New Book—LAUGHING WATERS—Coming Soon!

Life, Love, and Laughter
Along the Great Waters of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula!

Laughing Waters, by Coralie Cederna Johnson, is the author’s third memoir of growing up in the magnificent Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The new book is due out at the end of July 2015 and follows The Wishing Years and A Tree Grows in Trout Creek.

In this inspiring and funny memoir, the author shows us what it was like to grow up in Michigan’s magnificent land of lakes, rivers, and iron ore. Laughing Waters takes us through joys and tragedies such as one family’s loss of their father in a mining cave-in. At the same time it reminds us of the strength in sharing family values, recipes for good food, and laughter…always laughter!

Bear Facts “Gail’s grandpa gave us each a small piece of hot bear on a toothpick. And then we chewed and chewed…but it tasted like an old rubber inner tube. And it stunk!”

Walking from Camp Batawagama to the Ojibwa Burial Grounds at Chicaugon Lake, we observed the rule: “The forest belongs to the animals. Leave it untouched, as you have found it.”

Laughing Whitefish Salmon, long, fat, and joyful, swimming secretly in a hidden stream. And they appeared to be …laughing! The great Ojibwa spirit, Gitchi Manitou, had smiled upon us.

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New Memoir by Coralie Cederna Johnson

New Memoir by Coralie Cederna Johnson

A Christmas Memory


Winter Pals: Judy Coralie & Nancy

Two weeks before Christmas, my pal Judy Sporer and I bundled up in our warmest coats, wound our scarves around our necks and faces, and trudged two miles in our Stadium Boots to Iron River to do our Christmas shopping. We each had a whopping $5 in our pockets.

At Newberrys Five and Dime, for $.39, I found a deck of miniature playing cards for my sister Connie who had recently developed a mania for playingSolitaire.Then, I spotted a pink donkey planter for Mom for $.89 which I knew she would absolutely love. But I couldnt see a thing for Dad, or my brother John.

We slipped on down the snow-covered sidewalk to Johnnys Men Store. The place was loaded with shirts and ties, tie tacks, andcuff links! A high school senior, my brother wore his only pair to every special event at school. Excited, I turned the little brown box over, but nearly fainted when I saw the price$2!

Judy and I fled up the street to Schafers where the scents of pipes, tobacco, and shaving lotion tickled our chilly noses. Judy bought pretty bottles of cologne for her sisters and mom and some Old Spice aftershave for her brother and her dad. I was about to follow suit when I spotted something that made my heart leapa reindeer poised in a pretty blue globe filled with water which, when turned upside down, caused snow to magically spin, sweep, and swirl lazily down on the winter scene. $1.50and worth every penny.

With $2.22 left, I figured I could buy my brothers gift and still have enough for a malted milk at Walgreens. I could already taste it!

We scoured the aisles at Monkey Wards, but found nothing. At Kromms Department Store, we poured over the mens socks, ties, and hankies, but I knew nothing anywhere could compare to those classy cuff links at Johnnys. I counted my money again, hoping Id made a mistake the first time, but I hadnt. I looked enviously at Judy, whod made all her purchases and still had $.50 left, but I knew what I had to do.

Johnny wrapped the little brown box in tissue paper and put it and the receipt in a small brown bag, slipped my $2 into the cash register, and smiled. I knew Id made the right decision.

At Walgreens, I got a little jittery watching Judy sip her malt but my 10 cent cherry coke wasnt bad and I was happy as a lark imagining the look of disbelief in my brothers eyes when he opened his gift on Christmas morning.

And he didnt disappoint me. He beamed as he opened his box, complimented me on my discriminating choice of gifts, and said hed wear the cuff links to his Hi-Y banquet coming up soon.Id was absolutely thrilled.

I shall always remember that shopping day as one on which Judy and I discovered the true meaning of Christmas. Our joy was found in doing something special for those we loved. As we sunk our Stadium Boots back into the snowy drifts that covered the sidewalks, and set off for home in Dober Location, we smiled and hummed our favorite Christmas Carol, Joy to the World. Wed never felt so proud, so grown up, or so peaceful in all our eleven years. Knowing we had found presents that would surprise and please our families was the best Christmas gift of all.

A Little Snowfall in the U.P.

This is how our backyard looked a few years back in the U.P. A little snowfall…nothing big, just a few flakes. Then the sun came out to celebrate. Don’t you love the Upper Peninsula of Michigan’s weather? If not, wait five minutes and it will change! Never a dull moment!

Writing by Heart

The other day, a friend asked me what kind of writing I liked best. What kind of writing, she asked, brought me the most enjoyment and satisfaction? I didnt have to think about that for long because, although Ive done many different kinds of writing projects, I always come back to writing by heart. Both The Wishing Years and A Tree Grows in Trout Creek are excellent examples of what I call writing by heart. Each story starts with a memory, sometimes even a fragment of a memory, and grows as I take the imagined journey back in time to the place and people involved. It is the emotion of the memory that drives me onward in my writing.

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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, hed 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 pastimereading the Junior Classicswith 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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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 Id 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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