Welcome to my first “Jane’s World” column, where I write about my life outside the entertainment world. I thought I’d start things off with a list of random things you may or may not know about me. Here we go…
1. I live on the Old Mission Peninsula, which juts 18 miles into Lake Michigan, just north of Traverse City, Michigan. My family roots here run deep, back into the 1800s. My entire family still lives on the Peninsula, and my brothers, Dean and Ward, still farm cherries, apples and assorted other fruits. I’m the youngest of four kids; my sister Carol just came through a year of cancer. She’s cancer-free now.
2. The “home farm” — where my dad grew up — is just north of Mapleton. My siblings began life in the “old house” across from the barn on Center Road. In 1960, the year I was born, my parents built a new house in Old Mission, on the shores of East Grand Traverse Bay, an offshoot of Lake Michigan. “New house, new baby,” my mom used to say. She turns 90 this year and still lives in that house.
3. Growing up on a cherry farm was the best childhood ever. I had a dog named Jennifer, a rabbit named Harvey, and a horse named Copper with the exact color of red hair as mine.
4. One of my favorite childhood memories was ice-skating on the bay. Dean built an ice-boat one year, and on a windy day, that thing would be half-way to town in a matter of minutes. One day I fell off the back and by the time I got up, the boat was a mile away. I looked up and saw my mom in the car along Smokey Hollow Rd., waiting for me. I trudged up the hill and hopped in the car.
5. My husband, Tim, was raised in a house about a half-mile down the beach from us. He remembers coming over to see the new Johnson baby with the red hair.
6. I was engaged to someone else when I became friends with Tim in 1979. I fell madly in love. We lived together for 14 years and got married on New Year’s Eve in 1993. Our first child, Will, was born nine months later. A few years later, we had our beautiful daughter, Marissa.
7. Tim and I bought the land where we currently live from lifelong friends Ed and Jo Brown. Ed was a bus driver and Jo was a cook at Old Mission Elementary School where we attended school. They had a better offer for the land, but wanted us to have it. We bought the land with another lifelong friend, Roger Kaley, and split it down the middle. Jo passed away a few years ago, but I still see Ed every Sunday in church.
8. I take my mom to church every Sunday. If you’re ever in the Traverse City area, stop by the Old Mission Peninsula United Methodist Church and see me play the violin in the church band. My church family is awesome.
9. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law are both named Jane Boursaw. We like to joke that “it’s about a family of guys who only marry women named Jane.” To try and keep us all straight, my mother-in-law goes by AJ, my sister-in-law goes by Jane Ann, and I go by Jane Louise. When my beloved sister-in-law Roxanne — who passed away several years ago — told her friends about me, they thought she said “Jane the Weasel.” They still call me that. I consider it a term of endearment.
10. Tim and his dad and our friend Jon Andrus built the log home we live in. That was 20 years ago, and we still have a plywood floor, no kitchen cabinets, and a sink we picked up for free by the side of the road. We opted for a half-finished house on a beautiful piece of land in God’s country, because we wanted to take our kids to our own beach every summer day as they grew up. I think we made the right choice.
11. I have a deep-seated dislike for authority figures. It’s partly why I run my own writing business.
12. I owned a Yamaha Exciter 185 street bike in the 1980s that I rode to work at a very conservative oil company. I think they liked the change of pace.
13. I have a love-hate relationship with money. We’re not rich and barely make the mortgage some months. Sometimes I go around the house collecting change to pay bills. But we’re weirdly happy because other things are more important to us than having a lot of money. See kids/beach above. (More on why I’m the main breadwinner in a future post.)
14. When I make friends, they’re my friends for life.
15. I knew I wanted to be a writer in the first grade.
Ok, that’s probably enough me-info for now. Hmmm … what to write about in my next Jane’s World column … maybe I’ll show you some pictures of our house.