Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Then & Now…34 Years Apart

Miss Tessmacher and I recently returned from our anniversary trip. After our 1st anniversary, we decided to forego giving each other a bunch of shit (i.e., "gifts") and take the opportunity to actually go someplace, which we rarely do otherwise. It's not that we're stoic homebodies…but, I suspect in large part because of me, we do tend to hang around the house a lot. I didn't grow up really being a "goer" and am typically happiest just farting around the house. (Blogging, apparently!) But our anniversary provided a nice excuse to shake things up, and push me out of my rut…trips that I now really look forward to.

We also chose to switch off every year in terms of planning; to wit, she decides what we do on the even years, and I get the off years. The 5th, which should have been more of a big deal, was kind of downplayed because of our pregnancy; I was massively restoring our stairway and upstairs hall that summer, and to lessen any risk of lead paint exposure, Tess moved to her parents for a few weeks. That anniversary I picked her up at her parents' house, endured many good-natured jibes to "have her home early!", and we went to a simple dinner…after which, yes, I dropped her off just as if it was a date and headed home by myself. *sigh!*

So, I wanted to do something pretty special this year. I tend to follow the goofy gift themes for anniversaries; you know, the first is the "Paper Anniversary," 2nd is "Cotton," etc. This year happened to be the "Copper" anniversary, so I planned a trip - where else? - up to the tip of Michigan: Copper Harbor.

I'd been camping there in the summer of 1975, but hadn't been there since. We had a grand time, staying at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge, which was built in the late-'30s under the Civil Works Administration. I chose that spot as it sits at the trailhead of an extensive system of hiking & biking trails all over the area. We got up in the mornings, ate a simple breakfast, then headed out for hikes of anywhere from 5 to 8 miles…usually accompanied by vertical drops of 400 or 500 feet. It was cool but exhilarating, and I loved it. We ate all the fresh Lake Superior fish we could order, and spent cozy evenings drinking good wine in front of a fire…watching all the "bad" satellite TV we could stand. (I include in that statement the Biography Channel feature on Abba.)

One part of our visit took us to Fort Wilkins, built in the mid-1840's to facilitate "neighborly relations" between copper-rush Whites and the Chippewas from whom the U.S. government had stolen - er, purchased the land. When the copper boom busted the fort was closed, reopening briefly after the Civil War. Below are two pictures of me taken at the fort: the first, from 1975, shows me at age 7, with a healthy young boy's fascination with large weaponry. The second was taken last week, 34 years later, not quite coincidentally at the same spot, and from the same angle.

Nice, eh? Funny, how time flies…


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