The Thing You Forgot To Teach About Michigan
Growing up, I moved A LOT! 29 times to be exact! I’ve lived in the south where I found my fondness for real southern sweet tea, not the stuff you find at McD’s. I lived in New England where everything was WICKED awesome. I’ve also lived all over the midwest, it’s the only place you can find Faygo’s Rock & Rye. If you don’t know what that is, you clearly don’t live in the midwest!
It’s so unique here. A culture so different that only other Yoopers understand. What’s a Yooper? Exactly my point. It’s actually in Merriam – Webster dictionary now! Below is a video explaing how we got that to happen! It was a really big deal around here back in 2014!
As a homeschooling yooper, I’ve noticed a few things. Like the fact that almost all toys and puzzles that have a map of the U.S. leave us completely out. Like this puzzle.
Or they put us as part of Wisconsin or an unlabeled state like this puzzle where we are our own color.
And why not, our own government has left us off the map more than once! So many times in fact that in 2009, a law was passed to require both peninsulas to be depicted by state agency publications. Here is just one example I’ve seen.
And, no. This wasn’t photoshopped you can click the image to read the full news article about it.
While writing an article about the U.P., Tim Murphy, reporter for Mother Jones, wrote, “My first impression upon driving into Michigan’s Upper Peninsula was that this is what Alaska must feel like. Quite a statement, to be sure, coming from someone who’s never set foot in Alaska. But there’s something undeniably different about the place.”
Understand that part of it is visual, When you enter the U.P. you can drive 45 minutes without seeing anything, not a house let alone a town. It’s trees for days. Then there is a cultural element. For most of its existence, the U.P. has been isolated from the rest of the state. Only accessible to the rest of Michigan by boat until the late 1950’s when the Mackinac bridge was built. (Side note it’s the largest suspension bridge in the WORLD!).
My good friend Annie who blogs over at A Great Lake Life (her blog is awesome, go check out her last post about all the places she has hiked!) was over the other day and we were discussing our children’s toys and how challenging it is having your child ask “where do we live”, and not having an answer because well, we are not on the map. As we discussed living in the U.P. she recalled while attending college in the lower peninsula she became known as Annie from the U.P. That was her thing without even trying. Why? Because yoopers and trolls (people that live below the bridge) see themselves very differently. The truth is we don’t really think of ourselves as “Michigan” here. I’ve lived in the lower peninsula and when people asked me where I was from, I said Michigan. Now, I live in the U.P. and when people ask me where I’m from I proudly say the U.P. I’ve been here for 8 years now, and it is my forever home.
This brings me to a fact that most locals know, but I feel like few outsiders do.
We have been fighting to become our own state!
Did that statement surprise you?
Yes, it’s true and it has been true for quite some time. In the 1970s, there was an attempt by local representatives to make the U.P. a state, but there wasn’t enough legislative votes. It failed to pass by ONE vote! ONE, that’s it!!
Jim Carter, the writer of Superior, a State for The North Country, says “People want the U.P. separate from Michigan because they’re tired of the state politics. They were sending quite a lot of tax dollars down to Lansing and they felt they weren’t getting a fair share back.”
Here are some opinions from both sides of the bridge It seems the consensus is…. YES.. Yes, we should be our own state.
TROLLS THOUGHTS – —“First off, it would make more sense geographically. The U.P. and L.P. are only connected by a bridge. Besides that they are two separate pieces of land. Like Hawaii and Alaska, Michigan is one of the only U.S states like that. Also, I know people in the L.P. hate having their money go to maintain roads in the upper peninsula. People in the U.P. hate having a large portion of money go to helping Detroit. Also, most people in the L.P. haven’t been to the U.P. and its also the other way around.”
—“I think its a great idea, I see Michigan and the U.P. as two separate places as it is. I’ve heard people here complain about our tax money going to fix roads in the U.P. and I’ve heard yoopers complain that their tax money is fixing Flint and Detroit.”