Posted on January 14, 2008


I’m a story collector.  I can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon than to listen to somebody’s special memory, the one that says “I was there – I was connected to the big picture.”  Best of all I love to hear a new story that connects to one I already have in my collection.  It’s like putting together a giant jigsaw puzzle, but one where the pieces move on their own, and the figures in the picture come alive and argue with each other about what’s going on.  So I had this brainstorm – wouldn’t it be something to gather the stories of all the people who live in a particular place at a particular time?  Not just the famous, or the notorious, but everybody.  Why not do this in Torch Lake Township?  It is, after all, do-able, as there are not so many of us.

Pioneer NotesThen I realized that, well, it’s been done.  Beginning in the 1920’s Grace Hooper gathered family histories from throughout the Grand Traverse region, traveling hundreds of miles on foot.  Her story about her own father, Thomas Guyer, became the basis for Whistle Up the Bay by Nancy Stone.  Eventually her work was collected in Grace Hooper’s Pioneer Notes: By Trek and Sail to Grand Traverse Bay.  The book, with a cover illustration by Betty Beeby, was reprinted in 2002 to benefit the Wilkinson Homestead Historical Society.

OK, so I’m not an original thinker.  Still, I think there are probably a lot of new stories to collect since Grace Hooper walked the drumlins in the 1920’s.  So we have a new page on this site, Ourstory.  Let me know if you’d like to spend an afternoon telling me your part of it.