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Untitled | by Joey Harrison
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[Photo by my father, commentary by my mother]

Jerry snapped this in 1949 near Ada, a small town east of Grand Rapids, Michigan, where the dammed-up Thornapple River is about to join with the Grand. Ada is known by many as the home of the huge Amway Corporation (now called Alticor), a multilevel marketing company. The conservative company was founded in 1959 by Grand Rapids entrepreneurs Jay VanAndel and Richard DeVos.

 

Jerry told me in the '40s about a couple of customers, Jay and Rich, World War II veterans who were running a flying school on the river using an old pontoon plane. He said admiringly they couldn't afford a flying field or airport fees, so they used the river.

 

This lovely Sunday in 1949 found us on the Thornapple River -- no planes in sight! Jerry had ordered a folding plywood rowboat as a surprise for our anniversary. He had it stenciled with a sweet name referring to me. It folded in half and was carried atop our two-toned 1949 Nash coup. We loved spending lazy afternoons on the water in the sun. We would pack a lunch of sandwiches and lemonade and then while away the hours paddling into unexplored coves, perhaps dropping a fishing line here or there, (we never caught anything!) exchanging our week's accumulation of news, and frequently jumping overboard to swim and cool off. While many would have carried a 6-pack, we took a camera bag.

   

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Taken sometime in 1949