(Crystal A. Proxmire, Ferndale 115 News, March 15, 2012 ed.)
Observant Ferndale residents and visitors may have noticed the new street sign at Allen and W. Troy and wondered just how it got the name “Cupples Corner.” The white sign with blue lettering is affixed above the traditional green street signs that are standard throughout the city. Only in a few locations can the special white and blue ones be found.
Department of Public Works Director Byron Photiades has the answer. “That’s something that we do every year for the charity auction that the Community Foundation has. It’s just for a charity thing. We’ve been doing it for about four or five years. People bid on getting the street name put up and it stays up for a year, but it’s not really a priority so sometimes they stay up longer.”
Greg Pawlica, who is now the Chairperson for the Community Foundation, had a sign up from 2009-2010 at E. Saratoga and Woodward. Jeannie Davis, President of the Ferndale Seniors, has one on Pinecrest and W. Saratoga. For a while Gage products had one on E. 9 Mile. Hilton and Orchard has the sign Ronald L. Realy Lane, in honor of a single father who raised three kids on that street. Mindy Couples won hers at the 2012 Taste of Ferndale event as part of the silent auction.
“This is a really great fundraiser for the Community Foundation,” said Julia Music who is a volunteer with the group. “It’s always one of the most popular auction items. People want to see their name up so there gets to be bidding wars on it. It adds character to the streets and in places like Berkley you see them all over the place. I’m glad Mindy [Cupples] got one this year. She won’t say so, but she’s the one that put together the event and she does so much other great stuff for the community. It’s called Cupples Corner because she likes to hang out at Rosie’s [Rosie O’Grady’s] and that’s her spot.” Cupples started the No Drama Dart League at Rosie’s and is often hanging out in Downtown Ferndale.
Cupples has lived in Ferndale for seven years – not on Troy or Allen. When asked why she loved that corner so much, Cupples said “I was hanging out at Rosies when they were in their old building on Troy Street (now One Eye Betty’s). Rosie’s started off as an old style, neighborhood bar. The staff rarely changed, everyone new your name and most importantly what you drank, people looked out for each other, there is a sense of community in a bar like that. I made a lot of friends at the old Rosie’s that I still have today. The new Rosie’s has continued that sense of community. They were one of the largest supporters of last year’s Ferndale Pride, they have supported the Taste of Ferndale, they are always willing to work with different groups on fundraising activities and they continue to welcome and support the “originals” from the Old Rosie’s.”
She started the No Drama Dart League five years ago. “We have 16 teams this year, and on Thursday nights there probably is about 50 women at Rosie’s supporting the league. It’s a win for the community and for Rosie’s. Jenn Hatcher the current GM at Rosie’s completely supports the No Drama Dart League, in fact, her and her staff do whatever it takes to make our members happy and keep the league running smoothly. They have all been great. With the larger group of players this year some adjustments had to be made, we need another Dart Board to make the league run smoothly. Jenn and the Union Music group looked all over to find us another dart board, just so we could have a successful league and keep the drama to a minimum, hence the name of the league. It is really a great group of women that play and there is always a lot of laughter and a lot of fun.”
Cupples has been on the Board of Community Foundation for three years. “I saw it as an opportunity to give back to the community and be a part of something positive. It is a great team of people to work with, and we are always looking to do new things. The next volunteer project we are working on with multiple groups in the city of Ferndale. It will be a spring clean-up project scheduled for May,” she said. Details will be forthcoming on that project.
UPDATE: Another street sign story has recently been discovered. Leah Meray shared a romantic tale about a sign on Spencer Street. “It was May 22nd, 2009, the previous November, my then-boyfriend Ryan purchased one of the dept. of public works signs at the Ferndale Area Chamber’s annual gala. I asked him what he was going to do with it and he said he wasn’t sure; he’d probably use it to promote his business, C! Tech Solutions somehow. I actually encouraged him to name a street after his grandfather because he’d been such an big supporter of Ryan. However, with the holidays and what not, I promptly forgot about the sign.
“Fast-forward to May, it was the start of the Memorial Day weekend and for a few months we had been discussing marriage/engagement/etc. I had a feeling that he would propose to me at some point that summer, but I wasn’t sure on the timing or anything else. I came home from work that evening and Ryan seemed to be in a really good mood. We went to dinner at Anita’s Kitchen and were just having a really nice evening. When we got home, he said, “Hey, walk with me to the end of the street; there’s something you have to see.”
“We live on Spencer Street and it’s pretty quiet around here so I couldn’t think of what it was. (An art installation, beautiful flowers, a neighbor’s new puppy, a beer-can arch? The neighbor’s puppy created a beer can arch art installation out of flowers -who knows?!)
We get to the corner and I see the DPW sign and it says, “Wilhume Airy Meliah St.” I immediately recognized it as the sign from the Gala’s silent auction, but I could not figure out what the hell it said. Ryan just looked at me, grinning away and asked if I could read it. I stood there for a good minute or two saying, “Will hum airy me lie-ya?” “Will you meery mell-e-uh?” and all other sorts of strange phrases indicating that I really need a phonics refresher course. I finally said, “I have no idea what this says,” and turned back towards him–He was down on one knee with a a black box in his hand and he said. “Will you marry me, Leah?”
“The next minutes are little bit of a blur-I know that I said yes and we kissed a lot and then I think I hyperventilated a little. Less than three months after that, we married in Vegas and I can honestly say that I am married to my favorite person in the whole world!
I’m sure that everyone is biased and think that their proposal story is the funniest/most creative/most romantic/etc., but I still think that Ryan really won, hand’s down, in terms of creativity and fun! The sign was up for a whole year and I often wonder how many people saw it and started saying to themselves, “Will hum airy me lie-ya?”
Photiades credits Jeannie Davis with keeping up momentum behind the sign donations, and says it’s his way for his department to contribute. This year the DPW donated two signs, and Davis was top bidder on the second one “It’s a nominal cost to the city. We make the signs ourselves here at the yard and we already have the materials,” Photiades said.
The Mission Statement of The Ferndale Community Foundation to serve the people who live and work in Ferndale by providing charitable contributions and leadership in building community partnerships to promote growth in the areas of health, culture, education, the arts and other human services. Their website is www.ferndalecommunityfoundation.org.
If you know of any other Special Signs, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we may be able to add yours to this list!