Growing Up Lapeer: The House on Farnsworth Road

I was involved in ministry from 1981 to 2004, including seventeen years as a pastor. Several years after leaving ministry, a man from one of the churches I pastored told me he had something to give me. I followed him as he went to his car to retrieve it. He handed me a large envelope and said, “Are you surprised it wasn’t a punch in the face?”

I have to say, that is probably the strangest thing any sane person has ever said to me. I say, “sane,” because I have had many people tell me things that made me think they had some missing parts.

A man visiting our church for the first time told me, “I’m happy to be in my right mind.” He then stood up during prayer meeting and started talking about the liquidity of Martin Luther. Our relationship with him quickly went downhill from there.

A woman from the church came to the door during a horrible blizzard. She came in the living room and unfolded a pamphlet and told us the National Egg Safety Board had made some decisions we should know about.

There was a woman in Colorado who wanted me to pray for her. I asked the nature of the problem, and she said, “God told me I would never have to wash my hair again and I’m wondering why my hair is still dirty.”

At the conclusion of a home Bible study, the host invited everyone to stay for coffee and cookies. A lady in the group asked that we pray to ask God if it was okay for her to stay. After someone prayed, she asked, “What did he tell you?” I didn’t have enough sense to say, “He told me you should leave right now!”

With his wife sitting at his side, a man in the hospital told me about having his most personal part reamed out. An elderly woman told me about lying on her bed in her underwear as sweat ran off her breasts. An old man visited a women’s prayer group and announced, “I don’t want to have sex with any of you, I just want to attend your Bible study.” You can’t make this stuff up.

Brick ranch house, two car garage, split rail fence.

When I opened the envelope from the man who asked about punching me in the face, I unfolded an aging copy of The Lapeer County Press. It contained an article about our house on Farnsworth Road.

I don’t remember how or why it happened, but Lapeer County Press Photographer, Joe Bybee, came to our house to take photographs and ask questions. This was the house my parents purchased while I was living with Ed and Marguerite Hanson in Lapeer. I used to hate mowing around that split-rail fence.

This is the living room we hardly ever used, except when I was practicing the piano, which is left of the spot where this photo was taken. The only time I ever heard my mom swear was when she was gluing the legs on the coffee table that sits in front of the couch.

Living room, pictures on the walls, couch, lamps, rocking chair
Family room, couch, rug, spinning wheel, lamp, pictures, chair, rocking chair

This was the family room in the basement, a brick fireplace is just to the right. My bedroom was around the corner next to the furnace room.

This was my sister’s bedroom, where I broke my mom’s foot with a roll of carpet. My dad had just returned from a hunting trip where he severely injured his foot with an axe. They had to recuperate together.

Bedroom, bed, dresser, wall paper

There were two bathrooms in the house, situated almost back-to-back. Once while we were on vacation, a cat had kittens inside the bathroom wall. We had to punch a hole in the wall to get them out.

The dining room was small, but we gathered a crowd around the table. During the summer when the windows were open, we could hear racing at Lapeer Dragway, directly across the field from our house. My three-year-old brother followed Joe Bybee around the house with his Fisher-Price camera, so Joe took a picture of him. That little guy is now a vice-president of a global corporation.

The house on Farnsworth Road was a great place to live. For a city kid, living here was a dream. I believe my parents purchased the property for under fifty thousand dollars. A few years ago, the same property sold for nearly ten times that much. Amazing.

Oh, back to the guy who thought about punching me in the face. He was friends with a lady who was a secretary at the company where my dad worked. She clipped the story about our house and kept it. Fifty years later, it came to me.

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