I am thrilled to announce that I will be leading Beer History tours with the amazing folks at Detroit History Tours!
Check it out here! A January date will be announced soon!
I am a teacher, published author, storyteller, public speaker, licensed attorney, and general cheerleader for Michigan.
Here is a peek at what I have been up to recently!
Publishing. My fifth traditionally published book was published in 2022.
Performances. I am the curator of HERsay, Grown Folks Storytime, Desserts by the Decade and May It Please the Court? All of these events will hopefully return in the near future!
Tastings and Tours. I frequently lead tours of downtown Ann Arbor, focusing on history, beer, or both! I also lead beer tastings for everyone from the novice to the diehard fan.
Basic Information. I am a special education teacher, former legal aid lawyer, and the author of four books: Images of America–Downtown Ann Arbor (Arcadia/History Press), A History of the People’s Food Co-op Ann Arbor (Edward Brothers/Malloy), Head Over Feet In Love (Soul Mate Publishing), Vanishing Ann Arbor (Arcadia/History Press) and Michigan Beer History (Arcadia/THP).
I’ve written for CraftBeer.com, Hour Detroit, West Suburban Living magazine, Concentrate, Mittenbrew, The Ann, AADL’s Pulp blog, and the Ann Arbor Observer. I’m a frequent public speaker around town, curating HERsay (an all-woman variety show), GROWN FOLKS READING (story time for grownups), DESSERTS BY THE DECADE (historical food presentation, and MAY IT PLEASE THE COURT? (all-lawyer stroytelling show). I have told stories at Ignite, Nerd Nite, Tellabration and Telling Tales Out of School.
I serve as a commissioner for the Recreation Advisory Commission, as a teacher of history for Rec & Ed, as a storyteller in the Ann Arbor Storytellers’ Guild, and a volunteer for the Ann Arbor Film Festival and as a DJ for WCBN. I lead multiple tours around town including History & Hops (beer and history) and tours through Rec & Ed featuring lovely downtown Ann Arbor!
Blogging. Keep scrolling down for some fun Ann Arbor history posts!
We do nothing half-assed in this town and it thusly pleases me to see that we also raised the roof back in old timey Ann Arbor when it came to Thanksgiving. To wit, in 1894, The Summer Dudes were fixing to give their first of their fall series of parties at Granger’s Academy. That is the first thing I read when I started looking up the topic of Thanksgiving in Ann Arbor.
If we had had Reddit back then, I would have simply replied: Go on.
Because I need to know more about the Summer Dudes. I will research later and report back.
Anyway, from that paper we head to 1891, where it was the usual people visiting people in Detroit, Jackson, etc. To his immense credit, Dr. W.A. Campbell gave everyone the metaphorical middle finger and headed up to Unadilla to hunt and fish. Good for you, friend!
The Odd Fellows gave a surprise party the night before Thanksgiving. At first, I read that they were *giving* a surprise party and I was like, oh come on 1891 Ann Arbor Register! Way to spoil! At least put the spoiler alert tag but then I reread it and thought that very nice.
Yes, yes, more people visiting parents and friends and–
Wait, what? The Summer Dudes “gave an enjoyable party, Friday evening, at the Light Infantry Hall…about 40 couples were present.”
Okay, that is at least 80 people plus however many Summer Dudes there were. I need to know more. I will Google “the summer dudes Ann Arbor”. Oh, look what comes up!
1893 Detroit Free Press says: “The Summer Dudes,” one of the swell social clubs of Ann Arbor, give a party a Granger’s Academy next Friday evening. This intrigues. Let’s read more down the list of search results and…
Do not–I repeat–DO NOT google “the summer dudes Ann Arbor” because of course there is porn about summer dudes. Of course there is. Not these summer dudes but somehow the algorithms pulled up horrible stuff into my search feed. I will continue to research them in some other way.
Until then–happy Thanksgiving!
A Halloween like no other is over. Hopefully, the kiddos (and grown ups!) found something fun to do! I heard about parents hiding candy around the house like an Easter egg hunt, socially distanced trick or treating (bags of candy clipped onto trees or set on tables at the end of the driveway), outdoor parties for all ages. Ken and I went to Greenfield Village for their Hallowe’en Nights and then to a haunted forest up in Commerce Township. Both were delightful and safe–distancing, masks, outdoors.
I keep telling kids that they will have stories about this time for the rest of their lives. I don’t know what kids did during the 1913 pandemic (was trick or treating even a big thing in Ann Arbor back then?!) but here are some lovely pictures from years gone by.
Happy Halloween! Don’t forget to VOTE on Tuesday!!!!
It’s here and I’m not sad about it. I love the crisp nights, the smell of cinnamon apple cider, the glowing orange lights in my living room, the football games (yes, even the Lions!), the sound of people crunching through leaves on the sidewalk.
What did I find in the library’s Old News vault? Well, I guess old timey Ann Arbor liked…hats.
The Barton Hills country club had a hat show to end autumn and here are some of those chapeaus:
Here are more fall fashions, circa 1952
What lovely women! And while they had their own issues (the Cold War, for instance), not one of them had to match their dresses to a mask! 🙂
(Wear your masks. For real. We all need to be here NEXT fall!)
If you haven’t read the original story about how Mothers’ Day (note the apostrophe) came about, you owe it to yourself to do so. I agree that women should take over politics to prevent bloodshed and war. (I am not 100% certain we would be able to do that, but we should at least have a chance.)
I hope everyone had a lovely day despite our present circumstances. Here are some pictures from Mother’s Day, Ann Arbor style! (As always, thanks to my Old News friends at the AADL!)
Old timey Ann Arbor’s parade game was on point. Here is a Mother’s Day parade on Jones Drive in 1954.
Carpenter School had a tea for moms in 1956. I remember making an invitation for my mom when I was in the first grade (not at Carpenter School). We had a luncheon and I remember my teacher had to spell the word “luncheon” for us.
I’m 100% in love with these two moms. The looks on their faces just tickle me. If they were my mom, they’d be thinking, “18 hours of labor and I get a f***** cupcake? Really?” But they are not so I’m not sure what is going through their minds; they look like fun moms either way!
Activist Moms from 1970! Go, women!!!
From 1897. I can’t even imagine what this might have been! Actually, I can–probably some sort of morphine or heroin. Oy.
And I will end with the thing we should never, ever forgot. It was written by a man and not an acutal mother but I still think the words are important. Reprinted by our friends at the Signal of Liberty in 1843.
I can’t show you my Google classroom, a dozen faces arranged on the screen like the happiest Brady Bunch ever, eager to hear what I have to say about geometry.
I don’t have any pictures of my kiddos on a screen, singing a song together, wiping away some tears.
There’s no Zoom picture of 20 faces staring at me, absorbing every word I say, minds open and learning.
No virtual band concerts of kids sitting up straight, in sharply pressed uniforms.
No read alouds to students who hold their own textbooks, making notes and asking questions.
We aren’t driving by homes to wave at students, doing special handshakes over Twitter, chatting about our days as we hang out at our homes.
My kids are high schoolers in a Title 1 school with all free lunches and extremely low SES. They don’t get to take home their instruments and the uniforms are black pants, or whatever you can reasonably come up with. We don’t have enough textbooks, so no one takes one home. The library, with its thousands of books—including those hyped up YA books—still has every single one of those books except the ones the teachers took as we left on that last day.
Almost every kid has loving parents who only want what is best for them. The parents I have met are dealing with stuff that would make me quit everything—they are true heroes. They literally inspire me to get my ass out of bed some days.
But. Some kids don’t have homes they want to show me on Zoom. A lot don’t have bedrooms, so they sleep on couches or the floor or with parents, siblings, parent’s friends. They have an apartment today and are in a relative’s house tomorrow, along with 12 other people. There’s one phone number today and another tomorrow. Wi fi is shared with a neighbor and when he leaves, so does the wi fi. The phone is taken by a brother/mother/father/cousin who uses it for themselves or sells it or gives it to a girlfriend. They might be living in a car with three other people. There may not be a room—or any room—to hide in and talk to your teacher. You don’t know what’s in the closet and that isn’t a safe place sometimes.
The neighborhoods are not places where you can drive by and wave. No parades of happy socially distant neighbors will be held in those streets. Some homes don’t have anyone who can make you sit down and do work, or help you figure out where to click on a screen.
Singing a song, doing a read aloud of Huck Finn, chatting about your dog takes a backseat to finding a place to sleep tonight, scrounging up money to do laundry, locating that one plate without crud on it so that you can eat. Getting a dollar for the Dollar Store so you can buy a frozen pizza trumps Zoom hang out hours where you will learn to punctuate a sentence for an essay you will never write.
A lot of what we do in school is socio-emotional learning. Sometimes the most I teach a kid in any day is that I am a stable adult, with a happy life, who consistently gives them band aids and cough drops and a fist bump when they come to my room. Sometimes, that’s enough.
I have memories of how kids bought into me—me as a special ed teacher, there to help and break things down and make math understandable. Resistance, resistance, resistance and then—okay, she’s here to help me. I can trust her. I have memories of kids making a connection between multiplying length times width to get the area and correctly predicting what would happen in the text I read (or many times, coming up with a better ending!)
But I don’t have a picture of my kids on a screen, listening to my talk about geometry. Those pictures are in my heart, where they will be until we get back to the place where beefs are made and settled, where kids come to see me and then apologize for coming in during my planning, where they hold the door open for me, where they threaten and cuss at you for asking why they are in the hallway without a pass, where you wave to kids across the hall and they ignore you or they don’t and respond with a giant smile, and where sometimes, a kid can find a consistent trusted adult, even for a day.
Since I’m not sure how to act in all of this, I keep looking towards our past.
It’s like some things are the same but some things are so very different. Take a look.
An 1887 Ann Arbor paper printed this. How awful is this–confined to the tenement district…it was already terrible there. I can’t imagine what this would have been like. I could be reading too much into this but I feel like they are relieved that it’s been “confined” to the poorest of the poor 😦
Ann Arbor paper reprinted this from Illinois in 1888. I remember reading about something called Saint Vitus dance at some point in school. I don’t recall why or what class but it stuck in my head. It sounds rather scary.
1887. I’m glad they realized that the water may have caused this. That seems like progress but they were still absolutely helpless.
1903, here in Ann Arbor.
1895 Virginia gets it–no church services!
Hey! 1893 Georgia government got it!
1891 Panama liked vaccines. What the heck happened?!?!
1894 Jackson got it right–close the schools to prevent an epidemic.
1878 person did not want to close the schools! This guy 100% would join Michiganders Against Quarantine Facebook pages today.
1895 guy would 100% be hawking some sort of weird ass shit on Instagram right now.
I don’t know if this will make you feel better or worse or nothing. But here is some of the news that I have found regarding the 1918 influenza outbreak. I will eventually track down how many people in Ann Arbor died but I just can’t right now.
Oct. 18: all public places being closed
Oct. 17: The schools closed
Oct. 19: Theaters close
I wore my blue and yellow, waited for candy from Leap Day William (he didn’t show up again), and leapt around foolishly. I love leap day! It’s fun!
Guess what? The Ann Arbor Argus of 1896 loved it too. Or at least they liked it. They sure did go out of their way to explain it. They also mentioned the thing about women being able to ask men to marry them on Leap Day. That’s right there in the first sentence. I sort of zoned out on the rest. The whole article is here.
A few decades earlier in 1864, the Michigan Argus reported on a Chicago girl who took an ad out in the paper under the “Wants” section. I am 100% in love with this young lady and hope she landed a dude worthy of her. Question though–why did they call Chicago the city of mud? I have not heard that before!
The 1888 paper told a tale of a Leap Year Party at Hangsterfer’s Hall (where Mongo BBQ is now). 35 couples attended and the “committee on introduction” performed their part well so I’m presuming that means a good time was had by all. The odd part is that the party seems to have been held in January. I’m sure there is a story there but we will be left to wonder what it was!
This came from the paper in December, 1892. Does anyone get it?
I hope Leap Day William finds us all next time around!