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 · 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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