Tuesday, August 27, 2013
FINDING PLACES, IRON MOUNTAIN
Jim and I have been on a limited time to wander the Upper Peninsula of Michigan since this two year circumnavigation of the United States is coming to an end. He has firm dates in the State of Washington for his drivers license renewal and his bi-annual physical since even full time roadies have to have some sort of permanence and a legal address. He wanted to see where I lived and grew up and I wanted to find old friends and haunts, and we did that with great success.
Jim and I missed one spot, Birch Creek, Michigan where I lived as a kindergartner. I lived in Iron Mountain in this house above, on G Street, after the fire. My dad found work at the Kingsford, Ford Plant. We left our dog in Hardwood with a friend of my dad's because he knew we would be renting. Four months later, Duffy came crawling up the stairs weak and bedraggled waggiing his tail. This is the first house we lived in that had a connected garage. It had a laundry shoot from the bedroom over the garage that we loved to slide down when mom wasn't looking. We didn't get an allowance. My brother sold Grit Magazine. I applied for my own route and Grit turned me down because I was a girl. Bill decided to give his route to me and I turned out to be a terrific sales person. (Sometime in the 1980's, I sold an article to Grit Magazine about a chain saw wood carver.) So,there, Grit!!
On G Street, my best friend was Sharon Moroff who lived across the street from me. This photo was taken in Escanaba, where she visited me after we left Iron Mountain. Dad got a better paying job at Harnischfeger.
The Moroff family from a photo sent to us when Sharon's sister became a novitiate. Sharon was about two years older than me.
Mrs. Carlson was my 4th grade teacher at the Iron Mountain Grammar School which has been torn down and rebuilt. She considered us "transients" and said so on my report card as in, "The best you can expect from a transcient." She refused to help me with math when I asked. My dad would tell me, "No teacher will refuse you help, you are just to shy to ask." He was wrong..
We visited the street between raindrops since it thundered and stormed all night long and most of the morning. We grocery shopped, and did laundry. Our umbilical cord to the "toad" is improperly wired and shorting out fuses right and left. We had an appointment at Scotty's Garage to have it fixed and will be detained here for possibly two days which gives us time to be real tourists in the area and get to a Glider Museum they have in town as well as to my Grandmother's house.
My Dad's sister owned a store in Kingsford that we will try to find today. My Grandmother bought it from my aunt. The house was behind the store and I have great memories of our visits to that house and store. The Menominee River ran right in front of it and we sailed out over the water on a rope hung from a tree and dog-paddled back to shore. It kept us cool.
While I was rummaging around my old photo disk, I found my only school picture at Longfellow school, third grade. I am in the back row, first on the left. Third and fourth from the left is Judy and Karen. At home, I have all of their names. Teacher was Karen's Aunt, Ester Dawe.
My travel blog has been a personal sally with little about the area for potential visitors. We chose Highway 2 because Road Trip USA lists it as one of the best cross-country highways in the country. From Mackinac to Iron Mountain, numerous places called to me. Not all are on Highway two. Drummond Island, Fayetteville State Park, the Locks at Sault Ste. Marie. Two historic logging museums, one at Tahquamenon another, the IXL at Hermansville, near by. Seul Choix Lighthouse park and museum at Gulliver. Hundreds of years ago, a group of french Sailors were caught in a fierce storm and sought shelter and landed on a rocky harbor to wait out the storm. They called it (Sis-Shawa, Only Choice.
Off Highway 2 you can find private attractions such as a snowmobile museum, at Naubinway, or a natural wonder, the "Big Spring", Kitch-iti-Kipi at Indian Lake.
Here in Iron Mountain you can visit Pine Mountain, home to what at one time was the biggest Ski Jump in the world. Iron Mountain Iron Mine at Vulcan. There is a Forest Service map available at the Visitors Center that invites you to follow along to see great forests and meadows, especially valuable to see fall color in October, November.and December.
It is pouring as I write. We'll be dancing with raindrops again today and make up the time spent here on the road ahead. "Splish Splash, I was takin' a bath..."