By Susan Schmidt
I was born in Detroit, Michigan and grew up in a small community north of Detroit called New Baltimore on Anchor Bay of Lake St. Clair. Our home was on the lake and I spent all my summers boating and fishing.
After graduating from college in Nursing, I started working at Port Huron Hospital in Port Huron which is on one of the Great Lakes of Michigan, Lake Huron. One of my best friends would show photos of her son in the Army stationed in Viet Nam to all the other nursing students but not me. So I made sure that when he came home I would be the first to meet him, and the rest is history because we have now been married for 49 years!
I first worked on the pediatric floor then medical-surgical, the recovery room and finally the operating room where I spent the next 30 years. In 1979 we moved to North Palm Beach, Florida where I helped open up the operating room in a new hospital in Jupiter, Florida. First becoming a certified operating room nurse, then teaching operating room nursing and eventually charge nurse then director of the operating room. I took 2 ½ years out of the hospital setting and was a clinical nursing instructor at a small private college in West Palm Beach. I returned to the day surgery unit in a West Palm Beach Hospital where I finished my 30-year nursing career doing patient teaching, coordinating their interviews with anesthesiology and readying every patient for surgery.
Bill was born in Port Huron. He was the Drum Major of his high school marching band. After graduating he enlisted in the Army and trained in electronics. He was deployed to Viet Nam and did his tour of duty there. He came home after that tour during the holidays and that is when we met. He had to finish his tour of duty in Colorado before being discharged and coming home to Port Huron. He enrolled at Michigan State University and entered the teaching field. We were married in the small Neumann Center on the campus of St. Clair Community College where I was finishing my nursing degree. He then received his master’s degree in elementary school education from Wayne State University. In 1979 we fled the “cold north” and moved to North Palm Beach in Palm Beach County. I continued my operating room nursing career and he started out teaching and then went on to serving as the President of the Classroom teachers association, the largest teacher’s union in Florida, for eight years. He then was recruited to be a financial service representative working with nonprofits such as teachers and nurses for their annuities for retirement.
After my son and daughter were grown and started their lives my husband and I who had spent time for many years on Marco Island in southwest Florida decided to move there. We lived in a lovely community right on the Great Marco River and Gulf of Mexico. After about ten years living there our children were married with children. In our attempt to be closer to them (my son and family lived in Jacksonville and my daughter and family lived in Atlanta) we looked for a place to live on the gulf further north in Florida. We came upon Apalachicola and fell in love with it.
So, that is how we ended up here in Apalachicola. We had always lived in small communities and were very active in those communities. After buying our home here we started out becoming part of the community. We joined the Historical Society and are guides at all the “ghost walks” and volunteer for other events. We were involved with Save our Shotguns historic homes on the hill, Riverkeeper, the Historic Squares, and one of our favorite things– volunteering at the Food Bank which we discovered from joining St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. We also volunteer for Elder Care at the Holy Family Center.
After being here about a year, on a whim my husband and I decided to open a small restaurant called The Chowder House, serving chowders, bisques, soups, sandwiches, and salads. We first opened in a small space on Market Street. We received such a warm reception from the community including the other downtown businesses.
My son and daughter-in-law came to visit and decided they would like to add breakfast time to the restaurant. They moved here shortly after that. We moved into our larger space on Commerce Street last summer. So come and join us at The Chowder House for a delicious Breakfast, Lunch or Sunday Brunch.