What is it about the start of a new year that stirs within the soul a longing to look back at fond memories, while at the same time dreaming of all the things we hope for in the future?
In the quiet of the year, while the days are still short but slowly growing longer, we pause to reflect on our lives. The new year is a blank book waiting to be written. The old year is a tattered and much-loved scrapbook of moments. And somehow we blend the two together; we look back at treasured moments and look forward to new times ahead.
We make resolutions, knowing that most of them will be quickly broken, but we make them anyway. The New Year is nothing if it is not a time of hope.
So join us now, learn about some memorable moments from the year past, and read what the people of Clear Lake are looking forward to in this new year ahead.
“Year’s end is neither an end or a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.”
— Hal Borland
Throughout life, there are a few years that prove to be truly life changing: high school graduation; moving away to college; the first delightful year of marriage.
For Darrel Morehouse, 2012 was one of those life-changing years — retirement! But retiring is often a time that people look forward to with both eagerness and trepidation. Fortunately for Morehouse, there was no looking back as he happily retired and closed his Viewfinder Antiques Store on Main Street.
He doesn’t have time to miss the demands of running his own business, as he still runs into favorite customers while out for a walk downtown, sipping a cup of coffee and chatting with friends as he ambles down the sidewalk. Retirees only have to be in a hurry if they want to be.
“It was a long process, but once I made up my mind (to close the store and retire), it all went very smoothly,” he says.
Morehouse also takes pride in the fact that his niece has taken over the building with a new business of her own, Lake Lifestyles, featuring the comforts of home and spa.
“There’s been a radical change in there,” he notes. “It looks a lot better, to tell you the truth.”
In 2013, he plans to take life at his own pace.
“I have nothing to do and all day to do it in,” he says.
But even in retirement, Morehouse has chosen to work part-time at another downtown business. He enjoys seeing the people and is always a friendly face greeting visitors to town.
“The days just go. And the older you get, the faster they go,” he says, a sweet reminder to savor every day of the year ahead in 2013.
“Youth is when you’re allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve. Middle age is when you’re forced to.”
— Bill Vaughn
Sometimes the best moments of any year are not the big moments but all the little moments that come together to form the rhythm of life. For Sue Brakke, the best moment of 2012 was all the time that she was able to spend with family members.
A Clear Lake native, Brakke returned here to live five years ago, after having lived for 23 years in Arizona. With children and family living in both Arizona and Clear Lake, each place — different as they may be — feels like home to her, and she’s glad to have time to spend in each locale.
For 2012 in particular, she really enjoyed traveling to Arizona to visit her son. In fact, that’s also what she’s most looking forward to in 2013, going back again and escaping at least a little bit of what winter may bring to North Iowa in the months ahead.
“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”
— Oprah Winfrey
Getting a new job is a great way to start any new year. For Christina Blum, a new job at the Clear Lake Arts Center was the highlight of 2012.
“I started a couple months ago, and it’s a great place to be; the people are friendly and really wonderful,” she says.
Blum was already active at the Arts Center as a watercolorist, coming in each Tuesday to work with other painters. With an interest in art from her high school days, she was never able to really enjoy her craft until her children got into school, and then it blossomed.
“My youngest son is in sixth grade, and when he started school is when I started doing watercolors,” she recalls.
Living in Ames at the time, Blum joined the Ames Brush Club and started fine-tuning her work. The family moved to Clear Lake three years ago and has found it to be a grace place to practice her art, as well as to enjoy family life.
“We moved here in the spring and the whole first summer it felt like we were on vacation. I just love all the activities in the summer, and then Christmas By the Lake is lots of fun. People are just very friendly here,” she adds.
Looking ahead to 2013, she expects another year of transition as second son Alex graduates from high school.
“That’s a very exciting thing, and I’m looking forward to it. But I also dread him leaving at the same time,” Blum explains.
While her oldest daughter is away at Graceland College, son Alex is still deciding where he wants to go college. For mom Christina, she’s going to enjoy every moment of the time while she still has two children at home.
“New Year’s Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.”
— Mark Twain
Laura Verbrugge landed a new job in 2012 that seems to be the perfect fit for a young person to meet a lot of new people and make a lot of new friends.
“The best thing that happened to me this year is that I started working at The Surf in September, and I get to meet a whole bunch of new peope that way. It’s really exciting,” she says.
The biggest name she’s met this year has to be legendary comic Bill Cosby. She talked to him over the phone for only a few minutes, but with Cosby’s quick wit and warm personality, even just a few minutes is a treat to remember for a lifetime.
“I didn’t know at first if it was him because he doesn’t sound exactly the same over the phone,” she describes. “But he’s really funny, and I think that’s really him — he’s just a funny person in general, not just his act.”
While Verbrugge didn’t get to meet Cosby in person, she did have the chance to meet face to face with Sara Evans. And while Evans has made a name for herself in country music, Verbrugge says the star persona isn’t there live and in person.
“She was really nice, very down to earth — and a lot of fun!” Verbrugge recalls.
Verbrugge has found that to be the case with many of the national acts who come to play at The Surf. Despite their names and reputations, most of them are very friendly, down to earth and thrilled to be playing at the legendary Surf Ballroom.
As for herself, the Britt native loves living in Clear Lake, which has been her home for the past five years.
“There’s always something going on, and even if there’s not you just make your own fun,” she says with a laugh.
“To shorten winter, borrow some money due in spring.”
— W.J. Vogel
In 2012, Andrea Rigsbee had her grandparents to thank for a very memorable moment in her life.
“I got a new car, a Nissan Rogue,” and that was the best thing that happened to her this past year, Rigsbee says.
Not only was that car brand new off the lot, it’s also pretty sweet with a built-in navigation system, heated leather seats, a sunroof and all wrapped in a stunning Black Amethyst exterior.
Soon after taking delivery of the car, Rigsbee hit the open road for a trip to North Carolina to visit her grandparents, taking her mom and stepfather along for the ride.
“My grandparents were actually the ones who bought the car for me,” she says with a shy grin.
Looking ahead to 2013, she’s hoping for a winter without a lot of snow and ice, which will help take care of that car and keep it looking new. She’d also like to take another road trip this summer, possibly going to Texas to visit her other grandparents.
“Give thanks for what you are now, and keep fighting for what you want to be tomorrow.”
— Fernanda Miramontes-Landeros
Chyrl Bergvig isn’t a person to look for just one moment to remember a year by, nor to plan for just one moment in the future.
“Every day is a good day,” she says.
Now retired for four years from some 20 years of service to the Clear Lake Community School District, Bergvig enjoys remaining an active part of community life.
“I golf in the summer and do community service,” she notes.
Bergvig serves on both the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and Planning and Zoning Commission, and also enjoys volunteering for Opportunity Village. It may sound like a busy schedule, but having been a school counselor and assistant principal, she’s used to juggling a variety of duties.
In a community with as much going on as Clear Lake has, there are many moments to savor every year.
“I think Christmas by the Lake was magnificent this year,” says Bergvig. She’s also a fan of the Fourth of the July celebration and the Bicycle, Blues and Barbecue festival.
In 2013, she’s looking forward to another great year of making the most of every moment.
“I look forward to another year of good health, and family and friends,” she says. “It’s a wonderful life.”