I grew up in Detroit, Michigan. I attended a Catholic grade and high school, and lived a pretty overprotected life in the Motor City. But growing up in the city allowed me to enjoy all the highs and lows of city living. I could get a mega dose of culture at the Detroit Institute of Arts, or visit the streets of old time Detroit at the Detroit Historical Museum. I saw slums and hippies, beggars and winos. I could enjoy shopping at Hudson’s department store where elevator operators would announce the items that could be found at each floor, and eat at a variety of great restaurants. I also knew where the dangerous parts of town were, and routes to avoid. Following high school I went on to college, and later, married. Had I not lived in the city, I doubt I would have learned to drive in rush hour traffic and to parallel park. I knew the dangerous parts of town, and the routes to avoid. Yes, growing up in the city allowed me to enjoy all the highs and lows of city life.
Back then, state jobs were viewed much like working for one of the Big Three auto companies. Jobs were considered to be secure and pensions were expected if you retained your job long enough. I interviewed at about a dozen offices and was finally hired by the Department of Social Services in Alpena. That began my husband’s and my exodus from Detroit. From Alpena, we moved to Houghton Lake, and finally to Marquette. Amazingly, we have now been here for a quarter of a century!
I should have realized what I was getting into when a snowstorm that dumped two feet of snow hit my first weekend here. But I have “learned” over time. Up here, in Michigan’s most beautiful Upper Peninsula, one learns to accept the elements. You either live with them, or you leave. Keep the winter clothes handy most months of the year. Learn to do something outside during the very long winters. Have an interest, other than your job. Friends are good. Always have coffee. Always have wine. Appreciate (and respect) the elements. Have some wine. But I digress….
Since retiring from the state, I have dabbled in massage, learned about car and home insurance, and managed a busy office at a local church. Currently, I participate in prison ministry and am pursuing a now-official volunteer position as “northern representative” for a prisoner advocacy agency called Humanity for Prisoners, based in Grand Haven.
I am available for speaking engagements relating to prisoner advocacy.