By Guest Blogger Deb Baker

Springbreakinwis_2 I grew up in the Michigan U.P. where my Yooper mystery series takes place. When I was looking for material for my first book, I thought my childhood was just like everyone else’s. But I gave it some thought and decided it had been a little unusual.

We had bugs the size of Volkswagen Beetles. One year my grandmother’s house was pre-ner plastered with bay flies. Once when we were picking blueberries in our secret place, I spotted a spider the size of a half-dollar (remember those coins) and beat it out of there. We really do vacuum up those black flies that swarm in the windows in early spring. Wood ticks don’t fly but they do leap at you from trees.

Saunas and bars are our social hubs in the same way you’se guys enjoy fitness centers and coffee shops. At a sauna party, the women go first, then the men. In the winter, we roll in the snow afterwards. BTW, that hurts.

We can tell the difference between a squirrel, a chipmunk, and a skunk. Men don’t remove their baseball hats except for church.
Women hunt and fish and make a point of out-doing the men.

During deer hunting season we have to dress our dogs in orange and even then some Troll (that’s what we call Lower Michigan residents because they live below the Mackinac Bridge) will shoot at them.

Upper Michigan should have been its own state or at the very least should have tagged onto Wisconsin. We root for the Packers and make pilgrimages to Green Bay to honor St. Vincent Lombardi, who coached da Packers.

We drive on Lake Michigan and Lake Superior in the winter and we all know what black ice is. Its ice camouflaged as black top. If you hit it, you can kiss your hinder goodbye.

We eat anything and everything – Trenary toast, Cudighi (a sausage invented in Ishpeming), Pasties (not the things exotic dancers wear). We love sugar doughnuts and coffee, lots and lots of it. Mackinac Island fudge. Roadkill (but only if it’s fresh). Kalja (beer).

Yes, I considered all of this perfectly normal. So the next time you’re looking for something unique to write about, check out your own back yard.

Murdergrinsbearsit Hot off the press – Murder Grins and Bears It, Next up – Murder Talks Turkey. Visit me at

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Comment by Maxine Schmidt on June 5, 2007 at 2:57am
This picture shows my feet in Lake Superior, facing north, shortly after sunrise. What you can't see is that there is no one else around, that I'm holding a large cup of very good, very hot coffee, and that I am perfectly happy. I use this photo to remind me of the best place in the world. I only go there in the summers to stay with friends for a few weeks, but someday I'm going to spend a winter there. I'm not afraid of that-- I grew up in Wyoming and still carry frostbite scars from childhood. I'll take your books with me, or look for them next month.
Lucky, lucky you.

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