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.

Johnson celebrates the lives of area people and the immigrants from many countries who came to Iron County to work in the iron mines after iron ore was discovered in 1851. Johnson, whose Finnish and Italian grandparents came to the U.P. along with other pioneers from Poland, France, Belgium, England, Sweden, Norway, Germany, and Croatia, discusses how they formed a diverse melting pot of “old country” religions, languages, values…and recipes. Though different in many ways, they shared a penchant for privacy, pride, and the wilderness of Michigan’s north country.

Learning to drive on the back roads, calling coyotes and attending the magical Saturday matinee at the Perfect Theater in Stambaugh, Michigan, are just a few of the memorable stories that Johnson shares. Poignant and funny, A Tree Grows in Trout Creek celebrates the mystery and miracles of growing up through times of laughter, tears, and triumph.

Johnson, retired from the UM School of Dentistry, lives in Ypsilanti and is an adjunct lecturer for the EMU Women’s and Gender Studies Program. She grew up in the Iron County mining community of Stambaugh and Iron River, MI. Her stories have been published in Above the Bridge, The Porcupine Press, Peninsula People Magazine, and the Detroit News.

A Tree Grows in Trout Creek contains 317 pages with 26 stories, 35 black and white photographs from the 1940’s and 1950’s and twenty-one ethnic recipes. Autographed copies are available by mail for $14.95, plus 4.60 priority mail, from Wildwood Press, P.O. Box 980616, Ypsilanti, MI 48198 or online at


  1. Hi! I am from Trout Creek, Mi. in the UP, of course.
    I am interested in your new book “A TREE GROWS IN TROUT CREEK” I will be buying the book. Can you tell me if it is about the Trout Creek that I live in? We are about 50 miles from Iron River. Hope you sell lots of books.

    Hello! Thanks for your interest in my new book “A Tree Grows in Trout Creek”! It is in deed about your Trout Creek. I grew up in Stambaugh (now called Iron River, MI) and we visited relatives in Trout Creek when I was a kid. The stories are similar to my first book, “The Wishing Years” which is a collection of stories about growing up in the 1940’s and 50’s.
    Hope you love the book!

  2. Hi,
    I just ordered your two books. I too was raised in the UP. Stambaugh, Michigan (now Iron River) My mom lived there until she was 89. Passed away a year ago. How she would have enjoyed your books. I am looking forward to reading them. Is it possible to have them autographed? To Stella Still a Yooper at Heart.
    Thank you so much. All the best to you.

  3. Stella, Thank you for ordering the books! I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them. I will be happy to autograph your books: “To Stella Still a Yooper at Heart.” Enjoy!

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