs, people, for 45 minutes, is a gift that the co-op offers for a small sum. The benefits are of inestimable value for everyone, both genders.

A Pool Pass is $15 for members and $45  when members include their occupants or family members and guests, for the season. The shaded clubhouse patio and picnic area which adjoin the pool, offer other comfy opportunities to: people watch, catch snippets of conversations as they float across the water, throw birthday parties, read the new J.K. Rowling’s novel, or perhaps a historic novel about the “First 100 Years of the Supreme Court”. Whatever your Kindle, Notebook, paperback or Sudoku Puzzle have to offer, there is no better place, outdoors, to be through Labor Day Weekend,  for this price, the close proximity, and good peeps.

Time to return to your home and get ready for the Major Munch. Where did the day go?  If you thought you’d read or heard all the good stuff about co-op life on Spring Valley and Fountain Blvd., think again. The Good Life Continues at Holliday Park, proudly and mortgage free.



Road Trip at Sunset

Going to Dubois - A Road Trip

It’s about 338 miles to Dubois Pennsylvania, from my Fenwick at Holliday Park Towne Houses Cooperative here in Westland, Michigan. In Road Trip speak, that’s about 5 hours travel time,  at legal speeds, down I-75 to I-80 in Toledo, as you hang a left around the wider edge of Lake Erie. Well, that’s how it looks on my tattered map. Then  we continued on I 80 to Akron, Youngstown and finally, Dubois, Pennsylvania. (If you get to Altoona, you’ve gone too far and turned right once too often.) You see I’ve done this before, and well, I tend to hang on to the map tightly. Yes, I have a GPS. We named it Maxine on this trip because, like the little old lady in the  cartoon, it has an attitude and gets grumpy. Or, perhaps I get grumpy trying to go in the direction it recommends or trying to update the darn thing.

I had to drive to Dubois to meet my daughter and granddaughters as they took their school Spring Break to visit colleges and then join me as our big family celebrated my mom’s stellar 94th Birthday. Mom is this feisty little dynamo (less than 100 pound wonder) who raised a big family, did it well, we think, and managed it all with courage, strength, faith, humor and more courage.

My oldest granddaughter is intrigued by a number of excellent Universities, and U of M is on her must-see list, so coming here from Connecticut would be fun and enlightening too. The two youngest granddaughters,  did not find that part of the journey to be as fascinating, and I’d offered to meet them half way, pick up the “Tween-agers” and entertain them with all of the great amenities here in my suburban location which is close to everything. Downtown Detroit offers  incredible things to do ..like the D.I.A., and Detroit Science Center. Charming and collegiate Ann Arbor’s “Hands-On” Museum and Planetarium are out on  Geddes Road.  Canton’s  Skatin’ Station Roller Rink is 10 minutes from me and  Dearborn’s The Henry Ford is an easy to access destination too. 

I called my BF and fellow traveler, to alert her of the impending  journey. Giving notice, when possible, is more polite, although we have both just called, and then shown up at the other’s doorway an hour later, for some quick trips.  She and I met on a Holliday Park Travel Club Cruise to the Caribbean 8 years ago, and since then we’ve traveled many miles and taken every kind of road trip imaginable, from 2 miles to two thousand. Usually, the trips are hysterical, because we like to laugh. We each promise the other that we won’t do the little annoying activities, like singing songs we don’t know the words too, and listening to Rush Limbaugh on the Talk Radio 77 station….no politics, no conservative humor, just map reading, GPS updating, pit stops and funky coffee shops…like the “Toasted Bean”, “Grounds for Thought”,“Paris on the Platte” and “Cupa Mud”.

We bring our own stash of snacks that consist of whatever we had in the fridge at that moment that will travel in the cooler and feed us, without leaving a strange odor like: more-than-a-day-old-pizza with peppers, or broccoli salad and beans in strange sauce (once white sauce, now not so much)…and of course, a little chocolate candy for energy. We tell ourselves that chocolate is the “new trendy fat burning, cholesterol reducing wonder food”, and we are sure we heard this information on either Dr. Oz, or a Twix Candy Bar Commercial. Who knew?

Cooler in hand, along with: water, glasses, sunglasses, supportive back pillows, headache remedies and tums, the latest Status Quo Newsletter, to read out loud to each other a schedule of coming day trips; and of course, Map Quest, in case the GPS fails and we get too lost for the generic map to be of any help.

The sun’s about to rise as we pull away from home, and excitement fills our senses. Here we go again, and the thought of the unknown road, and the sound of our tires on the highway, its all good stuff. Of course, less than a mile away we made our first pit stop at Panera’s to grab some coffee and french toast bagel sandwiches with sausage. Hey, women need sustenance in order to drive a long way to nurture our families. (that’s written down somewhere isn’t it?)

Now, we’re humming along. The BF (Best Friend) reveals her current schedule of three days a week attendance at water aerobics in the beautiful, heated to 80 something degrees, Dyer Center Pool. Many Holliday Park  members attend and love the workout and friendly faces there. The instructor has shown all the attendees how to shake their bums for a total body (in water) workout. According to my BF, its working, and her new (Not Your Mother’s Jeans) are fitting well. Of course, this was before that sandwich I had mentioned.

We made good time getting to the Michigan/Ohio Boarder. Once we were actually in Toledo, it was time to stretch our legs and move about for a few moments. We GPS’d our way to the warehouse district to grab some hot coffee at Downtown Latte  and oh was it good.

The timing to get to Dubois was perfect and we met my kid and her kids right on time, at midday. How wonderful to pull into this destination and see the faces of “my girls” with their “Cheshire Cat Grins” and the hugs for my BF (whom they know well) and me, well they are always priceless. On to lunch at a little French restaurant that was highly recommended by another cooperative member who travels the I 80 corridor quite often. We laughed about our journey, and they shared their experiences at a few Ivy League schools that were on the “Where Will I Matriculate” list. Then we  reminisced over lobster bisque, about meals we’d shared in Paris, France, where my daughter and granddaughter had taken me for my birthday two years earlier. When you travel abroad and don’t speak the language, you can get in a bit of trouble. I had, but it was a deeply held secret until my granddaughter laughed and shared it with my BF, to my red-faced amazement.

Later, on the trip back to the co-op, while my two favorite tweenies were playing Road Trip Scavenger Hunt, Uno and My Little Suitcase with their iPhone apps, my BF swore to never mention my “french word mishap”, and even took over driving for me as fatigue was settling in. We all shared the contents of the cooler’s mystery food. The left over stuffed cabbages were yummy but did not mix all that well with all the other foods we had consumed on this long, lovely day.

The sun had long since left us, when we pulled into Holliday Park that evening just after 9:30 p.m. All of us were exhausted from the effort it takes to identify strange objects in the road at night, car games, stories of ” tween angst” at school, memories of our own early years (which the kids thought were hysterical), and well, you get the picture . These were exquisite hours, and they would not have been so meaningful for me, without my BF along for her great company, wise words, humor, and patience.

We once saw the Pyramids together in the early years of our friendship, and that was amazing, but these family times, and little road trips, mean as much or more to both of us. This cooperative offers far more than low carrying charges and no mortgage, dear reader. It offers treasured memories, and friendship for a lifetime.

"It's In There"!

Wonderous Soup - "It's In There!"

What’s so remarkable about a soup that’s made from every kind of ingredient that happens to be nestling in the fridg just behind the orange peppers, garlic, leeks, guacamole, home-made beef stock, and a few almost unidentifiable veggies from several previous dining delights? Well, Pat (our Gourmet Guru) would tell you that each savory piece, slice, clump, spoonful, pinch, sprinkling and dash, adds up to a tasty culinary delight that invigorates the palette and creates warm and lasting memories.

To get started, Pat would direct you to grab your favorite large, heavy pot because it is the most important and absolutely essential key piece of equipment you need to make extraordinary soup. Our co-op is our essential “soup pot”. It’s well maintained and has all of the functionality of a good vessel because the furnaces, siding, roofs, insulation, and gutters are not only new or nearly new, they are good quality and keep the members evenly warmed and cooled, so that they can thrive and participate as active volunteers who create the flavor of the community.

The ingredients for fabulous soup start with a tasty homemade broth base. At Holliday Park, the good base comes from the good beginnings that were established in the late 1970’s by people who wanted to cultivate a life-style that embraced everyone. These good people wanted the co-op to offer each member sustenance of the spirit by providing the opportunity to savor the unique lifestyle for a fuller, richer housing experience. The Board of Directors did this by keeping the carrying charges low, and the opportunity to gather together, socialize, travel, be fully engaged in the cooperative process, and form a lasting bond, was given to each member fully and equally.

That good base of wise and industrious people who began this Westland. Cooperative, added to it, members (the ingredients) from this City, surrounding burbs and other cities in this area. People also came from Northern Michigan, the Upper Peninsula, and over time, they also came from EVERYWHERE: other cities as far away as the west coast, other countries like Canada, Italy, Poland, France, Czechoslovakia, Hawaii, and from China and Japan, just to name a few. Each of them brought with them, family, history, culture and tradition, memories, good work ethics, laughter, joy and camaraderie as well. What a blend of wise and wonderful humanity found this “soup pot” to call home.

When you stop by to visit Pat and his wonderfully huge family, you get immersed in warm feelings, laughter, amazing aroma’s from his kitchen culinary cuisine, and stories that enrich your life, break your heart, make you laugh until it hurts, and every emotion in between. If you’re lucky and get to taste the broth from this gourmet’s kitchen, the flavor will delight and surprise you. If you guess at the ingredients, he will always smile broadly and respond by saying “it’s in there!”

Often, he will try to fool us hungry food-fans, with unusually savory tastes like a bit of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, Quail eggs or Almond Milk with lime juice, and always the freshest produce grown from Michigan farmers, and perhaps picked up by one of his children, just to be able to identify it later as being “in there”.

The co-op too, has gained much from wonderful, cultivated people like Pat, and his super-volunteer wife, Juanita, who make giving back a priority, and a gift at the cooperative, as do their children and grandchildren at every opportunity. Why? Because at this cooperative, like good, hardy soup, the nourishment sticks with you, and you don’t forget where that meal came from and the “good sustained feelings” that it gave so freely to you.

Holliday Park Entrance

Beautiful HP

Holliday Park is a unique cooperative. Not only does this non-profit cooperative community have an excellent number of unit styles, seven in all, to choose from, it has an a great mix of members who work in a volunteer capacity and live well together in a mind-set of cooperation and volunteerism, in close proximity.

The units/homes are one and two-story, and have one, two, and three-bedrooms to choose from, and each unit has a private, full basement, entrance and exit. You may have a patio if you wish and space to garden, or not, which is your choice. You may have a location that faces the tranquil nature center, or one of the four large green areas. Perhaps, you’d rather face Spring Valley Drive or Fountain Boulevard directly, or be back by the tennis courts and sub-division neighboring homes. Some members choose to live near a parking lot, or up by the huge and well maintained swimming pool and clubhouse. All of these choices offer differing views and benefits for the member.

The interior design you create and the volunteering you do, is also completely up to you, although you will be invited to join in the social activities, start your own club, if you wish, and you can have a home life that fits your needs and those of the significant people in your life.

It is not unusual for members to share with their family, friends and extended family members their honest assessment of this place with its peaceful environs, safety, and great location along with other attributes, and how beneficial it would be if they too chose the co-op style of housing. With the carrying charges consistently very low and so many amenities, Holliday Park has attracted a number of siblings, cousins, mother-daughter, father-son, and even a few ex-spouse relationships. When housing is this economically priced and well-maintained, people find out.

After you’ve made the choice to be a part of this volunteer mortgage-free community, and to give back to it from your time and talents, as well as enjoying the low costs ; you usually do a number crunch accompanied by a drive-around the circular streets which are bordered by the tranquil nature center on three sides. To do this gives you and overview of the locations which meet your needs.

The Clubhouse pool and picnic area sit at the entrance and people come in on Saturday mornings to get information and an application for membership (thanks to volunteer Saturday Greeters). Applicants ask the BIG Questions such as, what is a cooperative and why is it the #1 housing choice for 2012 and beyond for many singles, nuclear families, one-parent families, retirees and others? How do I become a member and when do I sign up to volunteer.

It is such a joy to tell these future neighbors about the on-site maintenance, the social clubs, volunteer committees, the trips that are offered for a very good price, and so much more. They do move in and they do give back to the co-op in various and wonderful ways. One way that is an off-shoot of their happy living environment, is that they encourage the people they value most highly to join them and us.

For instance, a couple moved into a Fenwick Unit in 1996.Their daughter liked this style of living and also moved into her own Fenwick Unit in another area about 5 years later. Just recently, another daughter has moved in, and chose a Fenwick Unit (a two-story 3 bedroom style), a few blocks from her sister. What fun they are all going to have together! In many ways this family is united again, but each member and their occupants have their own home and personal space.

They are far enough apart to enjoy their privacy, and yet close enough for socializing, and being available to share the clubhouse party room and euchre, dominoes, golfing, tennis, water aerobics and frequent mile-walks or biking around the complex,

A more long standing example of members passing the gift of co-op life to their siblings and other relatives began when the co-operative was in its infancy some forty years ago. One of the brothers in this family moved into Holliday Park and into a Dover Unit. In the meantime, his four siblings were in homes in the surrounding cities where they were raising their children. As the children grew up and left home, the four brothers began to look at Holliday Park as an alternate life style, since they were tired of all the work, high taxes and the other expenses connected with home ownership. Twenty plus years ago, one of the brothers moved into a Fenwick Unit. Eventually, another brother moved into a two bedroom Coventry Unit and later transferred to the large two-bedroom Exeter Unit. A few years later, two of the remaining-non-member brothers chose a Fenwick and a Galloway Unit respectively, to downsize into and eventually enjoy their retirement.

The brothers and their spouses, children and grandchildren too, today, enjoy family gatherings together, and are there to be available in times of sorrow and joy, adventures and holidays too. So, the family stays together, but is able to each have their own individual townhouse unit. This kind of family and extended family shared-but-separate living environment works for those families, and several of their children have also moved in with their kids. Holliday Park is for many people, related or not, contagious in a very good way.

Just before Christmas, we had a brother and sister each take their own Galloway Units. Each one enjoys and pursues different interests and social interaction during leisure hours, but they have a great time together as well. They knew what Holliday Park offers without being told because their parents lived at the co-op very happily and well for many years.

One of Holliday Park’s newer members came to the cooperative because her older sister loves the lifestyle here. Now, a year later, her daughter is interested in getting on the short waiting list, and a niece who is a chief in near by Plymouth, and loves the location and the family factor, has downloaded her application from the web site, and submitted it for review.

When you think of life’s “normal everyday moments“ having family nearby can enhance the quality of your existence in many ways, if you choose to tell them about the happiness factor that exists here within these 694 units.

So, if you are thinking of choosing Holliday Park as an alternate life style to home ownership or condo ownership, think of the benefits that could develop by encouraging other family members to live here in the future, also. It has worked out very well for so many members over the years.

From my vantage point, my comfortable Coventry unit, here at Holliday Park, I can access the best parts of the whole world, it seems. Living close to the Motor City and its network of freeways puts me in touch with the whole universe of available sports, culture and big-city accouterments of a flavor different from New York City, yet every bit as exciting. I still find it hard to believe that, in a matter of a half hour from my home, I can be in the heart of Midtown Detroit or in the Fox Theatre or Ford Field area.

For a few years now, I have been ushering weekly at the beautifully restored Detroit Opera House—itself a classic old building with remarkable ceiling art and an enormously majestic chandelier that transports you in fantasy to a most exquisite European palace. I recognize the gift-like quality of my accessibility to this dream- atmosphere, where the best artistic national productions—ballets, operas, musicals and stage plays—are a natural part of my life. You see, at Holliday Park, I can have the best kind of economical life and yet, be treated in downtown Detroit with the richest culture of the nation.

It is not only the Detroit Opera House that is placed in my path as I seek the best that life can offer. In Midtown Detroit, there is also the Detroit Institute of Arts, one of the finest art museums in the nation (often called “the jewel of Detroit.”) Friends and I spent a leisurely day there recently, soaking up a lot of history and marveling at the sixteenth-century art in the specially-arranged and unusual Rembrandt exhibition. The museum is also a place to which I love to bring my grandchildren. They laughed a lot and participated gleefully in a recent puppet show, where the puppet-master had created his own puppets. A favorite place to visit is the knight’s gallery, where they can imagine themselves in the large suits of armor, winning sword-fights. We have enjoyed innovative musical shows and participated in workshops where the children could create their own artifacts.

As often as I can, I travel down the freeway to the Detroit Opera House or to the Detroit Institute of Arts, and occasionally, to the Detroit Film Theatre connected to the DIA, where I can enjoy excellent, insightful films not offered anywhere else.

The Detroit Opera House and the Detroit Institute of Arts are only two of the frequent destinations of Holliday Park residents. Neighbors of mine could probably elaborate on their sports excursions to see the Detroit Lions (up and coming!), the Red Wings’ hockey, the Pistons ‘ basketball, or the Detroit Tigers! The recent acquisition of Prince Fielder by the Tigers may necessitate adding another lane to the freeway, to allow for the enthusiastic Tiger fans of Holliday Park!

Proximity to the cultural and artistic universe and the great sports arena that is Detroit, is one of the big advantages of living at Holliday Park, near I-96!

 Avalon International Bakery

422 W. WILLIS • DETROIT, MI 48201 313.832.0008


I enjoy finding places that are out of the way and unassuming, but offer something I love…be it great food, unusual items, or inspiration and if it offers more than one of those things, all the better.

Living in Holliday Park offers the opportunity to find places in many locations, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Plymouth or Northville, because all are within a 20-30 minute drive. This short drive also makes it possible to enjoy my places often. They can be a destination in themselves or a stop on the way to another place. I love sharing these finds with my friends and learning that they have added them to their list of favorite places. These are just two of my favorites in Detroit…one old and one new.

I’ve often heard that you find things when you aren’t looking, and I think that’s true, because the first find, Avalon International Breads, was discovered about ten years ago when my oldest daughter and I got lost after attending a function at Wayne State University. It was near lunch time and we noticed the large number of people going in and decided we would check it out.

Upon entering, the aroma of the baked goods was intoxicating and the choices were many. After finding out that they served breakfast and lunch, besides selling baked goods, we ordered sandwiches. Mine I remember was mozzarella with tomato and basil on olive bread. It was amazing! After lunch, I purchased one of their bread’s and some sweet rolls for our breakfast the next day.

While making these selections, I noticed the sign that all the bake goods were made with organic flour. I have returned many times in the years since. Sometimes it has been the destination for my daughter and I when she visits from Seattle, and other times I have added it on to a trip to the Detroit Institute of Arts or attending a play at the Hillberry.

It’s still a very unassuming looking place. Not much if anything has changed since my first visit, except that they now deliver to 40 restaurants and markets located from Ann Arbor to Royal Oak and Grosse Point.

So they fill the bill as a place that offers great things to eat, but they also offer inspiration by the fact that they overcame the doubters of their being successful in opening a bakery offering artisan breads in what used to be called the Cass Corridor and became what was the beginning of a transformation of the area into what is now known as Midtown. Avalon is located at 422 W. Willis just off Cass in the Wayne State area and is open seven days a week.

* For the Third Year in-a-row Avalon International Bakery is partnering with Kids Kicking Cancer.  A portion of their in-store-sales will be donated to this worthy cause on Valentines Day February 14th.   See Avalon’s web site for details:  www.avalonbreads.net  . The Bakery’s slogan is Eat Well.  Do good!  They do what they suggest to others. 

Another of my favorite places is a new one that I found just about a month ago when I was staying at the Book Cadillac hotel for the weekend. It does offer good things to eat, but not in the same way. It’s called Lafayette Greens. This is a place of total inspiration for me and although not a destination in itself, it’s a place that if I am anywhere in that area, I will want to drive by and check it out.

My second favorite place is located on a triangular shaped lot at W. Lafayette and Shelby in downtown Detroit. It was part of the view from my hotel window, the first time I saw this place. It was fenced in and had 35 raised beds. I had to check it out because it looked so curious, and what I found was that it was an urban garden and a relaxing green space that is sponsored by Compuware. Last summer, Lafayette Greens grew, in one month’s time, more than 900,000 pounds of fresh produce specifically for the Gleaners Community Food Bank. That’s not bad for an unassuming three quarters of an acre piece of land in an urban environment.

If you get a chance, I hope you will check out both of these places and maybe you will add them to your list of favorite places to go.



When I purchased my membership at Holliday Park more than a decade ago, I felt wise beyond my years because I am frugal to a fault, and expect to squeeze every penny from money invested into two pennies of “worth”. Cooperative living is for me, the ultimate 21st Century housing choice because you won’t find yourself under-water and indebted during the best and most productive years of your life.

Then too, the sociability offered in the cooperative community here, was a plus as well. I love people! The parties, trips, pool gatherings, golfing group activities, card players and even the volunteer committees I’d heard about sounded like a great way to “give back” and have enjoyment and interesting experiences too.

At first, I didn’t have time to meet many people. My work took most of my waking hours and energy. I did volunteer (well I was energetically recruited) for the Night Patrol, and got a randomly chosen partner who’d lived at the co-op for several years. This person was very colorful. He had a special hat with built in ear-warmers that he wore only on these Patrol Missions. He threw himself into the Patrol Process…checking for burned out security lights, anyone in need of an escort home in the wee small hours, and any unusual behavior.

He taught me to “keep my eyes open” for creatures from the nature park that almost surrounds us, and told of an encounter with an animal whose feet would easily have filled his size 13 shoes. He never did say what kind of animal it was, or what happened, but we did find ourselves laughing a lot, and since those early days, when we only saw each other on the designated 3 nights a year, we’ve become very good friends. We’ve added to that story until now people’s eyes pop open-wide in the telling of the latest version..(specially newbies to the patrol). You’d be surprised how awake people get when they think someone or something is “out-there” and it has big feet.

 A member I met on a co-op trip to China, has become my valued “go-to person” for life’s little emergencies. We lend each other extra chairs for entertaining at Lot Soirees and a shoulder when a conversation with a relative, friend, boss, or other….goes south. We bring each other the band aid when a project called for knowledge, not just courage; a mop when the washing machine collapses from the weight of too many pool time towels, and a safety pin……a big one………….when necessary. This person tells me if my new jeans make my……YOU KNOW……..and I can count on them, and they can count on me.

Yet another HP member is my consort when it comes to reverse merchandising…or becoming fully engaged in consumerism. Recently, (and this is just one example) a new sectional sofa was needed for her large living room. Numerous family members were about to gather for an important celebration and the current seating was leaning conspicuously to the right. Springs were no longer firmly gathered in what was left of the tired leather cushions, and a wobbly leg of this 15 year old relic had split up the middle.

Although the wind was howling, and the rain poured rather than sprinkled upon everything and everyone in sight, out we went to EVERY furniture store in a five mile radius, then a 10 mile radius, and by a 50 mile radius near Rochester and even past Bloomfield Hills, we, the intrepid shoppers, carried on. The furniture we saw was either too big, too small, too soft, too deep-seated, too high backed, OR the chaise end was left-armed and not the necessary right-armed style….or other. Eight hours later we came home..unsuccessful. A day later, at the Macy’s down the block…this person found perfection. If you can survive an experience like this one, aided only by respect for the quest, six cups of Cheeky Monkey coffee and two coney-dogs with all the fixin’s, then you are more than friends ….you are consummate-cohorts of the highest caliber.

Another person with whom I mingle socially, is a like minded history buff whom I met while gazing at the Pyramids on yet anther HP cruise. This person records the same National Geographic and History Channel Programs that I also love, researches, reads, and tries to learn “key” phrases before sojourning to a new foreign-tongued destination like West Germany (yet another trip with many memories to relate), same as me, and has an uncanny knack for taking amazing candid shots of incredibly beautiful people and places. Long after the suitcases are stored, the trip stays real due to his pictorial journal. Also, if you lose your passport, or get into any iffy Customs questioning, HE is THERE FOR YOU..in all the ways that matter.

Lastly, to keep this blog under 1000 words, two very special members who live within “shuffling distance “(the distance between my unit and theirs when I still have on my sweats and slippers) in the early hour morning dew or late night fogginess; are always up for a pick up game of Hearts, Euchre, or an avid discussion about Deepak Chopra’s views of the “power to fulfill your dreams”. We’ve found we can discuss almost everything, with more than respect for each others view points, with affection for their willingness to listen, share and perhaps gain insights…all with ego set aside in the spirit of personal growth.

Also, a quick mention of one last gracious socializing and valued peer who will come at a moments notice to help blow up…patch up…and primp the extra guest bed when the in-laws, kids, childhood friends, old roommates and others are suddenly arriving and outnumber the standard sleeping arrangements of my unit.

There you have it, dear readers, 6 degrees of unique and creative socialization with genuine, trustworthy, caring and giving loyal friends who make life richer on so many levels. Truly, I have my two pennies worth for each penny spent…………and so much more!!! Life is GOOD when companionship with others is this satisfying. I’m very blessed!







To truly live is to make your fondest dream a reality or so “they” say. I don’t dream big……….I’m a bottom line, facts and figures …money squeezer type of person who saves, recycles, reinvests and reinvents, in order to live well for less, and achieve a healthy savings account (even if it isn’t growing as I write this blog).

In fact I moved to Holliday Park Cooperative because the carrying charges were low, the unit styles were well designed, and an all-on-one-floor ranch style, fit my wish list of wants and needs perfectly. It did not hurt that they also offered social clubs, a huge heated pool, well maintained housing and manicured grounds, with room for a garden/patio area, and covered parking availability.

Little did I know that one of the many perks of cooperative living, would send me on a journey that I had only imagined in those moments when you get “tested” by life, and need to assume the position and meditate. It was during one of those times, that I happened to hear about a Cruise to the Mediterranean, that would include just about every beautiful, exquisite, ancient city and vista in that part of the world.

When I called the Travel Club people who planned the trips and heard of the discounts that members received due to the number of participants who frequent these activities; I absolutely had to pursue this adventure on the sea.

Everything was handled for us,it seemed, and the process of getting signed up, paying, traversing to the cruise ship and getting “launched and settled” was effortless. ALL I had to do really, was SHOW UP AND GO. Many neighbors joined me and we partnered in every adventure and day trip that we could fit into the already well planned and diverse schedule which the travel agency/ cruise line had planned for us.

I had done my homework as I always do before any traveling happens. I’d read about the Seven Wonders and which ones were still in existence like The Colossus of Rhodes which was a huge statue of the Titan Helio, erected to guard the harbor of the City of Rhodes after a terrible battle with the King of Cyprus, and how it  now lays in ruins. It had been 107 feet tall and had been built in 280 B.C. I wanted to see the 2nd oldest city of the world, Ephesus, in Turkey, which is known to have been the last home of the Virgin Mary. I read about Pompeii and Cairo.  I wanted to stand in the sands in front of the Pyramids to see the blue green waters of the Amalfi Coast. More than anything,  I wanted toexperience moments in life that take your breath away.

All of that HAPPENED TO ME over a period of 14 unforgettable DAYS.

The cruise ship was an enormous floating community where high energy and relaxation mixed in odd ways. The cabins were pleasing with touches of elegance in the amenities and extra-comfy beds, great for exhausted sleep, and had just enough room to clean up before heading out to the next epic event. The food and entertainment were great too, but for me, the recap of the days activities, told in all their “splendor” by us…the tourista’s …of the overworked cameras….who had lived and breathed them, this was the “cherry on top” of this multi-flavored experience.

How do I tell you what it was like to sink your feet into the sands of our predecessors……….those who walked this earth in the B.C’s with pride, ethics and the inventiveness to create the first language, pictorial and written history, the beginnings of what was to become medicine, literature, culture, music and art?

Another fact that I must convey, right here, right now, is that five of those brave souls who accompanied me on this quest to embrace history, have become extra-ordinarily valued friends, to use that term but describe an embracing that happens when you summon the courage to step outside of your own comfort zone and advance upon the old world with fresh eyes.

When you’ve stood in the narrow streets of Mykanos ( only 6 or 8 feet wide) on your way to see the famous windmills, or found the true triangle shaped pyramid in Giza, built in 1640: with people who, like you, are deeply moved by these experiences, yet find reasons to laugh and join in your silly picture taking rituals, be very sick from eating (who knows what…that resembled…who knows what)…having had men on camels pursue you and throw souvenirs or whatever wares they were selling at you because they are bedazzled by your blond hair and blue eyes……. and buying the most beautiful flowers from an elderly lady in a doorway of her 100 years plus old home, this is what LIVING …in its finest moments was and is for me, for us all.

I would not have taken this journey at the going rates that are charged. I could not have taken that kind of bite out of my savings, without regret on some level because of my practical side. HOWEVER, living frugally and well at Holliday Park, and participating in their nearly 40 year history of traveling…..allowed me to do so, for a sum I could afford.

The results have been spectacular. My love of history has intensified greatly, I’ve read, viewed and absorbed everything I can on the travel channel, and taken more economical trips to Russia, Sweden, and even South America, and these events have taken parts of my life from black and white to colors best described as HIGH DEFINITION. My circle of true friends has grown and when traveling with family are bonds have deepened as well.

Every person has their own definition of a life well lived. For me, hard work, family, good friends and increasing my personal experiences by embracing travel to ancient cities around the world, defines me. If I had not made the wise choice to move to this cooperative I would not have done these things on this scale, and allowed myself these pleasures. Is your money working for YOU?? Think about coop life and start to make your own memories.




About one-third of Holliday Park members are what we call “snowbirds”. Those are the members who fly off to warmer climates when the weather here in Michigan begins to get cold, and they return after our weather warms up. You could say that they migrate.

The low carrying charges here at Holliday Park offer these members the ability to own or rent a place in warmer climates so they have somewhere to go for the cold months. Florida is the most popular, but Arizona is also a place where they retreat along with a few snowbirds that go to North Carolina.

So it was very interesting when an email from a southern state was received by the webmaster. The email was from a couple, who after reviewing our website, wanted to come to Michigan and see our cooperative. They asked if they needed to make an appointment or could they just come by and talk to someone about becoming a member? In a return email, it was suggested that they drop in on our Saturday Greeters group. This is a group of members that volunteer to meet with those interested in becoming members and talking with them about what living in Holliday Park is all about. They’re available on Saturdays (hence the name) from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm except on holiday weekends. The couple agreed to this arrangement.

On a Saturday three weeks later, the couple came to the clubhouse along with a few others interested in our cooperative. Their questions showed real interest in our community and they asked if they could see some units. I offered to show mine which is a Coventry and made arrangements for them to also see a Dover unit. Since we have no models, seeing a unit has to be arranged, as it is going into someone’s home. Therefore we limit showings to persons that are serious in becoming members.

They came by my unit the next day and again we had a very friendly and interesting visit. They had a few more questions which I answered and it was then that I learned that they were looking for the reverse of being a snow bird. They wanted to become members of Holliday Park so they would have a place to come in the summer when their southern state got too warm.

This is a real first in many ways. They are the first to respond to our website from that far away, and they are the first to want a unit at Holliday Park for just the summer months. They will be going in the opposite way of the usual migration, so to speak.

They left knowing that when they were called about an available unit, they would have three days to decide if they were going to take it, and they assured me that was sufficient time for them to fly back and make a decision.

A few months later, they were notified that a unit of their choice had become available and as planned flew here to Michigan to see it. It was a unit that faced the nature center which runs along two sides of our community and offers a view of a wooded valley, and small river. They were delighted as that was the location they were hoping for and accepted the unit.

Unfortunately, winter is approaching here in Michigan, so they will not be “neighbors” until next summer, but now what term can we come up with for members who come to Holliday Park to escape the heat somewhere else…maybe “sunbirds”!

 I’ve been a member of Holliday Park Towne Homes for almost four years, and love living here. There are so many benefits of residing in Holliday Park. The grounds are quite beautiful, and we’re surrounded by a nature preserve. It’s a great place in which to walk. There are activities offered at the Clubhouse (i.e. Monday morning Koffee Klutch, dominoes, euchre, pinochle, and movie night).

Opportunities abound for members to become active within the community. Members can choose how they wish to become involved. Since we are a cooperative, we depend on volunteers to perform many functions in order to keep our carrying charges low. There are several committees in which members may choose to fulfill their civic duty, with the added benefit of meeting fellow members.

People learn about Holliday Park by visiting our website, by word of mouth from friends who live here, and through Saturday Greeters (a special group of members open the Clubhouse from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturdays to provide information to those interested in learning more about our lovely community). Some people just know about Holliday Park and are aware of its renowned reputation.

I’ve joined several committees since moving to Holliday Park. One of them is the Membership Committee. This very important committee regularly meets monthly with meetings in between depending on need. The Membership Committee is responsible for reviewing all applications to determine eligibility for membership. It is important to know that all information is kept confidential. Applicants are allowed two unit choices. Membership determines whether the number of occupants for the unit choices is within the parameters of the guidelines. The employment history must be completed, along with the salary release form and the application fee.

An important part of the application is the completion of the income requirements. Holliday Park is not subsidized by any government agency. Units must be purchased outright – they cannot be mortgaged. Applicants must provide asset information.

Workers (those who are employed) must meet income requirements specified for Workers. They must provide a two year history of employment, sign the salary release form and include the application fee.

Non-Workers (those who are not employed) must meet income requirements and provide securities/assets information, a social security statement, pension payment, Form 1099 (interest and dividend income), documentation of tax-free income, and broker statements. Income and the securities/assets requirements vary depending on unit choices. A credit report is also necessary.

If the applicant does not qualify either because of finances, a low credit score or the number of occupants, the application fee is returned along with a letter of explanation. Applicants need only provide enough documentation to meet the minimum requirements for the chosen units; it is not necessary to disclose financial information over and above the minimum requirements.

The Membership Committee’s responsibilities go beyond reviewing and approving or rejecting applicants. The Committee must adhere to policies set forth in the Membership Policy. The Committee’s duties include approving members’ requests for transfer. The Committee must comply with corporate regulations. An essential key to a successful Cooperative is maintaining peaceful co-existence. The Committee may be called upon to assist in maintaining this status by conducting meetings with members who are having conflicts. The Committee enforces violations of policy. If the Committee has exhausted efforts to bring compliance to an occupancy complaint, the Committee forwards the information along with a recommendation to the Board of Directors.

I was a Worker when I applied for membership in Holliday Park. When my application and deposit check were received at the Holliday Park office, they were logged in and the application was placed in the Membership Committee’s locked mailbox. It was reviewed at the next Membership meeting. The number of occupants and my salary for the units I specified were checked to determine eligibility for those units. The Committee requested financial information as well as a credit report. The salary request form was sent to my employer. All the information was reviewed at the next meeting. I was sent a letter telling me I was approved, and my name was then placed on the lists for those units I had specified. I waited for a call when I was next on the list and a unit became available.

It was a happy day when I accepted my Galloway, and went through the move-in process!


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