Captain’s Log: Wakefield MI
When I retired last fall, we headed to the Southwest and warmer temperatures. Our travels took us through Carlsbad New Mexico where we bought our first National Park Pass when we visited the Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Carlsbad was also where I was born so, armed with the address from my older brother, we were able to find the house my dad built and where I lived for my first four years. Or at least I think we did. I don’t remember much from then, so it could’ve been some other house.
|House in Wakefield 2011|
|House in Wakefield 1958|
But I remember living in Wakefield. I was five and had a great time in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Once again, my older bother remembered the street address of a house he hasn’t lived in for over 50 years. I also had some pictures my Dad had taken of the house and, sure enough, there it was. Someone had added some siding, and the yard was smaller than I remember, but it was the same house. I remembered playing on Tank Hill and it was still there also. In addition to the town’s water tank, it also had a cell phone tower. We get a good cell phone signal here.
|John sledding down tank hill 1958|
|John standing in front of tank hill 2011|
|House in Bessemer today|
After a year in Wakefield, my dad moved the family about five miles down the road to Bessemer. I remember our house in Bessemer being much larger than the house in Wakefield. With four children, including a new baby, I’m sure my mother was lobbying for the move. (Our house in Wakefield was so small that my dad put up the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve and took it down on Christmas day because it blocked the front door.) I didn’t have an address for our house in Bessemer, but my brother was sure we lived on the highway. I did remember playing under some bleachers that I could walk to from our house. When I looked at a map of Bessemer, there was a high school football field a few blocks from the highway so I thought I would start there. We found the football field and it looked like it had been there longer than 50 years. It had some bleachers that were completely enclosed, like I remembered. I drove back to the highway and there was the house. Big mature trees, with the detached garage that I remembered. That was easy.
|Detached garage today|
|Looking down the street from the house|
|Family photo in driveway, look down the street and you can see the same house in background today|
|Mary(John's mom) and brother Mike on steps of Bessemer house|
|John and Mike next to Bessemer house|
|Ball field John remembers playing at, Opened in 1954|
|Bleachers he remembers playing under|
|Baseball field actually helped us locate the house|
I attended first grade in a Catholic school while in Bessemer, but we didn’t find anything like that. After another winter in the UP, the family moved to Colorado. But I used to be a Yooper.