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"Age doesn't really matter, unless you're a cheese."



Alison Ann Porter was born on November 4, 1959

at around 4 p.m. at Butterworth Hospital

in Grand Rapids, Michigan


She must've been a beautiful baby,

judging by her parents!



Her mom, Holly 




 Her father, John



Alison was welcomed home by her big brothers,

Donald and Nathaniel



 She was loved by her Grammy and Grampa Porter




And her wonderful New Hampshire grandparents,

Gram and Gramp Goodhue. 

Gramp had a special nickname for Alison: Alley-oop



In May 1961 the Porter kids gained a little sis, Erin


From that time on they became a cohesive pack



  Alison spent a happy childhood playing with

her siblings and especially enjoyed visits

from her cousins, the Shanes

(Alison is in her dad's lap in this 1963 photo)


p.s. Alison's wonderful Aunt Marty, pictured on the very far right, sends this birthday message



 Happy Birthday, Alison.  You know, turning 50 isn’t so bad – what’s bad is when your own kids OR your own nice niece turns 50 because that implies that we, the mothers and aunts, must be putting on a few years too.  Anyway, here is a lovely anthem by John Rutter. 

Maybe it’s not totally appropriate , but it’s beautiful and we music-loving Porters consider that a gift.  I hope you’ll like it.   Lots of love and have a FABULOUS FIFTY celebration
Marty and family

 This is Alison's childhood home at

1611 Pontiac Drive in East Grand Rapids, Michigan



 The Porter Family - 

Holly, John, Don, Nat, Erin, Alison and Feather 




Alison attended Wealthy Street Elementary School in East Grand Rapids, Michigan



This is her first grade photo.




Alison had a good time hitting the slopes at Cannonsburg, which was sort of a landfill with snow -- but a great place to learn the ropes!

Winter - 1968


The Porter Family spent their summers at two beautiful spots --


--at Grammy and Grampa Porter's cottage "Charleview" on the shores of Lake Charlevoix in Northern Michigan...


Here are Grampa Porter and Dad at "the cottage"....


....and beautiful Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, to visit Gram and Gramp Goodhue



Here is Gram and Gramp's place

at 100 North Main Street in Wolfeboro


 Gram with her beautiful flowering crabapple tree


Gramp Goodhue ran the Goodhue and Hawkins Navy Yard so there was no shortage of beautiful and fast boats, like this one, The Bumble Bee  ...

...this one, The Wild Duck....


...and this one, The Swallow

 In 1969, the Porter Family purchased Little Barndoor Island (pictured above) on Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire. 


 It was a beautiful summer spot and they owned it for 10 memorable years.


Remember saying, "I'm not sure...."

when people asked what the name of our boat meant?


Here is fifth-grader Alison enjoying the balmy

island breezes with Nat, Erin and her father, John


We waterskied every day we could,

but no one could do it like Brother Donny


A typical Little Barndoor Island view


Nat, Er and Al taking in the view of "The Broads",

not what you think -- it's the widest part of Lake Winni!




Here is a nice photograph of the matriarchs in Alison's family - her mom Holly, Gram Buffie Goodhue and Grammy Ruth Porter -- all in their stylish go-go boots at the Peninsular Club in Grand Rapids - 1970


How many of us got to have their own

Christmas tree in their bedroom?


(courtesy of Nat!)


Christmas Brunch 1972


Erin, Gram Goodhue and Alison on their

first-ever visit to Walt Disney World - 1971

She always did have GREAT legs! 

Taken at Grampa Porter's honorary doctorate degree ceremony

Alma College - 1971

(another deep dive into the photo archives by Natty)



Here we have "Big Al" and her dog, Melvin,

on Christmas Day 1972

in her purple leotard, handmade leather thong necklace

and hip hugger bell bottoms -- Yeah Baby!!!


 After attending school in East Grand Rapids and a very brief sixteen week stint at Coopersville High School, Alison and Erin headed off to Kingswood School Cranbrook in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan where they were boarding students


Life in the Kingswood Dorm was a lot of fun.  Even though we had to sign out to go places, we all got creative with the sign out sheet:



Notice the slurred handwriting after Alison's "walk" that began at 4:40 pm and ended at it 8:15 or 0:15, or what??  And....badmitton? 


Carolynn Greeley, also from EGR, joined Er and Al at the Kingswood Dorm from 1975-1977.  Her mom and dad, aka Uncle Palsy and Aunt Bean (or Narvetta), visited us often and brought us treats from the outside world. 

The terrible troika had many laughs, which carry on to this day. 

Pictured above are Erin and Carolynn in 1977, after a summer of tanning at Castle Park.

Speaking of Greels, check out this shot of Erin and Alison with Billy "Grillo" Greeley

Summer 1976

Al's junior year roommate "Jill Baby" Martin sent these wonderful photos from 1975:


Class/Dorm-mate Annette Monarchi and Alison,

in her native headdress.


"I'd rather fight than switch!"

No one remembers where or how Al got this black eye, maybe out on the Kingswood smoking porch?


(Many thanks to Jill Martin Eichner for these classic pics!)