Stomping Grounds: Part 2

In the summer of 1995, Ebay and Yahoo were founded, the conflict in the Balkan countries of Bosnia and Croatia were raging, O.J. Simpson was found not guilty, and I moved to Lansing–the capitol of Michigan.  We found our suburban home just south of the city limits, in a quiet new subdivision surrounded by fields.  The address was 6165 Lindsey Lane.  I don’t actually remember much about the whole moving experience, but I do remember how much we all loved our new house.

"The Michigan Militia"

My sister and I were scheduled to start school at Capitol City Baptist School (which was our church also) soon after we moved in.  I can remember my very first day of third grade–Mrs. Grimwood.  Everyone was brand new to me, but thankfully I was befriended quickly.  One friend from that first day ended up standing in my wedding as a groomsman, and still is a good friend.  I was baptized at Capital City Baptist Church, I began to see God leading me to the ministry, and learned what a good teacher was; in fact, all of my teachers from third to sixth grade were excellent.  I also learned to stand up for my faith–yes, even in a Christian school.  There were some who did not believe that the Bible was the Word of God, and I learned to study the Book so as to know what I believe and communicate that to others.  A strong educational foundation was instilled on me at Capital City, and without it, I do not believe I would have had the discipline and studiousness I needed in the rest of my school years.

I also made several neighborhood friends in those years on Lindsey Lane.  Jake, David, and I pretty much stuck together through thick and thin.  We would go play in the nearby woods and fields, build forts, pretend we were in the army, get chased out of other peoples property, and name any other boy thing to do: we did it.  One summer, a new subdivision was being built directly adjacent to ours, and with it, a new road.  Well they stalled on the road after grading it for several months, so what did we do?  We built our own “BMX” bike track, with jumps and all!  Every day after school we would make our track better, then ride on it and race each other.  Oh, how I wish sometimes I could go back for just one day and ride that track again!  Today, it’s filled with now decade-old (or more) houses, gardens, and swimming pools.

One day in fifth grade, a friend from school came home with me to spend the afternoon outside.  Well, boys enjoy getting dirty–and we sure did!  At a nearby pond we found out that there were plenty of tadpoles to catch.  We found a couple of nets and buckets and wandered in.  We didn’t have waders or water shoes, we just went in with jeans, a t-shirt, and shoe-less.  We caught literally thousands of tadpoles, filling up our buckets, and even a dozen or so crayfish.  The next day, we took the tadpoles to school for “show and tell!”  Oh, how Mrs. Seifert loved us!

I changed a lot when I first moved to Lansing.  One major change was my new-found love of sports, especially the Michigan State Spartans!  Every Saturday in the fall (which tended to be work outside day) we would listen to the Spartans battle it out on the football field.  Back then, Nick Saban was the coach, who since has left MSU and eventually led LSU and Alabama to national championships.  He never did that for the Spartans!  They had their good years in the 90’s–and bad ones!

Then, of course, there was Michigan State basketball.  They had a new coach in 1994–the little known long-time assistant from the backwoods of Michigan.  His name was Tom Izzo.  When I first started paying attention,the Spartans were in the middle or lower end of the pack in the Big Ten.  The dreaded Wolverines at the University of Michigan was the conference powerhouse.  Yet, I always still loved those Spartans, hoping that some day they might get better.  All of the sudden, the stars in the heavens began to line up in 1996.  What happened was the Izzo coaching method and the “Flintstones-” a group of guys from the depressed city of flint.  In ’97, they made it to the NIT.  In ’98, they lost to Dean Smith’s NC Tarheels in the sweet sixteen.  Then in ’99, the Spartans made it to the Final Four!  What they ran up against was one of the greatest teams ever assembled under Mike Krzyzewski and Duke, of which I came to despise as a Spartan fan.  They lost in the semifinals, but with plenty of hope for the next year.  The Spartans had a superb year, followed by a march to the Final Four, were they beat Wisconsin, and then Florida for the National Championship.  Tom Izzo, if he had ran for mayor of Lansing, would have won!  I followed every game intently, and yes, I am still a huge fan of those Spartans!

Spartan "Flint-stones"

Many other life memories happened on Lindsey Lane: we adopted my little brother and sister from Romania, I was introduced to Fairhaven Baptist College, and I surrendered my life to God and the ministry of the Gospel.  I learned a strong work ethic from my parents in Lansing ( I imagine they thought I was hopeless back then!  Lots of regrets of what I should have done right…!).  The attack on September 11 happened one Tuesday morning while I was in the middle of Bible class (I was home-schooled at the time–from 7th-12th grade to be exact), when my mom told me to turn on the TV.  The first plane had just crashed into the World Trade Center, and the second one crashed seconds after turning on the news.  I watched the towers collapse, heard about the heroes on Flight 93, and was filled with a spirit of justice against those who did this.  My dad told me that this would probably be the only time in my life where I would look up on a clear, blue day and not see streaks from a jet.  Fear filled the air.  We went to Burger King that night, and I can clearly remember the solemness on the few faces that were there.  My parents can remember when Martin Luther King was assassinated, Reagan was shot, the Challenger crashed, and the Berlin Wall fell.  I will be able to tell my kids where I was when the terrorists attacked our country on September 11.

In 2001 we moved to the other side of Lansing, in the middle of nowhere with and address in Grand Ledge.  By then, we began attending Community Baptist Church of Lansing.  Most of my friends were at church by then, and those that were in the neighborhood had moved away recently as well.  I was ready to move, but looking back now, I still have those little sentimental memories of childhood on the south-side of Lansing.  Here’s a few more just for my parents: Jenna and Jordan with the ducklings, Rich’s Country Store, stabbing myself in the toe with a garden hoe, having to be shown the right way to mow the lawn a million times, the maximum security kennel and fence for the dogs–that they still managed to escape from, white fur from our dog Levi on the dark green carpet in my room…just to name a few.

Next I get to tell you all of our house in the wilderness on Royston Road!

P.S.–  I have very few pictures from Lansing.  Most of those would be in the possession of my parents!

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