Evelyn Allen Harper
The accidental mystery series
Evelyn Allen Harper - Traverse City, Michigan
My husband, Barry, and I moved to the Traverse City, Michigan area after we both retired. I left a career of selling real estate in Rochester, Michigan, and Barry retired from managing an insurance agency in Troy. We built a house by a beautiful lake called Pearl and settled into busy retirement, wondering how we ever managed to fit work into our schedules all those years. We have a big black dog that I found at the Humane Society. His name is Earl, and he is wonderful! We rescued a feral kitten from the coyotes that, after four years, still isn’t civilized. His name is Simon.
We have two grown children, Jill and Tom. I have a stepdaughter, Judith, who has been a constant joy all these years. She calls me her ‘step thingy’. Barry lives in the outdoors. Depending on the season, he bikes, cross-country skis or snowshoes. I am not so adventurous. I mostly stay inside and read. Most of my adult life I have suffered with restless legs. While living down state, I never found out my crazy leg problem had a name. When we retired to Traverse City, I picked a doctor out of the yellow pages, and he happened to be a doctor specializing in sleep. I found that I was suffering with Restless Leg Syndrome, and there is medication for it. However, some nights the medication doesn’t work.
It was on one of those nights that I sat down at the computer and started a silly story, which I sent on to my two sisters at 5:30 in the morning when I heard the delivery of the morning newspaper. The next day I got a phone call from each of them, asking ‘and then what happened?’
Up until that point in my life, I had never written anything. Not even a short story. But to entertain my sisters, on nights I couldn’t sleep, I would write another chapter or two. In the next year and a half, I wrote three books. Go figure.Harmony has been the one constant love of my life.Growing up in Distant, Pennsylvania, a coal-mining town, church and school were the only socializing events in my life.One woman named Mary organized an all-girl church choir that sang three-part harmony. Since I never could hit a high note, in order to be in the choir I had to learn to sing a harmony part.
Eventually I was able to supply any missing harmony part. Flash forward to my first days at what is now Anderson University, Anderson, Indiana. I hadn’t met anyone, not even my roommate, because she hadn’t arrived yet. While on my way to the lavatory, I passed a room with its door wide open. Music was coming from that room. Two girls were sitting on the bed, singing two-part harmony. Thanks to Mary’s choir, I was able to stick my head into the room and supply the missing harmony part. We became the college trio, and for the next few years, we traveled for the college on weekends and in the summer.
One summer we racked up 17,000 miles. When asked, when we returned in the fall, how many times we had changed the oil, we replied, “Never.” They told us to have the oil ‘checked’, which we did every time we filled the gas tank, but no one ever said, ‘change the oil’. I often wonder about the person who bought that car after we were through with it.
These days I fill my days with harmony by singing with the Grand Traverse Sweet Adelines. www.grandtraversechorus.org