Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

Home · Articles · News · Books · Couple makes Torch Lake History
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Couple makes Torch Lake History

Anne Stanton - December 21st, 2009
Couple Makes
Torch Lake History
By Anne Stanton
Torch Lake is known for its beauty, as well as its summer flotilla of floating parties thanks to an endless sand bar. The vast emerald blue lake is reputed to be the inspiration for Kid Rock’s hit song, “All Summer Long.”
But, ever wonder how Torch Lake got its name?
The early settlers in the area saw Native American Indians waving birch bark torches along the shoreline in order to attract fish for supper.
You’ll find that fact along with all kinds of history about the Torch Lake area in Torch Lake, The History of Was-Wah-Go-Ning, a 436-page book with stories that trace the lake’s evolution from a frozen tundra to a resort that inspires rock song lyrics of catching “walleye off a dock and watching waves roll off the rock.” The book, priced at $60, features no less than 673 maps, drawings and photographs.
The book reflects the combined efforts of Mary Kay and Edward McDuffie, a wife and husband team. Ed (known as Eb to his close friends) focused on the area’s ancient history, glaciers and maps, while Mary Kay compiled the more recent information and wrote most of the text.

ANCIENT SHORELINES
“It’s interesting topography. Once you’re aware of it, you’ll find yourself looking at the lake in a different way,” Ed said. “The glaciers, for example, left ancient beaches at different heights, and the cottages are built on one or more of these ancient shorelines.”
The book is the product of pure determination on the part of Mary Kay, who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease four years ago, and went onto finish the project despite the added handicap of having to rely on a voice synthesizer and tube feeding. But she never gave up.
“She’d been in the middle of writing it when she was diagnosed with ALS and she continued writing it for three years,” Ed said. “She was still going after it, up to the point, where we said, we need to finish it.
Jeanne Hannah, who designed the book’s website, said this book was the “miracle that gave Mary Kay daily purpose and inner strength.”
“This is a book filled to the brim with photographs and history that have nothing to do with illness and everything to do with the unique beauty, ecology, geology and history of Torch Lake. I can only imagine how it felt for Mary Kay to hold the published book in her hands a few weeks ago. She has given us a gift that will last forever.”
Said Mary Kay through a voice synthesizer: “Writing it was out of love for the lake.”
After the text was mostly finished in 2008, Mary Kay and Ed had to work with the book designer, Margaret Wagner for the next year. “There were a lot of things we had to change or amend,” Ed said.

COMPREHSIVE
The book covers the history of Torch Lake from the retreat of the last glacier 10,000 years ago to the end of World War II. Ed said the book offers the most comprehensive history of Torch Lake ever published. Yet the “work” to research the book was actually a lot of fun for the most part.
“I remember once, we went to a house across the lake from us. We went to the door and told them what we wanted,” he said. “We’d been to church so we were reasonably dressed up. Anyway, they didn’t want to let us in because they thought we were Jehovah’s Witnesses. But once we were there, we stayed for three or four hours. They let me take their photo albums home, and I was up all night scanning them because I told them I’d return them the next day. It was really neat, and then they steered us to other people.”
Ed said that as a boy, he lived in Cincinnati, but spent every summer on Torch Lake. “Only once did we miss it and it was World War II. We didn’t have enough gas.” He met and married Mary Kay Unger, whose father owned a lumberyard in Bellaire. Ed said his wife began writing the book after taking a Michigan history class in the early ‘60s at an MSU extension course offered through Northern Central Michigan College.
“She knew a lot about the area. We had a lot of relatives that were part of the history; one thing led to another, and she decided to write this book.”
Over a span of 20 years, Mary Kay compiled and wrote the text. Although her health condition has deteriorated in the last month, she was able to see the book in printed form, Ed said.
“It’s been a long process, but it was my aim to get it into Mary Kay’s hands while she was still here because it’s been her life’s work. And we made it,” he said.

To order Torch Lake, go to torchlake-history.com.

 
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