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 · An Ernest Endeavor
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An Ernest Endeavor

Glen D. Young - June 14th, 2010
An Ernest Endeavor: Picturing Young Hemingway in Northern Michigan
Picturing Hemingway’s Michigan
Wayne State University Press
216 pages, 269 illustrations
$39.95
By Glen Young
It would be easy to believe that there’s nothing new to say about
Ernest Hemingway. Writers as well as relatives have detailed the
history of Michigan’s most iconic writer in every manner of
publication.
However, in Picturing Hemingway’s Michigan, Michael Federspiel digs
deep into the Hemingway legend, mining old family photos, as well as
those that have been seen elsewhere, to provide a context that has not
been thoroughly explored. “A lot of people have talked about
Hemingway up north, but few have talked about Up North with Hemingway
in it,” Federspiel says. “I place him in the context of Northern
Michigan,” he adds.
Federspiel, a faculty member of Central Michigan University’s history
department, as well as curriculum specialist with Midland Public
Schools, is also president of the Michigan Hemingway Society. He came
upon the idea for the book somewhat unexpectedly. Working with the
Michigan Humanities Council on 2007’s Big Read, which featured
Hemingway’s The Nick Adams Stories, Federspiel says, “I had pulled
together a lot of stories about Hemingway in Michigan.” When a
council board member suggested his research would make for an
interesting book, Federspiel was intrigued. When Wayne State
University Press showed interest, the project took shape.
During 2008, Federspiel recalibrated his objective, spending a good
deal of time in the archives of the Little Traverse Historical Society
in Petoskey. He utilized the Petoskey Public Library, and Hemingway
family archives as well. A valuable source was Hemingway’s nephew Jim
Stafford, a Walloon Lake area resident who is the son of Hemingway’s
older sister Marcelline. Stafford has been sharing his archive with
Central Michigan University’s Clarke Historical Library. “These items
have had limited availability, and some have never been seen in the
publishing world,” Federspiel says.

AVID PHOTOGRAPHER
What results from this collaborative assistance is a photo heavy book
providing fresh evidence of Northern Michigan’s enduring influence on
Hemingway’s work.
“Hemingway’s mother was a serious scrapbooker and his father was an
avid photographer,” Federspiel says. “She made scrapbooks for each
child. Some of the photos appear in more than one scrapbook and some
don’t.”
Federspiel’s large format book relies heavily on the Hemingway
photographs, but included also are photos and advertisements of the
era depicting the importance of the railroads and the plush hotels
that dotted the area in the early part of the 20th century.
In his introduction, Federspiel explains, “The Hemingways’ arrival
coincided with dramatic changes in northern Michigan.” When the
railroads laid tracks through the clear-cut acreage of old growth
white pine, “Local businessmen and railroad executives immediately
went to work marketing the region for tourism.”
Business owners and speculators knew, “More growth in the region meant
more profit.” It was into this evolving environment that Hemingway’s
physician father Clarence brought his young family from Oak Park,
Illinois, eventually settling on the Walloon Lake. “They resembled
others in their lifestyle and background, and there was little to
indicate anything special about them,” Federspiel writes.
Vintage photos of the Petoskey-Harbor Springs region show not only the
Hemingway family and other resorters, but also highlight the elaborate
resort hotels, such as the Cushman and the Arlington, which could
accommodate upwards of 800 guests before it was destroyed by fire in
1915.
Federspiel believes one result of the book is a revelation about the
area. “Petoskey was a far more sophisticated place than most people
realize.”

HAMMING IT UP
Photographs of Horton’s Creek, where Hemingway fished as a young boy,
figure prominently also. There are photos of a youthful Hemingway
proudly displaying a string of trout, while others show him hamming it
up with boyhood friends like Bill Smith. Here, too, are photos of a
teen age Hemingway hopping a freight train, and camping with friends
near the Black River.
Of Hemingway’s most famous short story, “Big Two Hearted River,”
Federspiel writes, “The real trip was a test of Ernest’s endurance. It
would involve significant hiking and stream wading on his injured
leg.” Hemingway famously damaged his leg while a driver in the Red
Cross ambulance corps in Italy during World War One. He returned to
Petoskey to recuperate, then traveled north to Seney, the location of
the fishing in the famous short story. (The Big Two Hearted River is
located to the northeast of Seney but Hemingway chose to use the name
of the river for poetic reasons.)
Federspiel considers the success of his book is in showing both how
Hemingway’s literary future was shaped while he romped through
Northern Michigan, as well as in demonstrating that Hemingway’s
experiences were not unlike others who vacation here.
“The Hemingway family experience isn’t remarkable; it sounds like
everyone else’s,” he says. “Largely people do the same things (when
up north). They pick on their brothers, go swimming, and roast
marshmallows.”
“If I did it right,” Federspiel believes, “the book will appeal to
folks who have an interest in the Little Traverse Region.” He also
hopes to demystify Hemingway as much as that is possible. “I hope the
book makes Hemingway more approachable to those who don’t have a
history with him.”

Michael Federspiel will sign copies of Picturing Hemingway’s Michigan
on June 19, at McLean and Eakin Booksellers, 307 E. Lake Street,
Petoskey, from 1 to 3 p.m. and at Horizon Books in Traverse City on
July 31 from 2-4 p.m.

 
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