Dec 2018 / Jan 2019
Ferndale Friends December 2018 / January 2019

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By: Jeff Milo, Circulation Specialist

IT WILL BE SNOWING SOON ENOUGH, making travel and any casual errands less appealing. But if you’re a Ferndale Library cardholder, you can still use plenty of the library’s resources from home. Visit, and find the icon for “Online Resources” down the right side of the page. You can access links to these resources with a mobile device, but the majority of them are not apps. Otherwise, anyone can use these resources here at the library on our public computers. We’ll highlight some resources in this month’s column:

Consumer Reports Database: You’ll get full access to product articles, reviews and ratings on cars, appliances, and more, in addition to our print magazine subscription.
Cypress Resume: This online resume builder provides templates and helps you develop/update job descriptions.
RBdigital Magazines: With this mobile app, you can access full-color digital magazines anytime, any-where. Use your phone, iPad, or computer. Includes new and back-listed titles. There are no holds, check-out periods, or limits.

Mango Languages: This is an on-line language learning tool for FADL cardholders to learn more than 70 languages, including English for non-English speakers. Use your computer, or the downloadable app for your iPhone or Android.

AtoZ World Travel: This is a comprehensive travel resource that covers more than 200 cities worldwide, providing information about points of interest, security, transportation, food and recipes, culture, language, and more.

AtoZ Maps Online: You can access modern and historical maps from around the world that you can down-load and print.

Overdrive Download Destination: Download ebooks, audiobooks and movies. You can have six checked out at once. But downloadable files are limited, so anticipate having to place holds for the most popular titles or authors.

Hoopla:  Use your computer or down-load the app ( and register your Ferndale Library card to get streamable/downloadable ac-cess to movies, music, TV shows, audiobooks, eBooks, and comics. There are no holds, but you are limited to five checkouts per month.

WI-FI HOTSPOTS: We also still offer our Ferndale Library cardholders the chance to establish a wireless connection to the Internet inside your home, workspace, or even when you’re out on vacation, with our loanable Wi-Fi Hotspots. Any Ferndale patron (age 18+, with an account in good standing) can check out a Wi-Fi Hotspot for one week. The device provides you unlimited 4G LTE wireless Internet access for up to ten mobile devices at once. These devices are small, light-weight, and very intuitive to set up.

KIDS CORNER: Parents of little ones are encouraged to participate in our “1000 Books Before Kindergarten” challenge. Babies, toddlers and small children are eligible right up until the day they start kindergarten. For every 100 books, kids will receive a prize from librarians in the Kids Corner, where they’ll also be adding a leaf to our Reading Tree.

Look out for our Harry Potter Escape Room for kids Friday, Saturday and Sunday 12/28-12/30: Ages 10+ are invited; eight participants will have half an hour to solve a few different puzzles in order to escape the room.

Erik Tungate, Oak Park City Manager
• 1 bag Oreo cookies
• 1/2 stick softened margarine
• 3/4 cup powdered sugar
• 8 ounces cream cheese
• 6 ounces instant vanilla pudding
• 3 1/2 cups milk
Crush one bag of Oreo cookies. Combine 1/2 stick of softened margarine, 3/4 cup powdered sugar, 8 ounces cream cheese. Combine 6 ounces of instant vanilla pudding and 3 1/2 cups of milk. Add 1 cup of Oreo crumbs to pudding. Combined pudding and cream cheese mixture. Add 12 ounces of whipped topping. Layer in order, end with Oreo crumbs on top: Oreo crumbs/mixture/Oreo crumbs/mixture.

THE HOLIDAYS WILL SOON BE OVER, decorations gone from the stores, Christmas music no longer blaring from loudspeakers, our silly Christmas sweaters put away and, in general, everybody will be fa-la-la-la-ed out. We seniors will have finished our holiday luncheons, wrapped up our special gatherings, and endured the last of our family dinners. We could not grit our teeth and smile through one more cookie exchange, secret Santa gift drawing, and – could someone please just let Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney get it on, and leave me in peace? If I hear him crooning one more time, I am going to set my hair on fire and run into the street naked.

In short, I don’t think I am alone in being happy to settle down into a post-holiday mode. We seniors get tired of being “up” for groups of people. We get cranky after the 20th person asks how we are, then proceeds to fill us in on all their ailments. People telling us to have a “nice holiday”, urging us to take more of their green bean casserole slop, pawing us, and expecting us to be “merry and bright.” All of this happening in
crowded, overheated rooms, over an extended afternoon or evening that seems to never end.

Please, I don’t want your recipe for meatballs cooked in grape jelly. No, I don’t want you to drive me, I may never get home the way you drink. No, your tofu does not taste just like turkey, and I do not want a doggie bag.

Please don’t ask me to hold the baby…well, okay – I will just set the kid down here under the sofa.

We hate those bright newsy “letters” some people send out with their Christmas cards. Just once, I would like to get one of those telling the unvarnished truth. “Danny was arrested for pandering in front of the Shrine,” “Sue Ellen is recovering from that nasty rash and has responsibly informed all her previous partners,” “I have managed to cut my vodka consumption down to a fifth per day,” “Dad is doing well, and has finally lost that pesky 20 pounds, turns out prison food can do that.”

Yes, I am a Grinch. I have trouble believing that spreading a little magic Christmas dust will turn all the jerks I know into sweet, loveable elves. Don’t get drunk, give me a sloppy hug, while telling me that we can “let bygones be bygones,” and think we are good. No, not so. You are still a jerk. Don’t get me wrong, in general, I like most folks, it’s just that at this time of year people want everything to be all rosy and happy. Well, it ain’t going to happen.

And we seniors cringe when the gift-exchange time arrives. I admit, we are hard to buy for, and even harder to please. We have everything we need and almost all we want. We can’t eat most things, selecting clothes can be dangerous, knick-knacks are just stupid. Some people say, “Give something you made yourself.” Well, a nativity set made out of popsicle sticks will not float my boat, nor a wreath made of toilet paper rolls.

Honestly, the best gift exchange gift I ever got, was from one of my seniors. He gave me two joints wrapped in festive paper. Now, there was a useful, fun gift!

So, as I bid adieu to 2018 holidays, I plan on enjoying the winter lull. The pace has slowed, no events on the horizon, not so many demands on my time.

I am stockpiling old Joan Crawford movies on my DVR. I love the ones where she slaps someone. In fact, I frequently back the film up and watch that part again.

Good books are waiting on my shelves. I will pull out my old knitting projects. This may be the winter I finally finish that sweater I started in 2011. And, being like most people, I will look back with fondness on the past holiday season with fondness. Go figure.

Jeannie Davis, 248 541 5888

Story by Sara E. Teller

HEATHER ZARA LAUNCHED ZARA CREATIVE, a Ferndale-based full-service video production house, in January 2012. “I wanted to create a place that brought out the best in people. A place where people can use their skills and impact the world in a positive way,” she said. “We do business differently here, putting values before politics and creativity before profits.”

Zara said arts programs are typically the first to be cut from schools.

“Creatives are often turned away from doing what they love as children and young adults. Yet, content development and the creative industry and -community drives so much of what moves business forward. At Zara Creative, we put culture first. We treat people with respect and show them they are valued, so they’re able to use their skills to do something good and impact the world in a positive way. By doing so, we’re giving people a reason to show up to work and are making the world a better place.”

Prior to launching her business, Zara had spent nearly a decade in broadcast media. “I had been a sports reporter and anchor for almost nine years,” she said. “I loved being a journalist because I’ve always believed in the power of stories – their ability to inspire and inform people, stay with people and help them evolve or even just make their day.”

SHE HAD SUCCESS VERY EARLY ON, winning an Emmy award while still a student at Michigan State University for her work on the student-run “MSU and You” show. “My friend was the creator of the show,” she said. He spotted Zara on campus and brought her on board. However, Zara added, “The industry became a little bit unfulfilling for me. I wanted to make the workplace a better experience for people. I wanted to create a place for people.”

Zara Creative works with “like-minded, values-driven brands that think big, leave a positive impact, and develop inspiring and meaningful content,” Zara said. “Our customers are those brands who put people first. They’re the ones you catch yourself telling your friend about because they’re just that good.”

These are the brands that “spark joy,” and are focused on sports and entertainment, food and beverage, travel and experience, and fun and philosophy. Zara Creative works with a wide variety of clients, including big names such as Google and Pulte Homes as well as small to mid-sized boutiques. Zara is also devoted to philanthropic efforts and has worked with charitable companies such as the Kresge Foundation, The Empowerment Plan, Ronald McDonald House, Children’s Hospital of Michigan, Boy Scouts of America, Forgotten Harvest, and many more. Just this year, Zara Creative has taken home three Communicator awards for Best in Branded Content.

“We specialize in video content,” she explained, “And, we also do photo content, helping companies with their marketing, advertising, and storytelling.”

Zara is currently developing a creative summer program for children that she hopes to launch in 2020. “If you can’t see it, you can’t be it,” she said. The program is designed to expose kids to programming that they may not otherwise be exposed to and to encourage creative development.

Recently, Zara Creative was also certified a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Great Lakes Women’s Business Council Certification Committee. “We’re so grateful,” Zara said. “We’ve never done traditional business development or employed traditional business strategies. We’ve grown organically up to this point. So, to have this certification, I’m just excited to see how much more we can grow with it. Again, if you can’t see it, you can’t be it. It’s important for me to represent women who are starting businesses and taking risks, especially those who are choosing industries that are largely male dominated. I’m proud to be able to show women and young girls that anything is possible.”

Raylon Leaks May, Ferndale City Council
Banana Pudding
• 2 boxes of instant, vanilla Jello pudding (3.4 oz boxes).
• 1 box of vanilla wafers
• 1 large tub of Cool Whip
• 6 medium bananas, sliced
• Whole, skim or 2 % milk is fine
• 8 X 9 rectangular baking dish or disposable aluminum pan
Take about 5 vanilla wafers and crush them up in a bag. Prepare instant pudding as directed on boxes and pour into the pan. Place sliced bananas, in row formation, in the pudding. Place whole vanilla wafers on top of the bananas and keep interchanging between bananas and wafers, layer style and until the bananas and wafers are no longer able to be covered by the pudding. Spread a layer of Cool Whip over the pudding, completely covering the pudding. Sprinkle vanilla wafer crumbs on top of the cool whip. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours, allowing wafers to soften.

Story by Sara E. Teller

GRACE BACON IS A LOCAL ICON, AND A 2018 RECIPIENT OF FERNDALE’S GOOD NEIGHBOR AWARD. BACON STARTED CROSSROADS IN 1977. “THE GROUP WAS DESIGNED TO BE A TRANSSEXUAL SOCIAL GROUP AND PLACE WHERE WE COULD GET TOGETHER,” SAID BACON. “We were still in the dark ages at that time. We couldn’t just walk into Walmart, you know? I started the group in Flint. Then, we moved to Ann Arbor, and finally, the group ended up in Royal Oak. I left the group at that time.”

After Bacon left, Crossroads moved again, to Lavender & Lace at 8 1/2 Mile and Van Dyke in Warren and a senior center in the area, before finally landing at Affirmations in Ferndale. “It just depended on what place was available and at what price. Members could dress up and be themselves,” she said. “The only other group of its kind for years was started by Virginia Prince, and I felt that didn’t give us enough leeway. Crossroads was a new concept, a nonjudgmental group where you could come and be welcomed while still figuring out who you were and go from there.”

Many well-recognized leaders were inspired by Crossroads, including Rachel Crandall-Crocker, founder of Transgender Michigan and the internationally-known Day of Visibility, which began in 2009, Michelle Fox of the Gender Identity Network Alliance, Samantha Rogers of Detroit Invasion, and Sandra Cole, founder of the University of Michigan gender identity clinic.

After leaving the group, Bacon traveled to Cincinnati to help start the Crossport group, which was founded on the same principles. She was also instrumental to the formation of Be-All, which was established in Detroit and grew to be nationally recognized.

The Be-All Weekend, which was in existence for thirty years, was a mix of social gatherings and seminars that took place Thursday through Sunday. “Every profession was represented in some way or another,” Bacon said. “There were authors, photographers, doctors, lawyers, therapists. It was a way to get known and to introduce yourself. The event was modeled after Fantasia Fair in Provincetown, MA, that has been around since the late-1970s.”

Bacon also took an interest in photography in the 1960s, while still in college. She said, “I started hanging around with people with cameras. I was a journalism student at the time and the sports editor for the school newspaper.”

SHE WOULD EVENTUALLY BECOME KNOWN IN THE FLINT AREA for her high school sports photography and would become a local sports editor and photographer. Bacon started a business creating films of the high school games at the same time, which she operated for three years before selling it to Saginaw Photo. And, she did wedding photography professionally for a number of years.

“I ended up dropping out of college to find myself, and in that time, the Army found me,” Bacon remembered. “I enlisted, and it was well worth it. I ended up being a non-commissioned officer, the equivalent to a sergeant, so I was in a leadership position.”

She spent her service time in Germany. “It is an entirely different culture,” she said. “Some are intrigued by it, some are not. I was. They have different values and ways of treating people.”

After the year-long stint, Bacon would end up spending more than twenty years as a production control analyst, working herself up the ladder. She said, “I started as a paper-handler, the lowest position there, and got to the point where I memorized the distribution system and moved my way up to production control. I would take a look at jobs that didn’t end correctly, figure out why, and get them up and running again. I eventually became a control room supervisor, then a manager with direct hiring and firing capabilities.”

Bacon added, “GM eventually sold me to EDS.” There, she moved to various locations and performed in different capacities before eventually leaving. “I then became a contract worker in the Detroit area for ten years, working with temporary agencies,” she said, and she has since retired.

Of her award, Bacon said she’s unsure who nominated her, “I have a framed certificate with signatures from the Michigan Legislature. It’s for my work as social activist, I suppose, and for starting Crossroads, which is affiliated with Affirmations in Ferndale. I guess I’m kind of known in Ferndale.”

Story by Sara E. Teller

STACEY JAMISON TOOK AN INTEREST IN MUSIC AT A YOUNG AGE. “I BEGAN PLAYING MUSIC WHEN I WAS EIGHT. My mom had bought recorders and a book for us to learn to play together. I took to it immediately, and apparently took off learning without her,” Jamison said.

She joined the band at her elementary school in Williamsport, PA playing the flute. “I had the privilege of growing up in a church community where I was able to play my flute all the time and really be
comfortable with performing,” she said.

“As I got older I started to learn other instruments, including the saxophone and bassoon, which ultimately became my primary instrument.”

By the time Jamison was in high school, she was regularly playing professional theater gigs and subbing in the local symphony. She remembered, “It became quite clear that music was my path. I was especially inspired by one of my bassoon teachers, who eventually became my husband.” Her husband happens to be he local legend, Elon Jamison, Director of Bands at Ferndale High School.

In college, Jamison studied music education and bassoon performance, eventually acquiring a Master of Music degree in bassoon performance. “How’s that for different?” she joked, adding, “I would come home in the summers and teach music to children at my home church. After college I moved to Ferndale to start my life as a professional and be with my future husband. I started teaching music in the public schools right away.”

After a few years in Ferndale, the Jamisons began looking for a Lutheran church family that was both progressive and welcoming. “Zion Lutheran was an obvious choice,” she said. “I had been teaching elementary music for a while, so when a position opened at Zion I jumped at the chance. I knew I had a gift to connect with children, and I wanted to show children that they could love being in church and love God through the greatest gift I have, music.”

TODAY, JAMISON LEADS A WEEKLY REHEARSAL WITH THE KIDS’ CHOIR and every year they put on a Christmas musical where the kids try out various speaking and singing roles. “It’s a safe and loving environment for these kids, and that’s why I’m so passionate about it,” Jamison said.

She is also a freelance musician, playing the bassoon in a symphony as well as pit orchestras on woodwind instruments, and has been working with Ferndale’s marching band for seventeen years.

“My official job is to work with kids musically and on the field to get them to be the best performers that they can be,” she explained. “One of the reasons I really love this job is the kids themselves. There are also those crossover kids that I’ve had since they were really little at Zion, and I love watching them grow up into young adults. I feel a special responsibility to keep an eye out for them.”

Jamison added, “Being with the marching band is so much more than a side job. For me and our family, it’s a big part of our lives and really defines who we are. The adults and students are together for hundreds of hours throughout the season, and we all get very close.”

Winning one of Ferndale’s 2018 Good Neighbor awards was a surprise. “I look at all of the people around me who do so much for others, and I never considered myself to be among their ranks. When I thought about it more, I realized that what people have seen is my passion and devotion, to the children interested, in my spiritual, musical, and emotional care,” Jamison said. “I am honored that people think I have been successful in this mission, and it makes me be even more passionate. I have been considering delving into youth ministry, and this to me is confirmation that I’m going in the right direction.”

The Jamisons have two boys, one in second grade at Ferndale Lower Elementary, and one preschooler at Drayton Co-op Preschool. “I served on the board for the preschool for the four years my older son was there. We are very passionate about school districts being local and growing together as a community. We are very passionate about raising our children in a community that is welcoming, progressive, loving, accepting, and feels like family,” she said.

Chow 2019 : Colton Dale, OP Community Engagement Pumpkin Cookies
• 1 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 tspn baking soda
• 1 tspn baking powder
• 1 tspn cinnamon
• 1 tspn pmkin pie spice
• 1/2 tspn nutmeg
• 1/2 tspn salt
• 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
• 1/2 cup butter, softened
• 1 cup pure pumpkin
• 1 egg
• 1 tspn vanilla extract
Combine wet ingredients in a bowl. Mix well. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix well. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients. Refrigerate dough for 4 hours. Scoop into one inch balls and place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake at 375F degrees for 11-13 minutes.

By David Ryals

AT AGE 14, RYAN ENNIS, AFTER RECEIVING the 9th-grade Outstanding Achievement in English Award for his essays, began dreaming of one day seeing his writing in print. He spent much of his high school and undergraduate years typing away on his typewriter, then a word processor, and eventually on a laptop, perfecting his craft. It was during his graduate studies that he received success, by winning the Tompkins Fiction Writing Contest at Wayne State University two years in a row for his short stories and seeing his work appear in Ferndale Friends as a regular contributor. Since then, his fiction has appeared in a variety of publications.

Ryan spoke with fellow author and Ferndale Friends contributor David Ryals about his latest book: a collection of short stories about sexual attraction, dating and surprises inside relationships called ‘The Unexpected Tales of Lust, Love & Longing.’

FF: What inspired you to write The Unexpected?
The Unexpected Tales of Lust, Love & Longing is a collection of nineteen tales with themes that have preoccupied me since I began writing stories in my teens: the nature of love; the consequences of acting on impulses; and the need or longing inside of us to be fulfilled.

Perhaps of interest to Metro Detroit readers are the local suburban settings featured in my stories: Ferndale, Livonia, Royal Oak, Garden City, Hazel Park, etc. To appeal to a wide audience, the collection strives for a balance with male and female main characters in overlapping settings and plots.

I enjoy exploring the psychology of my characters. Consequently, I spend time (in the form of detailed prose) getting into my characters’ heads, providing clear motivations for their actions, so that they are relatable.

FF: What was the writing process like? How long did it take?
I once read that Jackie Collins carried a notebook around with her everywhere and would write whenever she had moments free, even if it meant when she was stopped in her car waiting for the traffic light to change. I never attempted that one.

In my early 20s, I read several Victorian novels whose author introductions described how they would take their desks out onto their lawns in the summer and produce flowery prose from sun-up until sun-down. I tried it a few times, but I couldn’t concentrate outdoors — not sure why.

I would say my writing process is to take advantage of my free time when I have it. As a teacher, librarian, homeowner, and dog owner, I maintain a busy schedule. I admit that it is always a challenge to find the time to write. I try to set aside time in the evenings and on weekends to write, even if it means just enough to write a few paragraphs before bed. I try to keep myself in what I call “writing shape”—able to write productively.

FF: How was the reception of its release? How did you and readers feel about the final edition?
I’ve received positive reviews from those who have read ‘The Unexpected’. Many have told me that my book has made them embrace the short story genre. Unlike a novel, a short story can be read rather quickly. With a collection of short stories, the reader can read a few, take a break for a while, and resume reading when time permits. The same typically cannot be said for a novel.

Contact Ryan Ennis at