Spring forward: Daylight Saving Time for a lighter longer day

Every year, on the second Sunday in March, Americans perform the ritual of setting their clocks forward an hour — and becoming confused about just what time it is. While we think of the switch to Daylight Saving Time (DST) as giving us an additional hour, the initial effect of the change is that we lose an hour; setting the clock ahead gets us out of bed on Sunday an hour earlier.

DST was initially created during World War I and reinstituted during World War II as a conservation and productivity booster. After the war, states and localities were free to observe it or not, and a crazy patchwork resulted — drivers between Moundsville, W.V. and Steubenville, Ohio had to reset their watches seven times in 35 miles to remain accurate.

Increasingly popular, DST was enacted by Congress in 2007, but some have called for it to be in effect year-round. The adage “spring forward, fall back” helps remind us which way to adjust our timepieces, and safety officials urge people to use the occasion as a reminder to check or replace batteries in their smoke detectors. We asked some residents’ and visitors’ what effect DST would have on them.

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Rick Clark will take advantage of the additional light after work for fitness, and his wife Charlotte will use the daylight to plant a garden. If she has time left over, she says, she’ll try to take a walk. The Atlanta couple is visiting Rick’s parents, who live in Goodland.

“I will probably spend the time sleeping,” explaines Tom Norton of Oshkosh, Wisc. His wife, Karen, initially thought about her garden, but then reconsidered, and said she might end up sleeping with Tom. The two are staying at his mom’s condo on Marco.

Nancy Sheridan, a winter Marco resident who summers in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, also has some time in bed lined up. “I’m gonna sleep,” she says. “I’m doing two jobs and I’ll use that time to catch up on a little shuteye.”

Dwight and Gloria Finley have a specific program in mind to ring in Daylight Saving Time. “We will be outside, grilling a fish steak and enjoying an extra glass of wine,” says Gloria. Longtime winter visitors on Marco Island, they divide their summers between their principal residence in Ann Arbor and a summer home near Petoskey.

“I’ll probably get up an hour earlier,” says Bill Hillmeyer of Estero.

“I’ll sleep an hour later,” responded his wife Betty with a laugh. “That’s normal — we usually do go in different directions.”

Getting outside is key for Helen and Don Sazanna. “It’s another hour to wash the car, or for hitting golf balls,” says Helen. “We can walk on the beach, or just sit outside.” They spend four months of the year on Marco, and then migrate back north to Grand Rapids.

“We’re going to spend it back in Illinois,” says Ben Leman, staying in his condo while visiting from Congerville. “If you’re on Marco, that’s bike riding time.” An avid cyclist, he says DST gives him time to do “a real ride” four or five times a week.

Doug Ouverson of Marco takes a contrarian view on DST. “I don’t have any extra hour,” he explains. “The sun comes up when it comes up, and goes down when it goes down. We’re just playing around with the clock.” Farmers, he says, rise with the sun regardless of what time it is.

“We have a toddler — we’ll spend that extra hour asleep,” says Patrick Doran, who is visiting from Chicago.

“If he lets us,” added his wife, Jessica Patrick-Doran. “He’s with grandma,” so the two can have some couple time strolling around together.

“There’s still snow on the ground in Rockford,” says Sue Roller, a visitor from Illinois who is spending a month on Marco Island. “We’ll spend more time outdoors — once it warms up,” adds Bob, her husband. Together, they look forward to the extra daylight, and would welcome having DST all year.

Pete and Dale DeCastro, winter residents who divide their time between the Island and East Hampton, N.Y., say they will spend an extra hour on the beach whenever they can. “We’ll go see the sunset — and if we’re early we’ll wait for it,” says Pete. “I think Daylight Savings Time is a great thing.”

Sunset also figures into the calculations of Fran Schutz. “With the time change, I can do dinner, do the dishes, and still get out to see the sunset,” she says.

“Her plan is the easiest to deal with,” says Ken, her husband. “My plan? Same as always — nothing.” The two are former Marco Islanders who moved North, but only as far as Naples.

Daylight Saving brings Marilyn Sherman’s biological clock back into sync, she says. “I’m just glad to wake up at six instead of five every morning. I wake up at the same time all year, no matter what. That hour makes a big difference. After working 30 years,” says the Bay City, Mich. resident, “you’d think you could change.”

“It extends the day,” says Al Patrick. “I work so Daylight Saving gives me an extra hour for work. I want it all year ’round.”

In the car business, Al is “almost semi-retired,” says his wife, Toni. She says she will spend her extra time out walking with the grandkids back in Bay City, Mich.

Noki Choe, an Islander but originally from Tampa, had a simple and direct answer when asked his response to DST. “More sleep,” he explains.

“Our routine doesn’t change much,” says Joan Gauthier, a 12-year Marco visitor from Somerset, Mass. “He’s (her husband) on the lanai reading, and I’m watching TV.”

DST won’t impact their activities, agrees husband Ray. “I read books, books, books.” Currently, he’s on the new James Patterson novel.

Nick and Jeanne Calias brought Elena, 5, Jonathan, 7, and Julia, almost 2, from Stratham, N.H. to visit her folks at South Seas on Marco. “The kids are hoping to play more,” says Jeanne. “We’ll work more.” This time of year in New Hampshire, that means more snow shoveling, she says.

© 2009 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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