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Memories of Michigan: State's nature and cities create connection

Exploring the shoreline of Lake Michigan's Northport Bay.
Mark Brush
Michigan Radio
Exploring the shoreline of Lake Michigan's Northport Bay.

Over the weekend, we posted this question to the Michigan Radio Facebook community.

"What’s a personal memory you have that has some kind of connection to Michigan?"

The answers show how the state's unique character gets into our blood, and why so many people feel at peace and at home in Michigan:

Jennifer - Being 6 years old and digging a tunnel in the snow to get out of the front door of our little house in Carson City during the blizzard of 1978.

John - First time I stood on Deadman's Hill & looked out over the East Jordan River Valley.

Dani - Several years back, I took a nap in a massive willow tree on the bank of the Au Sable River in Lovells. That tree is absolutely amazing, probably my favorite spot to be in the entire world. Once you climb into it, there's a sort of landing in the tree. I was able to stretch out fully and sleep comfortably while listening to the soft sounds of nature around me.

Andrew - Moving to the state I now call home 20 years ago... Mom got pulled over after taking a left on a flashing red two blocks from our new home after a long drive from Chicago, late at night, with two crabby and tired children (me being one of them), a dozen boxes of clothes and a pet hamster. The officer came up, peered into the window and said "lady, it looks like you have your hands full, I’ll let you slide on this one."

Marjorie - I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago & my grandparents had a cottage on Hamlin Lake, so going there would be "going to Michigan." Now that I live outside of Grand Rapids, going to Ludington is still "going to Michigan."

Sharon - The many times I have stopped on US-2 in nice weather and swam in Lake Michigan after having a pasty picnic. As a child, the waves were wonderful. My mom and dad never fretted about the sand in the car. To this day, a stop there washes stress away like magic.

Rebecca - The smell of "Up North." No matter how busy I am, how much the kids are yelling/fighting in the backseat, how hungry we are, or how much work I'm trying to get done on the drive, the first time I get out of the car at a stop up north and smell the fresh pine air, all the stress goes away and I know I'm truly on vacation.

Diane - Many years of sailing along the Lake Michigan sunset coast, from Muskegon to the Straits and visiting all the towns with any kind of harbor and their donut shops. I've seen Sleeping Bear Dunes dozens of times from the water, but only once as a land-lubber.

Dawn - Digging in the slate near Grand Ledge finding plant fossils. Amazed at how they have endured being so fragile. Then sitting back on the hill taking a break, looking down at the pond below realizing just how beautiful that area is. We are so very lucky to live in a state with such beautiful diversity.

Kathy - Visiting our family cabin outside of Hessel in the UP. My grandparents built it in the early 60s and we've managed to keep it in the family. My brother, dad, and I bought it from my aunt a couple years ago and I have fantastic memories of the beach in front of the cabin and walking through the Hiawatha National Forest to get to Search Bay.

William - Being at Whitefish Point July 4, 1995, the day they brought up the bell from the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Marjorie - When we were kids we would go up north for vacation. I always felt this huge moment of joy when we would come in sight of the Big Mac. It still gets me 50 years later.

Erin - Staying in a cabin in the UP with my best college girlfriends who will all be in my wedding next month. The feeling I get every time I drive to downtown Detroit and see the skyline, or go to Eastern Market on a nice day. Canoeing with my dad on camping trips. Going to the Jiffy Mix plant on field trips. I ♥ Michigan!

Alison - I’m Canadian and my mom would bring us to Ann Arbor for long weekend holidays. I now live in A2 end like it because it feels like the most "Canadian" city in Michigan.

Jessica - My husband and I went to the U.P. one summer before we had kids. One of our stops was at a little campsite just west of Munising. Our site was approx. 25 yards from the water. We dragged our lawn chairs to the water’s edge and watched the sun set and then sat by our campfire with a cheap box of wine, listening to the sound of Lake Superior crashing in the shore. We had several incredible Michigan moments on that vacation, but that one stands out. I half-jokingly tell my husband that, when I die, I want my ashes taken up to that spot.

Kat - Camping in Michigan during a bad storm. Another time camping in a camper and thinking a bear looked in the window.

Jennifer- There are so many because I started camping at the age of three. We would camp at Sugarloaf in Waterloo. This is where Mom and Dad had their anniversary in 1947 across from the campground at my Great Grandma's house. We would also camp at Indian Lake in the UP. We used to spend a month at one, go home for a week, go to the UP, go home for a week, and back to Waterloo. Fourth of July was always spent in the UP because Garden City had a wonderful party for the whole family.
We had so much fun on these family trips, I regret not being able to share these things places with my kids because the rules of the campgrounds have changed so much. The price has gone up, you can only spend 10/15 days in the park then you have to leave for a week and cannot camp on the same site, if your dogs bark and someone complains you get kicked out. Ridiculous, I think.

Mark Brush was the station's Digital Media Director. He succumbed to a year-long battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, in March 2018. He was 49 years old.
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