Category Archives: Celebrate the People

Articles on the colorful individuals and groups that make up the Grand Traverse Region. This includes people from our past as well as living history-makers. Oral histories and book reviews will also appear in this feature section.

“Fruit Growing from a Woman’s Standpoint”: an address to the State Horticultural Society by an Elberta Woman, 1912

Recently acquired by the Traverse Area District Library is a slim volume, the Forty-Second Annual Report of the Secretary of the State Horticultural Society of Michigan for the year 1912. The volume contains all the addresses and discussions held at the Society meeting on November 12-14, 1912, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Topics centered around fruit growing, and included caring for the young orchard, preventing frost damage, watering techniques, and more.

The following selection was an address delivered by Mrs. Edith Rose, of Elberta, Benzie County, Michigan. According to Edith, she and her husband Paul moved to Benzie County about 1890, and there started an orchard. Edith’s concerns had much less to do with the actual growing of fruit than the operation of the farm.  She does an admirable job discussing labor relations, racism, and prejudice against women. As an example of the last, Edith’s first name did not appear in the publication, and I was obliged to discover it through the Federal census, Benzie County.

Please note that the opinions expressed by Edith are her own, and not those of any staff member of Traverse Area District Library, or the editors of Grand Traverse Journal. Enjoy Fruit Growing from a Woman’s Standpoint:

“Mrs. Paul Rose, Elberta

Mr. President, Gentlemen and Ladies: Inasmuch as we are supposed to be it, I will show due respect to the gentlemen by addressing them first. When I read the program and saw that I was the only woman on the program, I wondered who the program committee had a grudge against- whether the audience or myself. You will no doubt find before I am through with what I am going to say that I am not a talker, but Mr. Rose is here, and so I will say no public talker. If I had been giving more time to speaking, you see I would have had less time for fruit growing.

Nearly 20 years ago a man and his wife, living near Benton Harbor, packed their household goods, loaded them into a car and started them up north, to Benzie county.

While they were being loaded a rain which turned into sleet came up and ruined everything, so far as varnish was concerned. A superstitious person would have take it as a sign to give up the job, but they were not superstitious so kept on with their work.

Cherry Orchard of Guy Tompkins, Grand Traverse Peninsula. From "Forty-Second Annual Report of the Secretary of the State Horticultural Society of Michigan for the Year 1912."
Cherry Orchard of Guy Tompkins, Grand Traverse Peninsula. From “Forty-Second Annual Report of the Secretary of the State Horticultural Society of Michigan for the Year 1912.”

In the car with the household goods were two horses, a cow and a calf, a very fine calf. When the engineer came to get the emigrant car, he seemed to have been out of humor (perhaps his wife had not made him a  good cup of coffee that morning for his breakfast). He struck the car so hard, it threw the car door open and the little calf fell out. The man with the car asked the conductor to wait for him to put the calf back into the car, only to be told to get in or get left.

As there was no way to let any one know of the predicament the calf was in, she wandered in the freight yards crying for her mama until the next day, when a good German woman took pity on little black bossy and put her in a barn and fed her.

Later the Railroad Co. was notified they would have to deliver said calf to her destination, which they did, giving her a ride in the express car.

Three years later, Black Bossy was a cow, and probably thinking to save the housewife any extra work, skimming milk and churning cream, she gave skim milk. Six months later all they had left of Black Bossy was a beautiful black Poled Angus robe.

When the household goods arrived up north, his wife and their little three-year-old daughter, their foreman’s wife and little daughter, started for the north woods as their friends thought.

When they reached Thompsonville they were notified there was a strike on the Ann Arbor Railroad and no one knew when there would be a train, so they went to a nearby hotel (this was 10 o’clock at night) only to be told it was full. They went back to the depot and found there would be a train in a few minutes, that would take them within four miles of their home. Thinking it would be better to be four miles than twenty as they were then, they took the train which arrived in the freight yards of So. Frankfort about midnight, where they were told there was no hotel nearer then a  mile, no bus, no telephone, everything a glare of ice, and two little girls asleep, baggage, band boxes, bird-cage and such things that go with moving.

While deciding the next move to make two jolly traveling men offered to carry the little girls, which removed the greatest trouble, and they all started for a hotel. It probably was the first real work those men ever did. for they did some puffing before getting those little girls where they could walk, but very gentlemanly, saw the comical side of the affair.

The next day was bright and pretty and the husband, thinking to get some word from his little family drove to town, to find them waiting to be taken out to their first home of 80 acres of stumps, brush, and woodland, which was the nucleus around which has been builded [sic] what is now known as the Rose Orchards. There my life work has been put in helping to make them a success.

Fruit Growing from a Woman’s Standpoint

To talk on this subject, I will have to refer to our work, as it is all I know. What we have done, all things equal, others can do. A person said to me the other day, “Every woman can’t do what you have done.” Perhaps not, but they might improve on my work. It wouldn’t be best for every woman to engage in fruit work, as there are other lines of work for us to engage in. Just now we can vote and perhaps some day, hold office [editor’s note: Perhaps Edith means within the Horticultural Society, as general election voting was not passed in Michigan in the 1912 election. The measure lost by 760 votes]. I heard Prof. French of Lansing, say, “Men do not do their work haphazard now days.” In speaking of the fruit work, he said, “They spray, prune, pick, pack and market their fruit with brains.” I believe we have brains and certainly the gentlemen think so or they wouldn’t have given us the right of elective franchise, and thereby removing from us the stigma of mental weakness and taking us from the ranks of idiots, imbeciles, Indians [sic] and criminals.

"Royal Ann cherry tree on farm of W.B. Gray on Grand Traverse Peninsula. This tree has borne 18 cases that brought in $27 in one year." From "Forty-Second Annual Report of the Secretary of the State Horticultural Society of Michigan for the Year 1912."
“Royal Ann cherry tree on farm of W.B. Gray on Grand Traverse Peninsula. This tree has borne 18 cases that brought in $27 in one year.” From “Forty-Second Annual Report of the Secretary of the State Horticultural Society of Michigan for the Year 1912.”

Fruit growing is very interesting, in fact it is fascinating. You plant the little tree, watch the buds start, then the blossoms and later the ripened fruit. How well I remember our first crop of cherries. Mr. Rose said to me one day, “Get a little pail and we will pick our crop of cherries.” There were less than four quarts of them, but we were as proud of that crop as we ever were of thousands of crates in later years. To a woman who wished to take up this work or to one who by circumstances seem compelled to do something of this kind, by being left with a little family and perhaps a few acres of land or a life insurance with which to buy a little farm, I would say by all means, plant a few trees, not too close together and between the rows of trees, plant some variety of berries that will come into bearing early and help pay the expenses of growing the trees and of the family.

It may be a little hard at times, but wouldn’t it be harder to live in town in a stuffy tenant house and take in washing or sewing and live up the insurance, besides depriving the children of the fresh air and the pleasure they would get from helping mama, until they will become a part of your work and will lend a hand to help put one of them through agricultural college and then come home fully equipped to take the care from Mother’s shoulders?

A woman can plant a row of trees just as straight as a man. There are trees in our orchard that I helped to plant 19 years ago, and they seem to grow and bear just as well as those planted by the men. A woman can spray if necessary. My experience has been that there is no part of the fruit work that a woman can not do if she will study and use good sound sense, unless it is to plow, but I think she can hire that done all right.

A wife should familiarize herself with her husband’s work so that she can direct it, at any time, during his absence, and then if she is left alone she won’t be handicapped by having her help say, “She don’t know anything about it, she won’t know whether it is done right or not.” I have never had a man or woman refuse to do the work as I told them to. Mr. Rose has been gone a great deal of the time during the growing of our orchard. At first he would dictate and I would jot down a routine of work to be followed during his absence but that has become unnecessary years ago, as we have had the same fore man for a number of years and he understands his part of the work as well as I do mine.

I have had help in the house most of the time, which has left me quite free to follow our chosen profession, Horticulture. Of late years most of my work has been in overseeing the pickers or packers. I have handled white labor in Indiana in raspberry work. I have assisted Mr. Rose in Alabama with his negro laborers, in the straw berry fields, and of course nothing but white labor on our farm up north. Some women may say, I can’t handle the laborers; perhaps a few suggestions here in regard to this part of the work might help some of the wives of these young students, to have more confidence in their ability to help their husbands in their life work. I keep my help in the house from one to three years. When I hire my house keeper I tell her just what I want her to do and what I will pay for the work and there is never any trouble over the work or wages. Always direct the work in the house or packing house.

If your help knows there is some one around to direct them, even if they understand what they are to do, they will go at their work with more interest. You can keep your help better satisfied and keep them longer, by having your work well systematized, and let them think they are expected to carry out their portion. A worker likes to know they are appreciated and a kind word is a little thing but will work wonders sometimes in accomplishing better and more satisfactory results.

We have had as many as 85 packers in the cherry work. We have never missed but one morning of being there when the seven o’clock bell rung. Don’t ever leave your help alone, they will not work as well. Mr. Rose has often said to me when I did not feel able to go to the packing house: “Can’t you bring your rocking chair and sit where they know you are and where you can dictate the work?” Be very firm and decided with the workers but don’t nag them.

In Alabama I have started to the field with 125 negroes following and joking about their little Boss, “She don’t carry a gun or club.” When Mr. Bose started his berry work in the South, the Southerner said, “You will have to carry a gun or club, for the nigger will have to be knocked down a couple of times before he will work good.” We never had any trouble, kept our help, picked our berries in better shape than some of the fields where they worked their help at the point of the gun. We loaned our negroes one day to an adjoining berry grower. During the day Mr. Rose and I went over to see how they were getting along. When we came near where they were picking berries they expressed a delight at seeing us and when asked how they were getting along, said : “We don’t like this boss. He carries a gun. We like you-alls better.” We assured them that the boss would not hurt them if they worked all right, and then we started back. We had only gone a half-mile when we looked back and there came every one of our negroes. We stopped and when they came up we persuaded them to go back and finish the day, but they said : “No, sah ; we will work for you-alls but we don’t work over there no more.” We saw how they felt about it so told them, “All right go back to their cabins and work for us in the morning.” Kindness, even with the negro, got our work done better than a club.

We never hire our day help for any one piece of work. Then they can not complain if they are changed from one job to another, if I need more packers, I call them from the pickers and if the foreman needs more pickers I send the packers out to help him. We have had girls work 8 and 10 years in the fruit work. They enjoy it and will plan from one year to another, what they are going to do, and have their money spent, in their minds, a year ahead. Always be interested in each worker, study them to know what part of your work they are best adapted to. You may have a person that seems a failure at one thing and may make a splendid hand at something else. Our foreman brought a man from the orchard to me at the packing house and said: “Can you use him here, I can’t use him in the orchard. I set him to nailing packages, and he did fine work the rest of the season.

Just a word to the woman that has some money to invest and contemplates launching out in fruit-work. Be careful in selecting a location, if possible get near enough some town or shipping point where you can easily market your fruit and where you can get help to pick it, and don’t plant too extensively until you are sure you can handle the business, and don’t expect to have time to read stories, papers, call on your neighbors or embroider during the summer months. I heard a joke on a man who bought some land in Florida, unsight and unseen. After the bargain was all made and the price paid he thought he would go and see his new farm. The land shark took him out in a boat and after paddling around awhile said : “Your farm is under here ; when you get it drained it will be all right.” Don’t buy land unsight and unseen. Let the men do that. We women may be easy but there are others.”

The entirety of this work is available online for download:

Amy Barritt is  co-editor of Grand Traverse Journal.

Cecil H. Dill, Hand Musician and Celebrity of Traverse City

Meet Cecil H. Dill (27 October 1900-3 November 1989), “The Farmer Who Makes Music with His Hands.” Dill was an aspiring radio performer, who had an interesting talent… the ability to squeeze his hands together and play melodies, mostly of popular tunes of the day.

His parents, Jennie McEwan (d. 22 January 1960) and William H. Dill (d. 22 July 1966), were married in Grand Traverse County in 1899, and spent most of their married life alongside their children Cecil, Dorothy (d. 22 December 1972) and Joan, in Traverse City. According to census records, William briefly operated a farm in Blair Township, probably about 1930 to 1938 or so.

In 1939, William purchased Novotny’s Saloon on Union Street in Old Town, Traverse City, and renamed the establishment “Dill’s Olde Towne Saloon,” which became a favorite watering hole for locals and visitors alike. William had a long career in bartending, with only his brief farming career as the exception.

Like his father, Cecil usually made his living with his hands. During the holidays, he often sold balsam and cedar wreaths, and began taking orders in the end of October, showing the popularity of his work. Over the years, he offered junk removal and other light draying services to the community as well, sometimes partnering with Goldie Wagner (d. 16 April 1986).

But, before his father opened Dill’s Saloon, Cecil was still working the family farm when he discovered his unique musical abilities (I’ll let Cecil tell you in his own words in the embedded video exactly how he developed his talent). Cecil was able to sell his talent to various performers, most notably Ted Weems, the bandleader who would provide Perry Como his first national exposure. Cecil played with the Ted Weems Orchestra in Chicago, and was thoroughly applauded by all those present. According to a Chicago Tribune article of the event, Cecil stole the show.

The years of 1933-1934 saw the height of Cecil’s popularity. He played with Ted Weems, as well as bandleader Hal Kemp. He made appearances at other venues in Chicago and in Hollywood nightclubs. His performances were written up in Chicago and Detroit newspapers, as well as Vanity. He palmed his fame all the way to the National Farm and Home radio hour, and a Universal Pictures newsreel (below), both of which provided Cecil with national exposure.

Although his fame was short-lived, Cecil would continue to play throughout his life, showing up various variety events in Traverse City. Cecil’s Universal Pictures newsreel is the earliest known recording of Manualism, that is, the art of playing music by squeezing air through the hands. By all accounts, that makes Cecil the first “Manualist,” although I suspect this musical style has a long and varied history, as least as old as clapping.

The last of Cecil’s life was plagued with health problems. The Traverse City Record-Eagle reported of his ill-health several times. On Tuesday, October 10, 1961,  Cecil, living at 229 Wellington, was admitted to Munson. He had been dining at Bill Thomas’ Restaurant at 130 Park Street, when he fell ill. A “resuscitator unit” from the fire department was called to his aid, and the newspaper report stated he “suffered from an apparent heart attack.” He suffered additional bouts of illness that required hospitalization in 1970 and 1973, but ultimately lived to the ripe age of 89.

Enjoy Cecil’s rendition of “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” and the story of his talent, made available by the Internet Archive. This video is in the Public Domain, meaning there are no copyright restrictions, so please share out.





Amy Barritt is co-editor of Grand Traverse Journal.

Betty Beeby: Iconic Artist of “Up North,” 1923-2015

Betty Beeby, interviewed by the Women’s History Project of Northwest Michigan, on May 7, 2003, at her home in Eastport. Learn more about the Women’s History Project at their website,

I was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1923 when they didn’t have images of the baby-to-come. When they told my father that he had twins, he was so overjoyed that he did cartwheels down the entire corridor of Henry Ford Hospital.

We came Up North to Torch Lake every summer. My great-grandfather got the first land that was ever deeded in Torch Lake.

My father was a Captain in WWI when he saw a program my mother put on in one of the high schools. He was so impressed because she was the manager, and she sat down in the audience during the whole program. He said, “Anybody that isn’t backstage during the performance sure knows how to delegate.” He was pretty impressed with that, and she nabbed him.

I went to Cass Technical High School in downtown Detroit. I was not the best student because I was always drawing pictures instead of paying attention. I had to take a streetcar to school, which took about an hour. I’d practice drawing people as they were riding the streetcar.

At Cass, I had the fnest teacher that anyone could have. She was an older woman dedicated to her students and her job. She had aisles of art books she’d bought herself. You could borrow any of her wonderful books.

Miss Davis took me to meet the Booths. They were newspaper people with a gorgeous, palatial mansion in Grosse Pointe, with original paintings by Lautrec, Degas, and so on. They talked to me about what I wanted in art, and were influenced enough to give me a scholarship to Pratt Institute, one of the finest art schools in the United States.

I lost my pocket money in New York, somewhere between Brooklyn and Grand Central Station. I was so upset ‘cause my folks didn’t have a lot to spare. But I had a nice roommate who was also poor; so we subsisted on bacon drippings on toast and things like that.

I was in a movie theater on December 7, 1941.  Suddenly, in the middle of the movie, all of the lights came on and they said, “All armed servicemen report to their stations.” It was quite a shock. We went back to the school and found out that Pearl Harbor had been bombed.

The school authorities asked students to help with the inventories of the neighborhoods. We interviewed people about how many people were in each home, what were the ages, whether there were any cripples, what kind of heat they were using, and so forth because if we were bombed, if there was a fire, if anything was hit, the government needed that information. At the time we didn’t realize that German submarines were just off the Manhattan coast.

My first job was actually freelance, designing a cover for the Architectural Forum. After which they asked me to stay on with the staff and move over to Rockefeller Center. In any art department I worked in, I was usually the only woman. It was good pay, exciting work. I don’t know why more women aren’t going into it.

At night, I would volunteer at the United Nations Air Force Club where soldiers were coming in from all over the world. I was asked to paint a mural in the basement recreation room. I painted the Spanish dance for them.

For that work I was invited to the Tea Dance at Delmonico’s, which was high society. They brought this handsome man over to our table. They said he was also from Michigan, so we got to know each other. He wined and dined me, took me to places like the Russian Bear. I took him home to meet my parents. Jim said to my mother, “I want to marry your daughter.” And she said, “Oh, good! Let’s do it now!” She loved to party. It was an instant thing.

I quit Time-Life because Jim was stationed at Newport, Rhode Island. We were billeted at the Agassiz Mansion with other officers and their wives. I was pregnant while Jim was overseas, so I went home to Detroit.

In those days you stayed in the hospital ten days after having a baby. A woman down the hall from me was hysterical because her soldier husband in Texas wasn’t allowed to come back. The hospital asked if they could move me into her room to quiet her down. As soon as she found out my husband was in the South Pacific, she got along fine.

I moved back to my parent’s house with the baby. The cable my parents sent to Jim about the baby took two months to reach him. Jim came back when our baby was six months old, and saw him for the frst time. I still get pretty choked up to see young sailors seeing their babies for the frst time.

After Jim’s service time was over, we both wanted to live on a big body of water. Lake Superior was the biggest one we could find. Because Jim was originally a pharmacist, he was given a job with the Squib Pharmaceutical Company, traveling to hospitals back and forth across the Upper Peninsula

The winters up there were not easy. I was out in this little log cabin with a new baby, not far from the Marquette prison. I had no telephone. Every night I had to go outside, go down into the basement, and shovel coal into the furnace. Jim would come back on the weekends. Then Jim got a job in the pharmacy in Marquette. We used to sail with some people on a wonderful boat. They asked if we would like to be caretakers of the Longear Estate. The Longears owned most of the copper mines, thousands of acres in the Upper Peninsula. We put the kids in school. I had to drive them eight miles out to the gate to meet the bus. The bus driver carried a shotgun. In bird season, she’d stop the bus, shoot some birds, throw them at the kids’ feet, and then drive on. Our kids thought that was common practice.

We bought a drugstore in Kalamazoo in the fifties, and I painted again. I started as an artist, but when you have children you put that aside for a bit.

We bought a house on Lover’s Lane. A woman gave my children two beautiful big, white, rabbits. She said, ‘You won’t have to worry about separate cages, they are both males.’ We had eighteen rabbits within two months. Friends asked us to take care of their three cats while they traveled. Two weeks before they returned, each cat had a litter; and I was pregnant too. Living on Lover’s Lane I thought, “Do I have to move off of this street?”

I did the Captain Kangaroo artwork for CBS television; that was a wonderful experience. I got a big job illustrating the Child’s Story Bible. It was all in color, which was such a treat after doing mostly less expensive black-and-white art. I particularly loved illustrating book covers, jackets of famous authors. Eardmans paid me to skim through books to find the visual images for Steinbeck, T.S. Elliot, Hemingway, Updike, and Faulkner. They wrote with such skill that I really became interested in the words that portrayed people, that made you say to yourself, “I never thought of that.” I know it’s a good book when it’s a discovery.

That’s why I like painting and drawing; I go out and am amazed at the things that I see. I start to draw, and realize, “Oh…I never thought of that.” It’s entirely different than if you are just looking. You start to really see that drawing puts a value on everything, and a price on nothing. Everything is exciting. It’s a discovery, which is really important in drawing. Once you start, you discover more and more of what you are seeing.

We moved Up North because Jim retired, and I was asked to paint the mural at Fort Michilimackinac. I came up with nine ideas for this 50- foot wall, and they chose one idea. They asked me to create my proposed mural on a 10-foot width. If they liked it, they would have me paint it on the wall.

Image courtesy of Crooked Tree Arts Center, Petoskey, Michigan.
Betty Beeby in 2014. Image courtesy of Crooked Tree Arts Center, Petoskey, Michigan.

Jim always believed in me. He built this 10-foot stretched canvas on a frame that was always on display while I was painting the mural. I was up on the scaffolding for the whole summer. I didn’t have handholds or anything. I found myself wanting to step back to see how things were looking. I said, ‘I’ve got to have more boards up there.’ I was starting to have nightmares. Jim helped me strike a grid of vertical and horizontal chalk lines. That grid worked really well. I was up there for sometimes eight, ten hours getting things sort of mapped out.

The mural room was under the bridge (Mackinac). You could almost feel the vibrations in this room. It was a beautiful place just to rest and be serene. At night they had the mural lit. You could drive by the glass doors and see it.

About five years ago they covered the mural with a wall that goes all the way to the ceiling, and they built a store there. You don’t have to sell every place, you know.

Betty died on August 16, 2015, at the age of 93.

“Finding Beauty in Northern Michigan”: Catton Award Winner 2016

At the Bruce Catton Essay Awards Ceremony, April 2016. Image courtesy of Stewart A. McFerran.
At the Bruce Catton Essay Awards Ceremony, April 2016. Image courtesy of Stewart A. McFerran.

By Morgan Bankston, Winner of the 2016 Bruce Catton Awards

The leaves beneath my feet are the only sound I hear besides the howling of the wind. The trees are shedding their coats, getting ready for a brisk winter. Colors of orange and yellow float around me. The wind is whipping around me, breaking me out of my thought. I hike farther up on the bluff. Rays of red and pink sunshine envelope me in a ray of heat. The cold weather nips at my cheeks, turning them a pinkish color. The farther I hike, the colder it gets; my wind breaker is slowly losing its effect of keeping me warm.

“Come on, Mom,” I say. “We need to hurry if we are going to make it to the top by the time the sun sets. “

I climb faster than the rest of my family. I look behind me and see they’re still staggering on the trail, trying to catch their breath from climbing the enormous hill.

At the Bruce Catton Essay Awards Ceremony, April 2016. Image courtesy of Stewart A. McFerran.
At the Bruce Catton Essay Awards Ceremony, April 2016. Image courtesy of Stewart A. McFerran.

In front of me, I see a huge tree, about the size of an elephant; its leaves lay scattered on the ground beneath it. The trunk reminds me of a spider’s legs, strong, and curvy. The branches seem like they’re never ending, going up into the sky and cascading outward.

I run over to the tree and start to climb its long branches, climbing from branch to branch to get higher off the ground. Looking up, I see three abandoned bird nests at the very top of the tree. I decide to climb as close to the nests as I can before mom tells me go get down. Up I go, closer, closer to the nest before I hear a loud scream.

“Get down here right now, young lady!” my mother screams.

I pretend I don’t hear her. I climb higher, but the branches are getting thinner and thinner. I can’t go much higher or a branch will snap.

Giving up, I adjust my feet and climb down each branch, one by one.

I make it down to the ground safely and start running down the path. All of the trees are losing their leaves, turning an eerie gray for winter. It’s quiet and peaceful. No birds are chirping or singing, just the howl of the wind in the trees.

At the Bruce Catton Essay Awards Ceremony, April 2016. Image courtesy of Stewart A. McFerran.
At the Bruce Catton Essay Awards Ceremony, April 2016. Image courtesy of Stewart A. McFerran.

I press on along the trail making sure to stay on the path. I turn my head and see something that resembles a large cave on the other side of the trail. I turn around to make sure my mom isn’t looking; then I hurry and run over to the cave. Up close, I see that it is, in fact, what I suspected: a bear den. I walk around it; thank goodness there was no bear living it the cave at this moment. I continue to run around the cave to check it out. It’s  made of sticks and rocks which cover the whole thing. Large sticks are poking out of the den. I look down and see four little bear paw prints all over the ground smushed in the dirt.

Bored, I run back to my family quietly without anyone knowing I was ever gone. I run up behind my sister and poke her in her sides. She turns around  and swats my hands away while sticking out her tongue. I turn and run in front of everybody, making my way to the top of the hill.

The path turns left and opens up into a huge “sugar bowl.” Sand is all around us, leading to the very bottom, in the shape of a bowl.

I stand at the tip-top, take off my coat, boots, and hat; then I begin my run down the hill. As soon as I take the first step, all of the sand comes down with me and falls at my side. Slipping and sliding, I make it to the bottom and get on my hands and knees to climb up the hill again. After five times, all worn out, I climb up the hill, but want one more slippery ride down.

When I reach the top, I stand up and look out into the distance. I can see everything from here. Millions of trees, orange, red, and gray surrounding me. I turn around and see all of Lake Michigan. The dark blue covering what feels like half of the Earth around me. The lighthouse is in the distance.The sun is setting just beside it; a serene pink and yellow colors.

I think to myself —this is my home.

The Tenth Annual Bruce Catton Historical Award Reception was held at Mills Community House, Benzie County, in April 2016.   Families of the freshman authors and community residents came to honor the young authors and their teachers, Ms. Rebecca Hubbard, English teacher, and Mr. Dave Jackson, history teacher who inspired the authors. The students were assigned to write about a special event in their life, trying to create a memorable experience that would delight an audience. The readings given adult performers proved the students had succeeded. Similar to author Bruce Catton’s memoirs that included many of his life experiences as he grew up in Benzie County during the early years of the 20th century, the students included many descriptive details in essays that reminded their audience of similar experiences in their own lives.

(James) Vaclav Sleder, founder of Sleder’s Family Tavern

This excerpt comes to us from A Story of Traverse City, Michigan and some of the Early Settlers, written and illustrated by the artist Aldrich Farsky (yes, the Farsky featured in the May 2016 issue of Grand Traverse Journal). This was originally printed in Czech in 1908, in the national Czech publication Amerikan Kalandar. In 1977, Mr and Mrs. Edward Van Leishout and Mr. William E. Votruba translated the story in to English, which details the overseas immigration of the Czechs, as well as profiles a few of the more prominent Bohemain citizens of Traverse City, with an emphasis on their success.  A copy is available for reading at the Traverse Area District Library, Woodmere Main Library.

One of the early settlers featured is (James) Vaclav Sleder, the man who would found the long-standing Sleder’s Family Tavern on Randolph Street:

“From his home, Cvrovic by Klatov in Czechy he emigrated to Traverse City when he was 32 years ol.d Things were not exactly as he had envisioned them to be. With his solid faith in the future and a great deal of hard work, he managed to bring his wife and sons Louis 9, Joseph 7, Andrew 3 and daughter Margaret to his new home.

Victor Petertyl Wagon Works employees at the factory on State Street, 1891. (Note the Hannah Lay store on Front street in the background with almost nothing between them.) L-R: Vic Petertyl, Jim ? (woodworker), Wm. Abbott (horse shoer), Herman Koch (finisher), Albert Petertyl (blacksmith), Vencil Sleder (woodworker), Pat Robertson (helper and horse shoer), Chas. Weland (painter) and Anton Petertyl. (At the far left is either the Union Street Hotel or the back of the Masonic Building. Opinions vary.) Perhaps a member of the Sleder family can inform us the relationship between Vencil and Vaclav. From the Photo Collection at Traverse Area District Library Local History, 718.000001.100.
Victor Petertyl Wagon Works employees at the factory on State Street, 1891. (Note the Hannah Lay store on Front street in the background with almost nothing between them.) L-R: Vic Petertyl, Jim ? (woodworker), Wm. Abbott (horse shoer), Herman Koch (finisher), Albert Petertyl (blacksmith), Vencil Sleder (woodworker), Pat Robertson (helper and horse shoer), Chas. Weland (painter) and Anton Petertyl. (At the far left is either the Union Street Hotel or the back of the Masonic Building. Opinions vary.) Perhaps a member of the Sleder family can inform us the relationship between Vencil and Vaclav. From the Photo Collection at Traverse Area District Library Local History, 718.000001.100.

Having been an apprentice in Wagon Working in Czechy he had found work in the Gramfort Wagon Works, but on arrival of his dependents he found a better position with the Petertyl factory. Here he stayed for 12 years. At this time he invested his savings in a new building which soon became the most favored saloon by all. On the 2nd floor he operated a dance hall and entertainment center. Because of his friendly personality and direct, honest and free thinking attitude, he was respected by everyone.

Hunters on the "Onekama" returning from a Upper Peninsula deer hunt trip: L-R: Guy Cox, Jack Smith, Fred Emerson, Leander Muncey, Richard Emerson, Lewis Franklin, J.N. Martinek, Elija Cox, Gus Petander, William Smith, James Mahan, Louis Sleder, Charles Mitchell & Captain Emory, 1898. From the Grand Traverse Pioneer and Historical Society Collection, 873.
Hunters on the “Onekama” returning from a Upper Peninsula deer hunt trip: L-R: Guy Cox, Jack Smith, Fred Emerson, Leander Muncey, Richard Emerson, Lewis Franklin, J.N. Martinek, Elija Cox, Gus Petander, William Smith, James Mahan, Louis Sleder, Charles Mitchell & Captain Emory, 1898. From the Grand Traverse Pioneer and Historical Society Collection, 873.

After running his business for 10 years Mr. Sleder turned the active management of the saloon over to his oldest son Louis, who continued his father’s practices and profited likewise. He enrolled his 2nd son in an engineering school and the youngest son entered the army for the duration of the war against Spain. It so happened he was discharged about the same time as the second son completed his schooling so finding himself with two fine sons to take over his other duties, Mr. Sleder began to devote his time to volunteer work and good deeds. It was on such a mission that he lost his life. A fellow C.S.P.S. [note: the Czech-Slovak Protective Society] member Mr. J. Ryant has [sic.] passed away and Mr. Sleder volunteered to notify people of his death and make arrangements for the lodge sponsored funeral. This was Dec. 17th 1905. His horse became frightened and ran away throwing Mr. Sleder out of his sleigh in such a manner that he was fatally injured.

After his death his three sons managed his business interests with such good judgement that everything prospered. They soon invested in a brewery which was remodeled, by son Joseph, (who had become a fine engineer), until it became a modern, well equipped and attractive as well as prosperous business, which permitted the three of them to own 2 of the 21 saloons in Traverse City at this writing with very good prospects of expanding still more in the future.

Certainly the 3 sons have proven that the good example their father set for them was not wasted.”

For a complete list of persons listed in this 49-page story by Farsky, see the catalog record at the Traverse Area District Library’s online Local History Collection.

“The wealth of family is the most important”: An Oral History of Clare Moon

Grace Terry, Marge Kinery, Clara Moon, at an event in the Grand Traverse Heritage Center (322 Sixth Street, Traverse City), 2005. Image courtesy of the Traverse Area District Library Local History Collection.
Grace Terry, Marge Kinery, Clara Moon, at an event in the Grand Traverse Heritage Center (322 Sixth Street, Traverse City), 2005. Image courtesy of the Traverse Area District Library Local History Collection.

Excerpts from interview with Clare (Clara) Moon (b. 1918) on July the 22, 2003, at her home on Old Mission Peninsula; edited by Nancy Bordine, Vice President of the Women’s History Project of Northwest Michigan.

I was born in my parents’ home; likewise, all my siblings were born in the same place in East Bay Township on Garfield Avenue. At that time, they considered it to be seven miles from Traverse City, they being Traverse City State Bank.

Most farmers had a billboard out in front which stated their name and the amount of miles from the Traverse City State Bank. There was a blank space in case you had something for sale. In our case, my parents usually had raspberries, sweet corn or eggs. That was posted on a post on the roadside. My parents left theirs up for a good many years, even while I was in high school, which was in the thirties. I suppose they took it down because they didn’t have raspberries and sweet corn for sale. I haven’t noticed any of those signs for years now.

My paternal grandpa lived just up the road about one-eighth of a mile. In 1873, he and his wife, Johanna, came to this country. He had been in the army in Germany, and didn’t want his sons to be subject to army life.

They first settled in Pittsburgh. In 1875, they heard about how the railroads were opening up this Northern Michigan area. With the forests removed, they were encouraging people to come up and farm. The land was very, very reasonable and that was their purpose in coming. They came here and bought a hundred acres of land from the railroad, a good share of it was cleared and ready to be farmed.

My maternal grandfather was the second son of the family. The first son got the little bit of land that the family owned. At age sixteen, my grandfather managed to get work on a ship. The ship had neared the Ireland coast off the Straight of Dover when it caught fire. They were rescued by a cattle boat that was going to Quebec.

He made it to Quebec, then the Upper Peninsula, where he married. They came to Greilickville on West Bay to manage a boarding house for the lumbermen who worked at the Greilick Mill. They lived right smack on the corner of Cherry Bend and M-22, where a lovely church stands now. When my mother was seven, the family moved out to the farm in Blair Township where I was born.

One thing that played a good part in our social life while we were growing up in the country was the Grange. The Grange was a farm organization. It held the neighbors together for a common cause. There were always programs to improve the home or your farming. There would be speakers coming from the State Grange occasionally.

When a Grange leader from Lansing came to discuss an issue, Mother and Dad always provided room and board for him. It was unheard of for out-of-towners to stay in town or at motels.

The Grange Hall was a wonderful place for social activity, such as dancing, card parties, box socials and reunions. The dances at the Hall were well attended and lots of fun. Music was local from the neighborhood, piano playing by volunteers, usually my sisters, and violin and banjo from men and women who lived down the river on Keystone Road. Square-dancer callers were usually my dad, my uncle, or Frank Rusch. A bountiful lunch was served at 11 pm.

We are looking for a photo of the Hanie school for our archives; in the meantime, here is an image of the one-room schoolhouse at Monroe Center, south of Blair Township, ca. 1890. Image courtesy of Dave Pennington, 750.112907.444
We are looking for a photo of the Hanie school for our archives; in the meantime, here is an image of the one-room schoolhouse at Monroe Center, south of Blair Township, ca. 1890. Image courtesy of Dave Pennington, 750.112907.444

I went to the one-room school called the Hanie School on land donated by the Hanie Family. It was a typical one-room school with a wood shed. There was a pump outside and a common pail for drinking water and a common dipper.

When you come in the school there was a little entryway where you hung your coat and boots and whatnot, then the classroom itself, and in the front was the teacher’s desk and the recitation benches in front of the teacher’s desk. There were four rows of desks of various sizes. The eighth graders, of course, had the biggest desks.

You went to school with everybody you knew real well. The farmers didn’t change, they’d been around there for two and three generations; you knew everyone.

We had lots of snow in those days. We’d sled down hills during recess because we had a nice hill. Nobody had skis, but we had homemade sleds. Mr. Frank Rusch, a neighbor of ours, was a carpenter who made wonderful sleds. So the Rusch kids had better sleds than anybody else, but they were generous and we all used them.

I went to the country school through the eighth grade, and then I went on to the high school. I’m the only one from my class of three that went on to high school. Even though the district paid for the tuition, transportation was the problem. It was pre-buses in those days. My older brother could drive a car. We’d had a very good raspberry crop that year, so we were able to buy a Ford coup. Not only did the two of us ride in the car, but we picked up a neighbor boy who lived nearer to town.

You could live in town with somebody or board. I had several girlfriends who earned their keep by boarding, working, and taking care of the family’s children.

Front Street, Traverse City, when Clara worked at JC Penney's., about 1939. Photographed by Cary Ford. Image courtesy of Traverse Area District Library.
Front Street, Traverse City, when Clara worked at JC Penney’s., about 1939. Photographed by Cary Ford. Image courtesy of Traverse Area District Library.

I was working at the Penney’s Store, which is now the Horizon bookstore, that first summer after I graduated. One day these two guys came in and they kept staring at me. One was my future husband, looking over the field.

My husband’s Grandpa Brosche came to this country because his brother had a meat market in Traverse City. The brother had a lot of land for raising Angus beef. In fact, most of the land that he owned was right across from the high school where Orchard Heights sub-division is now. His frontage on East Bay was considered worthless because you couldn’t raise anything there; it was full of stones and poison ivy.

Unfortunately, my husband and I moved to the Detroit area to provide a livelihood. We lived for thirty-two years in Ferndale. Every summer we came back here. My husband would travel back and forth to Ferndale. We bunked in with anybody that would put up with us; namely, my parents. I would help on the farm, hauling sweet corn to town. My husband got us a truck to run around in so that we’d have wheels.

Our boys worked in the cherrypicking industry. They’d pick cherries down here at McManus orchards until it was beneath their dignity to pick cherries. Then they got summer jobs in the Detroit area that were a little more lucrative.

As a kid, I liked to draw. My parents had two acres of raspberries, wonderful crops the raspberries. I’d look across the fields when I was bored and see the uncut hay with the wind blowing. There would be that nice wavy feeling, like ocean waves. I was just enthralled by that.

Later in life, when my son went off to school, he said to me, “Now Ma, you get your books and go with me.” I found there were courses available here and there in Royal Oak. Later on there were courses offered through Wayne University, and the instructors came out to Royal Oak. So I took advantage of lessons in design and composition.

A friend of mine invited me to join the Palette and Brush Club of Detroit. We had speakers from Ann Arbor, U of M, and Wayne, just wonderful speakers.

The Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts would speak and then you could take your work and have it juried in front of everybody. I really liked that.

When I saw the work of Louis King, I said, “Oh, I’d love to get a hold of him!” Louis said he would teach a class for us, provided I came up with at least nine people to make it worthwhile for him. He came to our little studio on Nine Mile Road.

I usually painted still lifes. When I’d come up in the summers, I’d paint all over the country here. I was sitting in a ditch one day on Bunker Hill, looking up at this farm setting of a barn, a house, and outer buildings when Mr. Larry Hoxsie, the mailman, went by. The next day I was painting the church over on Bates Road, which was also part of Mr. Hoxsie’s route. He stopped and said, “I want to see that painting when you’re done.” At that time his wife was baking pies to sell on the roadside. She said, “I’ll just bake a few more pies.” I saw her not too long ago, and she said they still had that painting.

I taught some lessons and courses down in Traverse at the Art Center. That group of about nine of us stayed together for fifteen years. We had wonderful shows at the State of the Art. Every year for about fifteen years we’d put on something. We used to come out here and sit in the woods, or paint alongside the road. We’d have a little lunch together. It was a very, very easy group to be with. I do not have any degree in art. I just like to do it and try to help others. I stuck with it over the years, and I intend to stick with it!

Our children really have a great amount of interest in our place here. I hope it continues for a long time because now their children’s children feel they have a stake in the place. Provided they can keep up with the tax problem. It isn’t a problem; it’s just something that sometimes is hard for them. You never know who might dangle a couple million under their nose and they’d give up this place for money. When our grandkids were real young, and we’d be out swimming, I’d say, “Now, what aren’t you suppose to do?” The grandkids would chime in with me, “Don’t sell the property!” It’s just wonderful that they all want to come back here.

At our family reunion here I told them, “There is the wealth of knowledge and the wealth of friends, the wealth of health, and the wealth of faith. To me the wealth of family is the most important.”

In Memoriam: Arthur Hulkonen, 1923-2016

by Karen Hilliard, daughter of Arthur Hulkonen

Mr. Hulkonen was instrumental in assisting regular contributor Stewart A. McFerran with his history on The Saunas of Kaleva. We are indebted to him for sharing his family’s stories.

Arthur Hulkonen seved in the United States Army during World War II. Image provided by Karen Hilliard.
Arthur Hulkonen served in the United States Army during World War II. Image provided by Karen Hilliard.

Arthur Hulkonen, 93, of Kaleva died on April 25, 2016.  He was born in the Upper Penninsula in Nisula, Michigan on April 13, 1923.  He was 1 of 12 children born to Henry and Hilda (Juntunen) Hullkonen who immigrated to the United States from Suomussalmi, Finland in the early 1900s.

Art served in the U.S. Army during WWII and was captured during the Battle of the Bulge on 12/19/1944.  He spent 5 months as a POW in a labor camp near Dresden, Germany.

After discharge from the army, Art arrived in Kaleva on June 29, 1945 where his older brother was living.  He met his wife (Mildred) and was married for 65 years before her death in 2012.

Arthur (right) and Alan Hulkonen, of Kaleva, Michigan.
Arthur (right) and Alan Hulkonen, of Kaleva, Michigan. Image courtesy of Stewart A. McFerran, 2016.

Art was a local farmer and businessman.  Along with his brother Gunnard they started Kaleva Poultry Farm and Hatchery in 1945 and operated this until 1978.  The two brothers grew strawberries from 1945 to 1978 and also, in 1945 they started planting Christmas trees and went on to sell these for 50 years across the country.  Art went on to work for International Chemical Company and later Agrico Chemical Company.  At that time Kaleva was a central hub for farmers and he operated the local fertilizer plant in Kaleva for 30 years until his retirement in 1985.

Arthur Hulkonen. Image courtesy of Karen Hilliard.
Arthur Hulkonen at the Sculpture Tree at the Kaleva Centennial Walkway in Kaleva, MI, September 2015. Image courtesy of Karen Hilliard.

He was an active member of Bethany Lutheran Church in Kaleva since 1945. He was a charter member of the Kaleva Lions Club.  He was proud of his Finnish heritage and served on the Finnish Council at Finlandia University in Hancock, Michigan for many years.  At the time of his death he was the last Finnish speaking member in the community of Kaleva.

He loved Kaleva and spent 70 years actively involved in his community.  In September 2015 the Village of Kaleva and Kaleva Historical Society honored him for his community service and business contributions to Kaleva by placing his name on the Sculpture Tree at the Kaleva Centennial Walkway.

The Bear Club of Kaleva. Image courtesy of the author.
The Bear Club of Kaleva. Image courtesy of  Stewart A. McFerran, 2016.

Art was the eternal optimist.  He loved jokes and reciting poetry.  He had a great appreciation for life and plenty of “Sisu” the Finnish word for perseverance and determination. Being surrounded by his family was his greatest joy.   He is survived by his three children, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

“The Bar-B-Que” in Mayfield, 1934

This fun poem comes to us courtesy of the Kingsley Branch Library, where it resides in their local history and genealogy collection. We hope it gets you in the mood for May, also known as National Barbecue Month.

Rowell J. Blackhurst married into the famed Halladay family of Mayfield (yes, those Halladays), and remained a prominent fixture in the community, both in his professional career and philanthropic activities. He was also, clearly, a man of verse and a keen observer on human nature.

These guys are ready to party, beer and barbecue-style. Gentlemen sitting outside the Gibbs and Knight Mill office at Mayfield, 1906. Image courtesy of the Floyd Webster Historical Photograph Collection, Kingsley Branch Library.
These guys are ready to party, beer and barbecue-style. Gentlemen sitting outside the Gibbs and Knight Mill office at Mayfield, 1906. Image courtesy of the Floyd Webster Historical Photograph Collection, Kingsley Branch Library.

His poem is littered with clues that tell us about himself and the era he lived in. Let’s look at one in particular: Why would people in “the autumn of thirty four…thank God that they hadn’t starved to death?” No great famine befell our region during that time. My guess is that Blackhurst felt the nation’s suffering was waning after the stock market crash of 1929 and the Depression, even in rural Mayfield.  Or did the line refer to the end of Prohibition (which took effect in 1934), that unhappy time nudging some to near “starvation”? That might better explain the later references to the volume of alcohol consumed at the picnic.

With those national events framing the celebration the poet goes on to describe, one wonders at the seemingly thanklessness of some of the attendees. But, let’s be real. People have always had opinions, and that will continue, in good weather and bad.

Without further ado, our poet invites us to Mayfield for a good ol’ fashioned Bar-B-Que, with all of his neighbors:

“The Bar-B-Que

In the good old days of the pioneer,
Lots of whiskey and little beer:

Mayfield in 1901, when "Pine was King." Image courtesy of the Floyd Webster Historical Photograph Collection, Kingsley Branch Library.
Mayfield in 1901, when “Pine was King.” Image courtesy of the Floyd Webster Historical Photograph Collection, Kingsley Branch Library.

Up in the northland — Pine was King —
But the head saws’ whine and the axes’ ring
Vanished the ruler, made him feel
The crushing pressure of steam and steel.
But Tide nor Time for none may wait,
And thirty two years roll by my gate.
From Past to Present — a step, no more —
Then came the autumn of thirty four;
Heard the Public with bated breath
Thank God that they hadn’t starved to death.
Now a Bar-B-Que was the general choice
Of a manner whereby they might rejoice.
So they bought a bull from a farmer lad,
And they dressed it out and brought it down
To the Public Grove in the old home town.
Then they hired a guy who was heard to boast
A thorough knowledge of how to roast
A bull, in a manner quite alright
To tempt a pernickety appetite.
The village portals swung open wide
To welcome the entire countryside;
With races and games and a dance and a show —
And a stand where the thirsty could quickly go
In order to aid the spirit of cheer
With an ice-cold bottle of Hi-powered beer.
And all forenoon on the autumn day
The local butcher slashed away;
Pileing [sic] up beef in a puddle of blood
To be washed down with coffee the color of mud.
But alas, and alack, it is sure hard to please
Such a throng as milled restlessly under the trees.
Some stood ’round and argued the critter was raw
While others were busily stuffing their craw;
Some stoutly maintained that the thing needed salt
But nobody noticed a shortage of malt.
Some said that to eat it they’d never be able,
That it would have been warmer left tied in the stable.
Politicians were clamoring loudly for votes
And the beer drinking public was feeling its oats.
The races, the ballgame, and even the show,
went off just as they were intended to go;
But the dance in the evening turned into a race
‘Twixt the hall in the woods and Baldy’s beer place.
But finally it ended as everything must.
Whether it be a success or a ‘bust’;
And though some maintained ’twas a howling success
Others decried it a miserable mess.
Some like it, some didn’t , it’s hard to say who —
For a great deal depends on — The Old Point of View.

-RJ Blackhurst, ’35”

Oral Histories of Small Farmers Captured at Conference, Available for Listening

Interviewee Brent Koors, at the Northern Michigan Small Farms Conference, 30 January 2016. Image courtesy of Traverse Area District Library.

Traverse Area District Library (TADL), in partnership with Crosshatch Center for Art & Ecology, have released “Food for Life on Two Peninsulas: Stories from Old Farm Families, Migrant Workers, and the New “Foodies” of Grand Traverse Bay,” an oral history collection developed and curated by TADL staff and volunteers. The purpose of the collection is to capture history in the making, focusing on a central question: what has becoming a “foodie” destination meant to the people and farms in our communities?

Interviewee Michelle McClintock (left) and William Derovin, at the Northern Michigan Small Farms Conference, 30 January 2016. Image courtesy of Traverse Area District Library.

TADL staff and volunteers conducted interviews with food producers and developers at the Northern Michigan Small Farms Conference 2016, held on January 30, 2016, and executed by Crosshatch and partnering organizations. Interviewees ranging from former Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) owners to pioneers in regenerative farm animal grazing practices, representing a variety of experiences, longevity, and communities throughout Michigan, spoke on their roles in the local food economy.

“Seasoned farmers and greenhorns alike will find these oral histories to contain an enthusiasm for the love of locally-produced, responsible food, that draws our statewide “foodie” community together. We are grateful to Crosshatch for the opportunity to gather these stories, and look forward adding more,” said organizer Amy Barritt, Special Collections Librarian at TADL. There are currently 10 interviews available.

For more information and to listen to these oral histories, please visit TADL’s Local History Collection’s website,, or contact the Reference Department at 231-932-8502 or

Amy Barritt is co-editor of the Grand Traverse Journal.

Diagnosis TB: the Childhood “Illness” of Dotty French

by Dotty Wilhelm French, originally published in the Women’s History Project of Northwest Michigan newsletter, January 2015

When I was a child, I lived down the street from my grandmother, Kate Smith Wilhelm, who died of tuberculosis. Her death was to affect my growing-up years.

Kate was born on South Manitou Island in 1868. The islands were settled before the mainland as a place where merchants sold supplies and wood to ships, the major form of transportation around the Great Lakes in those days. Kate left the island and came to the mainland to work.

My grandfather, Anthony Wilhelm, had opened the A.J. Wilhelm Department Store in 1886 and, in 1891, he hired Kate as a clerk. In 1896, Kate and Anthony were married.

I was born in 1925 and lived just three houses away on the same street from my grandmother and I visited her often.

In 1932, Kate died of tuberculosis, the biggest killer in those days. When she did, the doctor said that, because I was so thin, that I must have contracted childhood TB from my grandmother.

The treatment for TB in those days was fresh air and sunshine, plus plenty of sleep. I had to take a nap every afternoon, although I often pretended that I was asleep.

To provide the fresh air and sunshine for my recovery, my parents bought property next to friends and built a cottage at Crescent Shores on Long Lake. Very few people had cottages in those days and those who did had no electricity or phone, and had to pump for water at the cottage. But my parents wanted to be sure that I stayed healthy and, as you were supposed to in those days, become chubby instead of stick-thin!

After graduation from high school in 1943, I went to the University of Michigan. In those days, students were checked for height and weight. I weighed 100 pounds and was 5 feet and 2 inches tall. I had very long legs and arms and a small body. Legs and arms do not weigh much.

The modern dance class French missed out on. “University of Michigan Modern Dance Club; BL006881.” University of Michigan Library Digital Collections.
The modern dance class French missed out on. Image taken at the Barbour gym, 1938. “University of Michigan Modern Dance Club; BL006881.” University of Michigan Library Digital Collections.

After my exam, they said that I was too thin to take the required modern dance class and that I should take archery and golf instead. I was the envy of all the girls living in Betsy Barbour dormitory.

I graduated from Michigan in 1947, the year that Traverse City celebrated becoming 100 years as a city. Everyone wore the oldest-fashioned clothes that they could find for the celebration. The men grew beards. I wore a beautiful, 100-year-old blue dress, that fit my thin frame well.

I returned to college that fall and got a degree in Occupational Therapy. Part of the training was to spend time in each type of hospital, e.g., children’s hospitals, regular hospitals, and TB sanitariums.

While going a rotation at the Detroit TB Sanitarium (around 1948), the doctor called me into his office. He told me that I never had TB. My Mantioux screening test, which is a tuberculin sensitivity test for screening for TB, had been negative. I had never even been exposed.

All those childhood days treating me for TB- just because I was slender. Today they would say I was just fine!

"The Pines," Traverse City High School yearbook, 1943. This yearbook and additional years are available at the Traverse Area District Library.
“The Pines,” Traverse City High School yearbook, 1943. This yearbook and additional years are available at the Traverse Area District Library.