Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Autumns of Our Lives

Dear George,
I know Sept. 1 isn’t really the start of autumn, but it always feels that way to me.  Poets sometimes depict autumn as a period of gradual decline, the entryway into winter’s desolation.  There may be a kernel of truth to that, but it’s not the whole story.  In fact, autumn is first and foremost a time of new beginnings.  It’s the start of college and NFL football seasons, as well as the basketball season too.  With daily highs in the 70’s, September is the most popular month of the year for camping.  The year’s new TV shows premiere in the autumn, and, having slogged through its terrible summer doldrums, Hollywood rolls out its potential Oscar nominees.  The election season moves into full swing, promoting remarkable characters like Donald Trump, Chris Christie, and Rand Paul.  The new symphony, ballet, and theater seasons begin.  Most of all, it’s the start of the new school year and all the good things that come with that, whether one is in second grade or graduate school (or even OLLI classes for seniors).  Katja and I have enjoyed a lot of notable autumns over the years.  Here are a few of our personal autumn highlights.

·      1942: Much to my horror, I had to leave my mother to start kindergarten at Boswell School on September 8, the day after Labor Day.  I only survived because I got to walk back and forth each day with my five-year-old friend, Sally F.  

·      1942: Katja began the settlement house music school in inner city Philadelphia where she learned to play the cymbals and the timpani. 

·      1946: Swimming at our new home on the river reached its end in October, and we gathered red and yellow leaves to press and dry in thick encyclopedia volumes.

·      1947:  On Halloween night our family joined the O’Hara’s at their house on Stephenson Avenue, and we kids went trick-or-treating in the neighborhood, gathering bags overflowing with Tootsie Rolls and bubble gum.     

·      1948: Miss Guimond appointed me Captain of the Safety Patrol at Washington Grade School.  This meant that I had to stand at attention on the street corner while the rest of the kids played marbles and ran in circles on the playground.

·      1949: I began seventh grade at Menominee H.S., hanging out with the Grant School kids during lunch hour and playing touch football until the snow arrived.    

·      1951: Katja began ninth grade at Girls’ High in Philadelphia, a memorable year in which she failed geometry twice but began her four years of studying French with Mademoiselle Burnstein, an undertaking which was to shape her life course.  

·      1953: With the high school football season in full sway, I worked in the Hi-Y refreshment stand at Walton Blesch Field, selling hot dogs and hamburgers to hungry Maroon sports fans.  Afterwards we went to the high school dance where the boys stood around while the girls danced with each another. 

·      1953: I began my year-long term as Junior Class vice-president at Menominee High, a nominal position that involved no duties or perks except being in the “Royal Court” at the Junior Prom with my date, Carol G.    

·      1955: Katja and I began our freshman year at Antioch, a time of great adventure and turmoil.  I saw Katja across the lawn on our first day, was immediately lovestruck, but didn’t find the courage or opportunity to meet her for another year and a half.  

·      1957: I went on a coop job at Popular Science magazine in New York City.   I lived and 163rd West End in Washington Heights, loved the city, visited Greenwich Village and the Bowery on weekends, and vowed I’d never live anywhere else.  

·      1960: Katja and I got married at Antioch on Aug. 28, then promptly moved to Ann Arbor for graduate school.  As Antiochians, Katja and I were entirely snobbish about Big Ten football until we actually went to Michigan Stadium.  We were immediately transformed into avid fans and never missed another home game.  

·      1964: At Katja’s urging, we took a break from grad school and did a six-week tour of Europe, starting in Brussels and ending at Hotel Roquebrun on the French Riviera with my dad.  

·      1966: Having moved to Cincinnati, I taught my first class as a new university professor and immediately broke out with a fever blister on my lip, a stress symptom that was to repeat itself each September for forty-plus years.  

·      1967: My parents took us to a below-freezing Packer game at Lambeau Field where Vince Lombardi, Bart Starr, and troops were advancing toward Super Bowl II.  

·      1969: Our son J was born at Christ Hospital on September 19, the most momentous happening in our lives. 

·      1973: Travelling from the East Coast, the Midwest, and the West Coast, we siblings and our families had the first of many enjoyable family reunions at my parents’ Birch Creek farm. 

·      1974: J started kindergarten at Clifton School, walking each morning from our Clifton Ave. apartment with his friend Tom W. 

·      1978: I began the academic year as a newly promoted full professor and promptly came down with double pneumonia, requiring a two-week hospital stay. 

·      1981: J began 7th grade at Walnut Hills H.S., Cincinnati’s well-regarded college prep school.  He worried the big kids would stuff him into a locker.    
·      1984: With an eye on upcoming college costs, Katja enrolled in the MSW program at the university.

·      1986: Katja was hired as a social worker at the Cincinnati Association for the Blind.

·      1987: We dropped J off for his freshmen year at Columbia, and I was bedridden for 48 hours with a mysterious illness.  

·      1993: Our father, Vic L., died in Cincinnati on Nov. 8, 3 days after his 85th birthday.

·      1995: J began medical school classes at LSU-New Orleans.     

·      2002: Our new Old English Sheepdog puppies, Mike and Duffy, turned six months old in October.

·      2006: I began a two-year term as Acting Head of the Department of Sociology, a responsibility I’d actively avoided for some time but surprisingly came to enjoy.  

·      2008: Our granddaughter V was born on Sept. 16 in Louisiana, and our grandson L was born on Sept. 30 in Taiyun, China. 

·      2009: A half year into retirement I signed up for line dancing at the fitness center, continued regular visits to my office, did occasional camping with the sheepdogs, and busily worked on my blog.  

·      2010:  Our grandchildren L and V, along with their parents, made their first of several annual Thanksgiving visits to Cincinnati.     

·      2013:  I joined Katja in taking OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) classes at the university.

·      2015:  Katja and our friend Donna will go to Paris and Northern France in October while I will be in charge of sheepdogs Mike and Sophie.  Who knows what other surprising adventures autumn 2015 will bring? 


Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Menominee Trivia Quiz

Dear George,
My sister and I have a stronger home town attachment than practically anybody else I know.  I’m not sure just why.   Maybe it’s because we grew up in a small town in the U.P.   In any case, home towns are important, providing the world of opportunities that help shape who one becomes as a person.  Recently I’ve been assembling information on Menominee, and I’ve organized it here in the form of 36 “trivia questions”.  Some are easy, some are hard.  For persons who grew up in Menominee, I think a score of 30 would be excellent and 25 would be very good.  Had I not made the quiz up, I think I would have scored about 23.   I wonder what other natives  and expatriates might do.  (Note: The answer key is given at the end.) 

1.  What does “Menominee” mean in the Ojibwe language?
a.            River mouth
b.            White pines
c.            Wild rice
d.            Home of the sturgeon

2.  Menominee is located exactly halfway between:
a.                        Ohio and Minnesota
b.                        Milwaukee and Green Bay
c.                        Lake Huron and Lake Michigan
d.                        the North Pole and the Equator

3.  How many streets does the city of Menominee have?
a.            84
b.            114
c.            145
d.            219

4.  The most common national ancestry in Menominee is:
a.            French
b.            Irish
c.            Polish
d.            German
e.            Swedish

5.  Menominee’s population reached its peak in:
a.            1900
b.            1930
c.            1960
d.            1990

6.  Which religious denomination has the most adherents in Menominee?
a.                        Catholic
b.                        Lutheran
c.                        Methodist
d.                        Presbyterian

7.  How many acres of parks are there in Menominee?
a.                        19
b.                        35
c.                        82
d.                        130

8.  The M&M brewery produced _____ beer.
a.                        Pure Lake
b.                        Grizzly Bear
c.                        Great White North
d.                        Silver Cream

9.  The oldest church in Menominee, dedicated in 1869, is the:
a.            First United Methodist Church
b.            First Presbyterian Church
c.            St. John the Baptist Catholic Church
d.            Emmanuel Lutheran Church

10.  In which of the following categories is Menominee significantly below the average for  the state of Michigan?  
a.                             Unemployment
b.                            Foreign-born population
c.                             Hispanic population
d.                            All of these
e.                        None of these

11.  How many state championships have the Menominee Maroons football team won in their division  since 1998?
a.            Zero
b.            One
c.            Three
d.            Five

12.  If you wanted to have a Wabash for lunch, you would go to:
a.            Schloegels Bay View Restaurant
b.            Berg’s Landing
c.            Jozwiak’s Bar & Grill
d.            The Downtown Sandwich and Ice Cream Shop

13.  Menominee’s summer Concert in the Park series is held on which evening?
a.            Wednesday
b.            Thursday
c.            Friday
d.            Saturday
e.            Sunday

14.  If you went to a movie in Menominee in 1950 you would have gone to either:
a.            the Fox or the Roxy
b.            the Lloyd or the Menominee
c.            the Bijou or the Strand
d.            the Mariner or the Waterfront

15.  How many vehicles cross the Interstate Bridge between Menominee and Marinette each day?
a.            2,490
b.            5,880
c.            11,320
d.            20,760

16.  The current mayor of Menominee is:
a.            Jean Berggren
b.            Jean Chaltry
c.            Jean Stegeman
d.            Jean Wilcomming

17.  Menominee exceeds the national average in:
a.            Low health care costs
b.            Water quality
c.            Air quality
d.            All of these
e.            None of these

18.  In 2012 who received the most votes for President in Menominee?
a.            Barack Obama
b.            Mitt Romney

19.  Percentage-wise, which occupation is more common in the city of Menominee than in the state of Michigan as a whole?
a.            Education
b.            Farming
c.            Healthcare
d.            Production

20.  The last log drive on the Menominee River was held in: 
a.            1897
b.            1907
c.            1917
d.            1927

21.  What proportion of adults (25 & over) in Menominee have a bachelor’s degree or higher?
a.            17%
b.             27%
c.            37%
d.            47%

22.  The largest employer in Menominee is:
a.                             L.E. Jones Co.
b.                            Lloyd/Flanders Industries
c.                             Angeli Foods
d.                            Enstrom Helicopter Corp.

23.  In the 1940's the Lloyd Building in downtown Menominee was occupied by the:
a.            A & P Grocery Store
b,            Menominee Glove Company
c.            Montgomery Ward department store
d.            All of these
e.            None of these

24.  According to Tripadvisor (as well as most people we know), the number one restaurant in Menominee is:
a.            Lighthouse Grill & Diner
b.            La Cabana Mexican Restaurant
c.            Berg’s Landing
d.            Thai Cuisine

25.  In a recent year there were 536 violent crimes per 100,000 people in the state of Michigan.  In Menominee the rate was  ___ violent crimes per 100,000.
a.            117
b.            239
c.            481
d.            714
26.  Menominee High School ranks in the top ___ in the state of Michigan.
a.            25%
b.            47%
c.            62%
d.            81%

27.  The local radio station in the twin cities of Menominee and Marinette is:
a.            WBAY
b.            WMAM
c.            WMAR
d.            WMEN

28.  Which railroad historically served Menominee and Marinette?
a.            Wisconsin Great Northern
b.            Green Bay and Milwaukee Line
c.            St. Paul and Minneapolis Railway
d.            Chicago and Northwestern

29.  Does Menominee have more churches or bars?
a.            More churches
b.            More bars

30.  Which of these Menominee County attractions is located in the city of Menominee?
a.                 The DeYoung Family Zoo
b.                The North Pier Lighthouse
c.                 The J. W. Wells State Park
d.                The Chip-In Casino

31.  Compared to the state of Michigan as a whole, Menominee County ranks higher than average in:
a.                 Adult obesity
b.                Adults reporting poor or fair health
c.                 Sexually transmitted diseases
d.                Excessive drinking

32.  The wettest month of the year in Menominee is:
a.            March
b.            April
c.            May
d.            June

33.  The most common last name of deceased Menominee residents is:
a.                 Anderson
b.                Johnson
c.                 Olson
d.                Smith

34.  Menominee County ranks above average for all Michigan counties in:
a.            smoking
b.            adult obesity
c.            alcohol-impaired driving deaths
d.            all of these
e.            none of these

35.  The Babela Master Circuit, held in Menominee in 2005, 2008, and 2009, involves:
a.                 Fishing
b.                Hunting
c.                 Snowmobiling
d.                Golf

36.  The website Niche ranked Menominee #32 among 56 Michigan towns and cities in terms of the best towns in Michigan to raise a family.   Among the following dimensions, Menominee ranked highest (i.e., most favorably) in:
a.            Access to Day Care
b.            Access to Grocery Stores
c.            Crime and Safety
d.            Education

I hope you had fun and did well.  The answers are below.

www.bestplaces.net, “Menominee, Michigan”; 
www.books.google.com, E.S. Ingalls, “Centennial History of Menominee County”; 
www.city-data.com, “Menominee, Michigan”; 
www.countyhealthrankings.org, “Menominee (MM)”; 
www.local.niche.com, "Best Towns to Raise a Family in Michigan”; 
www.mandmchamber.com, “Quality of life”; 
www.menomineecounty.com, “Menominee County”;
www.nationalbridges.com, “National Bridge Inventory Database Search”; 
www.mm regionalguide.com, “Menominee – Marinette Regional Guide”;
www.statisticalatlas.com, “Menominee, Michigan (City); 
www.usa.com, “Menominee, MI”; 
www.wikipedia.org, “Menominee, Michigan”

1.c.  “Menominee” means “wild rice”.
2.d.  Halfway between the North Pole and the Equator.
3.a.  Menominee has 84 streets.
4.d.  28.9% of residents report German ancestry, followed by French (8.2%), Irish (7.7%), Polish (7.6%), and Swedish (6.0%).
5.a.  Menominee’s population was 12,818 in 1900; 10,320 in 1930; 11,289 in 1960; 9,398 in 1990.  
6.a.  Catholics are highest (63%), followed by Lutherans (22%, Methodists (3%), and Presbyterians (2%).
7.d.  There are 130 acres of parks in Menominee.
8.d.  Silver Cream beer.
9.b.  The First Presbyterian Church is oldest.
10.d.  All of these — below average in unemployment, foreign-born, Hispanic (see city-data.com). 
11.c.  Three division state football championships.
12.c.  Jozwiak’s sells The Wabash.
13.b.  Concerts in the Park are on Thursday evenings.
14.b.  The Lloyd and the Menominee were Menominee’s movie theaters in the 1950’s. 
15.d.  20,760 vehicles cross the Interstate Bridge daily.   (see national bridges.com
16.c.  Jean Stegeman is Menominee’s current mayor.
17.d.  All of these — above average in low health care costs, water and air quality.
18.b.  Romney received 51% of votes; Obama, 48%.
19.d.  Production occupations are above average; the others, below average.
20.c.  Menominee’s last log drive was held in 1917.
21.a.  17% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
22.a.  L.E. Jones is Menominee’s largest employer.
23.d.  All of these — A&P, Menominee Glove, Montgomery Ward.
24.c.  Berg’s Landing is rated number one, followed by the Serving Spoon Cafe, the Ogden Club, and Schloegel’s Bay View Restaurant.
25.a.  Violent crime rate of 117 per 100,000, about 22% of the state average.
26.b.  Menominee High School is ranked at the 47th percentile in the state.
27.b.  WMAM is the local radio station.
28.d.  The Chicago and Northwestern railroad ran through Menominee and Marinette. 
29.a.  Menominee has more churches (17) than bars (8).  
30.b.  The North Pier Lighthouse is located in the city.  
31.d.  Menominee County ranks above the state average in excessive drinking (20% report heavy or binge drinking vs. 18% state-wide).  (see countyhealthrankings.org
32.d.  June is the wettest month.
33.b.  Johnson is the most common name.  Anderson is second; Smith is third. 
34.d.  All of these — smoking, obesity, alcohol-impaired driving deaths.  (see countyhealthrankings.org
35.a.  The Babela Master Circuit is a fishing tournament.
36.c.  Menominee was most favorable in “Crime and Safety”.