Center Street

I got an email from a friend this morning which has filled my entire day with thinking about why the girls I grew up with are all so spectacular.  The man up there pretty much sums it. That would be my Grandpa. He lives 2 houses down, kiddie corner on Center Street. Center Street was filled with lots of girls. There were the Fisher Girls (you will see the most gorgeous fabric come Spring with their namesake), the Curleys, Kelli Stewart, Liza Migda and sometimes we would welcome a few others into the clan on Center Street but not often.  Stephanie, Stacey and Andrea Fisher lived across the street. Stacey was the oldest and to me super cool cuz she had a short jean mini skirt and I swear she smoked behind the warming house…don’t quote me, but I think she got caught!  Oh, she also made up a little song that went like ” It’s cool, it’s preppy, it’s the new look of the 80’s, it’s punk..”  Stephanie was the middle and always had my back. She did call me sausage fingers and made  fun of me for eating an entire box of Little Debbies but trust me she WOULD not let anyone else make fun of me.  Andrea, the youngest, was beyond gorgeous and had every boy in town after her.

This is me, Stephanie and Andrea.  Wow, I look like Joe!  And now I am wondering why Stephanie had that feather and I didn’t…actually I am kinda getting mad about that. Where the heck is my feather?? So besides the fishers there were 4 other girls our age and then a few little ones but certainly not cool enough to be part of the Center Street Gang. Our days were filled with putting on plays in my garage, snipping green beans for Mr Fisher,  returning pop bottles to the candy store, riding bikes around the block, and hanging out at my grandma and grandpa’s house. Everyone loved Phyllis and Larry….my grandma and grandpa.  It was the place you knew they’d have pop, candy bars (though they cut them into slices) and always would offer you a buck to go spend at the candy store  (which was huge especially when there were no pop bottles to be returned). In the winter, they turned the field across the street into an ice skating rink.  Yes, this is where the warming house was that Stacey Fisher got caught smoking!!! My grandpa would sit at his window and watch us, and always offer to sharpen our skates.

My grandpa is the best grandpa anyone could ever ask for, hands down. He is honest to the core and always could find a way to put a smile on my face. This could mean magically finding a penny behind your ear, sneaking a buck into your pocket or just listening to my stories as I sat  in his lap.  The thing is…he is like this to everyone. I bet you could ask anyone on Center Street or in Cheboygan about my Grandpa and they would say exactly the same thing.

And here would be me and Stephanie in my grandpa’s backyard. Most likely we were hoping to help stack wood or looking for a popsicle.  The thing is, all of us on Center Street, we are pretty much the same: always trying to find a way to put a smile on someone’s face. I had never thought about how my Grandpa rubbed off so much on all of us until today when I read Stephanie’s email: “I have a favor to ask of you…I consider you an influential person (insert, me laughing here cuz she so knows I am so not that cool..) and with that being said, I was wondering if you could spread the word  about my OPERATION MERRY CHRISTMAS.”

So in the spirit of the Holiday season…don’t ask David about this because I use it as the excuse everytime I walk in with a ton of bags. But seriously, we at MJC were hoping to grant 50 wishes, and we are at 147!! And so that is my reason for all the shopping bags…I can’t leave out the boys nor the toys!

and I think about it, and I think about Stephanie, what she did last year was incredible. There are so many people out there that just really need the simplest of things to smile. So the girl that always had my back and still does to this day, I have her back and really want you to think about this. See what YOU can do to help out. She flilled 7 backpacks with the simplest of things: toothbrushes, band aids, nail clippers, gloves, individually wrapped snack, feminine products, socks, lotions and ….. and the list goes on and on. She took the 7 backpacks into downtown Detroit and gave them to the first 7 homeless women she saw.  These simple things to us are luxuries to them. This year Stephanie is trying to pack 12 or even 20 and when I say pack, I mean FULL. Each backpack ends up costing through all donations about $200-$300 when said and done.  Quoting Stephanie….
“If we could get a lot of people to donate just a few dollars each I may be able to surpass my goal of 12 back packs this year! $5.00 donations make such a huge difference in this project. It allows me to give daily items we all take for granted to those who do not have the simplest of things, such as band aids, nail clippers, Orajel, antacids for heartburn, etc. to the homeless. I appreciate any consideration Nece!”

I really want to help her out, and I really want to share this with you because seriously I love helping out the front line.  Stephanie’s address is Stephanie Garrison, 8237 Donna Street, Westland, Mi 48185 if you want to send a few things.. Take your kids to the dollar store and let them pick out 4-5 things and put them in the mail. Or you can paypal a few bucks to  She’d need any donation by December 23 in order to get it all packed up for Christmas Day.


1. is still taking nominations

2. Sunday’s post is gonna be GOOD

bee - December 4, 2010 - 7:15 pm

We are on it!Thanks for the info!!!! Every year my kiddos and I go to the dollar store and do Operation Christmas Child and then we also do the Angel Tree at Church. WE LOVE LOVE LOVE to give and especially during the holidays! Feels better to give than to receive!(At least if you ask me….I don’t like to open gifts….I LOVE watching others do it!)

Pamela - December 3, 2010 - 7:10 pm

This is great – I am a Detroiter and I see many of the same homeless people every day (one I have seen for 3+ years) when I am driving on I-94. It breaks my heart. This is a great city with a lot of heart and we need more people like Stephanie. My Church does the very same thing for the homeless in the middle of winter – backpacks and all, but they actually bring the people to our church for a week. It is amazing – keep doing what you are doing Stephanie!!

Lolli - December 3, 2010 - 8:11 am

WOW! your post put a smile on my face this morning and a warm heart. I love Christmas time but sometimes I wonder why we aren’t like this all year? You really brought back lots of memories and made me stop and count ALL of my blessings! You are definitely your Grandpa’s girl! OMG…you remind me so much of how you described him. From the first time I bought from MJC and emailed you, I knew you had such a kind heart and giving spirit. Love what Stephanie is doing. Plan to go to Paypal now and send money for her project.
Thank you Denise for all of your kindness and generosity. I hope you are able to spread the love to every nomination this year! 🙂

aurora - December 3, 2010 - 8:06 am

When we would go to town in mexico as a little girl I would always make sure my pocket change purse would be full to hand out to the homeless. And sure I will be more than happy to help. Homeless? It could be us! Thank u. We shall not forget…

Jennifer Price - December 3, 2010 - 7:47 am

Seeing your pictures and reading your blog brought such a smile to my face this morning! I too remember “the girls” in my neighborhood and we all did the same things growing up in the 80’s! I am so thankful I have such sweet memories of my childhood! Thanks for sharing this information about your friend’s Operation Christmas! Blessings to you!

Jamie Hicks - December 3, 2010 - 7:08 am

So inspiring! And how cute were you!!!

I’m pretty jazzed. I stopped at a habitat for humanity booth on my way to work last night and found out the youngest age they have programs to help for is 5! Aiden has expressed interest in helping those without homes, clothes, toys etc so i am going to see what we can do with them to help! So so excited to get him started, he is a dear heart and loves to help!

Debbie - December 3, 2010 - 6:54 am

I’m crying!!! I’m inspired by the need to push ourselves to give more. I love to give and I love to see so many stepping up and giving more than they normally would. Thank you!!! I will head over to PP as soon as I can. 😉

Cpuhl - December 3, 2010 - 6:21 am

Seriously, just when I think you guys cannot get any better…you do! Truly amazing in everything you do. From being someone’s friend to being a mom to designing the most beautiful clothes in the land…you are top notch. A class act that inspires us all. Thank you.

Janette - December 3, 2010 - 4:50 am

Oh my Denise. I’m doing a trunk show on a Center Street today! Its a sign. Happpy Holidays!

christine - December 3, 2010 - 4:15 am

There are so many reasons why I buy Matilda Jane

Not just for the gorgeous, unique clothes that make my daughter fall in love each day. Seriously, my daughter wears MJ almost EVERY single day!!!! I stopped taking photos because it is insane!!!! I still buy it even though I seriously can not afford it anymore 🙂

For the company that not only has such a great heart but truly gives back in every way imaginable!!!!!

Every time I turn around, you are giving back and encourage others to do the same.

Thank you for showing us all.

Melissa P - December 3, 2010 - 2:29 am

I grew up near Dayton Ohio and my Grandma and Grandpa lived down the street too. My grandpa loves garage sales, so he would always find me cool bikes and when I came over every day after school he would tell me to hop on and we would go on bike rides through the neighborhood together. He had a small vegtable garden in the back yard and he let me grow and take care of my own baby tomato plant. He still finds me things at his garage sales that he loves and i’m 30. My Grandma would come along on our fishing trips and clip coupons..once a worm landed on her and she got so mad at She is great though..made the best cheeze whiz hotdogs and cherry kool-aide ever! My grandpa always had sour cherry gumballs for me too. It’s nice to hear someone else say “pop”. lol. When I accidentally say soda, my dad quickly corrects me and dosent let me forget that i’m a mid-west girl. 🙂 I loved my childhood and love my grandma and grandpa…he still carries my 4th grade school picture in his wallet and calls me “princess”. 🙂

Twinsrus2005 - December 3, 2010 - 12:51 am

What a great idea and what great memories you have!! My Grandad sounds just like you, although we lived in the Mountains of North Carolina so we didn’t have any close neighbors to hang out with but if we had I am sure he would have been just like your Grandpa. Thanks Denise!!

Lil - December 3, 2010 - 12:27 am

That’s so sweet,
I am going to get some little bags and take to the nursing home here in our little town, toothpaste and soap, tooth brushes,
socks, deodorant, Chap stick, I think what Stephanie and you are doing is amazing and gifts from the heart.
<3 God Bless you all!!!!!

jami - December 2, 2010 - 11:47 pm

Spreading the word!! Stephanie, please keep us posted on your success this season. I know it will be huge and can’t wait to hear the stories that unfold. Center Street must have been SOME place. Thanks for sharing.

jami - December 2, 2010 - 11:45 pm

Spreading the word!! Stephanie, please keep us posted on your success this season. I know it will be huge and can’t wait to hear the stories that ensue. Center Street must have been SOME place. Thanks for sharing.

Amanda S. - December 2, 2010 - 11:11 pm

O:) How this reminds me of my own childhood, playing in the streets and down at the creek with my friends. My best friends in life actually, more like sisters we were. Thank you for posting this and giving me a moment: Childhood is so simple and uncomplicated, or it should be at least, we would go to the store down the street everyday for candy or a coke and stay out until dark…the days seemed endless! No worries only moments in time that I forget to think back on often. O were the days…It now brings me back to the reality of the topic and the world we live in today. The sickness and poverty that so many people live in. It’s hard to imagine and easy to forget while we may not be rich in montetary value, my family is truly blessed to have a roof over our heads and groceries, as so many do not have. Thanks for reminding me of both, helping me to count my blessings and to be grateful for my life and my family. What you and Stephanie are doing is not only thoughtful and kind but will be rewarded in time, so proud to see people standing up, like both of you, making differences in peoples lives with the resources that you have. Thank you and God Bless!!

Lesleigh L. C. - December 2, 2010 - 11:06 pm

Reminds me of a book I just read called THE CHRISTMAS LETTERS by Bret Nicholaus. If you have not read it, the synopsis describes it as “an uplifting holiday tale that reminds the audience what really is blessed about life is giving and receiving love.” Very short- about 15 mins to read… :o)
Thanks for sharing the great pics, story, and info on how to be a part of Stephanie’s goal of giving to those in need.

Ann Brandau - December 2, 2010 - 11:05 pm

Your grandpa never changes. We see him often around Cheboygan and his smile is always there and for everyone. You are lucky to still have him. Enjoy every minute with him that you can. Can’t wait to read Sunday’s post.

Katie P - December 2, 2010 - 10:48 pm

Thanks for sharing these memories with all of us. And also thanks for letting us be a part of Operation Merry Christmas. 🙂 So much happiness in my heart right now!

Teoma - December 2, 2010 - 10:41 pm

I have a feeling that Stephanie is going to far exceed her goals now that she’s got all of the MJ Addicts in the loop!!! 🙂 Thanks Denise for sharing and thanks Stephanie for this awesome outreach!! You guys are both an inspiration. xoxo

mimi - December 2, 2010 - 10:21 pm

How lucky you are, Denise, to have a happy childhood filled with a lifetime of memories, it’s made you who you are!! That’s one of the things in my life that I am so thankful for, and I hope that I am a better person because of my sweet childhood too. You give of yourself with love and kindness just like the example that your Grandparents set for you:)No greater legacy to leave your sons:)Thanks for giving me the oportunity to give back too:)

TKJT - December 2, 2010 - 10:18 pm

Ahhhhhhh this made me cry …and gave me goosebumps because we buried our grandpa yesterday. He was the best grandpa ever too. Never ever seen him mad and loved all the kids to pieces…and always had a smile. Everyone should have grandparents like that.

Our family does Operation Christmas Child every year and my kids LOVE shopping for the kids! I would love to help your friend out! 🙂

Lqqkme2 - December 2, 2010 - 10:14 pm

Shannon…well said! I couldn’t agree more. Denise you have inspired me to find little ways to spread the love not only this Holiday season, but to do so each day. It’s so easy for me to take the little things for granted, get caught up in the daily grind of raising a family…but you are such a motivator with every post you make and have such character in the things you do…how can we all not be motivated to do the same. Everyone needs a Center Street Gang to be apart of and I think Matilda Jane is that to so many.

Rachelle - December 2, 2010 - 10:13 pm

thank you for the reminder… are so much more than a clothing company….you are amazing humanitarians. Thank you MJC for reminding me of what is important and how something small can actually be so big.

Stacey Fisher Thomas - December 2, 2010 - 10:09 pm

Just let it be said I am 18 months smoke free, Niece! Ya little brat:P Thanks for this post, I enjoyed it very much.

Monika - December 2, 2010 - 10:06 pm

Ah, your post makes me miss the good old days at my grandma’s house… she was pretty much like your grandpa. She always had an ear for anybody who needed to talk, knitted socks for the entire village and had an unlimited amount of chocolate to share. And we’ll send some stuff to Stephanie for sure!!! HUGS!

WhitleyKate's mom - December 2, 2010 - 10:05 pm

Love this entry. My grandparents had the “Kool-aid” house too. The neighbor kids were always there when my sisters and I were visiting. Life was so good then. Even now, years later, the little kids visit my grandma (gpa has passed) for a popsicle or snack. I hope I’m cool like that when I’m older. And thanks for sharing Stephanie’s mission. What a fantastic way to show others the true meaning of giving!

Robin Chase - December 2, 2010 - 10:04 pm

I love this and will MOST definitely be helping out! Where we live we don’t see a lot of homeless people, but we travel ALOT and whenever we see someone asking for money we give them what we have. I ALWAYS give what I have, even if it’s a couple dollars. It’s funny, because if someone is with me, they’re always like “no, no Robin, don’t do that, they’ll just go buy cigarettes or beer.” (like they are saving my from my naive self…please) “well”, I say, “I really hope that cigarette or beer makes their day, because they look like they deserve a good day.”
I can’t wait to help out your friend. Thanks again. 🙂

Rebekah Atkinson - December 2, 2010 - 9:58 pm

What an amazing project. You both are truely amazing! I’m gonna take my kids to the store and pack a box to send her. Thank you so much for sharing with us a special way to give!

The Nut Doctor - December 2, 2010 - 9:58 pm

GREAT project. A friend and I use to pack lunches and hand them out to the homeless in downtown Memphis. Now I see so many homeless people at work I just buy them a coke or get them some food. This is a awesome that she is doing this. Most homeless people have mental health problems and no supportive families. They suffer because there is no support in place and they feel no one cares about them. Amazing what a little backpack will do. We will definitely be sending your girl some items.

Beautifulclothing - December 2, 2010 - 9:58 pm

You are amazing Denise! Can;t wait to read the post on Sunday! I am totally addicted to this company and all the niceness that it brings. 😉

Denise - December 2, 2010 - 9:55 pm

OMG you are so right…you totally were…and Oh, those boys at Aloha had nothing on David!!! maybe we could be neighbors again and do those sit ups!!

Christina - December 2, 2010 - 9:53 pm

Could not have said it any better than Shannon! SO, Ditto!!

Kendallillysmama - December 2, 2010 - 9:51 pm

This is awesome! I am in. Pretty cool that you are from Cheboygan, we have family that lives there:) Thanks for doing all you do, it is fantastic.

Stephanie Garrison - December 2, 2010 - 9:49 pm

Thank you so much for helping me Denise! I am speechless and in awe of the blog and the wonderful memories you posted. It was an incredible experience to grow up on Center Street. Not everyone has the great memories and fun we had! Flash light tag in the park, singing SAY SAY OH PLAYMATE while swinging until it was dark, sleeping in the tents in our yards, watching GREASE a gazillion times and running around the pool table in the basement until we couldn’t run anymore, me and you doing a thousand sit ups at night in your room,YAZ, craig pitcock, scouting for hot down state guys at Aloha~ oh my gosh, I could go on forever.

You are incredible and I am so very honored to say you are one of my dearest and oldest(length of friendship) friends as our friendship dates back to 1976. I was even the first one you called when David proposed to you!
Love ya!

Shannon - December 2, 2010 - 9:45 pm

Oh tears! Always with the tears after reading your post! I swear my heart has grown three times larger. No Grinch here this Christmas. Thank you for your generosity and giving spirt and for passing it on and for reminding all of us what the season is really about. I appreciate your genuine kind heart so much and am trying to live life daily with new eyes. Thank you!!!

Colleen - December 2, 2010 - 9:41 pm

You are so cool Denise! Thanks for being you 🙂

Emma's*Mommy - December 2, 2010 - 9:37 pm

Love this! Not just the great project…but the childhood memories and Grandpa part. I’m such a sucker for that stuff because it reminds me of my own GP’s and how awesome they are.