It’s often said that “Once a teacher, always a teacher,” and Cheryl, who lives at Oakmont Rochester Assisted, is the perfect embodiment of that saying.
A child of the 1940s, Cheryl was born in Muskegon to loving, hardworking parents. Her mother was a nurse and her father made cabinets, and despite their early passing, Cheryl was determined to follow her passions and become an educator. After attending community college and eventually graduating with her teaching degree from Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Cheryl began student teaching, eventually receiving a contract offer from the Utica School District – not far from where her brother was now living in Rochester. “My brother was in the area,” she said, “and Utica was offering the best salary in the state at that time – so I took it.” Fitting right in, Cheryl taught Science and Social Studies in the Utica School System for 37 years, enriching the lives of countless third, fourth, and fifth graders along the way.
“I liked the age level of fifth graders because they were able to understand your jokes,” she said, laughing. “You could tease them and they wouldn’t take it personally – they knew you were teasing them. Plus, I liked the curriculum and subject matter.”
Home in Southeastern Michigan; Travels Around the World
While teaching in Utica Schools, the Muskegon native made herself right at home in Southeastern Michigan. She bought a house, made plenty of friends, and explored her major interests in crafting and traveling. “I’ve been to Europe six times,” she said. “I’ve been to Hawaii a couple of times. I’ve been to Mexico.” But it was one particular kind of unique trip that she singles out as her favorite.
“One of the nicest things we ever did was we took a book cruise, where they brought authors aboard the ship and you could talk to them.” It was on one of these cruises that Cheryl and her friends met author Debbie Macomber, a New York Times best-selling author with over 200 million books in print. Though many people got to talk and interact with Macomber on the trip, the author was able to remember Cheryl many months later at a book signing at Great Lakes Crossing. “She saw us and said, ‘oh you’re the ones who went on a little boat ride with us.’ It was nice to be recognized by her.”
Though she’s recently been hampered by some mobility problems, Cheryl doesn’t let that stop her from pursuing her interests as much as she can. If you visit Oakmont Rochester Assisted, you’ll no-doubt find her reading, crocheting, knitting, or chatting up some friends about an exciting new book she’s reading. And she still plans to travel. Her family owns a cabin in the Muskegon area on Silver Lake that she shares with her brothers, and her goal is to make it up there soon to enjoy the beaches and the sand dunes. “I haven’t been up there in a number of years,” she says, “but we’re going to try to go soon.”