Letters

Letters 10-20-2014

Doctor Dan? After several email conversations with Rep. Benishek, he has confirmed that he doesn’t have a clue of what he does. Here’s why...

In Favor Of Our Parks [Traverse] City Proposal 1 is a creative way to improve our city parks without using our tax dollars. By using a small portion of our oil and gas royalties from the Brown Bridge Trust Fund, our parks can be improved for our children and grandchildren.

From January 1970 Popular Mechanics: “Drastic climate changes will occur within the next 50 years if the use of fossil fuels keeps rising at current rates.” That warning comes from Eugene K. Peterson of the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management.

Newcomers Might Leave: Recently we had guests from India who came over as students with the plan to stay in America. He has a master’s degree in engineering and she is doing her residency in Chicago and plans to specialize in oncology. They talked very candidly about American politics and said that after observing...

Someone Is You: On Sept 21, I joined the 400,000 who took to the streets of New York in the People’s Climate March, followed by a UN Climate Summit and many speeches. On October 13, the Pentagon issued a report calling climate change a significant threat to national security requiring immediate action. How do we move from marches, speeches and reports to meaningful work on this problem? In NYC I read a sign with a simple answer...

Necessary To Pay: Last fall, Grand Traverse voters authorized a new tax to fix roads. It is good, it is necessary.

The Real Reasons for Wolf Hunt: I have really been surprised that no one has been commenting on the true reason for the wolf hunt. All this effort has not been expended so 23 wolves can be killed each year. Instead this manufactured controversy about the wolf hunt has been very carefully crafted to get Proposal 14-2 passed.

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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