Last week Barry and I drove to a Baraga-Ontonagon high school basketball tournament, about an hour from where we live. We found ourselves ‘way back in the Upper Peninsula (Yooper) backwoods, re-living a family memory from the early 1980’s. Barry kept telling me to write a blog about our experience. I kept telling him, “Please, YOU write a blog about it!” Finally, he agreed. Please welcome my latest guest-blogger, my dear husband, as he shares our latest adventure. P.S. He’s publishing it in his column in our local newspaper, the L’Anse Sentinel.
It was September, 1979. We young Lower Michigan emigrants landed plop-dab on the old Mustanen family dairy farm on the outskirts of Pelkie. The rented farmhouse was our first UP home. Landlords Ned and Toini Moberg watched over us.
I had won a tough interview process for a L’Anse Sentinel reporting job over a talented woman writer who chewed tobacco.
Kathy was hired for an office position at Baraga County Memorial Hospital. In our early 20’s we were unknowingly laying the foundation to becoming Yoopers.
Among Kathy’s family in the distant “Thumb” of the Lower Peninsula we were something of celebrity, or perhaps just nuts. Her mom and dad knew very well this region from their dear friends, Don and Ann McConnell. They visited the deepest, darkest, buggiest and snowiest woods of rural Mass City at least annually. Don is related to the Miilu clan there.
And so it was, we young upstarts were almost neighbors. K’s parents, Joanne and Dale, soon made the trip north with the McConnells. It wasn’t long before we were at the Miilu A-frame camp, playing cards flying across the tables, a barrel wood stove and gas lamps adding charm and heat. I have a distant memory of eating bear. . .