Archives for August 2007

Author Tells of U.P. Traditions

Michigan’s rugged, isolated, and enchanting Upper Peninsula comes to life in a new book A Tree Grows in Trout Creek by Coralie Cederna Johnson. Johnson, author of the 1995 memoir, The Wishing Years, returns to her growing up years in the ‘40’s and ‘50’s with this new coming of age collection of stories. While the stories follow a star struck girl and her small town family and friends exploring their wishes and dreams, they also reflect the romance of Upper Michigan’s history, traditions, and unique cultural backgrounds of its people.

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Driving Dad Crazy

A selection from the new book, A Tree Grows in Trout Creek, now in publication:

When Dad wasn’t working one of three rotating shifts underground in the Hiawatha Mine, he’d be riding out on M-73 to work on the cottage he was building at Hagerman Lake. There was always some new project to be done, no matter how far along the overall development had progressed.

Wanting company on these excursions he’d win me away from my favorite pastime—reading the Junior Classics—with the assurance of great outdoor adventure. Enchanted with the excitement and enthusiasm that flowed like a fountain of youth from Dad’s dissertations on dreamland, the U.P., I’d throw on my red plaid jacket, blue jeans and brown and white saddle shoes and hurry to join him.

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A Shadowy Saga of Seney

When Nellie Bly, a famed and outspoken journalist of the late 1800’s, was told chilling tales of wickedness–barroom brawls, slavery and murder–in Seney, Michigan, she came herself to see if they were true. What she discovered were saloons brimming with booze, gambling and “ladies of the night.”

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Bleeding Hearts

A selection from the book The Wishing Years, by Coralie Cederna Johnson, published 1995:

My cousin Joanne lived just three doors down the block and even though she was a grown up seven and I was only four, we were the best of friends.

When she went off to school that fall, I thought I’d die without her. I gave up trying to count the long hours of each weekday, convinced that the weekend would never arrive. But somehow the days ticked slowly away until we could once again be together, make up for lost time, and play our favorite games in my back yard.

But then something terrible happened.

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U.P. Heartland of the Finnish

Determined to discover a place where they could enjoy the same solitude and spiritual communion with nature they’d known in Finland, it is not surprising a majority of Finnish people, chose the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for their home.

Forced out of Finland following the fatal famine of the 1860’s, they came to the U.P. resolving to enrich their lives, but harboring in their hearts the mysterious minor melodies of their ancestors and their heritage of a million shining nights in the land of the midnight sun.

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The Sweet Song of Success

Awash in an aura of nostalgia and history, the stately grey and white two-story turn-of-the-century home sitting proudly on the grounds of the Iron County Museum in Caspian, Michigan, seemed to sing out a welcome. Strains of “I Love You Truly” played upon my memory, bringing to mind the hundreds of thousands of weddings and other special events that have been blessed with the music of Carrie Jacobs-Bond, an early Iron County resident.

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Wallpaper Roses

In 1949, with the war years well behind us, my mother decided it was time to spruce up the interior of our Upper Peninsula home. My father suggested that knotty pine would be nice, but Mom had other ideas.

“These rooms need a little magic,” Mom said. “I’m really tired of all this mauve. What we need is something new—something exciting, elegant, enchanting.”

“We could use a change,” I agreed, trying to be helpful.

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The Perfect Halloween Pumpkin

When my friend Phyllis retired from a twenty-one year career in Financial Operations at the University of Michigan, she didn’t wonder for a second how she would spend her days. Her dreams of being a full-time grandmother would finally be fulfilled. That she would also have time to redecorate the house and knit to her heart’s content was wonderful, but the time she would spend making memories with her four year-old granddaughter, Alexandra, would be the most important.

Phyl’s husband Jack retired shortly after she did and, while that could have presented a territorial problem for some couples, these two struck a silent agreement to stick to their own areas of business—she to the house and he to the garden…most of the time…

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Women’s Popular Fiction Selections


The purpose of this ethnographic study was to determine the effect of mass-media advertising on women readers’ popular fiction selections. The determination to research this case study was based on interest resulting from readings in a recent Popular Culture graduate class and from my own enjoyable experience as a reader of popular fiction. Factors contributing to the success of this case will be measured by the creation of an unbiased well-organized women readers’ survey, survey response, and the ability to evaluate that response.

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Ethnography & Women’s Reading Rituals


Ethnography is the study and documentation of a specific group or area of a particular culture. It is the study of cultures. Jennifer Pehlke, University of Illinois at Chicago, explains, “Ethnography is basically the study of the everyday rituals and practices of a particular group of people.” Ethnographers observe many different aspects of a culture. Ethnographic studies are often conducted on language, physical characteristics of the members of a particular culture, material products, social customs, location, geographical environment, diet, governmental customs, shelter, dress, transportation, manufacturing, customs regarding marriage, customs regarding adolescents, customs regarding birth, adulthood initiation rites, death, religious ideas and idols, mythological interpretation, and social environment.

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