SASC Snapshots: Traveling with Lucy Crossey
Written by Lelaina MacDonald (Senior at Saline High School) and Megan Kenyon (SASC Program Coordinator)
If you’re local to Saline, you may know Lucy Crossey, 87 years young: a kind, vibrant, and active senior. Lucy is involved with many programs at Saline Area Senior Center (SASC) including fitness, cards, intergenerational, and trips. She just recently finished her SASC Board President position with over 5 years leading the Board.
Lucy’s interest in trips at SASC have stemmed from her lifelong love of travel, which she inherited from her mother. She has sought adventures around the world including Ireland and Germany. Lucy is of German ancestry and her late husband, Mike, is of Irish ancestry.
“My mother had that wanderlust. She was born in 1900 and she was in her 20s when they lived in Pennsylvania. She would get on the train and go to Chicago, which was something for someone in that era.”
When they were younger, Lucy and her late husband, Mike, went to Ireland during the Troubles to find distant relatives. The Troubles were a conflict in Northern Ireland, which lasted about 30 years from the late 1960s to 1998. Travel during the Troubles was difficult, and in the age with no internet, finding someone took a lot of dedication.
“To go from southern Ireland to Northern Ireland, you had to go past the barricades where they had soldiers. These young Irish soldiers looked like they just learned to shave.”
After discovering a relative named Colin Crossey, Lucy and Mike went to the deed of registry to inquire about any Crosseys living in Northern Ireland. The worker tore out a page from the phone book that had every Crossey living there. With an overwhelming number of Crosseys to start with, they began knocking on doors.
“We went up to the houses and said, ‘Crossey?’ We’re from America, our last name is Crossey, and we’d like to see if we’re related.”
Like the Saline Crosseys, religion is an important aspect of Irish culture. This was significant because Irish families tended to follow the same religion, Protestant or Catholic.
“One man asked, ‘What religion are you?’ and we replied, ‘We’re Catholic.’ He said he was Methodist and not related but down the road there was a Catholic family. And lo and behold we went inside for a cup of tea and found out we were related. That was Colin Crossey and we’re still in touch.”
Lucy and Mike traveled to Germany to seek out her distant relatives. This time it was harder because of the language barrier. Lucy’s ancestors compiled a book of the Smithberger Family History, 1841-1980.
“I had lists of people; that was a gift. I took that book and went to Germany with it, just the two of us, and we didn’t have any reservations.”
The Crosseys flew into Frankfurt, rented a car, and started their journey. Later, they realized they had driven around the airport because they didn’t know what the signs meant. In the 1980s, without phones or internet, traveling in Germany was a daunting experience, but many memories were made. Lucy heard her family came from the Black Forest area, with ties to Pennsylvania. They went to a bake shop and asked if there was an English-speaking family named Fauth nearby.
“They lived around the corner. We went up, knocked on the door, they invited us in and showed us their papers. I think we were truly related.”
Of course, one cannot travel to Germany without indulging in a delicious pretzel. Lucy thinks German pretzels are just like the ones at Benny’s Bakery.
“I have some German friends, and they have standards with their pretzels. They wouldn’t eat them if they were a day old. Then you’d give the rest to the birds.”
Lucy has visited Lindenberg four times with the Saline Sister City program. Lindenberg is in Bavaria, which is a mountain region, like Pennsylvania.
“It reminds me of growing up. Every time you take a turn around the corner, you have another postcard view. It’s just beautiful and the people are wonderful.”
One can see that Lucy has a lifetime of memories from her travels abroad. Lucy continues her wanderlust with SASC trips, the next one being the Fall Mystery Trip on September 29. In the past, Mystery Trips have included a college day in Ann Arbor and East Lansing, Downtown Detroit, Kalamazoo, and a riverboat tour down the Grand River. For more information, please contact SASC at 734.429.9274 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lucy with her grands and great grands on a trip to North Carolina, 2016
Lucy Crossey, summer 2023
Lucy Crossey, Fall Mystery Trip 2022
More News from Saline
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- Legion Event Offers Free Steak Dinner for Veterans, First Responders First responders and veterans, along with a guest, will be treated to a free steak dinner. Children can eat from a kids' menu.