Last Of Four Installments A Michigan Boyhood

A FAMOUS HISTORIAN RECALLS THE COUNTRY WHERE HE GREW UP

We lived in Indian summer and mistook it for spring. Winter lay ahead just when we thought June was on the way. The school, the town, and the people connected with both were coming to an end that seemed to be a beginning. They had been created by an era that was closing, and nothing like them would ever exist again because what had brought them forth was gone; yet twilight at the end of the day looks much as it does at the dawn unless you watch the shadows move, and for a little while time stood still. The shadows were not coming down the slope.Read more »

A Michigan Boyhood

THIRD OF FOUR INSTALLMENTS A FAMOUS HISTORIAN RECALLS THE COUNTRY WHERE HE GREW UP

This is how it was in the old days. A family that wanted to go from here to there went by railroad train because there was no other way to do it. If the distance was very short, ten or a dozen miles only, you might hire a rig at the livery stable and let the horses do the work, and if you lived on deep water you might go all or part of the way by steamboat, but as a general thing to make a trip meant to take a ride on the cars.Read more »

A Michigan Boyhood

SECOND OF FOUR INSTALLMENTS

A FAMOUS HISTORIAN RECALLS THE COUNTRY WHERE HE GREW UP

According to the Bible, a city that is set upon a hill cannot be hid. We used to repeat that text often, and I suppose we were a little smug and self-righteous about it; our city was built upon a hill, and if it was visible to all men it had been meant from the first to be a sign and a symbol of a better way of life, an outpost of the New Jerusalem sited in backwoods vacancy to show people the way they ought to go. To be sure, it was not exactly a city.Read more »

The Square Dancing Master

Henry Ford bought a $75,000 Stradivarius, learned to play “Turkey in the Straw,” and tried to teach all those Model T riders how to do-si-do like Grandpa

For four decades Henry Ford was one of America’s most original crusaders. At one time or another he was protecting birds, chartering a peace ship, proclaiming that every criminal was “an inveterate cigarette smoker,” exposing a scheming but fictitious character called the “international Jew,” declaring that he would stop making cars “if booze ever comes back,” or insisting that only a diet of soybeans, carrots, or wheat could insure good health. Read more »

A Michigan Boyhood

A FAMOUS HISTORIAN RECALLS THE COUNTRY WHERE HE GREW UP

First there was the ice; two miles high, hundreds of miles wide, and many centuries deep. It came down from the darkness at the top of the world, and it hung down over the eaves, and our Michigan country lay along the line of the overhang. To be sure, all of the ice was now gone. It had melted, they said, ten thousand years ago; but they also pointed out that ten thousand years amounted to no more than a flick of the second hand on the geologic time clock.Read more »

A Wrecker’s Dozen

There are places on this earth, in Europe particularly, where conservation is taken to mean the preservation of the notable works of man as well as nature. Magnificent old railroad stations and churches, public buildings, historic houses, architectural landmarks of all kinds, are valued for their beauty or for the memories they evoke, for the sense of continuity they give a place, or, often, just because they have been around a long time and a great many people are fond of them. But here in America we don’t—most of us, anyway—seem to feel that way.Read more »