Letters

Letters 10-27-2014

Paging Doctor Dan: The doctor’s promise to repeal Obamacare reminds me of the frantic restaurant owner hurrying to install an exhaust fan after the kitchen burns down. He voted 51 times to replace the ACA law; a colossal waste of money and time. It’s here to stay and he has nothing to replace it.

Evolution Is Real Science: Breathtaking inanity. That was the term used by Judge John Jones III in his elegant evisceration of creationist arguments attempting to equate it to evolutionary theory in his landmark Kitzmiller vs. Dover Board of Education decision in 2005.

U.S. No Global Police: Steven Tuttle in the October 13 issue is correct: our military, under the leadership of the President (not the Congress) is charged with protecting the country, its citizens, and its borders. It is not charged with  performing military missions in other places in the world just because they have something we want (oil), or we don’t like their form of government, or we want to force them to live by the UN or our rules.

Graffiti: Art Or Vandalism?: I walk the [Grand Traverse] Commons frequently and sometimes I include the loop up to the cistern just to go and see how the art on the cistern has evolved. Granted there is the occasional gross image or word but generally there is a flurry of color.

NMEAC Snubbed: Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) is the Grand Traverse region’s oldest grassroots environmental advocacy organization. Preserving the environment through citizen action and education is our mission.

Vote, Everyone: Election Day on November 4 is fast approaching, and now is the time to make a commitment to vote. You may be getting sick of the political ads on TV, but instead, be grateful that you live in a free country with open elections. Take the time to learn about the candidates by contacting your county parties and doing research.

Do Fluoride Research: Hydrofluorosilicic acid, H2SiF6, is a byproduct from the production of fertilizer. This liquid, not environmentally safe, is scrubbed from the chimney of the fertilizer plant, put into containers, and shipped. Now it is a ‘product’ added to the public drinking water.

Meet The Homeless: As someone who volunteers for a Traverse City organization that works with homeless people, I am appalled at what is happening at the meetings regarding the homeless shelter. The people fighting this shelter need to get to know some homeless families. They have the wrong idea about who the homeless are.

Home · Articles · News · Books · A daughter remembers Alice
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A daughter remembers Alice

Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli - October 18th, 2010
A Daughter Remembers Alice
By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli
The new memoir, “I Remember Alice: A Story of Her Family, An Unusual Courtship, and Counseling of the Spirit” self-published by Palma Richardson of Traverse City, is an odd book. I was confused many times as I read it: who was who, who was related to whom, where I was in time. The book has all the problems of most self-published books, and yet I was charmed by not only the author’s voice, but the voices of family members who chimed in from time to time as if everyone sat around the family dinner table, maybe after a wake, trotting out their memories—good and bad.
That’s what forms the voice and tone behind this book about Alice Tredway, the author’s mother, a self-sufficient woman born in 1909, in a log cabin outside Limestone in the Upper Peninsula. Born into a large family where kids got edged out of the cabin early to make room for younger children.
From that spare beginning, everything about Alice Tredway becomes unusual. Like her mother before her, who followed one of her sons from place to place out West until she died, Alice is an individual who seems to have set her mind on goals and achieved them, rarely being stopped by public opinion or circumstance. She is, in many ways, a pioneer, and an Upper Peninsula pioneer at that. A cousin remembers: “Grandma would feed us venison that she had canned and she’d take us picking blueberries or wild strawberries at the edge of the field. I remember her always busy and smiling, with her blue eyes and curly white hair.”

A RESIGNED AIR
The author remembers her grandmother “as a diminutive lady with white curly hair and a slight limp. She had a resigned air about her as if—‘This is how it is, so I’ll just accept it’—her most distinguishing physical feature I remember when I was a child of 4 or 5 was a prominent adams apple (from a lack of iodine earlier in her life), which bobbed up and down all the while she talked.”
The cover shot of Alice as a young woman gives a much different picture of who she was. Pretty. Determined. Eyes looking off toward a future she was determined to control. Her poems (a few included in the book) shows a pragmatic mind that saw the world without sugar coating.
In a poem about her father, a drinker and possibly cruel man, Alice writes: “Our Dear Papa, DEAD DRUNK, with whiskey he stunk, but, Who shall put him into a mold?”
I wasn’t convinced I liked Alice as I read along. She left the cabin at an early age and put herself through Northern Michigan Normal College so she could teach. Soon she was teaching at Stambaugh School, near Iron River, but teaching didn’t enthrall her. She set her sights on a new career: that of a wife, and the chosen one was Owen Tredway, a widower 44 years her senior. All through college, Owen Tredway sent her money to make college life easier, though sometimes, it seemed, he complained that she spent too much. In retaliation, she returned the latest check to him. Alice wasn’t without spunk.
In their courtship, Alice was the aggressor with her entreaties progressing through their letters to the point where Owen Tredway tried to fend off her advances. In a letter of May 24, 1930, he writes “ ...I can’t expect to be here more than 8 years, ‘cause at 75, I am an old man. To take a wife your age who would be apt to bear me a child and me an old man who probably would never see the child only for a year or two. I don’t see how it could be. I don’t want one now, Alice, do you know that I am 44 years older than you, which is 40 years too much. I would think of the difference in our ages every time we were in public, and to introduce you as my wife would be extremely embarrassing. We would be pointed out as that man who married that young girl (what an old fool) . . .”
Alice wasn’t stopped. They married and had the children Owen stressed about.

SECRETS TO HAPPINESS
And that’s where my skepticism about Alice ended. Theirs was a love that lasted until Owen died, a happy man who lived out his elder years in contentment. In a journal entry dated Aug. 2, 1933, when she was pregnant, Alice writes, “Some secrets to our happiness. My dear one never fails to tell me when something is good. Tonight - rare roast beet etc. - blackberry pie. ‘This is good eating, Alice. Beans, potatoes, and meat tastes good.’ Who wouldn’t find joy-even tho’ it caused pain to bend to oven so often—in making a big dinner.”
It seems as if Alice, though a tough-minded woman who knew what she wanted and went after it, also lived up to her end of any bargain she made.
After Owen’s death, Alice took care of herself and her children and eventually found herself drawn to spiritualism and a firm belief in reincarnation. Over the years she developed methods of delving into past lives that brought peace to troubled people and made her known throughout the Upper Peninsula and beyond as a gifted seer.
I came away from the book with a deep respect for Alice Tredway, finding her a pioneer in many ways: spiritualism, helping the mentally disturbed, living life according to her own tenets, and even blazing a trail for other women to lead lives they fashioned for themselves.
And a deep respect for the author. The mistakes made in self-published books are here. ‘I’ is used incorrectly over and over. The old ‘I’ versus ‘me’ battle. A good editor would have caught it. Still, even this makes the writer’s voice authentic. Her honesty in telling the truth about her family and especially Alice, while not applying coats of varnish to please other family members, is compelling.

Palma Richardson will sign “I Remember Alice” at Horizon Books in Traverse City on Nov. 6, 12-2 pm.
Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli will be teaching: A Novel Experience—Fiction Writing Workshop, at NMC on Fri., Nov. 5, 9-4 pm., in the Olson Center. To register call NMC Extended Education at 231-995-1700

 
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