Archive for the ‘Upper Michigan Books and Authors’ category

“U.P. Reader” Brings Upper Michigan Literature to the World

June 8, 2017

In case you haven’t heard yet, there’s a new literary magazine in the U.P. It’s called U.P. Reader and it’s been published by Modern History Press with the cooperation of the Upper Peninsula Publishers and Authors Association. In fact, partial proceeds of the sales are returned to UPPAA to help with funding its programming and other author-reader-centered activities. In addition, for every twenty copies sold, one copy will be donated to a UP Library. Already twelve copies have been donated.

The UP Reader contains 28 works of prose and poetry, all by U.P. authors.

The magazine is the brain child of U.P. author Mikel Classen. It will be an annual publication and features the works of UPPAA members, all of whom are U.P.-based authors. This first issue contains the works of:

Mikel Classen, Larry Buege, Deborah Frontiera, James M. Jackson, Janeen Pergrin Rastall, Sharon M. Kennedy, Jan Kellis, Amy Klco, Becky Ross Michael, Elizabeth Fust, Terry Sanders, Tyler Tichelaar, Lee Arten, Roslyn Elena McGrath, Ann Dallman, Christine Saari, Aimée Bisonette, Frank Farwell, Ar Schneller, Rebecca Tavernini, Edzordzi Agbozo, Sarah Maurer, and Sharon Marie Brunner.

Several authors and local publications are already raving about U.P. Reader. Here are some of their remarks:

U.P. Reader offers a wonderful mix of storytelling, poetry, and Yooper culture. Here’s to many future volumes!”
— Sonny Longtine, author of Murder in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

“Share in the bounty of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with those who love it most. The U.P. Reader has something for everyone. Congratulations to my writer and poet peers for a job well done.”
— Gretchen Preston, Vice President, Upper Peninsula Publishers and Authors Association

“As readers embark upon this storied landscape, they learn that the people of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula offer a unique voice, a tribute to a timeless place too long silent.”
— Sue Harrison, international bestselling author of Mother Earth Father Sky

“I was amazed by the variety of voices in this volume. U.P. Reader offers a little of everything, from short stories to
nature poetry, fantasy to reality, Yooper lore to humor. I look forward to the next issue.”
— Jackie Stark, editor, Marquette Monthly

“Like the best of U.P. blizzards, U.P. Reader covers all of Upper Michigan in the variety of its offerings. A fine mix of
nature, engaging characters, the supernatural, poetry, and much more.”
— Karl Bohnak, TV 6 meteorologist and author of So Cold a Sky: Upper Michigan Weather Stories

You can purchase U.P. Reader at Amazon or in the U.P. at several different stores throughout the U.P. including in Sault Sainte Marie, Marquette, and Copper Harbor. A list of several of the local retailers selling the book can be found at its website: www.upreader.org.

You can also learn more about the U.P. Publishers and Authors Association at www.uppaa.org.

 

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“Castle Nowhere”: Constance Fenimore Woolson’s Great Lakes Gothic

December 18, 2016

In October, my article “Constance Fenimore Woolson, the Mathers, and a Marquette Literary Mystery” was published in the Marquette Regional History Center’s publication Harlow’s Wooden Man. In that article I discussed how Woolson, who was the aunt to Samuel and William Gwinn Mather, probably traveled to Marquette and she also wrote the first stories set in Marquette back in the 1870s. Woolson is more famously known for her novel Anne (1882) set partly at Mackinac Island and for writing about the Great Lakes in general. In this article, I will talk about how she uses Gothic conventions to create some early U.P. Gothic literature.

In 1875, Constance Fenimore Woolson published a short story collection titled Castle Nowhere: Lake Country Sketches. The collection consists of three stories. The first, “Castle Nowhere,” is set off the shores of Lake Michigan and near Beaver Island, and the other two, “Jeanette” and “The Old Agency,” which are connected, are set on Mackinac Island.

Constance Fenimore Woolson was one of the best-selling authors of her day and a close friend to Henry James. She traveled the Great Lakes extensively in the 1850s and wrote about them in her later fiction.

Constance Fenimore Woolson was one of the best-selling authors of her day and a close friend to Henry James. She traveled the Great Lakes extensively in the 1850s and wrote about them in her later fiction.

While Woolson was not the first author to set fiction in Upper Michigan, she was one of the pioneers of regional fiction for the area, and I believe the short story, “Castle Nowhere,” is probably the first Gothic work set in this region. And even the other two stories in the collection have Gothic elements, although I would not classify them as truly Gothic so I will not discuss them here.

From the beginning of “Castle Nowhere,” Woolson applies a Gothic atmosphere. The first character we are introduced to, Jarvis Waring, is a wanderer figure. He is a surveyor sent to Upper Michigan, but he feels like he has no purpose in the world. He also has conversations with “the Spirit of Discontent,” which is his restless wanderer self—in other words, he speaks to himself. (While I don’t think Jarvis Waring’s name has any symbolic connotations, it’s interesting to note that Jarvis was Woolson’s father’s middle name.)

Woolson also clearly sees the Upper Peninsula of Michigan as a Gothic place because of its wild forests. This concept of the forest as Gothic is something she borrows from her great-uncle, James Fenimore Cooper, and other earlier American authors like Charles Brockden Brown and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Cooper, especially, took the Gothic out of the castles of Europe and set it in the forests of America where people could easily become lost in the wilderness and where savage Indians threatened white settlers. That said, both Woolson and Cooper were sympathetic to Native Americans and often depicted Natives with redeeming characteristics. “Castle Nowhere” has no Native American characters in it, but the other two stories in the collection do, and Woolson includes other marginalized people in the story.

As the story begins, Waring has entered the woods of Upper Michigan to survey from the Lake Superior shore, but he becomes lost and finally stumbles back onto the lakeshore, not knowing where he is—later he’ll learn he has walked across the peninsula and has arrived on the shore of Lake Michigan, not far from the location of Beaver Island. As he is making camp for the night, Waring, speaking to his Spirit, says he would shake hands with Old Nick (the devil) himself because he is lonely. Soon after, “a phantom skiff” appears on the water, bearing Fog, a man who saw Waring’s fire and stops to visit him. Waring is wary of Fog, who says he comes from “Nowhere” and leads a “wandering life,” but he is polite and lets Fog stay.

Soon after, however, Waring wakes in the night to discover Fog has stolen a book and picture from him. Waring sees Fog making his way out into the water where he has moored his boat. Waring then takes a few days to create a dugout boat of his own and sets off in the direction Fog went to reclaim his property, saying, “I’ll find that ancient mariner,” an obvious reference that equates Fog to Coleridge’s doomed iconic Gothic wanderer figure. Indeed, as the story progresses, Fog reveals himself to be the quintessential Gothic wanderer.

Waring travels on the lake through a fog, but in the morning, the fog lifts and reveals a log house floating on the lake; this structure is the Castle Nowhere of the title, which explains Fog’s saying he was from Nowhere. This moment is interesting because it shows how Woolson is drawing on the Gothic tradition as created by her great-uncle in his novel The Deerslayer. In that novel, “Floating” Tom Hutter lives in a house in the middle of a lake. He also has two daughters living with him, whom he later on his deathbed confesses are not his daughters but stepdaughters. Waring soon discovers that Fog also has a daughter, named Silver, who lives with him (although not until the end of the story will she learn that Fog is not her father), as well as a servant who is a negress.

Woolson again draws on Gothic elements in her depiction of Silver as an innocent young girl who does not know good from evil because she is never allowed to venture off the floating house. She is a sort of Eve before eating the apple, but also a Rapunzel kept by a type of male witch in the form of Fog, and an Immalee, an innocent young woman who lives on an island in Charles Maturin’s Melmoth the Wanderer (1820). Immalee knows nothing of the world save for Melmoth, a cursed supernatural wanderer, who visits her on the island where she is otherwise solitary. Melmoth makes Immalee fall in love with him, and eventually, she ends up entering into a satanic marriage with him. Silver is so innocent that she knows nothing of the Bible and Fog doesn’t want her to. She also has no knowledge of death. Previously, a servant boy, Jacob, and Fog’s sister Shadow, lived with them, but both died of illness and Fog took their bodies away by boat at night so Silver would never have to experience death. Woolson describes Silver in many ways to emphasize her innocence, including calling her a “water-maiden” and a “fair pagan.”

When Waring arrives, Silver is happy to meet him, and they become acquainted before Fog returns from one of his journeys. Fog is not happy at first to see Waring, but when he sees how Silver likes Waring and when Waring understands that Fog stole the book and picture for Silver, he keeps his mouth shut for a while. Later, however, Waring learns that Fog manages to support himself and Silver by being a scavenger and stealing, and worse, he is a “wrecker”—someone who puts lights on the shore to make sailors think it is a safe place to land a ship in a storm and then the ship ends up wrecked on the rocks. Fog then collects what belongings get washed ashore. Fog justifies the fact that he causes death for the shipwreck victims by saying that their lives matter nothing when compared to the pleasure he can give Silver by bringing her their belongings. Waring tries to stop Fog from wrecking a ship and the two end up in a scuffle with Fog hurting his leg. Waring then decides to stay to care for him for Silver’s sake because no one will provide for the family otherwise.

During this time, Fog tells Waring his story—that he committed a crime in New York unintentionally that caused him to become a wanderer, and finally, he convinced his sister to join him in his wanderings. They decided to call themselves Fog and Shadow because both are gone by morning—a wandering metaphor. Fog obviously suffers greatly, saying how his crime only took a minute, but his suffering is endless. Still, he believes God will eventually forgive him and be merciful (this despite how he continues to murder through causing shipwrecks). He claims that when he found Silver as an orphan child, he felt God was letting him know he would eventually be forgiven.

As winter approaches, Fog tells Waring he’s well enough to provide for Silver again, so Waring can leave before the lake freezes and the ice makes it impossible for him to depart. Waring, however, decides to stay because it’s clear he’s fallen in love with Silver. In time, it’s decided that Waring and Silver will marry and Waring will take her back to the real world. They wish to marry before they leave, so Fog and Waring go to nearby Beaver Island to kidnap a former Presbyterian minister who lives there among the Mormons so he can perform the marriage ceremony. This reference to the Mormons on Beaver Island makes it clear the story is set between 1848 and 1856 when the Mormons had a colony there before being driven off the island.

After the wedding, Fog becomes ill and dies, but not before his deathbed confession to Silver that she is not his daughter, but an orphan he found and cared for as if she were his own. This scene is obviously heavily influenced by Floating Tom’s death scene in The Deerslayer, as well as other scenes in Gothic tradition where people reveal family secrets on their deathbeds. As he dies, Fog asks God whether his sin is expiated, but whether he receives an answer is unknown as he dies right after the question is asked. After Fog’s death, Waring and Silver return to the civilized world, taking the negress with them, while Castle Nowhere slowly disintegrates and sinks into the lake until it is, indeed, Nowhere.

“Castle Nowhere” is both a remarkable and gripping story to read in many ways, as well as an early work that shows Woolson is clearly imitating authors she has read. It is also fascinating because of its Gothic, supernatural, and somewhat fairy tale atmosphere. Woolson would go on to write her first novel, Anne (1880), which bears some resemblance to “Castle Nowhere,” although it is more realistic; in that novel, the title character is also a young girl who has lived a sheltered but happy life on an island—although Mackinac Island and so she is isolated but not solitary—and eventually, Anne also leaves to enter the real world, only her experiences will not be happy, while we can predict that Silver and Waring will live happily ever after.

As a resident of the Upper Peninsula who is familiar with many of the locations Woolson writes about, I can say that the area remains heavily forested, and I can definitely see why it would inspire a Gothic atmosphere for a novel. Woolson, who was a close friend of Henry James, would go on to write many more books set in the Great Lakes area as well as the South before her fatal death falling out of a window in Venice. Some speculation exists that she committed suicide. Perhaps Woolson had a bit of the Gothic wanderer’s spirit about her.

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Tyler Tichelaar, Ph.D. is the author of King Arthur’s Children: A Study in Fiction and Tradition, The Gothic Wanderer: From Transgression to Redemption, the Children of Arthur series, and numerous novels and nonfiction books set in or about Marquette, Michigan. You can visit Tyler at www.ChildrenofArthur.com and www.GothicWanderer.com and www.MarquetteFiction.com

U.P. Book Market to Be Held at Peter White Public Library: Twenty-Two Local Authors to Meet Their Public

June 11, 2016

MARQUETTE, MI (June 11, 2016)—On Friday, June 17, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Peter White Public Library, in association with the U.P. Publishers and Authors Association, will host a U.P. Book Market—the event will be like a farmer’s market, but devoted to the display and selling of books by local authors.

book market posterThe event is the brainchild of Gretchen Preston, Vice President of the U.P. Publishers and Authors Association, and author of the Valley Cats children’s book series. “We are always looking for ways to get the public more interested in reading and local authors, and we also appreciate the support the Peter White Public Library constantly provides to authors, so we thought we’d have an event at the library and raise some money for it. Every author who participates will be making a donation to the library.”

Heather Steltenpohl, Development Director and fellow coordinator of the U.P. Book Market, added, “This event is a such a great showcase of literary talent in the Upper Peninsula.  PWPL is fortunate to have the support of organizations like the UPPAA.  Funds raised at this event will benefit the PWPL’s Annual Fund which helps provide materials and programming.”

The list of authors attending will encompasses the entire U.P. literary scene and beyond. They are: Aimée Bisonette, author of North Woods Girl (Minneapolis, Minnesota), Corey LaBissoniere, author of Land of Enchantas (Houghton), Sharon Brunner, author of Shadow Travelers (Sault Sainte Marie), Larry Buege, author of the Chogan Native American Series (Harvey), Mikel Classen, author of Teddy Roosevelt and the Marquette Libel Trial (Sault Sainte Marie), Deborah Frontiera, author of Living on Sisu (Lake Linden), Jan Kellis, author of Bookworms Anonymous Cookbooklet (DeTour Village), R.E. Kelly, author of The World According to Luke series (Escanaba), Sharon Kennedy, author of Life in a Tin Can (Brimley); Jesse Koenig, author of Brief Perversions (Baraga), L.E. Kimball, author of Seasonal Roads (Newberry), Tim LaJoice, author of Little Whittle: Tale of a White Beaver (St. Ignace), Tamara Lauder, author of Breaking Free Too: Taking a Flight With a Butterfly Toward Self-Discovery (St. Germain, WI), Sonny Longtine, author of Magnficent Mansions and Courtly Cottages (Marquette), Martyn Martello, author of Serial Killer Confessions: Just Friends (Marquette), Paulette Noble, author of the A Virtual Reality series (Escanaba), Rondi Olson, author of All Things Now Living (Munising), Gretchen Preston, author of the Valley Cats series (Chocolay Township), Janeen Pergin Rastall, author of Objects May Appear Closer (Gordon), Richard Smith, author of hunting and wildlife books (Marquette), Tyler Tichelaar, author of The Marquette Trilogy (Marquette), and Lloyd Wescoat, owner of Mudminnow Press (Copper Harbor).

In addition to authors selling their books, several children’s authors will participate in activities for younger readers. “Summer is a fabulous time to encourage children to read,” said Preston, “and, hopefully, this event will get them excited about reading just as the school year is ending.”

Local authors Tyler Tichelaar and Gretchen Preston will be at the UP Book Market on June 17th.

Local authors Tyler Tichelaar and Gretchen Preston will be among the many authors at the UP Book Market on June 17th.

The festive event will include additional attractions. Before you can relax with a good book, you may need help relaxing, so Nancy Ring, a massage therapist, will be on site to provide massages. Superior Mobile Koney will be providing culinary delights to book market visitors. Live music will be performed throughout the day, and face-painting will be available for all the young at heart. The musical schedule is: 12:00-1:00pm – Corinne Rockow (musician and storyteller), 1:30-2:30pm – Kerry Yost and Dylan Trost (experimental instrumentals and eccentric, folksy songwriting), and 3:00-4:00pm – Tanya Stanaway (Finnish music).

The event is being held in conjunction with the 19th annual U.P. Publishers and Authors Association Conference, which will take place the following day on Saturday, June 18 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Community Room and Shiras Room of the Peter White Public Library. This year’s conference will host several speakers on writing, publishing, and book marketing, including keynote speaker Judith Briles of Aurora, CO, who is nationally known as The Book Shepherd. Those interested in attending the conference can find more information and register at www.uppaa.org

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Ten-Year Anniversary Edition Released of Iron Pioneers: The Marquette Trilogy, Book One

April 21, 2016

Marquette, MI, April 20, 2016—In 2006, local author Tyler R. Tichelaar published his first novel, Iron Pioneers, which was soon followed by two sequels, The Queen City and Superior Heritage to complete The Marquette Trilogy. Now Tichelaar is celebrating the ten-year anniversary of this first novel by reprinting it with a new color cover, an interior historic map of Marquette, and a new preface “Creating a Literature for Upper Michigan.”

Iron Pioneers has a new cover for its ten-year anniversary edition as well as a new preface.

Iron Pioneers has a new cover for its ten-year anniversary edition as well as a new preface.

“It felt like the ten-year anniversary of my first book was a reason to celebrate,” said Tichelaar. “And Iron Pioneers remains my bestselling book to this day, but I was never happy with the brown cover, which was chosen by my publisher at the time. I initially envisioned a gold cover, so I’ve chosen that, which seemed appropriate for an anniversary edition.”

Tichelaar first had the idea to write novels set in Marquette back in 1987 when he began writing his first book, eventually published in 2009 as The Only Thing That Lasts. But it was in 1999, when he was living in Kalamazoo, earning his Ph.D. in Literature, and homesick for the U.P., that he had the idea to write a novel that covered the scope of Marquette’s history. “It was Marquette’s sesquicentennial year,” he said, “and I felt it was time to tell Marquette’s story in a new way that highlighted its significant role in American history.” Tichelaar planned to write one novel, but the more research he did, the larger it grew, until it eventually became a trilogy. “It was seven years from conception to publication,” said Tichelaar, “but nearly 600,000 words and countless drafts later, I found it all worth it when people began reading The Marquette Trilogy.”

The plot of Iron Pioneers begins with a prologue about Father Marquette coming to the Marquette area. It then moves ahead to 1849 when Marquette was founded. It follows several fictional families through the early pioneer years, the Civil War, the fire of 1868, and the growth of Marquette. Numerous historical people, including Bishop Baraga and Peter White, are featured in the story. The story concludes in 1897 with the celebrations surrounding the Father Marquette statue’s unveiling. The successive books in the trilogy continue the story of Marquette’s history up to the sesquicentennial celebrations in 1999. “I wanted readers to feel they were stepping back in time to meet Marquette’s pioneers and to come away appreciating the sacrifices they made and the courage they showed when the settled here,” said Tichelaar.

Tichelaar has been very pleased with his readers’ responses to Iron Pioneers and his other books. “People tell me that they look at Marquette differently after they read my books. They notice old buildings, wonder about the people who once lived or worked there, and want to learn more about them. Tichelaar also noted that when he began writing Iron Pioneers, there was a lack of adult fiction set in Upper Michigan. Since then, the number of U.P. writers has exploded. “Today we can be proud that we have a vibrant and diverse U.P. literature,” said Tichelaar. “We have novels, history books, and poetry. I know of over one hundred U.P. writers all doing their part to capture the essence of our life here. I am proud to be one of the pioneers of that movement, and I intend to write many more books for the people who love this place and call it home.”

Iron Pioneers, The Marquette Trilogy: Book One (ISBN 9780979179006, Marquette Fiction, 2016) can be purchased in paperback and ebook editions through local and online bookstores. For more information, visit www.MarquetteFiction.com. Review copies available upon request.

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UP Author and Publisher Forum – April 9th

April 6, 2016
Join me and several of my fellow UP writers this Saturday for:
Writers of the Northern Persuasion
U.P. Author and Publisher Forum
Saturday, April 9th
10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Finnish American Heritage Center
435 Quincy Street, Hancock
Featuring over 20 regional authors and publishers offering book sales and publishing information.
Fiction, non-fiction, regional, poetry, book design, photography, children’s and more!
Presentations on writing and self-publishing from 10:15 to 12:30. Author readings from 12:30 to 3:00.
Open Mic night at K.C. Bonkers Toy Store and Coffee
119 Quincy Street, Hancock
6:00-8:00 p.m.
“Writers of the Northern Persuasion” is made possible partially through funding from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Council for the Humanities.

My Article about Carroll Watson Rankin and Dandelion Cottage is Published

February 27, 2016
The current issue of Michigan History, in which my article appears.

The current issue of Michigan History, in which my article appears.

I’m very pleased to announce that I’ve had an article about Carroll Watson Rankin published in the latest issue of Michigan History magazine. I feel very honored to be published in the state magazine and even more that the magazine’s editor approached me and asked me to write the article. I also thank the Marquette Regional History Center staff for supplying the images for the article.

Carroll Watson Rankin was born and raised in Marquette. She adopted the male version of her name for her pen name and wrote several stories she published in magazines. Then in 1904, she penned her classic children’s book Dandelion Cottage based on the antics of her daughters and a small cottage behind the Rankin home in Marquette. The book has been loved by generations of children and its success inspired Rankin to write many more books. The cottage is still in Marquette and has a fascinating history of its own, as detailed in my article.

Copies of the issue can be purchased at the Historical Society of Michigan’s website: http://www.hsmichigan.org/store/back-issues/

Dandelion Cottage in Marquette - the inspiration for Carroll Watson Rankin's children's classic.

Dandelion Cottage in Marquette – the inspiration for Carroll Watson Rankin’s children’s classic.

Marquette’s Centennial Year 4th of July – 1949

July 4, 2015

In honor of Independence Day, here is the passage from the end of my novel The Queen City: The Marquette Trilogy, Book Two, depicting the 100th anniversary of Marquette and Fourth of July Fireworks. Happy 4th to all!

The Queen City: The Marquette Trilogy, Book 2 covers Marquette's history from 1902 until the 1949 centennial celebrations.

The Queen City: The Marquette Trilogy, Book 2 covers Marquette’s history from 1902 until the 1949 centennial celebrations.

In small towns, people depend on each other. In Upper Michigan, through long, harsh winters and economic woes, people form bonds even without blood ties. On this day of civic pride, an entire city became one family, a city filled with people descended from a handful of brave pioneers who came to Iron Bay a century before to build a community which still prospered. Even Jimmy Whitman, who today would rather be in California, and as an adult would live miles from Marquette, would in later years look back on this day with fondness.

The picnic broke up all too soon as everyone looked at their watches and realized it would soon be time for the fireworks. People went their separate ways. Bill wanted to be alone with Sally. Thelma was tired so Jessie brought her home. Harry Jr. had promised to take his children over to a friend’s house. Some decided to go home rather than attend the fireworks, but Sylvia insisted on seeing the finale of the city’s celebrations, and Eleanor, finding her daughters’ enthusiasm matched that of her aunt, agreed to take them all. Margaret told Roy he had no choice but to drive her to Memorial Field for the fireworks. “It won’t hurt you to take me and then stay at your mother’s house another night before going back to that old cabin of yours,” she insisted. Roy knew better than to argue. Henry and Beth talked Michael into piling into their car with the children. Then they followed Roy’s vehicle while Eleanor and company brought up the rear. Once the three automobiles reached Memorial Field, the Whitman clan found thousands of people crowded together, eagerly awaiting the finale to the centennial celebrations.

The Boy Scouts of Racine, Wisconsin entertained the crowd with their drum and bugle corps. Then a Vaudeville show made the crowd laugh and join in singing.

Gazing at the crowd, Sylvia felt overwhelmed. “I never saw so many people in my life. Everyone in Marquette must be here.”

“Yes, this city sure has grown,” said Margaret, remembering as a girl how she had thought Marquette much too small. Now amid a sea of jubilant faces, she scarcely recognized anyone. Proudly, she said to Sylvia, “Unlike us, most of these people don’t have their names in The Mining Journal as Marquette residents for over fifty years.”

“No, I guess not,” said Sylvia. “I’ve lived here my whole life, that’s seventy-seven years. I was born in Marquette’s twenty-third year, so I feel as if I belong more to the little village of a hundred years ago than to this big modern city.”

As they found a place to set up chairs and lay a blanket for the children to sit on, Margaret asked her sister-in-law, “Do you remember the day they unveiled the statue of Father Marquette? There was a big crowd that day, but nothing like this.”

“Yes,” said Sylvia, “I remember that, and I remember when the streetcars were put in; we were all so excited to have them, and now they’ve been ripped out for I don’t know how many years. I can even remember when we first got electricity.”

“I can remember the days before electricity,” said Margaret. “I’m sure glad those days are over.”

“Life was harder then,” said Sylvia. “But back then, since we had no idea there would one day be electricity, and automobiles, and movie theatres, we didn’t miss them. I don’t think people are as polite and courteous as before the wars either. I do miss that.”

“People don’t have the class they had back then,” Margaret agreed. “All these young girls running around with skirts above their knees.”

Eleanor and Beth chuckled, knowing this comment was pointed toward Bill’s girl Sally, who had come to the picnic with her knobby knees on full display.

“And this modern architecture,” sighed Sylvia. “Houses look like boxes now, and each one is painted a dull white. Houses had more color when I was a girl. I remember my grandparents’ house on Ridge Street—my grandparents moved away when I was only four, so maybe my memories aren’t exact, but my parents often told me what a beautiful house it was. Inside there was ornate woodwork and elaborate colored wallpaper and stenciling on the walls and borders along the ceiling. It was so beautiful you never wanted to leave it. Now we have these puffy sofas and metallic kitchen tables with pop-up leafs and—”

Sylvia could not finish her sentence but just shook her head.

“Which grandparents’ house are you talking about?” asked Henry. “Your Grandpa and Grandma Whitman?”

“No, they had a boarding house when I was a girl,” said Sylvia. “Not that their house wasn’t nice, but the house I’m talking about was my Grandpa and Grandma Henning’s house. They built one of the first and finest homes on Ridge Street, but they only lived there a few years before they moved away. I wonder what happened to all their money. I never saw any of it. I bet Grandma Henning left it all to Aunt Edna.”

“You mean that big sandstone house, don’t you?” said Margaret. “I remember Will pointed it out to me one time.”

“Is the house still there?” asked Henry, his carpenter instincts awakening.

“Oh, yes.” Sylvia described it until Henry suspected it was the same as Robert O’Neill’s house, where he had fixed the porches during the war.

“Aunt Sylvia, why did your grandparents move away?” Lucy asked.

“Well, their daughter, my Aunt Madeleine, drowned in the lake. I can’t really remember how; I was just a little girl then, but my grandparents were so upset they sold their house and moved back East. I never saw them again except once when my grandpa came to visit just after I was married. I don’t remember much about him either. I wish now I knew more, but my mother died when I was just a girl and my father died when I was in my twenties, so I guess I was too young to think about asking them many questions then.”

“I know what you mean,” said Margaret. “My grandfather always said the Dalrymples were related to the royal family of Scotland, but I was too lazy to ask exactly how and write it down. Just think, I might’ve been a Scottish princess.”

“I do remember,” said Sylvia, ignoring Margaret’s pretentious claim to the Scottish throne, “that my father said my mother’s family came to Marquette the year the city was founded.”

“You know,” said Michael, “my Grandma Bergmann used to tell me she came to Marquette during its first year. How odd. I bet our families have known each other a long time.”

“They have,” said Sylvia, taking his hand. “I remember being at your parents’ wedding when St. Peter’s Cathedral was just being built. I must have been about twelve then.”

“Someone,” said Roy, “should write all this down. Marquette is the finest city ever, and since our family is part of its history, neither should be forgotten.”

Everyone nodded in agreement, but writing Marquette’s history seemed too daunting a task for any of them. Not one felt confident with pen and paper.

“Hello, Roy,” said a young man passing by. “How are you?”

“Hi, Fred. Everyone, this here is Fred Rydholm,” Roy introduced. “He works with me up at the Club. He drove the Club’s car in the parade today.”

Everyone greeted Fred. Introductions were made and remarks exchanged about how impressive the parade had been. Then Fred said goodbye and walked away. One day, Fred Rydholm would pen two mammoth volumes detailing the history of the iron ore industry, the founding of Marquette and the Huron Mountain Club, and the Upper Peninsula’s important role in American history.

“How long before the fireworks start?” asked Ellen.

“Can’t we go home?” Jimmy complained. “It’s cold out here, and fireworks are boring anyway.”

“Don’t be a creampuff,” his grandmother teased. “The fireworks will be marvelous. This has been the best Fourth in the North.”

At that moment, the first loud cracking thunder broke. Memorial Field was packed with thousands of city residents and visitors who lifted their eyes to the glorious explosions in the night sky. Pink blazing sparks spread in every direction. Then a burst of blue, an explosion of green, a shot of white, a spray of orange, then yellow, then blue again, and red, and green, and blue, and orange, and yellow, and pink, and white. Burst after burst, straight firing white lines, kaleidoscopic green, pink, purple, all at once. One separate firework to mark each year of Marquette’s history. Up into the sky they shot in shimmering streaks like a hundred candles blazing on a bombastic birthday cake. Ellen covered her ears; the fireworks were so delightfully loud.

Henry leaned over to kiss his wife’s cheek.

“Ouch, that tickles,” Beth giggled. “When will you shave off that silly beard?”

“First thing tomorrow morning,” he promised, “but you have to admit it looks pretty good for having been grown so quickly.”

“Shh, Daddy, you’re missing the fireworks,” Ellen scolded.

Henry and Beth both chuckled, glad to see their daughter happy. They were happy themselves. They were back where they belonged, in their hometown for its centennial, which they would not have missed for anything. Henry thought back on all of Marquette’s remarkable history, the raising of the courthouse, the library, the banks, the houses, the bravery of its people, the struggles through fires and blizzards, economic woes and wars. He thought of the ore docks, those formidable giants of the iron industry, stretching out into the world’s greatest lake as emissaries to distant lands. For a hundred years, from Iron Bay, the Upper Peninsula’s riches had been shipped out to bolster a nation, yet Marquette had scarcely received mention in a history book. Many people could not even pronounce its name, much less find it on a map. But its Northern sons and daughters knew the great privilege they shared in living here. They knew Nature had blessed them by giving them this land of pristine beauty, mighty forests, fresh air, and remarkable weather. Henry and Beth were grateful to have been born here, and thankful they had been wise enough to return. Thousands that night felt in their hearts what Henry spoke as he turned to Beth.

“We truly do live in THE QUEEN CITY OF THE NORTH.”

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Tyler R. Tichelaar, seventh generation Marquette native, is the author of The Marquette Trilogy, My Marquette, and numerous other books about Marquette and its past. For more information, visit his website www.MarquetteFiction.com