The fact that Michigan Week began on May 18th was not on my radar whatsoever this year. Last year I managed to blog every single day during Michigan Week. I'm too late for that this time around, but I'll do my
best to put up a few posts this week, whether they're pictures or about something fun I did. Now I'll have to think of something fun to do on my next day off! :-)
It's downright hot here today and I couldn't be happier - it's nice to see you again, summer. The warm weather has made everything burst into bloom. No more bare branches:
Last month I stopped at Cops & Doughnuts in Clare on my way home from Charlevoix so I could pick up a snack for the road and a few doughnuts to take home to Jason. My picks were a blueberry bismarck and a strawberry bismarck. Here's the blueberry:
No way I could let this sit in the bag for three hours on the drive home; I ate it in the car before hitting the road again! No trip up North of mine will be complete anymore unless I stop here for a treat. Go here; you won't regret it.
I was in Charlevoix last weekend to attend a genealogy workshop at their public library. This was my first trip to Charlevoix, as well as my first organized genealogy event. I'd decided I was ready to take my hobby to the next level, and when I got the news in early March that there was a workshop "up north," I quickly signed myself up.
I was so impressed by the library. I wasn't expecting it to be so big; in fact, when my GPS told me I'd arrived there, I thought it was wrong and kept driving. I later learned this building used to be a school.
I immediately fell in love with this bear statue out front. That's a Michigan map covering his body. So cute; I wished I could take him home with me.
This is a butterfly sculpture on the library grounds, close to a rain garden:
The workshop was a seven-hour event, including lunch. I learned a lot of useful tips, met a lot of nice people, and got a tour of the library from a member of their Friends group. I won't go into all the details of everything about the workshop, but I will say that something I learned there finally led me to my grandfather's name in the 1940 Census! That alone made the whole trip completely worth it.
After the workshop, I went exploring. I walked three blocks to the downtown area to get an up-close view of Lake Charlevoix.
I also walked to the other side of town, so I could see Lake Michigan:
This was a great spring trip; I'd love to return here for a summer vacation. It truly is "Charlevoix The Beautiful."
Awhile back I posted about a brick wall I remembered seeing along I-75 in Bay County. It was wavy and painted like the American flag. This weekend, I finally got a chance to look for it again. I was en route to Charlevoix (separate post on that coming soon) and as I headed north on the freeway, I caught a glimpse of the flag wall on the southbound side of 75. Since I was driving solo, I wasn't able to get a picture. I made a mental note of where I was - near the 165 mile marker, and used Google Earth Street View to find it. So here you have it, the elusive I-75 flag wall:
This image is from 2008, before the maps cars had the higher-resolution cameras. I still wish I'd gotten my own picture - maybe next time when I'm not driving.
I've been busy with genealogy research this weekend, and made a few new discoveries, so that was exciting. I love uncovering new information and sharpening my research skills as I go along.
In this portion of my research I focused on Thayer Graham, my great-grandfather on my mom's side. With the help of old city directories for Saginaw, Flint, and Detroit, as well as the 1940 United States Census, I was able to "follow" Thayer around Michigan from 1907 up until 1942. I was quite surprised at the number of times Thayer (and in later years, his wife and kids) moved house - I counted nineteen different addresses during that time span. Was it normal to move around that much back then? It seems really excessive to me. It also had to have been really chaotic - Thayer and his wife, my great-grandmother Viola, had eleven kids together over a span of about 20 years. I can't imagine pulling up stakes so many times with so many kids, year after year. Of course, it probably got easier once the oldest ones left home, but still.
Another fun discovery I made: in 1935, my great-grandparents on my dad's side and my great-grandparents on my mom's side were living just minutes apart from each other in Detroit. The city directory, the census, and Google Maps all helped me confirm this. It's fun to think that at some point in time they probably passed each other on the street.
Thayer also had a lot of different jobs in his life, according to what I found in the city directories (which helpfully list a person's occupation along with their address). He worked as a laborer, a driver, a watchman, and a fireman. In his last few years, he and the family lived outside of Saginaw on a farm.
Thayer passed away in 1943, so obviously I never got to meet him, but after all this research, I feel like I "know" him a little better.
I’ll admit it: whenever I see a picture book with a celebrity’s name on the cover, I roll my eyes a little and think “Oh, here we go again – another famous person who got a publisher to take their book just because they’re famous.”
Devin Scillian is a local celebrity; he anchors the local news on WDIV, so he’s pretty well-known in the metro Detroit area. When I learned that he’s penned a bunch of children’s books, I assumed that it was just because he’s Devin Scillian that someone agreed to publish them. Then I went on his web site and read that it took him ten years to find a publisher that would accept his first book, so I decided to give one of his books a chance before judging too harshly.
In this tale, the goldfish starts out alone in his bowl for the first couple of days, but as the days go on, more and more creatures appear until the bowl is so crowded, the goldfish gets fed up and shouts he just wants his bowl all to himself again. He gets his wish when he’s suddenly plopped into a new, smaller bowl, all alone. At first he’s happy, but then realizes he misses his old pals. But it turns out his brief stay in the small bowl was just a temporary one, and the next thing he knows he finds himself in a large aquarium with all his old buddies again, with plenty of room for all. Plus, he discovers there’s a female goldfish named Gracie in the tank (he’d missed her the first time around in the crowded bowl, thinking Gracie was his own reflection).
I have to say this book is cute. I like how it ends with the two goldfish pairing up and swimming around together. I also loved the description of Gracie – “she’s the color of a fresh tangerine.” The illustrations, done by Tim Bowers, are adorable. However, I didn’t really understand why the owner of these fish and other assorted creatures would think cramming them all together in a small bowl was a good idea, especially if the end plan was to put them all into a big aquarium. Why not wait until the aquarium was ready before buying all these animals? This is never explained as the human(s) in this story are never seen.
To sum it up, I liked it, but didn’t love it. I liked it enough to look for some of Devin’s other picture books – I’d like to compare and contrast them with each other. Maybe I’ll even find one I can use for storytime.