Have you ever gone to the store only to get home and forgot the one item you went to get? That's similar to what happened to me last week when I wrote my post. My first inspiration was one story that made me smile, imagine and remember.
Last week I shared about a book I read from a local author. Ironwood Roots: Memories of the Upper Peninsula by Betty Warren Best, a long time resident of Cadillac, MI, published by Best Gearhart Knitting Machines. Available on Amazon.
The story that vanished lost along the way was her families journey in 1938 from Ironwood to Flint in expectation of seeing relatives. That drive included a ferry ride across to the lower peninsula. Travel changed with the Mackinaw bridge erected in 1956/57.
Reading about Betty's experience made me smile but also recognize what an impact the bridge was for many people and all our lives since.
Imagine in the haste of planning a trip to make sure you got to the ferry on time. And then, as Betty writes, "at this rate we would be lucky to get on the last ferry of the day. And meanwhile, we had a long, long wait in our car without access to water, a bathroom, or a place to walk. Just a spot on the tarmac in the hot sun". Aren't you glad those days are gone?
Why I look back. I don't want to live in the past. But upon reflection, I see what happened, what people went through and I see hope because of what followed.
I step back and look at my grandparent's lives. They were a young married couple with four kids when the depression hit. Another child born during the depression and another toward the end of it. The values and beliefs from that experience stay with a person, at least part of it. Only part because when you also look at what came out of the depression, it was quite the opposite. We became people who saved everything because somewhere along the way you could use it again and have also become a throwaway society. Not everything is good yet, the human desire for more and the innovation and vision to make it happen you see all around us today.
I've had my feet knocked out from under me and smacked the ground. No, it isn't fun just as I am sure going through the depression wasn't fun. As Betty Warren Best reasoned in Ironwood, "it's what we knew." She came from a child's perspective. For me, as an adult, it wasn't all I knew, so I rely on vision, hope and mostly what have I learned to move forward.
I remember my mom telling about her family crossing to the Upper Peninsula by ferry when she was growing up. It was hard to imagine the bridge didn't stand sturdy and proud connecting the Upper and Lower Peninsula's because in my life it always had and we crossed it many times. The bridge is a good metaphor for what has been and a reminder of what could be if we dare dream and take the steps across.
A bridge across time on this Mother's day weekend. A thank you to Betty Warren Best for sharing her stories. A tribute to my mom for your inspiration. To my grandmother and great-grandmother and all those before because just like the pieces of fabric in your quilt on my bed, you are a part of who I am. And may the bridge continue, even though I don't have children, to others along my journey.
Continue to share your stories they are the bridge between generations and the fabric pieces that make a beautiful, cozy warm quilt of life.
My great-grandmother Ellen with her granddaughter Janet in the garden about 1941
My grandmother Edna in her garden 1920's
Some of my mom's flowers in a pair of my brother's old boots 2009
My grandma used to stop and pick wildflowers and I think of her every time I see some. Amen Park Grand Rapids, MI
Some of my flowers. The same kind as my great-=grandmother and I believe grandmother have in their garden. Interesting I've grown these for about 5 years and just saw these 2 pictures last year.
If you are stumped what to get your mother this Mother's day a gift card to Cadillac Java and this book may be the perfect gem. Give your mom the break she deserves this year with a gift card and Ironwood Roots. It's not just about Ironwood it's about life.
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The fun-seeking explorer
The Cadillac area is a a gorgeous place to visit or live. This site is an ongoing exploration. You will find photos and thoughts of places to see and things to do. Welcome and feel free to make a comment or recommend a place to visit.