I met retired art teacher Brenda Koster during a game of Pickleball at Spring Lake Community Fitness Center two weeks ago. She’s one of the closest friends of my foster family, The Schmidts, and I immediately warmed up to this cheery blonde.
To welcome me to Michigan, Brenda organized a dinner at her place beside West Lake with our other Pickeball buddies—all of whom were at least twice my age, but I couldn’t ask for better company. Between preparing the chicken cordon blue in Brenda’s wood-finished kitchen and sipping homemade wine made by her daughter Karen, I found myself drawn to a corner room of her house.
“This is the beach room,” Brenda said. “I hang out here a lot.” During my first Pickleball session with her, Brenda talked about her hobby of restoring vintage furniture, weaving yarn, and upcycling thrift shop finds, but I didn’t realize that this little hobby of hers was a talent. Her favorite color is obviously turquoise; it accented every corner of her house, but in a balanced and non-overpowering manner.
Stained bottles were displayed on her shelf made from a salvaged fishing boat. She hand-painted every piece of wooden furniture with a semi-finished, rustic look. She opted not to add curtains to the windows to allow the sunlight to naturally brighten up the room, making me forget that it’s below zero outside and the lake has frozen over.
“Where do you get your ideas?” I asked. She pointed to her temple and smiled. “ I just think of them,” she said. “Some [ideas] are eclectic!”
Brenda’s various crafts and art pieces dot the room, from sand-filled vases to stone-speckled jewelry boxes and photo frames. “I just found them on the beach,” she said when I asked where she get those earth-toned stones. “They just tumbled from the shore,” she added. She told me how she once brought a kid’s sled to the beach and filled them up with stones. “I still have boxes of them and I don’t know what to do with them yet.”
“Not yet,” I replied as I admired the turquoise string and bead necklace that she made after seeing an idea on Pinterest. “But I know you’ll think of something.”