Life at the lighthouse

Mae Biemeret found the Big Sable Point Lighthouse living quarters were similar but changed since she lived there more than 40 years ago, but she found the grounds around the building were not at all like she remembered.
AP Wire
Nov 7, 2011

“It has really changed outside, there are so many sand dunes that weren’t here when we were here,” said Biemeret, who lived at the lighthouse from 1963 to 1966 with her husband of that time, Charlie Hawley. “The outside has changed a lot, but the inside looks just the same.

She also remembered a two-car garage at the site and said it stood near a huge cottonwood tree that was cut down about 10 years ago, leaving a waist-high stump behind.

“It was wonderful, we loved it, this whole area. We’d have bonfires down there on the beach,” Biemeret said about life at the lighthouse in the early 1960s.

“It was really interesting here in the winter,” she added. Biemeret visited the lighthouse recently for the first time since ending her role as a lighthouse keeper in 1966.

She came to Ludington with her current husband, Gabe Biemeret, and visited with Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association Executive Director Cindy Beth Davis-Dykema and current light housekeepers Sue McCullough of Pittsburgh, Pa., and Gloria Kett of Benton Harbor.

She told about living at the point and only going to town about once every two weeks for groceries.

Mae also remembered the time her husband and another U.S. Coast Guard employee stationed at the lighthouse recovered the body of a person she said had jumped off a car ferry and then washed up at Big Point Sable.

Her oldest daughter was born before the family moved into the lighthouse, Mae said, and the youngest was born in Ludington during that time.

She remembers being upset after learning President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in November 1963, and remembers that the first piece of furniture she bought was a chest freezer she used to store black sweet cherries that cost 10 cents a quart back in the 1960s.

Gabe Biemeret enjoyed his time at the lighthouse too.

“It’s a piece of her history so it was nice,” he said about the visit. “There were some stories I hadn’t heard yet.”

“It meant so much for me living here and it was nice to share it with my second husband,” Mae said.

— From the Ludington Daily News

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