Found objects

Posted on January 15, 2012


I have been rummaging around in the Central Lake Torch again, hunting for clues. I didn’t find what I was looking for, but as so often happens, I found something else.  It took me almost all day for the notion to penetrate, but it finally came to me.  The correspondents for the Central Lake Torch and other weekly newspapers were bloggers in spirit.  They would have been bloggers in fact if they’d had internet, but they were still working on rural electricity.

And you thought I was excited about broadband.  Anyway, back to the antecedents of blogging. This is one of my favorite sections of the Torch.   It was often written by Grace Hooper.  I am pretty sure she was the Grandmother of Blogging in Torch Lake Township.  You will most likely not be interested in reading about who visited whom in 1938, but other things never change.  Taxes.  Payment of top market prices for dead horses and cattle.  Oh, wait . . .

By the 1930s Antrim County was already the mix of farming and commerce and tourism that it is now.  Lots of people had mail subscriptions to the Torch.  People with cottages on the lake, snowbirds wondering about the weather, sons and daughters who were Away trying to earn a living.  No wonder it reads a lot like Torch Lake Views seven decades later.

Mama Nature’s behavior Around Here—and in England as well.

  • July 8 1937 :  Torch Lake is looking its loveliest. The Olin boys’ speed boat rides majestically at anchor, the “Sea Hag” tries to look dignified, motor boats skim over the water and disappear in the dusk, a beach fire gleams in the twilight while tiny fireflies flit through the gloom. Summer days and nights in Northern Michigan.
  • May 19 1938:  Three white frosts when the cherry trees were in bloom. We’re much afraid the future cherry pies have been nipped in the bud, but the strawberries are happy. Word comes from Mrs. Mabel Ison’s brother that frosts have ruined the apple crop in southern England.
  • May 26 1938:  Sweet lilacs of Maytime, some days, scenting mild spring breeze; some days wasting their fragrance on a wild, chilly north wind; but it’s all in life . . . . The robins hid away somewhere out of the cold Monday, but now are singing in the sunshine making enough music for three days.

Crop reports from Bay View.

  • June 9 1938: Farmers are busy planting potatoes these days. Hay fields show signs of a good crop. . . . Strawberries will soon reach the shortcake stage. . . .Factory beet and carrot fields are looking for cultivators.

Of course, it was the Depression (that other one) so there were useful money saving tips right before Christmas (December 15, 1938).

I do not know why I have never put a notice on Torch Lake Views advising that excellent treats may be applied to the price of a subscription. Imagine—I might have had nice dressed chickens!

Then there are the encounters with the inexplicable.

I may have to write a poem. Lost: Suitcase and chair.