Two Memoirs Available as “Combo”- NOW on SALE!

P1040978 My first two memoirs, “The Wishing Years,” and “A Tree Grows in Trout Creek,” are now available as a “combo.” While they last, the combo will be on sale for $20.00 + 4.50 media shipping.

Wishing in the Wilds

Everyone has their wishing years—years filled with the wonders of growing up, the trials and tribulations of being a kid in a grown-up’s world, and the unquestionable certainty that coming of age is only a distant dream that will probably never ever really come true.

Mine were spent in Michigan’s wild, rugged, and somewhat isolated Upper Peninsula, in a small iron mining community called Dober Location just down the hill from the rusty shafts of the Hiawatha Mine where Dad worked.

Our area’s claim to fame—besides iron ore produc­tion—was the hundreds of clear blue lakes and streams team­ing with trout, bass, and bluegills; the pine forests thick with deer, bear, and partridge; and the remains of abandoned Ojibway villages and burial grounds where it was rumored Indian spirits still stomped around in the woods. But, believe me, while this wonderful world of wildlife was a Paul Bunyan paradise for the male portion of the population, a girl could easily feel lost in the maze of woods, water, and world his­tory.

Spread-eagled in a patch of sweet purple clover sur­rounding our potato field near a steep gravel pit, I would stare, for hours, upward into space. Wishing. The sky was the limit. I could go anywhere, do anything, be anyone I wanted. I wished I were a gorgeous, silver screen, movie queen like Lana Turner. I wished I could assume a new identity and call myself by my dreamy, made-up name, Lynette Swan. I wished I knew how to drive. I wished I were old enough to get a job scooping ice cream at Lenny’s Soda Bar or taking tickets at the Perfect Theater in Stambaugh. I wished I were a bird and could fly away.

Rolling over with the stealth of a spy, I would flatten myself like a snake, slither silently to the sunburned grass on the edge of the pit and watch bug-eyed grasshoppers flex their lanky green legs, then jump and spit. I wished I could live with such abandon. I wished I could take off and go rabbit hunting like Dad and my brother John whenever I felt the urge and not have to be faced with a future of fussy female things like ironing ruffled blouses, shaving legs, and plucking eyebrows into perfectly shaped arches.

Yet, prowling the aisles of Newberry’s Five and Dime in Iron River with Mom, I hunted not for rabbits but for any hint of glamour that would take me away from the pines, the birchbark, and the fungi of the northwoods. Standing in fas­cination over the midnight blue, imitation velvet display of fake sapphires and diamonds, I became a woman of the world, a Bohemian artist, a concert pianist on world tour, not just a wide-eyed, curly-haired, broomstick-skirted girl born to the Great Lakes’ wilderness.

Wherever I was, I longed for adventure. I wished Mom and Dad would loosen up the apron strings. Sometimes, I wished I lived in Chicago with my grown up sister Corinne. Other times, I wished I could just be one of the guys and hang out with my brother John and his pals in their secret club­house hidden somewhere down by the iron ore piles, near Old Nick’s, the hermit’s, shack.

I didn’t exactly want my Guardian Angel to take a hike, but I wanted to experience danger, mystery, chance. I wished that, by some miracle, life in Dober Location, in Iron County, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan—practically the middle of nowhere—could somehow be exciting, daring, memorable. And, as it turned out, it was. Sometimes we laughed. Sometimes we cried . . . 

From Paradise to Hell: One Man’s Journey

Yesterday I received a letter from my dear friend Clayton Klein, author of seven books and former owner and publisher of Wilderness Adventure Books. I first met Clayton and his late wife Marjorie after I had submitted some stories for possible publication back in 1992. I’d barely put them in the mail, when three days later the phone rang at our house and Clayton told me how much he’d enjoyed them. He asked me if I could write a book! And, without even thinking too much about it, I said, “Yes!” The thrill of this writing adventure continued over the next several years as I submitted story after story to Clayton and received his excited responses.

My first book, The Wishing Years, published in 1995, came to be because of Clayton [Read more…]