On a family vacation, at the age of 10, I first visited the Mackinaw area when I crossed the Mackinac Bridge shortly after it was opened for public transportation. I wanted my dad to stop the car so I could stand at the Bridge's railing and memorize the fantastic view....but of course, stopping on the "Mighty Mac" was not allowed by the Bridge Authority.
Travelling west on Highway 2 in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, we were on our way to visit my Swedish grandparents in Iron River. I remember looking out of the back window of the car (rather sadly) until the Mackinac Bridge finally faded from view. But, an annual and long-awaited-for vacation at Sunset Lake would continue to make childhood memories never to be forgotten: incredible sunshine on a sparkling lake, swimming and jumping off "the raft" until we were exhausted, exploring the neighbor's farm, chasing fish in the shallow creek, picking wild blueberries, and eating homemade pasties outside on picnic tables with my family while we watched the sun go down.
To keep our young minds somewhat inquisitive however, mom and dad would tear my brother, sister, and me away from the lake to visit nearby historic places as often as possible. In addition to experiencing Mackinac's scenic splendor, I somehow was particularly drawn to the stories of early explorers, voyagers, fur trappers, missionaries, and especially the incredible Native American history of the Ojibwa (Chippewa), Ottawa (Odawa), and Huron (Wyandot) peoples.
All of these childhood influences, plus my later-accumulated collection of Michilimackinac postcards, led to the excitement of having my first book, Mackinaw City, Postcard History Series, published. Writing this book was an attempt to "keep a certain history alive" as very few books had been previously written about Mackinaw City itself. (Most of the "publicity" went to Mackinac Island.) Arcadia Publishing gave me a chance to show readers a bit of Mackinaw City history using vintage postcards.
As soon as Mackinaw City was released in July 2007, another "story" began to create itself in my mind and on my computer. The Straits of Mackinac (with a Native American theme) was officially released in July 2012 - another pictorial history using more of my vintage postcards.
As a "student" of Michilimackinac history, I spend as much time as possible Up North where there is SO much to do and SO much to see. The Straits area is not just T-shirts & fudge...(although I do that too!); it is one of Michigan's best cultural destinations. Exploring St. Ignace, Mackinac Island, Mackinaw City, Bois Blanc Island, and Cheboygan is amazing as there is always something new to "discover."
There are wonderful lighthouses in the area, all four of the Mackinac State Historic Park attractions, and the decommissioned USCGC Mackinaw WAGB 83 Ice Breaker is now a "floating museum" dockside in Mackinaw City. And, I NEVER get tired of looking at (or crossing) the Mackinac Bridge!
I hope you enjoy reading these books as much as I enjoyed creating them.
Here I am shortly after my first book was released!