1972 Graduate, Whitmore Lake, Michigan
I am a Daughter, Sister, Aunt, Wife, Mother, Grandmother, (MiMi), Teacher, Writer, Photographer, Housekeeper, Cook, Gardner and Jane of all trades. I am also a Pure Romance Consultant for the last 13 years. Look for that chapter later. How many hats do we all wear? Every 10 years it seems I re-invent my life. This website is my next, (6th), chapter! 4 is my lucky #.
I was born in 1954. A small 7 pound baby girl in Duluth, Minnesota to George, (Joe) and Delores, (Whitaker), Watts. I have 3 siblings, Tana, oldest, I am second, Jorjetta was third, (she went back to spirit when she was 55 in 2011), and the baby sister, Laura Lee.
My parents divorced when I was 9. This took place in 1963. Same year President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. My mother moved us to Whitmore Lake, Michigan in with her parents. So you see, I was almost 10 when I started my 2nd chapter. From 9 to 20 I moved 10 times total. I made it through grade and high school and got married to Steve Ogrady at 18 in the court house in Ann Arbor. By twenty I was getting my first divorce. I moved back in to my mother’s house in Whitmore Lake and started my 2nd chapter. And what a wild chapter that was. Disco, dating, dancing at bars, moving to Dunedin Florida. Some of the most fun and adventure filled times of my life. Wow did I start learning lessons in life class.
All our lives are books. Everyone has a book! Especially when we get to the age of 60. I am very grateful I made it this far but do not like getting so old. Hate parts of it. But what am I going to do but embrace it all and try to stay focused in the NOW. We spend too much time with regrets of the past and worrying about the future. All that worry does is waste today, the Now!
Again, one of my intentions with this website is to teach anyone a lesson sooner than I learned it. Life is all about AHA moments and helping each other.
So in my second chapter, (decade) I was working at the Secretary of State in Ann Arbor. I started there when I was 18. I sold license plates and titles to cars. At that time we were the only license plate bureau in the whole town. Everyone had to come to us. And did we have the lines out the door come expiration date of vehicle/truck plates. Car plates expired on March 31st. Everyone’s did. Not like today where it expires on your birthday. Truck plates expired on February 28th. So it was one of the most fun jobs I ever had. Many men came to the Secretary of State to register their cars motorcycles, trucks and boats. Many foreigners walked through that front door at 444 S. Main. Ann Arbor is a college town, University of Michigan and the U. of M. hospital. I dated a few I met there or though there with people I knew. The power of the people you know is sometimes very overlooked.
My first X, Steve’s family knew the woman who ran this Secretary of State. Her name was Addie Drews. That is how I got the job. Lesson learned, it is all who you know and I found out too in my second decade approaching that it is how much money you have as well. I loved waiting on the public. It was a hoot meeting all those people. The famous football staduim was just down the road from our office. At the time it was known as the biggest stadium in the country. Go Blue. I do not care about football at all or watching any sports except I do enjoy watching golf, sometimes.
So many foreign people coming from all around the country and other countries to go to school. And they all had to come to us to get their plates. Forms were not computerized then and the customers had to fill out a title, registration and tax form with a pen. So many times they would mess up the forms so I would just re-fill the forms out for them. I could do it so much faster and it was just easier. I always had a pen in my hand. One day I was pulling out of the driveway to leave work and I still had my pen in my hand. I had a big indentation too on my middle finger.
The building was at 444 S. Main. It was an old three story building. The Secretary of State was on the middle floor. There was a basement, ground floor and an upstairs floor. Downstairs was an apartment and a couple of gay guys lived there. Upstairs a lawyer rented office space. He seemed to be a lower class lawyer, sort of shady as I remember. His name was Schindler and we girls nicknamed him Swindler. He just seemed like a dark alley dude. Never really knew him. So of course I was judging him. Back then I did not really get the intuition thing. I think small kids should be taught about thier natural instincts, their intuition, gut feeling. I would think 9 times out of 10 you should follow it. Hell, maybe 10 times out of 10. It is very powerful and if we tuned into it more we might not have made as many mistakes. I know this to be so true for myself.
Richard H. Austin was Secretary of State then and his picture was on the wall of every Secretary of State office. He served from 1971 to 1994. We did get to go to a big party one year with our boss to Detroit where he was attending. It was fun to get all dressed up and meet him. My cousin Cindy worked there too and she fell down the stairs at the function. It was quite funny. She was always tripping. She didn’t get hurt. One time she was lighting a cigarette at work and she burned the tip of her nose lighting it. She was a hoot. Still is. Love my cousin Cindy. Her last name is Whitaker and mine is Watts and we call each other Whitty and Watty, the Whoopers from Whitmore Lake.
One year the busy time was upon us and there were lines out the door, down the sidewalk. Everybody waited to the last minute to renew their plates. I am sure we baby boomers remember this time. (What the hell, why are we baby boomers, who made that name up?) Every day for a few weeks we were slammed. I loved this job. Being busy made the time go by fast and it was so fun with all the different people.
The last year I worked there an old man passed out waiting in line. He was almost up to the counter and a bunch of Oh No’s, OMG’s, and commotion was going on. Someone yelled to call an ambulance and we heard later he died. The next day we were again body after body. Lines out the door pretty much all day. We were open from 9-5 M-F and 9-noon on Saturdays. The office was small. You walked into the main door into the hall way and our office was first door on left. When you entered our office there was a window in the front and one on the other side of the room. A long counter you walked up to and you could only enter behind the counter from the far end of the room by the window. There was a backroom behind the counter with a door that could be closed. This back room was very small too. Our coding machine was back there, a couch, refrigerator and desk and small closet. You could enter the back room from the back door too which I did have a key too. Usually Cindy or I would open up the office each day.
The day after the old gentleman passed away waiting in line we were robbed at gun point. That’s right, robbed at gun point. It was about ten to 5:00 pm, closing time. There were 4 of us girls working that day and of course our boss was not there. She trusted us to run the whole office and took off to play often. She was a “fee” branch at that time and so she made money on how many plates she sold. Looking back she was probably raking in the Benjamin’s.
So the office had cleared out right before closing time and we were all busy starting our check out routine for the day. Putting deals in order as they were wrung up, counting money, making out our bank deposit’s, writing up checks to be deposited. And in walks two black men with knit hat’s pulled down below their noses and told us to get in the back room. Well I was in shock and not really comprehending what was happening in that exact NOW. I was sitting at end of counter where you can enter to the back room with all the paperwork on my lap. We had a black gal working there at the time, Val and I remember her looking at them and giving them a weird smile so I thought it was a joke for a few seconds.
Finally the one guy had come around the corner and sort of nudged me to get in the back room. He said, ‘You don’t want me to hurt you do you”, get in the back room. So right at that moment I decided to do what the” Dumb Ass” said. So here we all are, in this small back room, 4 employees and “Dumb Ass robber”. He had shut the door and his partner in crime, “Numb Nuts” was out front collecting money from cash drawer and sending in 2 customers that had walked in front of store. Yes that is right, two customers had walked in during the robbery. When “Dumb Ass” and “Numb Nuts” walked in they should have just locked the front door. It was almost 5 o’clock anyway. Those 2 customers are now in the back room with us. Imagine what those customers were thinking. They came to buy their license plates and now they are in the back room with 4 women employees, “Dumb Ass Robber” with a gun and another customer. And it is very small back there. We were all very nervous and sort of bumping into each other.
“Dumb Ass Robber” asks: “Where’s the money back here?” My X sister-in-law Kathy said, “There isn’t any”. (Yes my cousin, a best friend and x sister-in-law all worked there). He asked again where the money was and added you don’t want me to hurt any of you right?
At this point I thought I had better tell him. We always kept $50.00 in change in the desk drawer. So I knelt down and opened up the drawer and said it was in here, pointing to the bank bag we kept roles of change in. Since it was all in roles I asked him how he wanted me to give it to him. He held his coat pocket open and said put it in here. So I shoved it in his pocket. I was probably shaking. All I could think about was how they shoot the witnesses. His knit hat moved up over his nose and exposed more of his face.
The robber then asked the customers where their money was. The older gentleman pulled a $20.00 out of his top shirt pocket and handed it to him. Then he went to the closet and grabbed some of our purses. Right after that he dropped them and went out to the front office shutting the door behind him. We all just stood there in silence which seemed longer than it was. After a few minutes we felt it was safe to open the door.
They had left and we all just stood there looking dumb founded. I broke down from relief and started to cry some. We called the police and our boss Addie. They were all there in minutes. So now we girls were all talking at once to the policeman. Addie had to call the State of Michigan and give them a report. We were shut down the next day for an audit. Then we all had to go to the police department and look at mug shots. Over and over we looked at pictures and through them in the middle of the table if we thought one might be the one. My cousin Ray Winters worked there at the time so that was pretty cool for me. They got caught later that day. They had robbed a place before us and one after. Crazy days at the Secretary of State.
I had ended up renting the apartment on the ground floor under
the office later on. I was living with a dude for a while and it
was notworking so movedin below. So now I worked and
lived at 444 S. Main, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Did I say 4 was my lucky number? I had to enter through
the back door to getinto my apartment.
Go down the stairs and there were 5 different doors
in total getting in the place. Three at bottom of stairs
and two out onstreet. Made it a little complicated if you
came home tipsy.
The lawyer upstairs had a phone hooked up down there so
when I moved in Ihad a phone I could call out of
but of course had no phone number to call in.
I had ordered a phone but it took a while back
then to get them there andhooked up.
I would listen in to the lawyer’s conversations sometimes.
By this time the lawyer had moved out of the building too.
Boy he was a strange man. But then we are all strange
in our own strange ways?
Right about this time I met this guy walking into a
party store across thestreet from this guy I was dating. He owned
a gas station and I went over toget some beer. Boy did he love
beer. Not me but I sure loved hanging out with
him. So these 2 guys were walking out as I was walking in and
the one wasa knock out. Of course they noticed me, exhanged
some numbers and told him to call me. And of course the
lier called me and here goes another big lesson learn.
Never believe something that seems to good to be true. Or
ever to trust a guy that is so good looking.
His name was Danny Kingen and he was visiting from Florida.
He was born and raised in Flint, Michigan. So he took me to lunch
that next week and we did not eat. We smoked a doobie instead.
And yes I smoked pot back then, didn't every hippy? I neve smoked
alot at one time. I only needed one or two tokes to get a buzz. It use to irritate people sometimes. I would tell them to roll a joint and then after a
couple hits I was done. It drove people crazy if I did not smoke whole thing.
He went back to Florida and was calling me. He said he was trying to get back up to Michigan and if I helped him he would make it worth my while money wise. So naive Denice sent him a hundred bucks to help him drive up to Michigan. Yes, I know, what an idiot I was. He charged up my phone bill while I was at work and left me with a $300.00 bill and never did pay me back for anything. I ended up kicking him out and found later he was gay. He just used me to get what he could and he moved on. When all was done he owed me $500.00. I started calling some of the phone numbers on the bill in Flint. Many calls to Flint where he was from. I reached his mother and his sister. His sister was nice and on my side but of course she was not going to pay me back and I did not expect her to. She said she would talk to her brother. The moral of the story here is to not jump into a relationship of any kind until you really get to know the other. I was young, 21 and so gullable. I believed everyone, why would they lie?
This story will be continued in my autobiography and like Oprah Says: We all have a story..Love and Peace...